Making the Rounds in Miami
Art Basel parties get the festivities started.
Bulgari, Christian Louboutin, Faith Connexion and more had
partygoers in hyper speed. BY KRISTEN TAUER AND RACHEL FELDER
Sometimes, you have to go to Miami to meet a New York icon. On Tuesday night, hip-hop pioneer and visual artist Fab 5 Freddy was hanging out at the Nautilus Hotel, where he was unveiling new works in collaboration with Half Gallery and Harper’s Books.
“These are all kind of iconic heroes to me in different regards coming up,” said Fab 5 Freddy of the works, which include Bruce Lee, Jim Kelly, Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa as bedazzled subjects set atop collage images. “The way I work, I think of it as similar to the way hip-hop is made. I find images and I move it around digitally, kind of like I’m sampling, putting things together and remixing and then printing on canvas. And then me and my team, we apply these crystals, make it kind of come to life. It’s almost like a form of animation, when you move around the work there’s some movement going on with the light.”
As for the rest of the week, he’s keeping things relaxed. “I try to see good stuff, but not get too overwhelmed. You can have art overload down here — you can OD,” he said.
Over at Bulgari’s party, meanwhile, the mantra seemed to be: Go big or go home. Upon entrance to the Faena hotel, guests were greeted by Raúl de Nieves’ “When I Look Into Your Eyes I
See the Sun,” a rotating carousel housing elaborately beaded whimsical creatures. The sculpture is the culmination of a collaboration between de Nieves by way of the Art Production Fund, and Bulgari.
But that wasn’t the only overthe-top display of the evening. Guests were ushered into the red-hued Faena theater, packed with long rows of tables accented by towering candelabras. One dinner-goer aptly described the spectacle as a David Lynch-ian Valentine’s Day.
“I got to jump up on there, take a little ride,” said Chloë Sevigny of the carousel in the lobby. “Raúl, I think he’s an amazing artist. I first discovered him when he was at the Whitney Biennial. And [Bulgari] said come on down, I was like, for sure. So I’m here for a couple of nights, go to the Nada fair, hopefully get some sunshine, all of that,” she added. “And I would always wear some Bulgari — even if I have to give it back at midnight, I’m down.”
De Nieves had coordinated his outfit for the surroundings, donning a custom red gown designed by his friend Luisa Beccaria and a pair of devil horns atop his head. And don’t forget the Bulgari jewels. “She’s surrounded by her own goods,” he declared of his sparkling serpent choker (which was also headed back to the vault at midnight.)
The artist was joined by his mother — who had tears in her eyes while he gave a speech during dinner — as well as Winnie Harlow, Laura Harrier, Candice Swanepoel, Dr. Barbara Sturm and Yvonne Force Villareal.
Harrier, a Bulgari ambassador (“they’re my jewelry fam,” as she put it) recently finished filming a movie in the U.K. and is still doing press for “BlacKkKlansman,” but will be in Miami for a few days. “I’m a big fan of art,” she added. “I want to see the fair and a couple of my friends have booths there. My best friend actually has a gallery called Larrie that’s at Nada.”
Throughout dinner, dancers took the stage with increasing stakes — they progressively added fire to their performances — and the evening concluded with a performance by British singer Jess Glynne, who concluded her U.K. tour two nights ago.
“They asked me to perform a couple of months ago, and I jumped at the idea,” said the first-time Basel-goer. What was she looking forward to checking out while in town? “I’m here until tomorrow, and then I have to get back,” she said. “I’m going to go and see some stuff tomorrow.”
Size seemed to matter at
Los Angeles-based artist Aaron Curry’s solo show “Tune Yer Head” at the Bass Museum in Miami Beach, which took up three rooms and was sponsored by Chloé.
“One of the things that was really exciting for me was to have a few rooms to show the work in,” he said at a dinner at the museum Tuesday night. “Each room has a similar language that’s happening. This is why I called it ‘Tune Yer Head,’ it’s almost like channelchanging through things, where it’s the same language, but as you turn the channel or go into the next room, things are switched. Patterns on the wall in one room are the patterns of the floor in another,” Curry added.
“I have a practice that’s a bit varied — I make paintings, collages, sculpture. Some outdoor work, some indoor work. So it was nice to have these different spaces to showcase different aspects of my work,” he continued.
Guests including Bernard Ruiz Picasso, Almine Rech and Ellie Goulding took in Curry’s work and also got an early look at the Haas brothers’ show opening the following day. At the beginning of dinner, musical artist Annie Sima performed a short set for the crowd.
“Truthfully, my friend organized this event and I’m showing my support. But honestly, I’m definitely a Chloé girl; I’ve supported Chloé for a long time, and they’ve supported me for a long time,” said Goulding, who attended the event with her fiancé Caspar Jopling, who is an art dealer at Sotheby’s. “Also, I love [the dinner] being in a museum — I think none of us get to museums, get to see art enough.”
The Christian Louboutinsponsored exhibition of Ebony G. Patteron’s work at PAMM had an especially appropriate item: shoes.
“It’s affectionately called ‘The Shoe Cloud,’” Patterson explained during the buoyant party Tuesday night on the museum’s third floor, noting that the actual title is “…stars…” The artwork includes hundreds of glitter-covered pairs of women’s shoes suspended from a ceiling-high beam, a reference to the makeshift memorials of sneakers that frequently dangle from urban light posts and wires. “It’s marking the sky like a star. It’s said that people actually do that with the impetus that the soul is closer to heaven and it will make its way there a lot easier.”
“It’s funny, because when I looked at that piece, something came to mind which has to do with my work,” Louboutin said. “When I started designing shoes, I never thought of fashion. My first thought was dancers, and the ultimate heel is the ballerina’s toe shoe. What is the point shoe? It makes you closer to the heaven, to the sky, in a way.”
The shoes Patterson used in the piece came from a variety of sources, including strangers she found through social media. “A significant chunk of those shoes also came from Goodwill,” Patterson added. “I made many, many trips to Goodwill. The first time, I rung up, like, $300 of shoes. The cashier said, ‘Nobody’s ever going to believe that I rung up $300 today.’”
So, the price of a single Louboutin shoe, provided that it was on sale? “Yeah,” the designer laughed.
Louboutin was introduced to Patterson’s work by Franklin Sirmans, PAMM’s director, and Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean, who collects Patterson’s work and is a close friend of the designer. “He’s like my brother,” Swizz said at the event, which was also attended by Sasha Lane, Isolde Brielmaier, Victor and Athena Calderone, Derrick Adams and Bettina Prentice. “He’s a real person — he’s super humble. It’s not about the jets, it’s not about first class — he’s just living how he feels, and that’s true art.”
Swizz was making the Miami rounds Tuesday, turning up later that night in the basement of the Edition Hotel for Faith Connexion’s Whitewall issue launch party, where guests had several activities to choose from. They could rent bowling shoes to toss a ball down one of the three lanes or, if that didn’t strike their fancy, ice skates were being doled out nearby for the outdoor mini-rink. Or they could just simply drink.
Swizz, who arrived at the event with Kaws, took the chance to do some light reading — the magazine features a spread on the producer and, speaking of Kaws, Swizz happens to have one of the artist’s giant sculptures in his New York home.
“They shot this; it’s in my house, his piece. That’s his sculpture right there. This is my house,” said Swizz, flipping through the magazine’s glossy pages and pausing on a particularly arty shot of his collection. “I don’t even know how they got this. It’s a crazy shot,” he said, approving.
Swizz, decked in a Faith Connexion jacket, was on deck for DJ duties.
“I’m partners with Faith Connexion, so it’s a family thing,” said Swizz. “Two, it’s one of the coolest events during Basel, Miami week, Art week, No Commissions week. I’m just ready to tear the place up.” But to be clear, skating wasn’t on the menu. “No, I already broke my arm,” he explained.
In addition to DJ and hosting duties, the producer has his own art fair, No Commissions, ahead of him.
“I give 100 percent back to the artists that are in the show, everyone gets in free, big performances every night. For me it’s a real give back, it’s really celebrating the artists,” he explained. “We create an entry point.”
Kaws was getting ready to make an entry onto the rink.
“You going to skate?” Swizz called out to his friend.
“Yeah, yeah. You’re not?” asked the artist, knowing smirk.
Swizz laughed. “Oh, my God,” he said.
Candice Swanepoel atBulgari.
Ellie Goulding at the Bass Museum. Laura Harrierat Bulgari.
Swizz Beatz, Ebony G. Patterson and Christian Louboutin at PAMM.
Devon Windsor at the Dior Lady Art party.
Casey Fremontand Raúl de Nieves at Bulgari.
Kaws and Swizz Beatz at the Faith Connexion x Whitewall issue launch.
Chloë Sevigny at Bulgari.
The scene at the Faith Connexion x Whitewall issue launch.Almine Rech and Bernard Ruiz-Picasso at the Bass Museum.Alan Faena, Candice Swanepoel, Winnie Harlow and Jess Glynne at Bulgari.The scene at the Faith Connexion x Whitewall issue launch.
The scene atthe Fab 5 Freddy party. Masego performingat PAMM.
Aaron Curry at the Bass Museum.
Sasha Lane and Franklin Sirmansat PAMM.