09 Dec 2012

Best of Art Basel

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You blinked and it was all over.

Your legs are in pain. Your stomach emanates a low, consistent groan. Your bedroom reeks of damp, smoke-permeated clothing. Torn wristbands of every color under your bed. Flyers and pamphlets of galleries you will never go to again on your kitchen counter. Art Basel happened and left a destruction of both the emotional and physical kind in its path. And we liked it.

Before we start the process of forgetting and moving on, here’s a “best-of” recap of the art, the food, the music, and the raunchiness that ensued. Photos by my boo, Carlos Dominicis.

Most Effective at Destroying Your Body: araabMUZIC

Perhaps if I had thought about beats per minute when choosing what shoes to wear on Friday night, I would have made it out of araabMUZIC’s performance at Gramps unscathed. Alas, any attempt at dancing at the same rate as his fingers go can only lead to hospitalization. The look of awe on that dude’s face on the right is pretty much all you need to know about how insane his performance was.

Best DJ set: Nicolas Jaar at Bardot

Despite the unsurprisingly packed house, despite the gentleman who was trying to give unsolicited back rubs in an attempt to get closer to the stage, and despite my personal bias, Nicolas Jaar brought a sexy, hypnotic DJ set on Thursday.

Most Frustrating Set: Nicolas Jaar at The Mondrian

Nicolas Jaar performed his live set the following night at the beautiful Mondrian hotel. Everyones’ panties dropped throughout the evening until his music was cut abruptly at midnight. Thank you City of Miami Beach for the blue balls.

Best Overall Musical Performance: Metric at SCOPE Miami Official Party sponsored by VH1

Metric expertly weaved through a string of hits like the seasoned festival veterans they are on Thursday night. Their professionalism was a breath of fresh air in comparison to the ramshackle DJ/PA/Loud hypeman that tends to constitute the Art Basel musical guest.

Best New Art Trend: Mirrors

Lots of fun with mirrors was had at Art Miami and other art fairs. Cheap parlor trick? I don’t think so.

Best Art Installation: Doodle Diner presented by PBR and Pollo Tropical

The concept involves visitors creating a drawing and in turn,  receive a free beer and chicken. What really made this work were the extremely mean girls giving a great performance, announcing that we’ll only get freebies if we draw, booty shake, or offer them cigarettes.

Best Pop-Up Menu: Phuc Yea! and Phuc Mei! at SCOPE Miami’s VH1 Pavillion

Not only is Bahn Mi is the way to my heart, but it’s always a rare occasion when I want to order everything off a menu. Phuc Yea! and Phuc Mei!’s food and booze menu at SCOPE was sick and definitely the most memorable of Art Basel this year.

Best Art Piece: Domingo Familiar by Milcho

This piece features a peep hole on the sculpture of a woman’s bottom. Will you peek inside? I did – and I saw an image of myself peeking inside someone’s butt. Cue the slow applause.

Best Mode of Transportation: Horse

Parking was a nightmare for cars. Maneuvering through crowds was a nightmare for cyclists. And unless you had a skilled Miami cab driver, you were definitely stuck in traffic. It seemed that every police officer on a horse this week looked pretty pleased to easily navigate through the crowded streets of Midtown. People moved out of the way, children were smiling, and I was jealous.

Biggest Transportation Disappointment: Trolley

Hey Miami, I tried to support public transportation. I really did. But having only one trolley in the Wynwood section of the route on Saturday night was a huge fail. Hordes of people (including myself) were abandoned by the Brickell trolley, anxiously waiting for the Wynwood one to come. Traffic should have been a foreseeable challenge, and promises of a 20 minute wait were quickly broken.

Best Sponsored Drink: The Mexican 75 with Avion Tequila (at the Bruce Weber Launch Party at The Standard)

The Mexican 75 simple replaces the gin in the French 75 with tequila. Add to that champagne, lime juice, and simple syrup and you’ve got a deliciously classy drink.

Best Moment of Realization: Going to the wrong address and there being a party anyway

Only during Art Basel can you go to the entirely wrong place for a party and unknowingly rub elbows with who you think is a random old man, but turns out to be Calvin Klein.

Most Reliable Sponsor: ABSOLUT Block Party

The ABSOLUT Block Party was probably the best thing you could do with your Friday night. Food trucks, Jacuzzi Boys, and a giant field to hang out and sip on some Absolut cocktails. Considering last years Mr. Brainwash event, whoever runs Absolut’s Basel parties is excellent at having large scale events during this time.

Best Late-Night Event: Ben UFO at Cafeina

If you missed Ben UFO because you didn’t care, or weren’t happy that Joy Orbison canceled last minute, then you missed out on dancing your little heart out to some fun UK bass music. Ben UFO was able to make you quickly forget how much your feet hurt to help you squeeze a few more hours out of the weekend.

Biggest Relief: The crowd at Basel Castle

Basel Castle tends to be the most popular event on the Saturday of Art Basel. It’s usually overcome by huge crowds, long lines, and, well, a packed castle. It was no different this year, but if you arrived later, things were thinning out as Baselites hopped to other parties. By the time Purity Ring came on at about 2 AM, you had a dirty, yet spacious spot near the stage next to a pile of crushed PBR cans.

Best Photo Booth: FIAT Booth at SCOPE

A slow shutter speed photo booth, you say? You can draw a penis on mine, you say?

Best Bar: Wood Tavern

If Wood Tavern hadn’t already, they surely solidified their place in the ranks of best bars in Miami this week. At any given time of the day during Art Week, you could stop by the bar for great music, a variety of great beers, and a non-stop party (or so it seemed). Wood was the perfect, most reliable pit stop with added bonuses: a taco stand and mini artisan market.

Weirdest Miami Moment: The Youth Fair vibe at the Wynwood food trucks

Only understood if you’re a Miami local. I’m not sure if it was the smell of hundreds of fried foods, the humid, overcast weather, or Insomnia by Faithless blasting throughout the area – I don’t think I appreciated feeling like an awkward teen again.

Biggest Fail of Art Basel: Phones. Interwebs. TECHNOLOGY.

The people cannot Tweet. The people cannot Instagram. The people cannot check-in. The people cannot text other people to meet up. My phone service is way too damn expensive for it to take a shit every time there’s more than five people in the room.

Biggest Winner of Art Basel: People who like free things.

We caught this seemingly homeless dude at Ricochet enjoying a slice of pizza, a free drink, and an undisturbed nap during Art Basel.


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