Art Basel Miami Beach returns with a vengeance and no apologies


In February of this year, a large outpost of New York’s Italian restaurant Carbone opened in Miami’s South Beach and was named Magic City’s hottest seal. On a visit in his first few weeks, I spotted the Music Director Clive davis at a table, the real estate developer collector of art Aby Rosen to another, and Mario Carbon cheering the big spenders who occupied the plush corner booths. In July, the hand of God intervened and the restaurant was damaged by fire. But Carbone could not be stopped, and in September, Duck made a stop at Sinatra’s washed fantasia rigatoni to hang out with Jordan Belfort, the wolf of Wall Street himself.

That’s all to say that next week, during the madness that is Art Basel Miami Beach, for everyone but close friends of the owners and, say, Clive Davis, a table at Carbone is a pipe dream. This is how we ended up with …another Carbone, a few blocks from Collins Avenue. It’s called “American Express Platinum x Carbon”, a pop-up erected on the grounds of the Edition hotel.

“You went to a restaurant in Miami, and you saw that there is no shortage of people who want to go to Carbone,” Alex Lee, The vice president and general manager of the American Express Global Dining Network, which includes the Resy reservations app, told me over the phone this week. “We thought, what better opportunity to do something besides the restaurant – they will have the chance to interact with Mario Carbone himself, in a very special setting.”

A particular setting indeed. After two years of a fairground Florida due to the pandemic, the art world (and the celebrity and marketing worlds) will finally get the full-fledged Art Basel Miami Beach it deserves. A carbon bonus is hardly the exception during this cultural bonanza, where such excesses have become the norm. If New Yorkers miss Marea’s Octopus and Bone Marrow Fusilli while away from town for a few days, fear not, there is a temporary one erected at the Kimpton Hotel. Downtown Gotham’s cocktail party, the Dead Rabbit, can be found at the Ritz-Carlton, and Mexico’s famous Insta art club, Contramar, is also in town. Expect to see this red and green grilled fish dish in your timeline. José Andrés cooking alongside the artist Serge Attukwei Clottey, while the world of Bieber food Flynn McGarry is in the pan for a Ruinart x David Shrigley event. Is this Lizzo play on the beach? Yes, it’s Lizzo playing on the beach.

Everything is gearing up to be an edition of Art Basel Miami Beach that should be the most eventful of all time, as NetJets customers who buy art, hang on to Birkin, and chomp on champagne have finally a pan-cultural event that is not only cool to attend, from a pandemic ethical standpoint, but practically mandatory to attend. And it comes after two miserable years of being forced to buy six-figure paintings and five-figure watches only online.

“There is a lot of energy accumulated,” said Craig Robins, the real estate mogul and mega-collector whose company has developed the Miami Design District, where a new Chanel flagship will open next week, joining Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, Tom Ford and others. “We’ve all been limited in our lives, so coming to Miami when it’s cold up north and seeing amazing artwork is what people want to do.”

I asked Robins if there had ever been such a full dance card before the opening bell of the art fair.

“From the design district, we haven’t seen anything at this level,” Robins said. “If you look at the level of interactions, where it’s a full-fledged Louis Vuitton menswear show or Chanel doing an amazing art installation, all of those things combined make it an elevated experience. Fashion brands, they are starting to see Miami as one of their number one markets in the world.

And Robins is the guy to ask, because he helped bring the thing to Florida in 2002 alongside the billionaire car dealership. Norman Braman then director Sam Keller, calculating that they could “take the sex appeal of Miami and combine it with something substantial, like the world’s biggest art show,” as Robins recalled this week.

Speaking of which, it’s true, there is an art fair called Art Basel that takes place during Art Basel, which is by far the largest art exhibition in North or South America. And while the Miami Beach Convention Center is where collectors and dealers will be on Tuesday morning when the fair opens to the most important VIPs, it’s not the most important part of the week for so many devotees. .

“Some people argued that there were all these people who came to Miami and never even went to the art fair, but now it’s okay,” said Jeffrey Deitch, who has attended the fair every year since his arrival, apart from the years he was director of MOCA in LA “Art has become the platform for all these other creative fields, certainly for the fashion industry , every major fashion brand has artistic collaborations in Miami. This is what Miami has become – if you want a purer artistic experience, go to Art Basel in Switzerland. It’s a different city. “


About Oscar L. Smith

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