The Connoisseur Trip to Art Basel Miami Beach during the first week of December is one of my annual highlights. Not only is it one last week of sunshine before the winter really sets in, but also the mixture of art and glamorous events is an ideal destination for one of our very exclusive tours.
This year, our program started with the VIP opening of the Untitled satellite art fair hosted by Marina Abramovic . Afterwards we dined at Bianca at the Delano before we made our way to the Miami Beach Marina for the Vontobel yacht party on the spectacular M/Y Odyssey . There were some beautiful works of Chamberlain and de Kooning shown. The photo below shows the party in full swing.
After a relaxed breakfast on the popular Delano terrace, we joined the VIPs for the preview of the Design Miami . Arriving a couple of minutes before the doors open is a great opportunity for people watching: next to us were patiently standing Larry Gagosian, Michael Ballack and Simon de Pury just to name a few. My personal highlights of the fair were an armchair made out of old circuit boards, unfortunately not very comfortable. Apparently it was bought by Lady Gaga later and she obviously does not place great emphasize on comfort. I also especially like the beautifully crafted wooden furniture by Bae Sehwa http://artsy.net/artist/bae-sehwa represented by Korean Gallery SEOMI.
Our evening activities started off with the VIP Welcome Reception of the Art Basel Miami Beach. Every year one of my personal highlights, we enjoyed to join the serious and the glamorous collectors, museum directors, artists, gallery owners from all over the world. This year they included a performance of 20 topless long haired men and women hammering on pedestals. A small detour took us to Villa Azur for the reception of Power 100: Celebrating the 100 most influential people in the art world , before we made our way to the Best Buddies reception in a spectacular home at the bay. Best Buddies is a wonderful charity integrating people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Of course it also included some star spotting like media mogul Peter Brant (married to Supermodel Stefanie Seymour), Vito Schnabel and actor Val Kilmer. We loved it, but didn’t want to miss the Miami Contemporary Museum VIP opening of Tracey Emin’s exhibition. Mainly focusing on her neon work, the one that touched us the most was: I don’t believe in love, but I believe in you . I also quite liked Trust Yourself . Afterwards another highlight was the VIP reception at the Rubell’s collection, where each year the who’s who of the art professionals gather to preview the newest exhibition. This year it was called 28 Chinese , focusing on Chinese artists with such names as Ai WeiWei and Li Shurui. After this exciting evening we were too tired to join the White Cube party at the Soho House, but have heard it was beautiful. Maybe next year!
WednesdayHaving arrived a little early for the First Choice VIP Preview of the Art Basel Miami Beach, we were able to watch the über-elegant collector crowd before entering the fair and concentrating on the art: Bernard Picasso, Odine de Rothschild, Martin Margulies, Peter Brant, Leonardo diCaprio, Elle Macpherson, Olafur Eliasson and every director of an important museum was there. We found overall the quality to be very good, but were disappointed with some galleries. Our favorite two pieces of the 4 hours of intense study were an Eduardo Basualdo installation Como volver a casa at Argentinian gallery Ruth Benzacar and a beautiful large Roni Horn Such 4 at Xavier Hufkens. After such an exhausting day, we regained our strength with a steak enjoying the warm evening outside at the excellent Prime 112. We then continued to the VIP reception of the Bass Museum where we watched a very interesting performance art complementing the Old Masters exhibition by performing these paintings that were on display. Later we again skipped our invite to Dee and Tommy Hilfiger ’s party for artist Marc Quinn .ThursdayWe started early to look at a private collection in a private home. Obviously deeply interested in the art displayed at the last Documenta in Kassel, the curated collection owned several pieces shown in the Fridericianum by Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri. We continued to the VIP preview of NADA art fair in the Deauville Hotel. We loved the Japanese gallery Mujin-To showing for the first time outside Asia with the artists Lyota Yagi, Ryohei Usui and Osamu Matsuda.The evening started with a private cocktail at the apartment of Dallas collectors in a high rise on Venetian Causeway between Miami Beach and Miami with a spectacular view on the bay and the skyline. Then we hurried to, what can be probably called, the highlight of the trip: the private residence in a high rise facing the ocean of the illustrious Jorge Perez (in the picture). Probably the most sought after person in Miami this year due to its incredible donation that changed the name of the Miami Art Museum to Perez Art Museum Miami. The PAMM was built by Herzog & de Meron. The small and very exclusive cocktail party was hosted by him and his wife and showed that such an art aficionado lives with less established artists. My favorite pieces were by Günther Förg and Markus Linnenbrinck.FridayIn the morning we enjoyed brunch with collectors from Houston before we visited Ry Rocklen’s installation at the Absolute Art Bar. Then we changed our plans to visit the main fair again. As favorites of this visit we selected an incredible beautiful sculpture by Manolo Valdes at Marlborough Gallery and a beautiful Tracey Emin drawing at Lehman Maupin, a great gallery based in New York and Hong Kong. Our farewell dinner at the exquisite Michy’s .Our Connoisseur Tripsare special tours with a maximum of 3 participants. We offer them to selected art fairs like Frieze London , Venice Biennale and destinations. Please ask us about details.We are delighted to share our experiences with you.www.ctc-member.de
Best regards,Halina von Kempski Rakoszyn.