There comes a time in any festival goer’s life where you’ve gotta decide, am I here for the art or am I here for the party? Well Basel goers, that time is here. Make your choice beforehand next year and allow your plans to follow accordingly. This marked my ninth-year attending Art Basel Miami, the first of which I’ve actually felt the need to define whether I am here for art, networking, or partying. Yeah, they all totally interconnect and if it wasn’t for the party, I wouldn’t have met most of my amazing connections. However, like any other festival, Art Basel is only gaining more and more momentum by the year and as such more and more agendas, visitors, and people wanting to call the shots.
The art was awesome, engaging, inspiring, and sometimes full of shit; but I’m going to focus on the positive. The satellite fairs killed it again this year, showcasing work by both established and emerging artists all of which set a great bar for the year ahead. One of my favorite fairs this year was Miami Project, which hosted about 65 galleries in an intimate setting that was both well curated and easy to take in. It’s not easy to gain recognition as a first year fair, but Miami Project did it right and I’m looking forward to seeing this baby side by side with the Scope, NADA, and Pulse caliber fairs of the art world.
The events on the other hand were so overwhelming they just left me underwhelmed and ready to go home. First off, Miami is not an early bird kind of crowd, so what’s up with the 7pm-midnight hours that I kept seeing? The last thing you want to do after running around Wynwood, Design District, Midtown, and the beach is rush to get ready for some arbitrary cutoff time. Everything was a mission this year and most of my night was spent chasing the party. The Standard pulled through and provided the cutest events every night. Without fail, that was the place to be. However, I would like to know when Nikki Beach became cool and Pearl became a suitable venue for Le Baron. This awkward placement of parties and South Beach brainlessness at the doors do not make for a very interesting Art Basel.
So next year when you ask yourself whether you’re going for the art or for the party, keep in mind that there may just be a way to do both…but you’ll need to take a couple extra days off. As an insider all I can tell you is the art is over by Wednesday, so get here on Monday and vernissage your way through the fairs.