Introduction to Art Basel 101 – your guide to what’s hot and what’s not



Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines! Let’s get this party started quickly. It takes two to make a thing go right. Ask not what Art Basel may do for you. What you are about to see may disturb you. Your moment of Zen is about to begin. And now in, YOUR Miami Heat! Art Basel is upon us with all its clichés and hype, so here is some straight-up advice for those of you who will join the throngs and need some confidence to help you along.

Info 101:

Art Basel is to an art show like Ridley Scott’s Alien is to an octopus. The mother ship itself is the Miami Beach Convention Center, where 250 or so galleries entertain 50,000 visitors. The tentacles spread far and wide. There are about 20 satellite fairs and a thousand, for lack of a better word, parasites. These include parties, meals, concerts, readings and Getties — many of which simply feed off the host.

Websites for Veterans:

<>; <htt p:// l_miami_beach_2013_guide.php>; <http://www.papermag. com/2013/10/our_mega_guide_to_art_basel_mia mi_2013_part_1.php> Websites for Neophytes: < h t t p s : / / w w w. a r t b a s e l . c o m / e n / m i a m i – beach>; < 7868/art-basel-miami-beach-announces.html>

Clothing Tips:

Black is the new black. If you want to be noticed at Art Basel, good luck. Everybody from all over the world will be wearing their coolest things; only the most secure of us will ignore the fashion sirens. During this week, we are all artists. Accessorize wisely and think, “I don’t always visit galleries, but when I do, I prefer to dress sharply.” Boots — mandatory. Square shades! Ray-Bans. Lock all your sports gear up at home unless it is something like a vintage Muhammad Ali tee. Chill on the high heels. Tattoos and porkpies are 2010. This is not the car show or boat show.

Swag Tips:

Act like you’ve been there. Big camera, not small. Sport the Afghani Taliban/relief pitcher/House of David beard. Men — button up your shirt if you are not wearing a tee underneath. No faded denim, and, god forbid, no holes. Ethnicity is worshipped. European types — think Scandinavia, thick-rimmed glasses and, if it’s cool, wear a scarf. Gold chains no; gold teeth okay. Deep facial plastic surgery?

Since you may be the frequent buyers, of course, you are not only welcome, but to some degree, running the show. This is not the car show, boat show or Super Bowl, though a bit like courtside at a Heat game these days.

Parking Tip:

Take a bike or pray.

Miami Rookie Destination Tips:

Like American Werewolf in Miami — Stick to the main road, Art Miami and its neighbors, the Design District; Wynwood Walls.

Miami Cognoscenti Destination Tips:

Pulse, Context, Perez Art Museum Miami, Tapas in the Moore Building and, of course, venerable Art Miami.

Beach Novice Tips: Follow the leaders.

Beach Heavyweight Tips: Design Miami brings legit, doyen cache. NADA and Scope always keep it real. 1111 Lincoln Road, colette and Alchemist.

Jury is Still Out Events:

Brazil ArtFair

Food Tips for the Wealthy Stylish:

Not necessary.

Food Tips for the Working Stylish:

La Sandwicherie, Club Deuce, Panther, Salsa Fiesta, Buena Vista Deli, La Latina, Lagniappe and a nondescript Peruvian, Jamaican, Haitian, or Cuban place with a coffee window as far from Ocean Drive, Lincoln Road or Midtown as possible. Calle Ocho still qualifies.

So there you have it, another preview for the stick that stirs Miami’s paint. If you go, heed the tips or ignore them, but feel free to judge.

Carl Rachelson is a teacher at Palmer Trinity School and a regular contributor to the Pinecrest Tribune. He may be contacted by addressing email to <>.

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