Basel Tov

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On December - 10 - 2009

1-audi-art-pavilion-lucy-liuIt’s the most wonderful time of the year…Art Basel, the “Carnaval” of the art world. A time when we wish those experiments with human cloning had yielded positive results. It seems that the world’s largest and most important art show gets bigger every year, especially since in addition to Art Basel itself, Vanguard, Scope, Verge, Art Miami, Art Viceroy, Design Miami and countless other satellite fairs have set up camp all over town, not to mention the requisite parties being thrown nightly and club transplants from Paris and New York. This week, the 411 brings you South Beach locals and Art Basel insiders’ top picks of not-to-be missed events during this week- in which having fun (and surviving) is its own art form.

Reigning Queen of the Night, Tara Solomon, Principal, TARA, Ink.:

“I’m seriously hoping that this year’s Art Basel won’t require a month of Sundays to recover from, as per usual, but I’ll probably be proven wrong. My list is already scarily long. What I’m looking forward to: The Box burlesque show at Nikki Beach; the  exhibition “Grit*,” which explores themes of social intolerance, at Calix Gustav Gallery; urban impressionist Miguel Paredes’ “The Manifestation of Crossover Art” at a pop-up gallery on Lincoln Road; Carlos Betancourt’s “Lapidus Infinitus” at Diana Lowenstein Fine Arts; David LaChapelle’s “Cars and Money;” Kenny Scharf’s “Art White Collection,” and Tommy Hilfiger’s launch of T-Studio, a silk-screen studio at the South Beach store where guests can customize their own shirts with the help of street artists from Art Center/South Florida.”

Man-about-town, Nick D’ Annunzio, Principal, TARA, Ink.:

“There’s a buzz that Art Basel is feeling the pinch this year. While events may be less extravagant and have been taken down a notch, understandably so, the key players have remained loyal to the festival and are still as visible as ever.  But this year, in addition to Christian Louboutin, Gucci, Vanity Fair, Audi, Scope, Dacra and Cartier — all the usual suspects — we see some little guys bursting onto the scene. This makes for a very special year, one that offers the opportunity for the big dogs and up-and-comers to intermingle and share the spotlight. In particular, I’d take note of Amanda Fernandez-Leon, owner of Calix Gustav Gallery, who recently shot onto the scene and has produced one the most avant-garde exhibits Art Basel has seen in a its few years.”

Jilian Sanz, fashion editor for Florida International Magazine named “most gorgeous editor” by Fashion Week Daily:

“The brand’s accessories designer, Silvia Fendi celebrates Fendi’s Design Miami involvement with a private dinner at Miami hot-spot Mr. Chow. Fashion’s ‘Boy Wonder,’ Joseph Altuzarra hits the Webster with an exclusive polka-dot number that will be had by every fashionista worth her weight in couture
and he’ll celebrate his collaboration with this stellar boutique in style–cocktails anyone? Design District’s limited edition experiences—where retail’s
heavy hitters will pop-up for a limited time to bridge the gaps between fashion, art, music and culture, serving it up gift-wrapped in special-series offerings that are sure to fly off their temporary shelves.

 Also, don’t miss an after-hours beat: Purple magazine, Design Miami and Le Baron take over the Florida Room for an invitation-only fete that’s sure to be incredible, and Christian Louboutin and Piper Heidsieck celebrate the launch of Le Rituel, a gift-set including a Louboutin-designed stiletto champagne flute on December 4, at SET hosted by a slew of hot Miamians including, yours truly.”

WSVN-TV Anchorwoman, Belkys Nerey:

“My calendar is full this week but I will be attending the private opening for Carlos Betancourt at the Diana Lowenstein gallery. Carlos’ work always fascinates me. It’s whimsical, creative and thought-provoking. He’s a leader in the contemporary art world and he’s homegrown. The show stays up all month so get out there and check out one of South Florida’s finest.”

 Michael Leondas Kirkland, Founder and Principal of Conceptual Design Firm, Halleon:

 Bruce Weber’s Roberto Bolle: An Athlete in Tights book signing at The Standard is my top pick. Bruce hosts the best event of Art Basel every year.

Angelbert Metoyer’s exhibit, entitled ‘War-Beau’ at Giovanni Rossi Fine Art is another ‘must.’ The opening reception takes place on Saturday, December 5, and the show runs through January 5.”

Famed photographer, Iran Issa Khan:

“My dear friend, internationally renowned artist, Michele Oka Doner will give an informal talk at the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum’s 7th annual Art Basel Miami Beach Breakfast in the Park on December 6. That is sure to be ’fabulous.’”

Michael Valdes, Senior Vice President, ONE Sotheby’s, (currently in London for the Russian art sale):

“No Art Basel in Miami is ever complete without the VIP reception of David LaChapelle who is one of my favorite photographers and I always especially look forward to what his creative mind will unleash on the world. I am a huge fan!”

Permanent fixture on the New York social scene, Heidi Kelso, President, H.K. Media Group, (producer, Rihanna Live from Brixton feat. Jay-Z and Young Jeezy):

I think the MisShapes/ThreeAsFour after party featuring ThreeAsFour and Olivier Zahm of Purple magazine on Friday will be one of the best events of the week.”

Matt Heien, President, Eastside P.R., spokesman for Alain Perez and Event Star Corporation:

You may have noticed the 50, 000 square foot (temporary) building set up at 46th and Collins at the entrance to the beach.  Audi tapped local event contractor Alain Perez of Event Star to build and design the Audi Art Pavilion, the largest temporary event space ever built.  Sources on the beach say the venue itself cost close to 15 million dollars. Most folks, no matter where in the world they live, will never see something this amazing built for a special event.  From a star studded, six course dinner created by David Bouley, nightly cocktail parties to a Pharrell concert, this venue is a ‘must see.’ Luckily, it is open to the public during daytime hours, from December 2-5, noon until 5:00 p.m.    We also hear that for all the great work and big money, the entire structure will be taken down after the week is over!   15 million dollars for 5 days, is this a sign the recession is over?  It seems at least for Audi it is.”

Miami Social reality star and writer, Michael Cohen: 

“I’m here for the art and the experience, not for the free champagne. My first stop this year will be the Containers in Collins Park, on 23rd Street, those are among my favorite installations. I also definitely want to check out the Gucci temporary store in the Design District.”


Loren Ridinger, Senior VP, Market America; columnist, Haute Living; editor,

“Vernissage, the private opening of Basel is always a must. I love it because it kicks off Basel and really sets the standards for the amazing week. On Thursday I look forward to the Haute Living Gary Nader event.  I love his Picassos and I always go to see what he has, as Picasso is my favorite artist. Also, the Rubell family collection is so impressive. I saw this last year and was blown away.  I am very close friends with Michelle and Jason and am always amazed at their eye for art and how much they collect just for their love of it.  The whole museum is spectacular and I am always thrilled to see what they have been collecting over the year.

Prolific art collector Aby Rosen, co-owner of Miami’s “hautest” hotel, the W, will be hosting a private dinner and a series of parties throughout the week alongside partner, David Edelstein, at the W including: the Swarovski dinner in the penthouse; Art Nexus Party in celebration of Art Basel Miami Beach sponsored by Grey Goose; Cartier private event at Mr. Chow; a dinner hosted by Alberto Mugrabi and Peter Brandt at Soleà; the Whitewall magazine party on the lawn and the We Rock the Arts event with a special performance by Glen Matlock of The Sex Pistols.

Saturday’s Vogue party is for sure always my favorite ending party for Basel. Vogue does everything to perfection.  This year Versace will be displaying the new collection and special pieces which have never been seen.  Donatella is a genius and this show is a can’t-be-missed event, if you’re lucky enough to get the invite.


Celebrity Sightings:

A slew of celebrities turned out on Monday night for the official debut of the Audi Art Pavilion (AAP) including: Chris Noth, B.K.A. “Mr. Big,” Lucy Liu, Christina Ricci, Ben McKenzie, Louise Griffith, Sofia Vergara and New Moon’s bleached blond Kellan (bite me please) Lutz.

It seems Jamie Foxx has become a regular “chow hound” at Mr. Chow at W South Beach, where he was spotted last week and again on Sunday. Naomi Campbell and her boyfriend sat at a nearby table. Also taking a break from turkey leftovers that night were Jerry Bruckheimer and former Miami Heat coach, Pat Reilly, a few tables away from the Boston Celtics players who had beat the Heat just hours earlier.

Diddy threw a birthday bash at Mansion on Friday night.

Equinox Fitness Clubs hosted two celebrity studs – Alex Rodriguez and Cris Judd – in their South Beach gym last week. Rodriguez was spotted working out late last week during their prime time hour-around 6:30 p.m.  J. Lo’s ex-husband, Cris Judd, and six dancers visited the club’s main studio twice during the week, gearing up for an upcoming music video.

Famous interior designer, Wallace Tutt, celebrated his book, Harbour Island, with a book signing at the brand new, ultra-chic Bar 721 on Lincoln Road.

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