Every autumn, art aficionados from all over the world descend on Miami for the biggest art festival in North America: Art Basel Miami Beach. The giant event (and all the related spin-off soirées it produces) can be overwhelming, but don’t fret — here are the key places and parties you won’t want to miss this weekend.
Miami Beach Convention Center
Drink a strong cup of coffee and start your afternoon perusing fine art at the Miami Beach Convention Center, which is basically the big-top of Art Basel — inside the 500,000-square-foot space, it’s a total circus. Plunge into the crowd (70,000 strong) and wander through endless rows of art available for purchase. More than 250 international galleries have set up booths, so every possible artistic taste is represented, but this is no mere shopping experience. Catch up with the life-sized Barbie doll as she roves the floor in a variety of costumes. If you’re feeling bold, go snap a picture with her. Or maybe your eye will catch on a familiar face on a screen: Is that movie starring…. Lady Gaga? Yep, that’s her, somehow starring in a period film. But more traditional pieces will also draw your eye. Maybe you’ll fall in love with rare sketches of Paris, where a few simple black lines gracefully capture the timeless city. Absorbed by the beautiful images, you might even forget the din that surrounds you.
db Bistro Moderne
To continue in the Art Basel spirit, enjoy an art-themed cocktail hour at db Bistro Moderne at the JW Marriott Marquis. Upstairs, Christie’s Auction House has an Andy Warhol exhibit on display, so this weekend the white-tableclothed restaurant is serving drinks inspired by the icon. Squeeze in at the bar and order the Pop Art: a cocktail made of red wine, Coke, and lime juice and served in one of Warhol’s most famous subjects — a Campbell’s soup can.
Swig ‘n’ Swine
If you want to attend the one party that encapsulates Art Basel’s mix of art-cool and geeky enthusiasm, this is it. On Sunday, Dec. 7, the chilled-out patio of the Broken Shaker is going to fill with beats from live DJ sets as graffiti artist Ian Ross (channeling Bob Ross, perhaps?) creates art right in front of you. Ross (Ian, not Bob) whips up psychedelic, flowing images with fearless ease, and has a huge following on the West Coast. While you see what all the fuss is about, sup on delicious barbecue and sip on punch, all to benefit the Overtown Youth Center.