“With Art Basel, there are so many events that don’t really have a connection to art or a humanitarian angle. It’s all about money,” Lauren Kelly, director of her father’s Sean Kelly Gallery, explained from the beach front tent outside of Nautilus South Beach on Dec. 1. The gallery had teamed with Absolut Elyx, Paddle8, and artist Hugo McCloud to raise money for the non-profit Water For People. McCloud had created an original painting to be auctioned off for the event, a large blue and metallic canvas which was hanging inside of the tent. All proceeds from the auction will benefit Water for People, which promotes the development of water sanitation and infrastructure to provide in-need communities with safe drinking water.
“The art world is a commerce driven environment, so we thought this was a great connector point to remind people that there’s also ways for art to do good,” Kelly added.
Absolut Elyx was serving up drinks in its popular brass cocktail tumblers and promoting its next cup design, a gnome, for the holidays. “If you think about vodka, it’s 60 percent water. And it’s a huge issue, that we can be part of solving,” remarked Absolut Elyx ceo Jonas Tahlin, who had come dressed in the brand’s dress code of bronze sequins. “We decided to turn our events into fund-raisers to try and make them a little more meaningful.”
Nearby, DJ MeLo-X was gearing up to perform at the event and excited for the premiere of a short film he had made about McCloud. He was also reflecting on the topic of water through the drink in his hand. “I try to only drink water, no juice,” he said. “But I do drink liqueur. I feel like if I’m not drinking juice, it balances.”