By Emilio J. López
Miami, Dec 2 (EFE).- After a year-long hiatus due to the pandemic, a frenzied excitement surrounds this year’s edition of Miami Art Basel as yachts, luxurious cars and a parade of celebrity art collectors and millionaires flood South Beach eager to snap up the latest cutting edge artworks.
But it’s not just about art, exclusive parties in decadent hotels and upscale clubs traditionally usher in one of the world’s most prominent art fairs.
On Wednesday night Louis Vuitton hosted a party to celebrate its late creative director Virgil Abloh. Kim Kardasian, Maluma and Kanye West were just some of the A-listers at the exclusive event.
The atmosphere that reigns at Art Basel Miami Beach since it launched on Tuesday to VIPs is one of unabated optimism.
The event entices visitors to enjoy life and art, global director of Art Basel, Marc Spiegler told reporters at the Tuesday media launch.
“This is not just another edition, this is a historic event for the American art world, because this show marks the first truly international fair to take place since the start of the pandemic 18 months ago,” Spiegler added.
Some 253 galleries from around the world have been featured and the 2021 edition is the most inclusive yet, according to organizers, with the addition of new artists representing several African countries.
When asked by Efe whether he was concerned Covid-19 would drive visitor numbers down, Spiegler said that despite the foreseeable drop in viewer numbers (around 30%), what was remarkable was the high quality of the work exhibited and the palpable excitement.
Collectors charged through the fair unfazed by the ominous news of the Omicron variant of coronavirus spreading across the globe, with solid sales being recorded.
A Banksy titled Charlie Brown, which depicts the popular Peanuts frontman with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth while he pours petrol from a can, sold for $4 million.
One of the quirkier offerings is a piece that is offering the most expensive cup of coffee in the world at around $1,000. The intervention is a pop-up shop in collaboration with artist Danny Casale, also known as Coolman Coffeedan, The Art Plug founder Marcel Katz and Superlost Coffee.
British set designer Es Devlin will on Thursday present a monumental labyrinth at the Jungle Plaza titled Five Echoes and commissioned by the iconic Chanel perfume No. 5.
The immersive experience has been described as a journey that will put your sense of direction to the test as viewers are swamped in a forest of trees, light and delightful odors.EFE