“You can’t cross that line.” “There’s no smoking in the garden.” America, you land of forbidding things and rules. I’m reminded of this nowhere more than here in Miami, where I spontaneously flew on Tuesday morning (someone bailed and I jumped in), to experience the art fair (which will be held for the 14th time this year) and the rest of the insanity that surrounds it. No wonder everything goes crazy for a few days. In the best sense, of course – the city awakes from its slumber, it is enriched by good taste and completely shaken up: after all, organizers were anticipating more than 70,000 visitors again this year.
Not even an hour after I arrived, I was in Collins Park with Berlin gallerists in front of the currently closed Bass Museum. Surrounded by art from Katharina Grosse and Sylvie Fleury, there was an invitation to a champagne reception. The self-imposed hand brakes are still dominant in the first few hours, the fair halls would open in less than 12 hours for the first round of VIPs. Two hundred and sixty seven galleries from 32 countries will show their works, and 29 new entries are included this year. The focus on North, Central and South America was supported by the fresh (and first) American director Noah Horowitz, who still has quite a bit to do in the coming days.
While announcing the shortlist for the second BMW Art Journey which promotes young artists, he quickly took to the microphone to announce the jury’s selected candidates. Henning Fehr and Phillipp Rühr are in the running, who were explained to me the day before at the “Positions” section by our playlist expert (and a gallerist from Düsseldorf) Max Mayer. (We’re crossing our fingers!)
It’s not just car brands that maintain a presence this week and use the public hordes for promotion. It’s a similar story with fashion, design and so on: Loewe is opening the Foundation (with works by Anthea Hamilton, Paul Nash, Lucie Rie and Rose Wylie), Fendi will open a new branch, Calvin Klein Collection is cooperating with the concept store The Webster, Louis Vuitton presented travel furniture (Objet Nomades), Valentino celebrated the artist Pietro Ruffo and the New York label Tome extended an invitation to their “White Shirt Project 3”. For Design Miami, Pierre Le Tan has created illustrations on hand towels and umbrellas, sold at a booth from J.Crew. Airbnb works with public space with a project named Belong. Here. Now.
Rarely has Instagram been a more important source of information: “Where are you going tonight?” is the most common question. The list of events during the week is endless and yet it doesn’t diminish the appeal of the main exhibition. The art world seems happy, the overall mood is positive and the reviews are affirmative. (here onArtnet and The NY Times). The monsoon-like rains on my final night gave rise to the thought: The apocalypse has arrived, you’ve looked at enough art, maybe it’s time to head home.
Impressions from Art Basel Miami 2015
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