Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On December - 21 - 2009

marc_anthony_jennifer_lopez__ridingersArt! It’s the first word and what it’s all about right? Well, mostly…! In addition to works by Chagall, Picasso, Matisse, Miro, Botero, Calder and Warhol, all under one roof at the Convention Center, stand outs during Art Basel week included: Calix Gustav Gallery which held several receptions celebrating the unveiling of Grit: to endure a trying situation and continue on without complaint and “Monitoring Art;” 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 William S. Chewning’s exhibition at Miami Art Group Gallery.

Russell Simmons, Shamin Abas and Michael Capponi hosted a benefit at Capponi’s home on Sunset Island in support of Empowerment through Education for Africa on Friday night. Guests bid on auction items such as a diamond ring from Royal Asscher’s Stars of Africa collection, a three-night trip to Banyan Tree Mayakoba in Riviera Maya, Mexico, and brunch for eight with Nacho Figueras, the face of Ralph Lauren, at the International Polo Club Palm Beach. The event raised more than $27,000 in just two hours.

The Box at Nikki Beach provided a bit of shock (schlock) value with a mix of burlesque, meets folly, meets the Muppet Show (one giant, excitable vagina Muppet to be exact) and a Chihuahua. Following an early dinner show, the racy party started at 11:00 p.m. (more like 1:30) and went into the wee hours of the morning.  The notorious closing party was especially wild as the anatomically innovative acts of the Vaudeville Theater from New York City turned up the heat.  The champagne was flowing nightly, as guests such as Jason Binn, Richard Johnson (Page Six), Andre Balazs, Lorenzo Martone, Vito Schnabel, Russell Simmons, Jay Jopling, Eric Omores, Keith Menin, Jack and Lucia Penrod, Simon and Francesca Hammerstein, Rick Yune, Christian Louboutin, Dean and Dan Caten of DSquared marveled as performers took art to the stage with kitschy crowd pleasers and playful eroticism. Like it or not, it was definitely nothing we’d seen before.

Bashes- lots of them! Art Nexus took over the W South Beach on Wednesday night, adding a signature Latin flavor. The next night (morning) at W, Vito Schnabel, Stavros Niarchos and Alex Dellal’s all-night after-party at Wall (following the Rosen/Brant/Mugrabi dinner) was among the most packed and energetic scenes of the week. The music consisted of one-minute mash-ups of ’70s and ’80s pop (Michael Jackson, Queen, Stones), and it got Naomi Campbell and Calvin Klein (not together) dancing between and on top of the vinyl banquettes. Friday’s Whitewall/Kipton Art Foundation party at The Box was attended by a host of VIPs, including Tara Solomon, Brian Antoni, Kipton Cronkite, Whitewall’s Michael Klug, Vanity Fair’s George Wayne, Annabel Vartanian, Merle and Danny Weiss, Daniela Swaebe, Lauren Foster, and Marcia Levine. On Saturday, Verizon Wireless and BlackBerry teamed up with music producer, Timbaland, for a party at the Fontainebleau to celebrate the release of his highly anticipated album Shock Value II.  Timbaland took the stage with Brandy and JoJo, both of whom collaborated on his new album. Other notables in attendance included: Adam Levine, Brandon Davis, Dita Von Teese, Elle Macpherson, Fat Joe, Kelly Bensimon, Nicky Hilton, Russell Simmons, Serena Williams and Travis McCoy. At the Raleigh on Saturday night, David LaChapelle’s Art Deco “Happy New Year 1932” included synchronized swimmers in flowered bathing caps and glittering suits performing “Putting on the Ritz” in the pool, an actual size, ice sculpture of a Maybach, and thousands of black and silver balloons. The party concluded with a number of revelers, including LaChappelle himself, jumping in the pool.

An Evening in Vogue at JR and Loren Ridinger’s Casa de Suenos was an exclusive, intimate, star-studded affair featuring local A+ listers and a spectacular, never-before-seen Versace runway show. One of the week’s best parties, taking place on the most gorgeous (read coolest) night of Art Basel with celebs such as Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Vanessa Williams, Russell Simmons, Mike Piazza and Scottie Pippen, enjoying free-flowing Cristal, and mingling with fellow beautiful, fun, fashionable people. It’s no surprise that this was “the hottest ticket of Basel week” according to businesswoman, editor, columnist and “girl-about-town,” Loren Ridinger.

Standard, The Standard that is, was ground zero for some of the most exclusive and highly-anticipated events of the week including: Paul Kasmin’s dinner for Mattia Bonetti; Bruce Weber’s book signing hosted by Andre Balazs; Francois Nars / Lorenzo Martone cocktail party; the Creative dinner and the Whitney Museum soiree.

Exclusive dinners: Fendi and Swarovski held small private dinners at the W South Beach on Monday and Wednesday nights. On Thursday, Aby Rosen, Peter Brant and Tico Mugrabi, held a dinner for 600+ at the W that encompassed Solea, the Living Room and all surrounding areas. Just to name drop, some of the guests included: Val Kilmer, Stephen Dorff, Michael Ovitz, Blaine Trump, John McEnroe, Naomi Campbell, Nicky Hilton, Eva Chow, Calvin Klein, Jane Holzer, Eugenio Lopez, Maja Hoffman, Alejandro Santo Domingo, Don and Mera Rubell, Micheal Lynne, Wendy Stark, Jacqueline Schnabel, Bill and Maria Bell, Eli Broad, Yvonne Force Villareal and Leo Villareal, Aaron Young, dozens of art dealers. Cartier held a private dinner on the same night over at Mr. Chow, showcasing some of their sparkliest wares. At the Webster, Viktor and Rolf held a much smaller dinner affair on the third floor on Friday.

Le Baron, the chicest Parisian nightclub this side of the Seine, took over the Florida Room, making Francophiles of the best of us, for a host of nightly parties throughout the week. The fashionable, French and beautiful (often all-in-the-same) gathered until sunrise to dance to a refreshing mix of songs including everything from The Doors, to the Beach Boys and even a bit of Sweet Home Alabama (not a Boom Boom or Pow at this place).


Fashion – better known as “wearable art” was ever-present, especially since Vivier, Pucci, Viktor and Rolf, Gucci, Christian Louboutin, Altuzarra and Lanvin all celebrated with boutique and/or shopping events.

Unbelievable art gatherings- Craig Robbins, the Rubells, Ulla and Gert Elfering and Carlos and Rosa De la Cruz once held events to celebrate and showcase their extensive art collections.

No sleep! After all, what is Art Basel if not one, not-to-be missed, 100-hour day!


Celebrity Sightings:

Anna Kournikova and Enrique Iglesias dined at 8 oz Burger Bar on Tuesday. Nearby, Serena Williams stopped by with some friends for a late night dinner. Producer/NERD Pharrell Williams and some friends had lunch at 8 oz on Friday afternoon.

Dita Von Teese was at Lincoln Road’s Books & Books on Friday to sign copies of her book (yes, all that and she “writes”). On Saturday night, she performed her infamous “Bird of Paradise” act at LIV.

Athlete-turned-author Lance Armstrong toured the Bass Museum of Art with artist Dzine, who sold a site-specific installation piece later that day for $75,000. Paulina Rubio and tennis star John McEnroe were also at the Bass Museum with Mexican billionaire Eugenio Lopez Alonso at the unveiling of his Jumex collection.

The Misshapes were all over the place last week- at Le Baron, the Standard, B-Bar at the Betsy, Club 50 at Viceroy, Shore Club Penthouse, the Webster and Rok Bar (not necessarily in that order).

A slew of celebs partied at the Raleigh hotel including Calvin Klein, David LaChapelle, Cruz Diez, Diana Picasso, Christopher Ciccone, Andre Balazs, Daphne Guinness, Sam Keller and Jamie Drake.

LaChappelle and Keller were also spotted alongside Dean and Dan Caten and Jeffrey Deitch at Kehinde Wiley’s Fish Fry at Shore Club on Sunday.

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