MIAMI BEACH â It wasn’t long before midnight when the fire maidens wearing lit torch wreaths danced over the National Hotel pool to lightly simulate fellatio. And, suddenly, you knew that everything would be fine again.
At Art Basel Miami Beach, the art industry’s Black-Friday-meet-spring-break, COVID initially cooled the mood but not the sales, the crowds, and certainly not the silly, sybaritic traditions of the week-long event. Now, in its 18th year, Art Basel (a catch-all name for the dozens of art and fashion events that surround the huge Swiss art fair and its museum-quality works each December) was, unbelievably, bigger and more optimistic than ever.
On Thursday’s InList party, for the private global event and concierge service, a high-tech crowd chatted about the past few months in search of an outdoor sanctuary in Mykonos while the fire dancer’s silver thigh-high boots sprayed spray in the air and Whitney Houston the dance remixes were screaming. (You may find it all superficial, but don’t dial anyone in area code 305 this week, because you won’t find any sympathy here. From the super rich collectors to newbie NFT artists and partygoers to exhausted event planners, people were visibly relieved.)
It has been a âbreathtakingâ week of shopping at three different art fairs, explains art collector Libbie Mugrabi, reached at her home in Miami as she frantically watched the hanging of a work by Tracey Emin before a little dinner on Friday night. This week, she bought a piece by Kenny Scharf for $ 95,000, the White Cube Gallery in London’s Emin for “150k-ish â I love her!” And she says she owns two other works of Emin). She also bought three works for her daughter at Scope Art Fair and two spiritual âYin Yangâ works by contemporary Chinese artist Linjie Deng.
“I said I was shopping for $ 25,000 but I really would have gone to $ 125,000. But what I wanted was gone. I didn’t see it coming.“
– Michael Turner ‘Always’
Others were not so lucky. Michael âAlwaysâ Turner, owner of a sportswear store in Boca Raton, Fla., Said, âI said I was buying $ 25,000 but I would have really gone down to $ 125,000. But what I wanted was gone. I didn’t see it coming.
Over breakfast in South Beach, artist Laura Kimpton, known for her installations at Burning Man and whose works are on display at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, among other places, proudly bragged about having sold a coin at a charity auction for $ 81,600. “I sold it to (Bitcoin pioneer) Brock Pierce, I guess I can tell … he told me he bought it, in the back of an Uber … this wouldn’t bother him. ” (The Daily Beast has reached out to Pierce for comment.)
Much of the âold guardâ came in to buy, including Barry Diller (chairman and chief executive of IAC, parent company of The Daily Beast), Steve Wynn, mainstay of Leonardo DiCaprio. Swizz Beatz and Pharrell Williams are in town and are major art collectors, and Adam Levine bought a James Turrell from the sold-out Pace Gallery booth at Art Basel.
At rival Art Miami fair, actress Sofia Vergara purchased a work by 10-year-old painter Andres Valencia, which fair director Nick Korniloff said was a star of the event (with prices hovering around $ 10,000 ).
While this week was widely heralded as a cover of Art Basel by NFT by a whole new generation of artists creating coins on the blockchain, the reality was a little less clear-cut.
Yes, the two-hit wonder NFT Beeple speaks here at top museums, and the Gene Roddenberry estate sells Star Trek NFTs injected into live bacteria that replicate, among other unlikely developments. There’s a super hype-y Wild West energy that’s fun to watch.
But Mugrabi notes that his first foray into buying NFT art resulted in the money being stolen from his wallet. Artist Kimpton says, âNFTs hold tremendous promise for artists. I sold 1000 pieces. She has had some of her works struck and sold in the past, but not by her. She had to contact a lawyer specializing in intellectual property.
One party animal, who has attended Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Chanel events here, and is an employee of one of these companies, noted, âMy circle of, say, 50 close friends, no one has NFT yet. But they buy (traditional) art.
NFT collector and cryptocurrency trader Nick Dailey, of Brooklyn, NY, calls himself a “happy speculator on the future.” He has spent the last few days being courted at lush NFT parties, launches and auctions all over Miami and has spent nearly $ 14,000 on cyber currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum on NFT artwork. He bought them through a variety of different new companies or platforms that want his business.
Dailey, like many other players in the new arena, is betting that either bitcoin prices will rise, increasing the value of his purchases of “metaverse” artwork, or artists will understand and their prices will rise much like in the world of galleries. – or both.