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December 18, 2014

Scene and Heard: Art Basel Miami Beach

Photo Credit: Andrew Toth

Editors' Notes

Julian Schnabel and Michael Chow

Photo Credit: Astrid Stawiarz

Editors' Notes

FKA Twigs

Photo Credit: Astrid Stawiarz

Editors' Notes

Alex Israel

Photo Credit: Astrid Stawiarz

Editors' Notes

Alex Israel and FKA Twigs

Painters Michael Chow and Julian Schnabel faced off while debating the notion of the Renaissance man on the roof at Soho Beach House in Miami on Thursday, December 4. “I think it’s offensive [as a term],” snarled Schnabel. “I disagree,” said Chow. “We live in a specialized world. More of us need to be Renaissance.” Schnabel and Chow were part of the who’s who of collectors and larger-than-life personalities that gathered from Wednesday, December 3 to Saturday, December 6, at Art Basel Miami Beach. The two artists spoke at Design Dialogues N.13, one of the numerous panels held throughout the four-day event.

When the art fair kicked off on December 3, collectors in the Miami Beach Convention Center made their way through London’s White Cube and the Matthew Marks Gallery armed with feverish art inquiries. Here are some snippets of the action:

Advisors were deep in conversation at Marian Goodman. Tommy Hilfiger strolled by in lobster-red pants. Jeffrey Deitch swanned about in one of his trademark custom suits. P. Diddy was furiously in talks while Leonardo DiCaprio gazed up at Martin Creed’s neon green installation that said “people” in all caps, and rotated like a gas station beacon at midnight. Vera Wang strode silently alone. Young tech players took in the scene, and European collectors in loafers and dark blue jeans softly cooed to one another in French, German, and Italian. A group of South American ladies donned matching pink looks complete with stilettos, candy-colored purses, and rose furs. German artists Eva and Adele, with their signature shaved heads, were also in matching dresses.

And galleries sold art. A lot of art. A Richard Prince piece went for $1.2 million from Skarstedt gallery. An Alexander Calder mobile was listed for $35 million.

Partiers battled their way into Deitch’s gathering, held on the evening of December 3. The woman of the hour, Miley Cyrus, did not disappoint. She adding her country-twinged voice to Johnny Cash’s “Boy Named Sue,” and also sang an epic rendition of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” together with Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne—complete with giant puffy rainbow costumes. The audience gyrated under a rain of bubbles, fake money, and confetti.

After the Schnabel and Chow debate on Thursday, December 4, Los Angeles-based Alex Israel and British musician FKA Twigs (Tahliah Debrett Barnett) discussed their artistic process and inspiration with moderator Hans Ulrich Obrist. Twigs and Israel charmed the audience and kept them enraptured—though members shot occasional glances at Robert Pattinson who was curled up in a corner watching his latest ladylove, Twigs.

At the convention center, attendees learned about how Simon De Pury, Klaus Biesenbach, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Amalia Ulman, and Instagram founder Kevin Systrom use the photo sharing service during a panel moderated by For Your Art founder Bettina Korek. Next, the Instagramers and many from the panel headed to developer Craig Robins and Jackie Soffer’s house in honor of Marina Abramovic’s institute. Guests lounged on couches and dined on stone crabs and soup, but the night was still young. Stavros Nicharos, Vito Schnable, and Alex Dellal hosted a Thursday evening dance party at the Wall at the W Hotel, that was packed with celebrities (DiCaprio left early and Owen Wilson arrived late).

By Friday, the next wave of art lovers was already descending on the fair for the weekend festivities. But those on hand for the preview festivities were ready to pack their bags (and art) for the flight home.

By Elizabeth Khuri Chandler


Pictured: Julian Schnabel and Michael Chow

Photo by: Andrew Toth

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