Dan Bilzerian, the rich asshole whose popular Instagram account exemplifies the version of the American dream where Lady Liberty has immense fake tits and a thongload of cash, spent the weekend partying in Miami at Art Basel. This is what rich assholes do. But, as it sometimes does, Bilzerian's partying ended with a woman accidentally getting hurt.
Art Basel Miami Beach ended a couple of days ago. So how did it go? Sales were surprisingly strong—especially compared to the train wreck of a show last year—and the excess that characterized the event in previous years was back in fashion. Then again, not every fixture on the art scene was impressed.
One of the most popular pieces at Art Basel this week? A work by Takashi Murakami and Pharrell Williams featuring "a miniature ketchup bottle, a can of Pepsi, a pair of sneakers, a cupcake, a condom, a bag of Doritos and a bottle of Johnson & Johnson baby lotion," all of which are made out of gold and "encrusted with 26,000 inlaid diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds" that had been supplied by imprisoned bling king, Jacob the Jeweler. The piece ended up selling for $2 million to two collectors who intend "to share it." So, yes, there really is someone out there who is the proud new owner of half of a jewel-encrusted bag of Doritos. Congrats? [NYT, Marketwatch]
Art Basel Miami Beach, the super-chic Swiss-imported Important Art fair, still teeters along, the ruined economy denting its sales but not its woozy party atmosphere. ''All the sellers think it's 2007, and all the buyers think it's Miami Beach real estate," a dealer told the Miami Herald. So... even though nothing's actually getting sold (Herald reports that over half of the vendors have seen sales declines from last year), everyone is still pretending that artsy optimism is de rigeur. And they're getting some big help from mushy celebrities like Mary-Kate Olsen and the mostly-forgotten Pamela Anderson!
Last year sad old party boy Jay McInerney went to Art Basel Miami Beach, the American version of the fabulous Swiss art fair, and dutifully chronicled the schmoozy, hideous glitz of its high-end billionaire clientele, its so-un-self-aware-it's-almost-hip pretension, its insanely high sales figures. What a horror show it was! A horror show that stands to be repeated this year (December 4th - 7th) except for one tiny problem: ain't but nobody buyin' art in these penurious and precarious times. So what will the champagne and caviar-dribbled festivities look like compared to last year? We'll take some of our favorite McInerney anecdotes from last year and reimagine them for this ruined age after the jump.
Anthony Haden-Guest goes to Art Basel in Miami and finds commerce! "It was here in the lounge that a clean-cut fellow from Cartier exulted that 'art is at the heart of Cartier.' It was also here that I was told that 12 brand-new Audis had been flown in from Stuttgart for the fair—'Each has a team of five'—just for promotional purposes. You realize just where you are—at the center of an Art/Media/Marketing complex." [Radar]
Down in Miami, Art Basel and its retinue of smaller art fairs are gradually destroying that city's sun-addled stale-air mind. Here in New York, however, it's just another reason to party. Gawker videographer Alex Goldberg (not the horrendously messed-up NoLIta child Alex Goldberg) was there to ask why the assembled art lovers had taken the time out of their busy schedules to attend a party called Bazel Shmazel.
Are the Miami art fairs, going on now, doing something bad to Miami? "'You've got all these new Miami collectors who used to be happy shopping at Neiman Marcus,' says Wynwood gallerist and Basel exhibitor Kevin Bruk. 'They went to Basel for the novelty of it, saw all these beautiful people down from New York going crazy for art, and now they want in.' Dealers and collectors now prowl the halls of the city's two art magnet high schools like NBA scouts." [NY]