The Miami Post-Mortem

cityfile · 12/09/09 09:02AM

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.

It's Business as Usual at Art Basel

cityfile · 11/23/09 12:40PM

Because the art world couldn't possibly be expected to dial things back two years in a row, Art Basel Miami Beach, which kicks off next week and runs through December 6, is expected to be bigger and better than ever!

Miami Art Basel Goes Out with a Whimper

cityfile · 12/08/08 09:47AM

Like a depressing microcosm of the problems afflicting the world at large, Miami Art Basel was a shadow of its former wild and ostentatious self and has drawn to a close, leaving debt, hangovers, and photos of Pamela Anderson's ass in its wake. Despite elaborate prevarication from certain onlookers, the combination of thinner crowds, a subdued mood, and desperate discounts left no one in any doubt that the art bubble has truly burst.

Art Basel: Looking, Partying, Little Buying

cityfile · 12/05/08 10:40AM

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."

Desperate Times, Desperate Measures

cityfile · 12/04/08 04:02PM

♦ Mimosa yellow is the color of 2009. [Vogue]
♦ Massive discounts helped lead to a 15 percent boost in sales on Cyber Monday. [WSJ]
♦ Retailers are pulling out all the stops to lure customers to stores this holiday season. [NYT]
Anna on the recession: "I see a lot of people in my industry who are over-reacting. Stores that are over-discounting, designers who are creating collections for the price and what sells rather than to reflect who they are." [Jezebel]
♦ Topshop is "definitely" opening in NYC by the end of March. Ha. [Glamour]
♦ Happy accidents: Lumigan, a drug used to treat glaucoma, makes your eyelashes longer and prettier, too. [MSNBC]

Meltdown in Miami

cityfile · 12/04/08 12:41PM

Art Basel Miami, the most talked-about art event of the year, is in full swing and all the usual suspects have turned up. At a party on Tuesday night hosted by the Times' T magazine and hotelier Andre Balazs, faithful scenesters like Calvin Klein, Takashi Murakami, Naomi Campbell, Rachel Zoe, Yvonne Force Villareal, Dasha Zhukova, and Ingrid Sischy all put in appearances. So how is it all going? It sort of depends who you ask! Judging by the breathless coverage on sites like Fashion Week Daily, all seems to be fine and well. It's "bigger than any recession-concerned naysayers could have predicted," reports Adam P. Schneider in a piece titled "The Best of Times." Over at Dasha's table, for example, the "important topic" on everyone's lips wasn't the recession; it was the "internet craze surrounding Shiba Inu puppies." Of course it was! Unfortunately, that cheerfulness escaped New York's Alexandra Peers, who reports that the fair itself had about half as many people as last year, and that everyone is still waiting for the gazillionaire buyers—like, say, Dasha's boyfriend, Roman Abramovich—to show their faces."Everyone is asking, where are the Russians?" Yes, Miami is very much empty at the moment, as we confirmed when we made a few phone calls this afternoon.

Federal Probe Puts Further Damper on Art Basel

cityfile · 12/03/08 11:05AM

So there won't be so many wealthy bankers as usual at the Miami Art Basel this week. But people can at least expect to see lots of top execs and clients of the fair's sponsor, Swiss banking giant UBS, right? Sadly for already-despondent artists and dealers, it looks like a few of them may be well-advised to stay away, too: The FBI is reportedly heading down to Miami to mount a sting operation to ensnare a certain breed of tax-evader: Those for whom art collecting is a convenient method of surreptitiously moving vast sums of cash around, and if you have an anonymous Swiss bank account, even better!

Art Basel Miami: Plenty of Rooms Still Available

cityfile · 12/01/08 02:59PM

It's not just dealers and artists who will be feeling the effects of a much more subdued atmosphere at this year's Art Basel. Further evidence that the annual art event is not going to be teeming with hedge fund moguls, Russian billionaires, and party scenesters as in years past: Rooms at Miami's top hotels are not at all hard to come by, judging by what's available on sites like Expedia and Orbitz. A run-of-the-mill room at Andre Balazs's Standard Hotel, for example, will cost you $426 a night if you arrive on Thursday and leave on Sunday. And there are availabilities at a number of other spots that would normally be booked months in advance, including the Delano, Sagamore, Shore Club, Four Seasons, Gansevoort, and Ritz-Carlton. If you're thinking of making a last-minute trip south, you need not worry about transportation either. Seats aboard flights from NYC to Miami are still up for sale, and although we didn't call to check, we're guessing that NetJets customers won't have any trouble booking a reservation either.

Art Basel: Predictions Dire

cityfile · 12/01/08 08:19AM

This week's Miami Art Basel, the world's most important art fair and normally a scene of champagne-soaked excess as wealthy art lovers convene to outdo each other on spending tens of millions on star artists, has a gloomy cloud over it as the art market experiences a dramatic dive. The hedge funders probably won't be snapping things up—even those who haven't been crushed in recent months are likely to deem big spending unseemly—while buyers from the emerging markets like India, the Middle East and China, who had recently swelled the ranks of serious collectors, won't be making an appearance.