Guest Column: Martina Borgomanero Basabe’s Art Basel

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On December - 20 - 2014
GUCCI and Spinello Projects Present Smell The Magic by Kris Knight

Martina Borgomanero Basabe

It is now December 11 and everywhere pre-vacation congestion starts and I am not talking about the flu. Traffic gets crazy, stores get busy, people invade the streets for Christmas shopping, whether it is tree, tree decorations, or a very large amount of presents to buy for family and friends.

Not in Miami.

In Miami, second week of December equals to ghost town. Restaurants are empty, people are zombies, streets are deserted and all of this because of one reason and one only – Post Basel Syndrome (PBS).

Let’s start from the beginning – allegedly Art Basel runs for four days, this year from December 4 to 7. NOT TRUE. Art Basel runs for a solid ten, starting the weekend before and finishing the weekend after the week of the actual exhibits, and reaches a peak during those four days and three nights that is comparable only to a freight train that derails, hits everyone and everything around it, but just keeps on going leaving desolation behind. Hence – ghost town.


For instance:

Typical PBS conversation #1:

“Is there anything going on tonight?”

“No, everyone is dead from Basel”

Typical PBS conversation #2:

“Do I need reservation?”

“No, everyone is dead from Basel”

Typical PBS conversation #3 – personal favorite:

“Did you have fun at Basel?”

“I don’t remember”

Jokes apart, it is a fantastic phenomenon. The parties are super, the flow of people in town is super and, most importantly, the art is super, with more and more fairs every year.

The kick off happened Monday night when Frida Giannini and Kris Knight hosted an aperitif at Spinello’s pop-up gallery in theGUCCI and Spinello Projects Present Smell The Magic by Kris Knight Design District. The fashion genius and the Canadian artist started a collaboration after his preppy pastel painting inspired the color palette for Gucci’s next collection. The party troopers included Marcella and Daniel Novela, Tara and Jack Benmeleh, Brandi Reddick, Carlos Betancourt, Michael Chow, and the coolest Daniel Arsham.

The next morning, vigorously tipsy, I made my way to Harper’s Bazaar brunch for the opening of the ShopBazaar boutique at Soho Beach House. I arrived horrendously late, which was very unfortunate considering I was hosting it, and due to the perennial state of confusion that plagues me when I do things before noon, I wasn’t very sharp but the event was fantastic and all the ladies in attendance were the best of the best – Maria Tettamanti, Erin Newberg, Ines Rivero, my co-hostesses: Sarah Harrelson and Criselda Breene, Barbara Becker, and the mind behind it- Lara Shriftman.

Wednesday came, and so did the opening of the fairs. This year, my favorite was actually Art Basel, at the convention center, which I very much enjoyed because, with countless works by: Picasso, Miro, Kandinsky and Chagall, among others, it really was a treat for the eyes.

In particular, I spotted a Cy Twombly which I would have yanked off the wall if I had the arms for it. It was right there hanging in the PHENOMENAL space belonging to Swiss based Galerie Gmurzynska, which not only ruled the art fair but treated a very cool bunch (including me) to a very exclusive dinner on Tuesday – aka Art Basel Eve.

The dinner was held at Dolce at the Gale Hotel, and it honored the collaboration between the gallery and the following trio: Baz Luhrmann, the man we have to thank for Romeo+Juliet, Moulen Rouge and Gatsby, his wife, Oscar-winning production and costume designer and producer Catherine Martin, and award winning music composer Nellee Hooper.

The idea behind the collaboration was to take the too-often-heard and dismissive “a kid can do that” comment and actually turn it around, making it an asset- synonymous with art innovation.

Hidden under the stairs of the Gale, with candle light and very very good branzino, there were a whole bunch of kids celebrating Baz, Catherine and Nellie, including, Timbaland, Spyros Niarchos, Diana Picasso, Vikram Chatwal, Christina Getty, Patrick Mcmullan, Mike Heller, Fabian Basabe, Natalia and Sebastian Echevarria and P.Diddy and his fabulous mom Janice.

Later that night, after the after party at Rec Room – where I saw Owen Wilson and started palpitating as if I was 17 with a crush again – I headed to the brand new and soon-to-be hottest spot in town- the Thompson Hotel for Interview Magazine and DSquared’s party. And I was right to go – thrown by the infallible TARA, Ink., the whole scene was flawless and packed with fun and good looking people including: musician, ASTR; Chris Wallace, Christopher Bollen, Dan Ragone Keith Pollock, Kelly Brant, Miguel Enamorado and Peter M. Brant from Interview; Paris Hilton, David Arquette, Dean and Dan Caten (Dsquared2); DJs Lola Langusta, Hannah Bronfman, Leigh Lezark and Geordon Nicol, Twin Shadow, Harry Brant, James Goldstein, Jeremy Kost, Karolina Kurkova,Lance Bass, Diego Boneta, Owen Wilson and Jill Zarin.

The next night, I stopped by the James Hotel to say hello to my friend and photographer extraordinaire Alexo Wandael, for the opening of his exhibition ITALIANY. A project sponsored by Peroni, Alexo photographed Italians who are now living in NYC and Miami, and will take his project to LA in January. Among the subjects were Miky Grendene, Nicola Siervo, Silvia Barisione, Alex Turco and Luca Artioli, all in attendance.

Afterward, I made my way to the Hotel Deauville and, to my surprise, this little dumpy, unknown hotel on Collins Avenue would turn out to be, in my opinion, by far the coolest place of Basel 2014. It all started Wednesday night with the Galore Magazine and Francesco Carrozzini Dinner Party, which gathered the hottest bunch I had seen in a while. Young, beautiful models with craziest outfits and best attitudes got together for “dinner” by the pool and moved after to Baby Grand, the pop up of the chicest bar in NYC created by Mr. Paul Sevigny. And oh so chic was this one too… Old school Miami decorated, with rattan sofas and palm potted plants, that bar was so objectively cool everyone would have loved it, including the Golden Girls, and we know they are bitchy. And as if that was not enough, there she was- sitting on a peacock chair- Chloe Sevigny- my pagan goddess, the notoriously coolest girl on the planet.

By Friday I was so ready for a gallon of chamomile and a TiVO marathon but…. Nope. That night Loren Ridinger threw Hublot’s “Time is Beautiful” party in conjunction with Haute Living magazine, and she is so fantastically lovable in every way, you just don’t say “no.” Her house is magnificent as it is, but that night they over did it, scattering the most amazing art pieces including many by Mr. Brainwash (who was in attendance) throughout the garden. The bash, which was hosted by Eva Longoria, took place under a tent which made the whole thing drastically hotter, I got to hang out with
Miley Cyrus, Patrick Schwarzenegger, (yes, THAT Patrick)- who danced all night to music by Swizz Beatz. Russell Simmons, Swizz Beatz, Kelly Bensimon, Martina Navratilova, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, Michael Grieco, Alec Monopoly, Sammy Sosa, Lorena Dezer and her husband, Gil and Countess LuAnn Delesseps to name a few.

I finished my Basel on Saturday at the tent at Soho, watching a surprise performance by Arcade Fire. Yes, you read that right. Because sometimes, a freight train that derails, and hits everyone and everything around it, but just keeps on going doesn’t only leave desolation behind but unforgettable moments too.


Leave a Reply