Art Basel Style Guide: Where to Go & What to Wear
Between curated exhibitions, performance art pieces and well-dressed party attendees, there’s inspiration around every corner at Miami’s Art Basel. The annual art fair has turned into a wintertime oasis for urbanites and the high-caliber clientele of the art world; but with over 250 leading galleries in participation, how does one whittle down the multitude of events to the top tier? Read on for recommendations from our Senior Fine Art Specialist, Brittany Gersh — plus, Basel-worthy ensembles to wear to each.
1. Performa/Interview Magazine Party
The two giants are combining forces on December 2 for an invite-only soiree at the newly opened Thompson Miami Beach Hotel that’s certain to be the talk of the It crowd. “Interview magazine was started by Andy Warhol, and in following his legacy, it continues to publish provocative articles related to art and culture,” notes Gersh. “While Performa is an organization dedicated to supporting performance art — the director, RoseLee Goldberg is a pioneer.” (Performa is also hosting Ryan McNamara’s buzzy MEEM 4 MIAMI performance, which takes place later in the week.) Expect interesting people watching, thought-provoking conversation and reportedly a surprise musical guest, as you mingle with the who’s-who.
What To Wear: For this crowd of trailblazing artists and cutting-edge performers, select a slightly avant-garde ensemble with edgy accessories.
2. The Kabinett Sector
“As exciting as it is to see art done in new ways with new media, it is equally inspiring to look back at moments in art history from a different perspective,” says Gersh. “Kabinett is a new sector at Art Basel which investigates culture and politics through those seminal moments.” Among the displays: a video portrait by artist Robert Wilson which features Lady Gaga as Jean-Paul Marat in a nod to Jacques-Louis David’s famous portrait. “Something doesn’t sit well for me when portraying a staunch journalist who died for his cause as a pop singer who wears dresses made out of meat to promote individualism,” notes Gersh. “Any good art should provoke a reaction, and this piece in particular leaves me thinking about it again and again.”
What To Wear: Since the Kabinett sector fuses innovative art with inspiration from the old masters, meld contemporary designers with veteran fashion houses and modern shapes with classic design like we’ve done here with a 3.1 Phillip Lim dress and timeless Hermès Birkin bag.
3. Theo Jansen’s Sculptural Beach Display
File this one under “Only In Art Basel.” From December 4-7, Dutch artist Theo Jansen is unleashing his “Strandbeest” sculptures on Miami Beach, including his 42-foot long Animaris Suspendisse. The colossal structures — which are propelled by wind power — are created with recycled materials making the pieces not only a fascinating specimen of engineering but also green. Take a reprieve from indoor galleries, and hit the beach to absorb their surprisingly majestic beauty.
What To Wear: Put an artistic spin on standard beach essentials for a look that’s laid-back and partly playful. A graphic maxi paired with printed retro-look sunglasses does the trick.
4. The Annual Art Basel Brunch