Art Basel: Looking, Partying, Little Buying

As we noticed yesterday, certain quarters of the media seem to be under the impression that if, like a child covering his ears and shouting "lalalalala," they pretend that the scene down at the Miami Art Basel is as glitzy and cash-soaked as ever, people will believe it. "Recession schmession," crows Blackbook. "From the rumor that UBS would not tone down their annual dinner and gala—even amid scandal speculation—to the abundance of caviar on hors d'ouvre [sic] trays, it all smells like decadence to me." Well, it might smell like it, but to the dealers and artists actually trying to make money, "it's all about markdowns and modest expectations," reports New York's Alexandra Peers in a dispatch entitled "Kmart Special Time at Art Basel Miami."

Sure, plenty of famous faces are on hand. (That's Beyonce and Jay-Z above, with Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn leaning in.) But the celebrities and socialites largely serve as decoration. The art bubble was created by the sorts of billionaires who happily turned up in Miami with their wallets open—and the dealers who happily sold them things for outrageous sums. If it weren't for them, there wouldn't be a circus of non-stop parties or an endless supply of Veuve. And if they don't return to buying in the near future, there may not be an Art Basel Miami next year.

At a gathering at South Beach's Casa Tua on Wednesday night, Stuart Parr, the boyfriend of Allison Sarofim, "climbed aboard a banquet for an impromptu stand up session," reports Vanity Fair.

Turning to fellow guest Larry Gagosian he joked, "We used to ask Larry how he was learning Russian, and he always replied 'One ruble at a time.'"

Can't we just think back to the good ol' days?