The world’s largest and most important art fair takes place at the Miami Beach Convention Center, this week. The “who is who” of the art scene, collectors, galleries, celebrities as well as luxury brands and private banks make their way this week to sunny Miami. Here is a little preview of how VIPs attend this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach and what the highlights are.
Credit: Art Basel
Like every high-class event, Art Basel has its VIP and super VIP categories and you might be able to imagine how sought after these tickets are. Officially Art Basel opens its doors on Thursday, December 1, 2016 (ends December 4). Tickets can be purchased at the ticket box and as you may imagine, VIPs do not purchase regular tickets. They are seeking the tickets that you actually can’t buy. These, by invitation only “VIP Preview” tickets, you can only get when you are invited by a gallery or a sponsoring brand, are valid already a day before the official opening at 3PM and give you access to the fair and collectors lounge, where most of the entertainment happens.
Of course, there is also a higher level of VIP which is called “First Choice VIP Preview”. This very limited number of tickets are reserved for the best clients, which means ultra high net worth art collectors of the exhibiting galleries. First Choice VIP Preview ticket owners are the lucky ones to attend the fair a day before the opening at 11AM. This ensures real collectors and celebrities can actually focus and not be interrupted while hunting for art pieces at Art Basel before it gets crowded.
The Art Basel Collector’s Lounge is the VIP lounge of the art fair that allows VIP Preview and VIP First Choice ticket holders access to this private area of the fair. Art Basel’s sponsoring brands have their own lounges within this area and present their latest art collaborations and products.
As the official champagne sponsor of Art Basel worldwide, Ruinart will be awaiting its guests in style at their open space lounge inside the collector’s area, where the champagne brand from Reims shows off a very special collaboration with photographer Erwin Olaf. The black and white photographs show the different details that he captured during his visit to Ruinart’s champagne cellars “Les Crayeres” in the french champagne region.
Ruinart Booth Art Basel Miami Beach, Credit: Nel-Olivia Waga
As the world’s leading private aviation provider, NetJets knows how to maintain the privacy of its clients and owners. That’s why NetJets has their own private lounge for “clients only” inside the VIP collectors lounge. British flower artist Rebecca Louise Law created an artwork for the senses. A sea of hanging, blooming and scented flowers from the ceiling… That’s what awaits the guests at the NetJets lounge, next to hospitality, networking opportunities and privacy.
This year, the Swiss watchmaker will present their major collaboration with Chinese artist Sun Xun outside its VIP lounge: right at the Ocean Front of Miami Beach. The immersive work of art is called “Reconstruction of the Universe”. It’s going to be a large-scale installation, that will span a city block on the Miami Beach oceanfront. Sun Xun’s installation will be “stimulating viewers’ senses with 2D and 3D animation, traditional scroll paintings, ink drawings, sound, various architectural and design elements, all of which will be included in a massive pavilion made of curved bamboo.”
Sun Xun for Audemars Piguet at Art Basel Miami Beach, Credit: Audemars Piguet
The Swiss-based “Galerie Gmurzynska” is the most sought after gallery at Art Basel Miami Beach. Not only because it will exhibit some of the world’s most known art pieces, but also because they invent an exciting new Art Basel Miami Beach booth concept each year. They’ve had numerous collaborations with none other than Karl Lagerfeld, Zaha Hadid, Baz Lurman and Germano Celant. This year, visitors can expect an extraordinary exhibition of Russian Avant-Garde works curated by Sir Norman Rosenthal with an exclusive booth design by Claude Picasso.
As you may guess, not only their art pieces but also an invitation to their dinner party are at the top of every art collector’s wish list. Without telling any names, you are sure to find this week’s creme de la creme audience at Gmurzynska. Why so? Maybe, because Krystyna Gmurzynska and her team have this unique sense of being different from everyone else.
This photo of Galerie Gmurzynska Booth at an art fair in 1998 designed by Claude Picasso gives us a glimpse into what to expect this year at Art Basel Miami Beach, Booth B2, Credit: Galerie Gmurzynska
New York’s Park Hyatt, known for its exquisite contemporary art collection, hosts together with Sotheby’s, a video premier of the art installation “Swarm XI” by “Random International”, which has recently been added to their collection. Where better to present it to clients and friends of the brand, than at the Soho Beach House Miami?!
Oceana Bal Harbour comprises the artful residences rising in Miami’s elite Bal Harbour. For the inauguration of the two million dollar art sculptures by Jeff Koons “Seated Ballerina” and “Pluto and Proserpina”, the visionary behind Oceana Bal Harbour, art mogul and real estate titan Eduardo Costantini, invites a selected crowd of guests to celebrate the complex. Jeff Koons himself will be in attendance and it will be the first time that guests can witness the completed building and its impressive art pieces, which will permanently live in the building.
Ballerina by Jeff Koons at Oceana Bal Harbour Miami, Credit: Oceana Bal Harbour and Jeff Koons
Last but not least: Here are…
Let the art be the highlight of the show and not you. Remember, it’s an art fair – not a catwalk.
It’s an offense to the artist when you look at his art through sunglasses. You might not be able to see the true colors of a painting or its fine finishing.
As simple as it is: would you be able to walk the huge fair, a whole day, in high heels? I wouldn’t. The pain isn’t worth it. Classy flats will do it!
(… unless you can afford to pay for its damages). You might not be able to imagine, but there are artists working on these installations for months and years, putting all their effort and creativity in the art piece. A little touch could ruin the whole construct. Make sure you stay away from touching it or stepping on it.
Saying this to an artist or an art collector could offend the person, who actually has genuine appreciation for the piece. You should never comment or judge an art piece if you’ve got no idea about art. Debating about the price of an artwork is as useless as the comment about your kid. If no one asks you for your opinion, the best advice is: to say nothing.
When entering a booth, be aware of the fact, that it’s a gallery exhibiting in this booth and not the artist himself. Don’t ask the art dealer, whether he is the artist. He is not.
If you’re not interested in experiencing or buying an art piece, avoid “hanging out” at the booth space, taking selfies or having conversations, that are not related to art. Otherwise you are simply stealing the gallery owner’s time and space.
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Nel-Olivia Waga is the Founder & Publisher of HER/etiquette. She is a Brand Consultant, an Author and Entrepreneur, most passionate about well-being, travel, nature and art. Her work can regularly be seen in her column on FORBES. Her consultancy YMPACT LAB, creates innovative marketing projects for luxury brands based on passion, purpose and sustainable impact.
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