1. Even Mickey Mouse gets into the act at Art Basel, Cory Grossor for Walt Disney Signature launches AIRLINE_009 at Avant Gallery in Miami's Design District
Story and photos by Dwight Casimere
Miami Beach—Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut Champagne flowed under the big tent adjacent to the Miami Beach Convention Center, home to Art Basel Miami Beach 2010. Vernissage was the opening night VIP Preview for Design Miami, the global forum for design and functional art, similar to Chicago’s SOFA event at Navy Pier. Galleries and designers from around the world gathered as part of the most prestigious art show in the Americas.
The opening was not without its share of celebrities. In addition to attracting some of the top contemporary artists, artists from other disciplines came to indulge their passion for art.
Maestro Michael Tilson Thomas, Music Director of Miami’s New World Symphony Orchestra, whose own work of art, the Frank Geary Designed New Campus of the NWS is in the final stages of completion before his inaugural concert in January 2011, was greeting old friends from the international art community.
Of The Wine Doctor’s dual roles as Arts & Entertainment Editor and Food & Wine Editor at The Times Weekly, Maestro Thomas commented,” They’re all related. They’re all art!”
Besides the eye-popping art, new innovations in Eco Design were unveiled. Audi exhibited its futuristic e-Den charging station for hybrid cars. Audi envisions that the charging stations will become “the hangout” for future electric car owners. The futuristic service station will contain eco-friendly décor, containing wood furniture and fresh potted herbs, organic food, magazines and coffee-table books. Audi also envisions creating a wellness oasis featuring fair-trade products and sustainable materials. Dubbed the “e-Den”, the “e” stands for electromobility.
Vernissage at Design Miami was just the prelude to Art Basel Miami Beach. More than 250 leading galleries from North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa are taking part, showing works by more than 2,000 artists.
Miami Beach and the entire City of Miami has become one big art gallery for Art Basel, with hotel rooms and lobbies, vacant apartments, garages and parking lots, along with warehouses, restaurants and nightclubs all being turned into “popup” art galleries for the event. There’s even a caravan of motor homes and recreational vehicles modified to display art, that are trucking their way to Miami for the art extravaganza. During the five-day show, more than 40,000 visitors are expected at Art Basel Miami 2010.
Among the boutique hotels turning itself into an instant art gallery is The Betsy-South Beach where Betsy Arts Ambassador Dr. Leslie King Hammond is hosting a sneak preview of the nationally acclaimed show, The Global Africa Project, which opened in November at the Museum of Arts and Design in NYC. Dr. Hammond, who is also the Founding Director of the Center for Race and Culture at Maryland Institute College of Art. “This exhibit is all about tearing down barriers and challenging people’s misconceptions about what constitutes African Art.”
The Betsy’s preview is placing art judiciously throughout the hotel, with a selection of photographs in the Underground Gallery, which a unique, intimate space, almost like a wine cellar. The preview is also somewhat interactive with interviews of the artists playing on big screens in the lobby. The Betsy has also created a sculpture garden on the roofdeck. The hotel’s guest suites also get a makeover with curated icons added to their decor. Live presenters will be on hand to explain the art. The lounge will also feature an African drummer and saxophonist playing live Afro-Cuban jazz. Selected art objects will also be for sale in a pop up, Global Africa Marketplace.
Miami Beach itself will also be part of the art explosion; with an outdoor art exhibition, light show and live music on the beach each night of Art Basel. The Oceanfront Nights program is curated by Creative Time and will feature nightly music concerts and public art that highlights the cultural scenes of Mexico City, Berlin, Glasgow and Detroit on successive nights.