You needn’t be an art aficionado or an art collector to appreciate the cultural beast that has become Art Basel – Miami Beach. Those of you who keep asking who this Art Basel guy is should just know that he is a major deal–the biggest in the world of expensive aesthetics. But not all Art Basel-related events are fancy schmancy and reserved for that elusive 1%. And moreover, not all events taking place this weekend are completely vapid, shallow, flashy, and soulless. Take Footsteps to Freedom, for instance, on Friday at 2121 NW 2nd Avenue in Wynwood. There, the non profit organization iPads for Soliders presents an exhibition of authentic combat boots worn by soliders in Afghanistan. The boots have since been transformed by the likes of Shepard Fairey, Dolly Parton, and Pete Wentz, which is a pretty eclectic mix. A launch party that is open to the public (donations are accepted) takes place from 6pm to 11pm Friday. RSVP is a must to email@example.com.
After saving your souls–er, soles, head over to the Viceroy Miami where there is a very arty happy hour featuring an artist brought to the US by the legendary classical musician Yo-Yo Ma. That artist, French-born Duaív, also happens to be a classical musician–an accomplished cellist just like his mentor Mr. Ma, so that explains that connection. In terms of art, the artist met and is inspired by Salvador Dalí so you can only imagine where this happy hour is going after you sip a few cocktails and munch on a few hors d’oeuvres. Trippy hour starts at 6pm and lasts for two hours at the hotel’s 15th & Vine Kitchen & Bar. No RSVP needed.
On Saturday, Art Basel Miami spreads into Fort Lauderdale for a big deal brunch hosted by Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale director and chief curator Bonnie Clearwater and featuring none other than artist and director Julian Schnabel, whose son is flitting somewhere down on South Beach with his latest arm candy, Heidi Klum. His dad, meanwhile, will wax artistic on two exhibitions, “Cafe Dolly: Picabia, Schnabel, Willumsen,” and “American Scene Photography: Martin Z. Margulies Collection.” Brunch takes place from 11am to 2pm. There also happens to be free shuttles going from the Miami Beach Convention Center to the MOAFL across county lines. For more information or to RSVP, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (954) 262-0296.
Raise the Barre
Also on South Beach from 7pm to 9pm Saturday, a series of black and white photos by artist Charlie Tonelli, whose Hostess Miami TV series features hostesses, waitresses, and bartenders from popular area restaurants and bars including Red, The Steakhouse, Ball & Chain, and more. Best of all, this foodie-esque exhibit takes place at Barre Motion on South Beach, 1560 Lenox Avenue, where irony bends in all different directions. There will be free food, wine, and some of the exhibition’s subjects. It’s open to the public with RSVP to email@example.com
Finally, for Art Basel fun for the whole family, mod baby furniture brand Stokke has teamed with mod baby furniture store Genius Jones for a free family event 10 am to noon Sunday, December 7 at 2800 NE 2nd Avenue featuring free breakfast, live music, Viking dress up in honor of Stokke’s Scandy origins, photo booths, kids’ art, free gifts, food, drink and more. Now that’s genius. Art, it’s what’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner. RSVP to RSVP@geniusjones.com.