Bacchanal On The Beach

Art Basel Miami Beach kicks off this week just in time to enjoy all the art, the pop-up events, gallery exhibitions, and for us New Yorkers, a chance to unwind from the stresses of the impending holidays. Think of it as your getaway car.

Miami beach

If you happen to be descending on Miami Beach this week, be prepared to “Do the Basel,” which will take you from the Art District to the Soho Beach Hotel, to the Dutch, and possibly to the thousands of happenings all over town as long as your heels aren’t too high.  There will be over 260 galleries and over 50,000 visitors that will flood the state, and it just keeps getting bigger.  In other words, there’s no sleeping.

Art Basel 2013 has turned into one sprawling fashion fair with some art sprinkled on top. Over the past few years I have partaken in the festivities, I have noticed the influx of fashion brands and fashion people at the annual Floridian pilgrimage, seemingly every social person in New York is now there. No complaints over here, as I get to hobnob with the likes of Stavros Niarchos, art critics like the Rubells and Schnabels, and the slight possibility of Yeezus showing up in a performance art piece with artist Vanessa Beecroft in the arts district. What?

Vanessa Beecroft

Beecroft’s piece will feature replicas from her past performances, from 1994 to 2008, and one new work, which will feature 140 women acting as a choir in a Greek Tragedy.

The over-the-top insanity makes me want to kick up my heels and dance. For me, Hannukah is now officially over and out, so I’ve got the next few weeks to start celebrating everyone else’s Christmas eggnog.

First timers looking for straight-up advice and for those of you who will join the throngs and thongs to boost your confidence, this is for you.

The Real Deal:

Art Basel is like an octopus, the mother ship itself is the Miami Beach Convention Center, and then the arms spread far and wide to about 20 satellite fairs and a thousand different directions. These include parties, meals, concerts, readings and Getties — many of which simply feed off the host. I’m heading to the off-beat events, and will check out the MOCA museum which I have yet to see.


Street art duo FAILE is transforming the arcade experience into an interactive aesthetic feast, full of video game machine artworks you can actually play, from psychedelic foosball to pinball machines.


Clothing Tips:

For what to wear to the ultra-hip art scene in Miami this week, I checked the weather and it is going to be postcard perfect, with high temps in the 80′s, and almost zero chance of rain. Black is the new black, but you’re better off wearing white. If you want to be noticed at Art Basel, good luck. Everybody from all over the world will be wearing their coolest things; only the most secure of us will ignore the fashion sirens. During this week, we are all artists. Accessorize wisely and think, “I don’t always do galleries, but when I do, I prefer to dress the part.” Boots are mandatory. So are jumpsuits, although I don’t own any. Square shades are best in the Ray-Bans version. This is not the car show or boat show, or the Superbowl, so dress accordingly. Here’s my suitcase.

Art Basel

T By Alexander Wang burnout tank, a pair of ripped jeans in just the right places from J. Crew, Jeepers Creepers specs for hiding out and pretending you’re one of the cognoscenti, a bikini from Sass & Bide because it will be sunny, and you should be sassy. Saint Laurent Palm print slip-ons for the beachy vibe, and to top it off, Edie Parker has it going on with this flamingo clutch. A Chloé blazer, Courreges dress with these Walter Steiger yellow sandals, a starry Jimmy Choo clutch, and this Dannijo cuff will be your statement for evenings out. A book on Miami for your reading pleasure, a camera for taking pics to show you were there, and a red NARS lipstick is the only makeup I will be wearing.

How to get Swag: 

Act like you’ve been there. Big camera, not small. Sport a baseball cap. Men, button up your shirt if you are not wearing a tee underneath. Don’t bring your print-out of all the places you’re supposed to be, it looks cheesy.

Parking Advice:

Take a bike or pray.

Rookie Tips:

Like American Werewolf in Miami — stick to the main road, Art Miami and its neighbors, the Design District; Wynwood Walls.

Miami Cognoscenti Destination Tips:

Follow the art consultants to Pulse, Context, Perez Art Museum Miami, Tapas in the Moore Building and, of course, venerable Art Miami. Design Miami brings legit cache. NADA and Scope always keep it real. Visit Colette and Alchemist at 1111 Lincoln Road.

Beach Bound:

Head for the hotel pools.

Food Tips for the über stylish:

Not necessary.

So there you have it, my schtick that stirs Miami’s paint. If you go, heed the tips or ignore them, but feel free to judge. Just dance, and follow Will Smith to the beach.

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