The sun has set on the tenth Art Basel Miami Beach. Tents have disappeared overnight, and the Euros left a cigarette butt trail behind them. Although it still remains a mystery how a city with no noteworthy museums, and reputation for fleeting interest in just about anything other than basketball and beaches, can host an event of such proportions. But Miami has managed to put on quite the show. Here are our top five picks of what made this show worth the blisters on our feet.
● The exhibit of amazing hand bags, including Croc Birkins, Goyard’s Doctor Bags, and Judith Leiber’s minaudière, sent a clear message: “This ain’t Coach territory.”
● The conversation overheard by the always insane Le Baron entrance. A sample: “Are they giving out crack for free inside or something,” asks a man accompanied by a blonde, Cavalli-wearing trophy. “No sir, but I’m going to ask you and your lady friend to move out of the way,” answers the bouncer, as he lets in a creature with face painted in an aborigine pattern and a girl who is cooling him off with a Chinese fan.
● Facial hair. The many variations of the beard was the star of the show. From five o’clock shadows to overgrown goatees, to full on chia pet. The ubiquitous Swedish designer Johan Lindeberg’s cross between ZZ Top and a grizzly bear was our hands down favorite.
● Theme cocktails. Dewar’s Smash at the MOCA/Vanity Fair party got the job done. So did Bombay Sapphire’s concoction at its Artisan Series with Russell Simmons, which filled us up and kept us going in spite of the meager showing on the catering side. (FYI organizers, don’t call it a dinner if all the menu includes is some rolled up prosciutto and a spoon full of day old looking guacamole.)
● Art. From Marco Brambilla’s video installations to Picasso’s self-portraits, to Nick Cave’s supernatural Soundsuits, it was the art that gave purpose to this five-day clusterfuck. And if anyone felt the way I did after a walk through the transformative, majestic Marc Fornes’ Labrys Frisae, then it was all worthwhile.