Collectors, gallerists and a lot of hangers-on descend upon Miami this week for the sixth incarnation of Art Basel Miami Beach. The art may be the official attraction, but it’s in danger of being overshadowed by the round-the-clock social schedule.
“That art can create that kind of energy in a city — I salute that,” says Jennifer Rubell, the Domino contributing editor whose family will open its collection for viewing and breakfast on Thursday morning.
This story first appeared in the December 4, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“The first year it was just me making café con leche,” she remembers. This year it will be eggs for 5,000, cohosted by the magazine.
The fair has become a destination for brands like Swarovski, Hugo Boss, Kate Spade, Seven For All Mankind and Y-3, as well as hotel groups Morgans, Mandarin Oriental and W, which are all throwing parties. Most have partnered with an art cause to justify its presence; and MAC is teaming up with gallerist Jeffrey Deitch.
Main fair sponsor UBS is hosting megabashes to open and close the festival, while Cartier, an associate sponsor of the fair, is serving lunch daily courtesy of David Bouley in a specially built dome. The jewelry company is also hosting not one, but two dinners.
Celebrities — of a kind — are also being shipped in: Tag Heuer is hosting a weekend lunch with Maria Sharapova and Vanessa Carlton is flying in to sing at an Ocean Drive/Four Seasons Ocean Residences party.
Social butterflies looking for a perch can land at Cipriani’s temporary Collins Avenue branch, or take a preview of Soho House’s first Miami Beach outpost. Parisian club Le Baron is also reprising its role as the unofficial late-night destination of choice.
Champagne companies are battling it out for placement: Ruinart is hosting a private view of the Russia Miami exhibit in the Design District, Perrier-Jouet has a bash at the Wolfsonian Museum and Krug is throwing airborne dinner parties in a specially designed Domeau & Peres hot air balloon. Imperia Vodka, meanwhile, is sponsoring the parties for Visionaire and the Russia Miami exhibit.
Meanwhile, Miami-based institutions, like the Vizcaya Museum (which is hosting The Artist’s Ball) and Ella Fontanals-Cisneros’ Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, are getting major competition from the New York museums. The Whitney Contemporaries are joining up with David Yurman to host a cocktail party, the New Museum is hosting a benefit at the opening of the NADA fair and MoMA’s Junior Associates are having a Banana Republic-sponsored party with Vanity Fair.
Fashion brands galore will be holding events: Jimmy Choo and Pucci are both hosting dinners with imported Londoners Tamara Mellon and Matthew Williamson, respectively, and Alberta Ferretti is staging a fashion show. Ralph Lauren is exhibiting its own artwork in the boutique: signed prints by Bruce Weber and Patrick Demarchelier.
So where does art fit into all of the partying? It depends on your view. As Rubell points out: “Seeing the art is the big draw. You don’t need to go to Art Basel to go to some fashion party.”