The Ten People You Meet at Art Basel Miami Beach

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Illustrations by Mark Poutenis
On a normal day, Miami is a mash-up of the world's most eccentric, flamboyant, noisy, and colorful people. We dress for attention, we party all night, and we drive like madmen.

Imagine, then, a Miami turned up to eleven, courtesy of an onslaught of cultural events followed by a slew of parties, all drawing tens of thousands of artsy onlookers from across the globe to rub elbows on one tiny island. During one week in December every year, we dress like attention-whoring art stars, we party all night, all day, and all night again, and we spend hours in causeway traffic.

Welcome to Art Basel, y'all.

It's an inspiring, frustrating, amusing, and most of all, overwhelming experience. There's no telling what crazy shit's about to go down this week. But one thing is certain: If you're planning on attending Art Basel's fairs, openings, and other assorted madness, you'll surely run into these ten people.

See also: Art Basel Miami Beach 2013 Fairs Guide

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10. Celebrities
They say celebrities look different in person than they do on your TV screen or in the pages of US Weekly. But they say wrong; from Beyonce to Pharrell, you're going to know them when you see them. Maybe it's at the super-exclusive after-hours party you somehow conned your way into; maybe it's in some random Wynwood gallery where an image-conscious star has chosen to go slumming. But whether it's Jay-Z, Leonardo di Caprio, or Madonna herself, you better keep your distance. Celebrities this famous employ teams of people to keep them safe and separate from the art-dazzled masses -- and some of them turn out to be murderers.

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9. Smug Artists
You know how self-satisfied everybody looks at the Oscars? How they're so proud of themselves for getting there? And how goddamned annoying that is to watch?

Well, Art Basel is basically the Oscars of the art world. And if you're an artist who's made it to the big show -- or even any of the satellite fairs -- you're probably feeling about as unabashedly smug as you've ever felt in your entire life.

It's hard to blame these creatives for stroking their egos. Art Basel is, after all, a major turning point in the careers of many artists. You can blame them, however, for looking down their nose at you through their bizarre and unflattering eyeglasses; for talking about their work solely in cryptic artspeak; and for ditching your conversation as soon as some rich collector or art honcho wanders by.

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24 comments
Justo J. Sánchez
Justo J. Sánchez

So many other characters missing! Take for example the NY pseudo-curators (all in black), the Chelsea/Brooklyn PR and art promoters (all in black), the Bridge and Tunnel bank employees coming for parties and posing as young collectors, the Natashas (as EL PAIS calls the blond bombshells sitting outside the velvet rope, the balsero crowd (sport coat, jeans with small rhinestone appliques and shirts not tucked in), the bejeweled Selecta crowd with no money to spend but there to get their picture taken, the MOCA, PAM contemporary art, strange eyeglasses and Rubell bad taste.

Alba Lu
Alba Lu

Sheila Lilybeth Cordova

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

...................................................and for the record AXEL STEIN was a very down to earth art expert and i think for the most part those scholarly types are commissionable salepersons yes but at the same time do have the requisite experience and exposure as well as have navigated a very political scene such as the art industry which has all the same intruigue as the vatican powers of the church

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

 

..................................one group apparently missed is the wanna-be-discovered people who are quite obvious that they hope to use the art as a backdrop as a product placement ............... and just maybe the right talent hunter will see them and "discover" them as a model

ob1sfla
ob1sfla

too funny, nothing has more humor for me, then sarcastic humor. I pray everyday, that the T party never do anything to shot down this real newspaper, specially because it is what  people in Miami should read, instead of the Miami Herald

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

...................................the other oddity i remember was seeing a woman, no spring chicken anymore BUT dressed in very very expensive clothing - well right in the middle of the top of her head was a large blot of pepto-bizmal colored liquidy wet plastic goop - as if before going out of the house, looking into a mirror and plopping on that goop as a final touch

i remember thinking, did she do that to see if any of her acquantences would say something or even notice ? how rich does one have to be before it just doesn't matter what you look like ?

this blob looked like a pink flamingo had taken a gigantic pink shit on this womans head

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

 

................................well i remember "meeting" certain residents of the areas slum housing who were intrigued about what a bunch of crazy WHITE people were doing in that hood LATE AT NIGHT all dressed-up looking at art ? ! ?

well one of the "pieces" was a man in a tux holding a serving tray - standing perfectly still under hot lights and being a live human mannequin.........................and here is this little BLACK kid watching, studying really, knowing full well the guy was real......(i don't know if anyone who has seen those palace guards in england at such very close proximity would be impressed, but this little BLACK kid was certainly captivated, and to a lesser extent was his mom, who took the invitation to come in as a pleasant opportunity to see what was going on  and both were intently observant)

i don't know what the take-away was for either that kid or his mom,  but i'm sure they remembered that exposure to "art" for quite a while afterwards

George I'doccupyThat Owen
George I'doccupyThat Owen

Using the word hipster in 2013? Why don't we just start writing in Sanskrit and washing visitors feet when they arrive at our houses?

Erin Barylski
Erin Barylski

Don't forgot the flexible artist girl who uses her body as a paintbrush to make art!! #SPLITSART performing Saturday 12/7, 10 pm @ #LMNTGallery Maybe 11 should be "The shameless self-promoting artist" :). Happy Basel!

Patty Gonzalez
Patty Gonzalez

They forgot the "Hipsters" with their skinny jeans and black glasses! Those are the ones I go to see!

miamitrev2
miamitrev2 topcommenter

@Erin Barylski  

that;s pathetic

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