Officially, Art Basel Miami Beach is a five-day fair, from Wednesday through Sunday. But you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone, save for dealers and their flunkies and journalists, who actually stay for the duration. They’re there to work the fair. The rest, well, the rest come for a quick jaunt and then they’re off to their next destination on the international party circuit. For them, the commotion at the Miami Beach Convention Center is background noise to the more lucrative marketing opportunities to partake in everywhere else in town.
Collectors arrive Tuesday through Thursday and typically cap their visit at Aby Rosen’s annual dinner. Actors and celebrities stop by for the occasional DJ gig — Drake spinned at a private mansion Saturday; Solange Knowles was behind the turntables at two parties, for the Jack Shainman Gallery and for the small fashion magazine Out of Order — or to fulfill their obligations for various luxury brands, like Miranda Kerr, who came for a Louis Vuitton dinner Tuesday night and left in the morning, bypassing the fair altogether.
“I’d love to explore the arts,” she said. “But maybe next year.” Vera Wang returned to New York Thursday because she was presenting pre-fall Monday and Stefano Pilati, who is a collector, can only stand the frenzy for so long.
“It’s quite chaotic, I have to say,” he said at a dinner Wednesday night for Peter Marino. “Normally, I have a relationship with the galleries, so I don’t go to the fairs. I came this time because of the weather.”
And so it was that by Friday, things slowed down, but there was still some more shilling to do. Freida Pinto turned up Wednesday at a dinner for Erdem and mytheresa.com and on Friday at an installation by the artist Theo Jansen, presented by the Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet; fellow “friends of the brand” Justin Theroux and Serena Williams tagged along. Pinto had managed to stop by Basel — Audemars had a lounge — though it wasn’t the art on display that had caught her eye.
“I love all things home decor. There were these beautiful lamps. I thought it was so interesting that it’s not just paintings,” she said. “I am not an [art] collector. Everything that is home-decor-related is a collector’s item for me.”
Rosario Dawson was in Miami to show items from the ethical brand she cofounded with business partner Abrima Erwiah at Maison de Mode’s pop-up at Soho Beach House — “we’re doing better than we expected,” she said. And then she was at the Standard Spa on Friday for a screening of “Time to Rise,” two short movies she made with filmmaker Paris Kain, that also drew André Saraiva and Common.
“We’re going to be jumping around seeing the pop-up tomorrow,” she said. “Then just looking at art because we didn’t get a chance to do that.”
A dinner Friday night hosted by ACRIA at the Edition hotel was a rarity in that it was in honor of an artist, the photographer Ryan McGinley, who donated a new large-scale photo from his road trips across the country for the HIV/AIDS organization’s annual holiday auction this week in New York.
He actually walks the convention center and several of the other satellite fairs, normally with his headphones on. “When you go to Basel, you take what you need and you leave the rest behind. There’s just so much, you can’t take it all in,” he said.
This year he played tour guide to two visiting friends who are not from the art world — or “civilians, as I call them. I gave them a history lesson on the last 70 years of contemporary art,” he said. Were they impressed? “I think they were perplexed.”