Um, That’s Not Art: 9 of the Tackiest Art Basel Miami Beach Events, and How They’re Trying to Take Your Money
There is a lot to see in Miami during Art Basel week. And there is a lot not to see, if you know what we mean, as every low-level fashion influencer, celebrity artist, and clueless marketer looks to pile on. Below, we have culled some of the more… questionable entries into this week’s Miami madness.
The Pitch: Five artists you have probably never heard of (Adhemas Batista, Beeple, FAFI, INSA, and Signalnoise) are presenting a virtual reality experience meant to recreate a day in Sin City, making the bold point that what happens in Vegas… can be experienced virtually in Miami.
Actual Reason for Existing: The Vegas tourism board—proudly deploying a “concept previously untapped by destination marketers”—has underwritten the whole undertaking with the belief that “by uniting art and virtual technology to reflect the vibrancy of the destination, Vegas: Alter Your Reality will inspire travelers to create their own Las Vegas journey.”
When: December 7–9
Where: Zadok Art Gallery
What It Will Cost You: Just your precious time.
Why You Might Actually Want to Go: If Miami becomes so tackily intolerable that you actually console yourself by thinking, “But imagine I was in Vegas?”
The Pitch: By the words “Megalux Yacht Party,” it seems the organizers mean, “Please rent our yacht.” If you do so, you are promised the opportunity to cruise the waters of Biscayne Bay and “tour the beautiful neighborhoods of southbeach and get a breathe taking [sic] view of the homes located on the secluded islands owned by Millionaire/Billionaire celebrities and business tycoons.”
Actual Reason for Existing: Goofballs paying to pretend that they are VIPs is what B-level Art Basel week programming is all about.
When: December 7–11
Where: 300 Alton Road
What It Will Cost You: $150 per person for groups of 9 or more / $180 per person for groups of 8 or less; Jet Ski rental for two, $85 for 1/2 hours.
Why You Might Want to Go: The four-hour cruise boasts “a BlueTooth equipped system that will allow you to program your listening entertainment.”
The Pitch: It’s a pop-up eye-portraiture event helmed by Bridges Aderhold, an artist who specializes in “compelling eye photography.” As an added feature, “passersby will be encouraged to leave their shining moment, that instant in time when people look and feel their best, with clear and comfortable eyes, at the #MyShiningMoment interactive confessional.”
Actual Reason for Existing: It’s a commercial for eye drop company Clear Eyes®, which has cannily decided to tap into the hot new art trend of “eye photography.”
When: December 8–10, 10–12 a.m.
Where: 2328 North Miami Avenue
What It Will Cost You: Free
Why You Might Want to Go: The closing party promises singer Vanessa Williams as a “special guest,” so it can be truly be said that Clear Eyes ® has “saved the best for last.”
The Pitch: Are you in Miami and missing the thrill of spin class, but also want to strut your stuff for the Art Basel crowd? RedBike Studios has you covered. “Don’t miss this unique opportunity to ride on stage outdoors on a beautiful Art Basel Miami day.”
Actual Reason for Existing: A normal RedBike Studios class is around $20, so the mark-up that comes with the Art Basel name is considerable.
When: Dec 9, 12–1 p.m.
Where: The Wynwood Yard
What It Will Cost You: $40
Why You Might Want to Go: Gotta burn off those alcohol calories.
The Pitch: “Have you ever Downward Dogged with such vibe that you wished it spilled onto your mat? Are you tired of looking at the same black rubber practice after practice?” If for some reason your answer to either of those questions is yes, then get ready to combine creative meditation with graffiti, at this paint-your-own-mat event!
Actual Reason for Existence: “Focused on the #BOSS Babe + Bro,” the people behind the event consider it their “mission is to make the mystical more accessible to those living in the material world… removing its ‘woo woo’ reputation [and] infusing it with badassery.”
When: December 9, 2–4 p.m.
Where: The Wynwood Yard
What It Will Cost You: $40
Why You Might Want to Go: If you use the hashtag #AsanaScriptures, you could win a variety of prizes, including a free poem from the head “intuitive gangster,” Michelle Morgan, herself.
The Pitch: Honestly, it is a little unclear, and we’ve tried to figure it out! It’s a cocktail reception, which is part of a nation-spanning “Golden Splash Tour” from chef Walter Martino and artist Ignacio Gana, which involves, among other things, a Treasure Bottle forged by Martino with Colombian artist Jaime Andres Ojeda. Their PR claims it’s worth $3.5 million!
Actual Reason for Existing: Gana was official artist of the Latin Grammy Awards, and Martino bills himself as “the most luxurious chef in the world.” “We wanted to do something extraordinary for the art enthusiast and gourmand,” they say in their press release.
When: December 9, 8–11 p.m.
Where: The Collective Art Miami
What It Will Cost You: Free, can you believe it?
Why You Might Want to Go: Honestly, go, and tell us what the heck this is!
The Pitch: This arty get-together is for “novice and cannoisseur [sic] alike,” and promises “a first class evening of elegance surrounded by Cannabis Inspired Art and music.”
Actual Reason for Existing: The event is part of the 3rd Annual ART420 Cannabis Inspired Art Show during Miami art week. Though be forewarned: Guests are encouraged to adhere to all relevant Florida laws with regard to pot.
When: December 9 at 10:30 p.m.
Where: 411 NW 36th Street
What It Will Cost You: $20
Why You Might Want to Go: To be part of Miami’s very robust culture of cannabis enthusiasts, which also extends to the “antiConference: The Cannabis Networking Experience for Doctors,” for medical professionals.
The Pitch: Heiress and onetime reality show sensation Paris Hilton spins some tunes at the Wall, leaving everyone wondering aloud to themselves, “That’s hot?”
Actual Reason for Existence: To sell very, very expensive tickets, which they must be expecting to sell a lot of, because Paris Hilton—who now spends much of her time spinning in Ibiza, though she travels 250 days per year—is said to be the world’s highest-paid female DJ.
When: December 9, 11 p.m.–onward
Where: The Wall Lounge
What It Will Cost You: The $125 general admission is sold out, so the price has risen to $150 just to get in; VIP tables start at $800.
Why You Might Actually Want to Go: Not sure unless you are a huge Stars Are Blind fan? Or you want to hear Paris Hilton be a potentially mind-blowing DJ?
The Pitch: “Miami Bloggers and Influencers” host this VIP networking event that offers bottomless mimosas and a “mini-photshoot with a professional photographer.”
Actual Reason for Existence: To generate free content! Instead of presenting lessons from hired speakers, the organizers promise that “once you purchase your ticket, you will be allowed to submit a topic of your choice and speak about it for 5-10 minutes in front of your peers.” There will also be a chance to bid on artworks, with bonus that “trust me, you will be able to afford most of it.”
When: December 10, 12–4 p.m.
Where: Hyatt Centric South Beach
What It Will Cost You: $25
Why You Might Actually Want to Go: The art auction is described as “like eBay IRL!” Also, if there are any smart TV producers nearby, you might get cast in some new “Bloggers of Miami Beach” reality TV series.
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