It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On December - 2 - 2010

Base TentsBy:  Mary Jo Almeida-Shore

Art Basel, the art world’s “Carnaval” disguised as an international art show (or vice versa) has arrived, with hundreds of events vying for space on our social calendar.  And while the actual showcase technically runs from December 2-5 (what we like to call the “100 hour day”) the requisite art celebrations and inebriation have been going strong since last weekend.   It seems there’s no end in sight- testing our endurance, social scheduling, and livers more and more each year (please let us know if any progress has been made with human cloning, oh, and add us to the transplant list.)

The world’s largest and most important art show gets bigger every year, especially since in addition to Art Basel itself, Vanguard, Scope, Verge, Pulse, Art Miami, Aqua, Design Miami and over 70 other satellite fairs have set up camp all over town.  Then there are pop-up shops and spas, such as Citrine by the Stones at Soho Beach House and the indulgent La Mer spa South of Fifth and new not-to-be missed restaurants, such as the Royal at the Raleigh, from John DeLucie, who owns NYC hotspots, The Lion and Waverly Inn, (we hear a reservation is harder to come by than snow on South Beach, but give it a shot!)  Also “popping up” for this week only is Paris nightclub transplant, Le Baron, which once again takes over the Florida Room.  Keeping the parties going late into the night are celebrity DJs such as Paul Oakenfold and Behrouz and Danny Tenaglia who will be spinning at WALL throughout the weekend and Kaskade at Arkadia.

While giving you all the gory details about Art Basel happenings would require a forest’s worth of pages, we have surveyed some of our friends in the art and design worlds, along with a few of our favorite South Beach locals to bring you these Art Basel insiders’ top picks of not-to-be missed events during this week- in which surviving the fun is an art in itself.


Rob Brown, CEO and Todd Davis, President- Brown Davis

“For sure a stop on the list is Maxalto Showroom in the Design District to view artists such as Donald Baechler, Julian Schnabel and many more-all benefiting ACRIA on Thursday.  The most exciting part of Art Basel is opening night Vernissage and welcome reception at the W. Seeing the art and people is amazing.   We have three major clients in town from around the globe who joined us this year. I love the pink snails and the way they make people stop and play. Konstantin Grcic, hot German designer is on the scene check out his installation at the entrance to Design Miami. Check him out Thursday at 6 for his talk. Ceres by Lindsey Adelman has very, very cool lighting. It is wonderful to have Miami Beach at the center of the art world for one week.”


Michael Capponi, President, Capponi Group, (and a multitude of other companies) Nightlife Impresario, Philanthropist

“This year I am producing the Haiti Art Expo (HAE) which celebrates Haitian Art and aims to raise money for housing in Haiti. 100% of art sale proceeds will benefit the refugees and artists who have lost their homes in the tragic earthquake. The Expo will open with a bang Thursday night with an event presented by Plum TV along with its co-chairman Jerry Powers, Jeff Feldman and me. HAE will be hosted by Venus Williams, Haitian born World Welterweight Champion Boxer Andre Berto, and  Fabrice and Patrick Tardieu, Haitian born founders of the fine clothing line Bogosse.


I am thrilled by the overwhelming response we received, not only by the artists who want to support, but locals and celebrities who have reached out to help the cause. We are hoping that Haiti Art Expo will raise the necessary funds to replace the destroyed tents with sustainable housing for the entire Belvil camp. There is such a HUGE need since so many people and children who are without a home.


The event continues through the weekend and will host SCOPE for Haiti, which is a collaboration between the SCOPE Art Fair and Haiti Art Expo. There will be a special reception for SCOPE VIP cardholders at the Fair from 5 p.m. 7- p.m. followed by a reception at Haiti Art Expo at 8 p.m.  For more information, visit:”


Michael Gongora, Miami Beach Vice Mayor- the coolest Vice Mayor we know


“Of course, I am most excited about the actual art fairs – Art Basel and now Design Miami – happening across the street from each other.  It’s a very exciting year for art in Miami Beach.


As far as events, I am interested in the event on Friday, Dec. 1st which leaves the Mondrian Hotel dock to Monument Island for an art installation.  Since I have been involved in maintaining Monument Island for years I am curious to see the art installation there….and the great party sure to follow at the Mondrian.


I am also most excited to have been invited to attend and participate in a private brunch with Isabella Rossellini hosted by the Wolfsonian on Saturday to discuss the premier of her exhibit titled “Seduce Me”.  The Wolfsonian is also hosting a VIP event Friday evening to view the work.”


Tara Solomon, Nick D’Annunzio, Principals, TARA, Ink.:


“The TARA, Ink. Art Basel event line-up for 2010, comprising 20 events, is the most exciting it has ever been. We love art and fashion, and they come together in the best way possible this Art Basel. The Vogue Lounge at The Raleigh, featuring Trina Turk and YSL Beauté, is sure to be a popular stop throughout the week, as will Miguel Paredes’ exterior/interior installation at The National Hotel. On Thursday night we’ve got an extremely full dance card – fasten your seatbelts, Baselites! Interview magazine has partnered with MoMA PS1 for a private dinner at Delano with Fendi Fashion that has even the most jaded Basel-goers buzzing. The Maison Martin Margiela art installation preview and a private viewing at Luxury Living with Fendi Casa and Kenzo Maison, both in the Design District, are must-sees. The same evening, in Wynwood, Calix Gustav Gallery’s reception for Biba icon Barbara Hulanicki’s highly anticipated “Flash” exhibition will draw fashion lovers en masse. PAPERMAG has topped itself once again, presenting a live performance by N*E*R*D in the Design District. Capping Thursday is a party we’re so psyched for: The Three Stooges at Cafeina, where art meets the written word in a special collaboration by our brilliant friends Patrick McMullan, Brian Antoni and Robert Chambers. Then it’s back to the Beach for Interview’s late-night party at Delano. On Saturday night, Miami’s demimonde will be cocktailing at the hot new Lords South Beach for OUT magazine’s private party. Crowning the weekend will be the Vogue-hosted Yves Saint Laurent fashion show on Saturday evening, held at the Ridinger estate, which is always one of Art Basel’s most coveted invites. And on Sunday night, we sleep (at least after “Punch Brunch” at Lords’ Cha-Cha Rooster and a nightcap at Soho Beach House).”


D. Ashlee Harrison, Director of Marketing for the Design Center of the Americas (DCOTA)     


“Some of my musts include the ‘Friends With You presents Rainbow City’ on Thursday with the Pharrell performance, Nektar de Stagni’s market at her shop on 39th street, Cappellini event with Dror, and Fendi / Kenzo event with Vladimir Kagan.  Basically Thursday is all about the Design District.  On Friday, I’m headed to Land and OHWOW’s “The  Island” off shore installation and to the  

Wolfsonian’s Isabella Rossellini’s “Seduce Me” opening. I also look forward to the annual artists’ breakfast with all of the museums at the Sagamore and the Wolfsonian’s private brunch with Isabella Rossellini and Bruce Weber on Saturday.


Merle Weiss, Board Secretary of Art Center South Florida


“I would be remiss if I didn’t tell the world to check out our show in our gallery in Lincoln Road.  Opening night begins immediately after the Art Basel Vernissage at the Convention Center. Also, my favorite event of the entire week is the brunch at the Sagamore Hotel on Saturday:  yummy food, Bloody Marys, and tons of VIPs from the art world.  A must!” 



Michael Valdes, Vice President, Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates

“I’ve already attended several great events, such as Tuesday’s private book signing for Lin Arison’s book, “Feast for the Senses” at the $65 million Indian Creek Mansion (next door to Julio Iglesias’ estate). Michael Tilson Thomas (who did the introduction was in attendance) along with several VIP guests who included Mickey Arison (owner of the Miami Heat and Carnival Cruise Lines).

The Art Basel Vernissage, followed by the special event at the New World Symphony (Frank Gehry designed building) and the Bass Museum reception were musts. 

Thursday will be my Design Miami day and I’ll be attending the Vernissage there as well as the official Sotheby’s party and several other events as the night progresses.  Word to the wise: the secret to not getting caught in traffic is to stick to one side of the causeway per day.”


Broadcast, fashion and music producer and permanent fixture on the New York social scene, Heidi Kelso, President, H.K. Media Group,


“This year is huge. I’m tied up with a Kid Rock concert I’m producing but if I could sneak away, I would be attending the Paper Magazine / Tommy Hilfiger / AOL party hosted by Shepard Fairly with a performance by N.E.R.D.; London’s White Cube party at Soho Beach House; Andre Balazs’ US sea launch of The Acquariva at the Standard, and Le Baron is taking over Florida Room and I don’t think anyone throws a better party in Paris, Tokyo or New York than Andre Saraiva.”



Loren Ridinger, Senior VP, Market America; Loren Jewels; Motives Cosmetics; columnist, Haute Living; editor, and


“The Rubell family collection is always a must and so impressive.  I saw this last year and I 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 the love of it. The museum is spectacular and I am thrilled to see what they have been collecting.  On Thursday I look forward to the W Magazine party at the Soho House (De Beers event), then I’m heading to the Paper Magazine party hosted by N.E.R.D and my good friend Pharrell Williams.


Saturday’s Vogue party is for sure my favorite ending party for Basel, especially when it is co-hosted by my dear friend Eva Longoria Parker.  Vogue does everything to perfection, this year we expect nothing less. Paris famed fashion house YSL will be displaying its new resort collection with special never been seen pieces, the collection is a true work of art and I’m honored to host the fashion show. 



Put this on your Radar

New Years Eve is coming soon!  The nightclub Wall and The W Hotel have announced that musical genius Drake will be performing live (outside around the pool) just after midnight!  Music acts will also include beats by DJ Sinatra, DJ Phresh and DJ Jacomino.  Nicola Siervo, Navin Chatani and Adam Albert have put together an amazing event.  Tickets are on sale now and, no doubt, will be sold out soon.   Early warning… go if you want to be a part of this party!

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