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ART BASIL 2021 GOES BEYOND THE PREDICTABLE FINDING INSPIRATION IN UNEXPECTED PLACES.

With an estimated 60,000 ‘art aficionados’ arriving on Miami’s shores to ring out 2021 – a curated calendar of recommended gatherings, pop-up art fairs and events was recommended by Art Basil organizers.  Reveling in the freedom of in-person face-offs this year’s Art Basel bid adieu to an interminable time-out (that bordered on dystopian).   Representing roughly a 25% drop from 2019 this year’s iteration was navigable, manageable and enjoyably immersive.

Art Basil, (artbasil.org) formed in 2013 is an ad hoc group of associates, collectors, influencers, publicists and the ‘art curious’ celebrates the annual Art Basel and Miami Art Week with a prescient calendar of what they deem to be the ‘best’.   The venues they recommend take guests off well-trodden paths with insider’s access to roads less traveled. Their endorsements are a combination of spontaneity, unbridled exuberance with precise, caring curation by their hosts.

Art Basil acolytes do what artists do. They look beyond the expected. Inspiration is found in surprising places. They search for deeper meaning than paint on canvas.  Homage is paid to culinary artistry, conscious fashion, ecological advocacy, and sustainable living at the nexus of an Art Fair of epic proportions.

‘La Bella Vita’ lapped at the shores of Miami’s own Riviera.  The gala reveal and champagne reception of the futuristic TOPDOC Clinic, installed in Brickell’s Four Seasons, was an indisputable highlight.  Milan based Istituto Marangoni, with a campus in the Miami Design District unspooled a multi-story exhibit of urban-centric contempo Italian artists.  Paying homage to fashion and  architecture that top-drawer gathering was complimented by a  feast of sushi and free pouring Prosecco.  Prine Lorenzo Borghese brought trombones, vintage jazz and South Beach Brewery libations to the Gates Hotel.  Here is Moon River (youtube.com/watch?v=0BfUDyvdTSE ) with a fusion of tastes and fine dining alongside a shimmering intercoastal.  The kitchen serves up a gourmet version of Colombia fare influenced by the Hamptons by way of Apulia.

Basel guests also witnessed an emergence of a strong, empowered coterie of woman artists.   Driven by a cosmopolitan sensibility, earned financial security and gender indifference they are putting their art out front with bold statements, that more often than not, uncover epiphanies in the mundane.  

Now that she has conquered Roma garnering favorable reviews by Italy’s most respected art critics, Pasqualina ‘Lina’ Russo is an artist to watch.  Linarusso.com – @artbylinarusso  She has plans to set up a shop + studio in Allapattah and Mid Miami Beach. Also at the pinnacle of an emerging entourage of artists expressing feminine wiles is Faith Kohler who interprets social strife through rose tinted glasses. https://www.faithkohlerartist.com/

Sculptor Rebecca Setareh exhibited her sensual and powerful object’s de arte on the futuristic  Arkup floating mansion.  Nathaly Diaz whose work is dazzling and ‘all get up and go’ is planning a future iteration of a children inspired ArtBasil 2022.   

Channeling her body as a muse, Lillian Merritt exhibited her surreal photography at the Beauty & Basel Champagne Reception for TOPDOC Clinic.  Joining sculpture Richard MacDonald, Lillian’s photo installation was part of the Latin influenced contemporary permanent collection at the Four Seasons on Brickell Avenue.  A showcase of works by 35 artists including sculptor Fernando Botero, Cuban multimedia artist Jose Bedia, Miami painter Hernan Bas, Edouard Duval-Carrè and an installation by Venezuelan Jesus Rafael Soto.  Here is where ‘Beauty and Art’ are synonymous making the Four Seasons the irrefutably perfect home to a TOPDOC Clinic.

Allapattah a burgeoning destination surrounded by the Miami Design District, Wynwood Art District and Downtown.  A jewel in the rough for those with discerning tastes, the Rubell Studio Complex played host to the Aspen Institute.  Since its debut in December 2019, the Rubell Museum continues to expand its exhibition series and collection highlights with swoon worthy works by Natalie Ball, Yayoi Kusama and Kara Walker.  Also unveiled were new exhibitions featuring Artists-in-Residence: Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe, Genesis Tramad.ine, and Kennedy Yanko.  The perfect complement is another Allapattah haunt the oh-so ‘Super Blue’.   Says Kacie Schweikhardt, “Here is an immersion of light and craft. The multi-sensory terrain is attended by spheres, pyramids and shapes that suggest insights into the finite to the infinite”. 

For those in the know ‘Artapattah’, a term coined by musicologist and visionary James Quinlan. Also known as Fashion Allapattah District, F.A.D. , here was the destination de rigueur for those in the know.  Thanks to those who believe the historic neighborhood must be saved from the greed-mongers and bottom liners. Do not blink or you may miss Allapattah’s make over as it undergoes renovation, rehabilitation and a hoped for ‘reprieve’ from the wrecking ball.   

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