“I’m about to give you a lecture on David Hockney’s swimming pools,” began Adam D. Weinberg, director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, addressing the crowd huddled around the pool at SoHo Beach House on Friday. “I’m going to dive in, and I’m going to be the largest splash of all.”
The museum had popped up at Art Basel Miami Beach to host a dinner celebrating its 2017 Biennial Artists and long-term partnership with Tiffany & Co. Artists Raul de Nieves, Ajay Kurian, Harold Mendez, John Riepenhoff, Maya Stovall, Torey Thornton and Leilah Weinraub were all in attendance, and they all had yet to take a dip in the pool.
“The real currency of luxury is creativity,” declared Tiffany & Co. ceo Frederic Cumenal. If Art Basel represents the commodification of art, Cumenal was quick to point out it’s nothing new. “When you look at the history of art, you always had sponsors. In the past, it was either kings or bourgeois. Artists, they need to make a living. If not, they will do something else.”
“It’s conflicting,” noted de Nieves. “But I think it’s really cool that a lot of artists get to come be together at the same time in Miami. I try to not think too much about the politics of what that means, but a lot of my friends — whether they’re showing or not — still come just to be part of the culture and to also infuse Miami with a new perspective.”
Reunions were a common theme of the week, and one was happening up at the DJ booth.
“It’s our Miami reunion! Can you believe it’s been two years since we met, and it was in Miami?” said Maria Baibakova, greeting Mia Moretti as she described Basel as “a reunion where you kind of gravitate towards people with similar ideas and ethos and values.”
“Art is a broad concept,” added Moretti. “Even different artists represent different emotions and mentalities and politics.”
What an endearing take on the week.