I just read that Art Basel Miami is the largest Art Fair in our hemisphere. I read that hotel occupancies for the week are through the roof with the average room rate in its highest, high season mode. Rooms are harder to get during Basel than any other event of the year, especially the upper end. In other words, good luck finding a bargain. The predicted local windfall: over 500 million. Naturally everyone is getting in the act. Aside from all the major events which trickle down from the main one, expect that many places will feature a DJ, sponsor a party, and produce a show this coming week. Everybody, everywhere!
Even the Heat are involved. There is a mural on NE 29th Street painted last year and retouched last weekend by Serge Toussaint featuring the Miami Heat NBA champs from 2012. Also last year, local artist NFN Kalyan created a glass sculpture of Lebron featuring what amounted to King James being frozen and illuminated. Kalyan's work appeared at Red Dot in 2011. ESPN’s Jared Zwerling has been talking up the Art of Basketball: Heat Wave, in which street artists capture various images of the Heat’s run to the title last year. The NBA, of course, has given its stamp of approval.
Miami takes on outer space courtesy of Paris’ Space Invader. Perhaps you’ve caught a glimpse of 20 or so tile installations lurking mysteriously throughout the city recently? Invader’s contribution to Art Basel will be the exhibition of his latest takeover: Miami. Art4 Space will present the documentation of the spacecraft he launched here last summer. This will take place in a booth with the Jonathon Levine Gallery at Pulse in Midtown. Invader will distribute a map during the fair if you want to go see everything subsequently.
In 2001, Exit Through the Gift Shop was nominated for Best Documentary at the Academy Awards. Though it did not win the Oscar, the film wove a tale in which a filmaker tried to follow British stencil artist Banksy but to no avail. Banksy Out of Context at Art Miami will reveal 5 massively heavy, representative pieces rescued and now privately owned. Never will salvage be so valuable. There will be those who argue about whether this should have been saved or not. Street art, like Buddhist sand paintings, may be made to be destroyed.
Though the highly hyped UR1 festival fell through -- sorry Kanye, sorry Lenny Kravitz -- big time musicians will also play here, like popular, Amer-Chilean Nicolas Jaar who will appear in Wynwood at Bardot. Listen to Mi Mujer for the vibe. On December 6th at the Gusman, Former Sonic Youth guitarist (born in coral Gables) Thurston Moore will be here to reminisce about Kurt Kobain at KURT, a multimedia art, dance, and film fest. Flying Lotus will appear at Grand Central. Canadian band Metric will play the Scoop kickoff party. Food will also play a role, with a comeback by pop-up Vietnamese Phuc Yea! and Phuc Mei! -- no kidding -- holding court at Scope. Expect to see our ubiquitous food trucks clogging local arteries in a new way; traffic should be dreadful.
Last shout goes out to the muralists. Last week, San Francisco’s Chor Boogie, South Africa’s Faith 47, her Chinese Beloved Dal, and Puerto Rico/Miami based La Pandilla were among those out and about painting walls in the city. The big remaining question is what will painted in the empty space where Shepard Fairey’s iconic Aang San Suu Kyi once sat.
So now that we are up to our necks in articles, in paint, in murals, in music, and in food -- all in -- it’s time to take the plunge before Art Basel becomes too big too enjoy forevermore.