Wednesday, March 26, 2008

To Art or Not to Art: Art Basel 2007

Ray Caeser
Ray Caesar courtesy of Jonathan Levine Gallery

What do Miami Beach, Florida and the Swiss city of Basel have in common? Don't be fooled, it's not the weather. From December 7th through the 10th, the American beach town known for its bikini clad babes and all night dance parties is playing host to Basel's international art show.

Founded in Switzerland, Art Basel) is an adult playground for contemporary artists, collectors, curators and gallery owners of A-list proportions. In seeking a sister destination in 2002, the show bypassed America's obvious cultural meccas of Los Angeles and New York to touch down in Miami Beach where some thirty thousand art goers including Daniel Loeb, Jeffrey Deitch and Vito Schnabel have now settled in for the week.

Although the showcasing of contemporary art may be the festival's raison d'etre - the Whitney and the Guggenheim both hold court here - there is also much else to see, hear and experience.

After an early art preview, festivities kicked off with a dinner held by Jimmy Choo to benefit the Whitney Contemporaries, which was attended by the likes of Simon de Pury, Larry Gagosian, and Tamara Mellon and a Deitch Projects party, which raged late into the night with a performance by Devendra Banhart at the Raleigh Hotel. Other musicians playing on the Miami Basel scene include the lascivious Peaches and the Scissor Sisters, whose new album, "Tah-Dah," was released late in September.

Wondering where to go after the Yoko-Ono presentation at the Sagamore Hotel, or the screening of Arden Wohl's film "Coven" at the Raleigh Hotel? Events on everyone's list include the Coven party, thrown by Pravda Vodka and hosted by Lele Sobieski, Stella Schnabel, Melissa Bent, Yvonne Force, and Mirabelle Marden (daughter of artist Brice Marden), and the Mac party, hosted by the sumptuous Dita Von Tess and Narscico Rodriques at the Delano. Late night, don't miss the scene at Le Baron.

— Kiley Bates

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