Personally….my invitation must have got lost in the mail

It would have been a blast to attend “The Greatest Art Basel Party in the History of Mankind”  


The Invite

Arrangements Corporation of North America, you are cordially invited to the greatest Art Basel Miami Beach party in the history of mankind. Humanity has yet to behold such a truly magnificent party, with a gathering of luminaries, celebrities, socialites, sociables, sociopaths, bons vivants, and hangers-on, the likes of which haven’t convened since the sinking of theTitanic.

The festivities begin at the private residence of some private individual who’s probably (though privately) extremely rich, with an extremely privately private dinner. We will be celebrating some artist whose name we forget (that’s literally his name—some artist whose name we forget—all in bolded lowercase) and whose work you surely don’t know because it’s pretty obscure (literally the exhibition’s name—pretty obscure) and, in all likelihood, you probably aren’t supposed to be here. (Literally, you aren’t supposed to be here. We’re looking at you.)

This extremely private dinner, set to honor the artist some artist whose name we forget, will be celebrating the release of his new film, film, and will also honor the gallerists, curators, collectors, and Madonna (the Virgin Mary, not the pop singer) who made his book, book, such a huge success.

Many of the MacArthur Causeway’s northbound lanes have been shut down and turned into the Veuve Clicquot Art Basel Miami Beach Chevauchement e’ Glissement, a champagne Slip ’n Slide spanning the length of many football fields, ensuring that there’s absolutely no chance of escape.

All at once and quite suddenly, the heavens shall open up, wingéd cherubim shall appear carrying trumpets, which they shall blow in a spectacle of magnificent sound, in order to herald forth the culminating moment of the greatest Art Basel party in the history of all mankind, the likes of which humanity has never beheld.

That’s really too bad.  After all, I fall into the “sociable” category and I love to hang on to things. I also appreciate South Beach (the most fun part of Miami) and Art.

I promise not to miss the next one and I won’t even attempt to escape!

Source: Martin Marks for Vanity Fair Magazine




ART/Culture/BASEL – the City and the Art

The quaint city of Basel
The quaint city of Basel

Basel (pronounced the same way as the herb) is a charming city in Switzerland.  Basel is so tucked away on the northern edge of the country, bordering both France and Germany, that it’s not on the regular Geneva-Bern-Lucerne-Zurich route and is often forgotten. And what a shame that is (I’ll tell you why in a minute).


It's worth a visit even to just ride the buses
It’s worth a visit even to just ride the buses

Basel is Switzerland’s third most populous city (approx. 195,000 inhabitants) and is located where the Swiss, French and German borders meet with suburbs in France and Germany.  Basel straddles Europe’s greatest river – the Rhine.  A small part of the city (Kleinbasel) sits on the northern shore, even though the rest of that riverbank is German – and so acts as Switzerland’s gateway to the sea. It’s a very pretty little city too.

Basel on the Rhine
Basel on the Rhine

CULTURE: for many Swiss people, Basel means the three Fs: football, Fasnacht (a large popular festival) and pharmaceuticals, all loved and hated in equal measure. But Switzerland’s third largest city has a lot more to offer than some effing stereotypes, a fact that is also lost on many foreigners visiting Switzerland.  ART is a BIG deal.  So are museums.

Amid all the museums and galleries that crowd into Basel, perhaps the quirkiest is the one dedicated to the Swiss artist Jean Tinguely, aptly named “The Tinguely Museum.”

Jean Tinguely
Jean Tinguely

Tinguely was born in Fribourg but grew up in Basel, and created the most amazing sculptures you are ever likely to see. Many look like they were put together by a mad scientist using laboratory leftovers. If you thought the Swiss were dull, this museum will change your mind.  But I never thought they were dull.  I had a Swiss German friend (a girl named Simone) who I met travelling in the Philippines who was extremely avantegarde and fun.

artbasel5Moving right along, do you know what Basel, Miami Beach and Hong Kong have in common?

artbasel9All three cities stage premier international art shows, providing a platform for artists and gallerists from all over the globe.  It is considered the world’s largest and most prestigious fair for modern and contemporary art – goes by the name “ART BASEL.” Heard of it?

Art Basel was founded in 1970 by Basel art gallerists Ernst Beyeler, Trudi Bruckner and Balz Hilt.  They put their passion and determination behind a visionary idea of their city and  decided to feature only museum quality art work. Art Basel was founded and met with an immediate approval, with more than 16,300 visitors its inaugural year. The fair used a selection process which chose the most elite and exclusive art galleries to participate. These special exhibitions allowed visitors to experience the art on a more global scale,  as well as focus on particularly important featured artists.artbasel7

After more than 30 years of shows, Art Basel extended its fair from Switzerland, to Miami in 2002. Just last year, Hong Kong was added to the list of art-forward cities to participate. Art Basel currently hosts 300 exhibitors from all over the world, with a reported 75,000 to Miami’s location, with many of the exhibitors entirely selling out.

The Art Market’s boom amid world economic sluggishness is a sign of the growing gulf between the rich and the super-super-rich.  Taken from The Wall Street Journal (on Opinion Europe – June/20/2013):

A Matter of Taste and Millions

Samuel Lynne Galleries
Samuel Lynne Galleries

Art Basel is the world’s largest and most prestigious fair for modern and contemporary art.  Art Basel offers collectors the most expansive and high quality buying venue of the year. It provides an extraordinary overview of primary and secondary market material. And, increasingly, it is responding to the growth of the global art market, offering a more comprehensive look at galleries and art making practices around the world. It has for a long time set the standard among art fairs.artbasel8

Check out my previous blog post on Marfa, the little ART town of Texas

 Have you been to the city of Basel, Marfa or any of the Art Basel fairs?




SCENE…in a Giant of a sleepy little town in Texas.

MARFA, Texas: An Unlikely Art Oasis In A Desert Town.  Ever heard of it?

marfasighThis tiny town perched on the high plains of the Chihuahua desert is nothing less than a deceiving world class art station like Art Basel in Miami, or Documenta in Germany. It’s a blue-chip arts destination for the sort of glamorous scenesters who visit Amsterdam for the Rijksmuseum ( & let’s not kid ourselves – the drugs too).

Although the locals have mixed feelings about being an art mecca, Kaki Aufdengarten-Scott, Marfa’s one-woman chamber of commerce, says without art tourism, “this town would have dried up and blown away.”

This town has one bank, one pizza place, one coffee shop, one laundry, one radio station, one bookshop — basically one of everything, except for the things of which it has none: billboards, pet stores, chain stores, clothing stores, bowling alleys or traffic lights.

What in the devil? Seen just off U.S. Highway 90.
What in the DEVIL? Just off U.S. Highway 90.  See our Eurovan in reflection?

Was this someones idea of a cruel joke? A shopping mirage? Guess the joke was on me when I tried to open the door and it just would not open.  Believe me I tried.  Hope there was no camera!  My husband laughed at my expense because he knew it would have been at HIS expense had the shop actually been open.

Prada, Marfa is a faux boutique displaying luxury bags and shoes in the middle of the sparse Texas landscape. It was created in 2005 by artist duo Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset.

When Hollywood needs Western desolation, it comes to Marfa.giant movie

Hotel Paisano - an oasis in itself.
Hotel Paisano – an oasis in itself.

With Hollywood types, it doesn’t hurt that Marfa is, well, a different sort of Texas town, with just one blinking traffic light but 14 art galleries, an independent bookstore and an organic grocery.  Are you getting the picture?

“No Country for Old Men” and “There Will Be Blood” were filmed here, which made actor Daniel Day-Lewis (of the latter film) a regular jogger up and down the main drag, Highland Avenue, for a while.

Inside hotel paisano
Inside hotel paisano

Also, more than 50 years ago, famed filmmaker George Stevens also settled on this area for his epic Texas oil tale “Giant,” which starred Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean. (Stevens won a best director Oscar for “Giant” in 1957, the only win of that film’s 10 nominations).

Hey, I’ve been to the hotel where they stayed at (Paisano) which was a beautiful little find and even saw the rooms they stayed in which made my imagination run wild at the thought of all sorts of shenanigans going on – who was with who, etc.  Well we now know who Rock wasn’t with!   Above Photos: d. kingelizabeth2

Okay, back to 2012. I don’t want to blow Marfa’s cover too much because who knows.. they might even consider opening up a Starbucks? Oops.. maybe they already have.

what woudlllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll

The Scandinavian-born, Berlin-based artist collaborators Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset with their permanently installed sculpture aptly entitled Prada Marfa, which actually stands some 30 miles outside of Marfa. The boutique’s resemblance to its major-city counterparts, however, is purely external; visitors are not invited to enter the installation. Yeah I know that! And how does designer Miuccia Prada feel about the work of art, which features pieces from her fall collection in the windows? The answer is easy: she picked the shoes herself.