Welcome to Paradise
Choosing between the umpteen cocktails, dinners, and after-parties of Art Basel Miami Beach's unofficial opening night was nigh on impossible. Most festivalgoers didn't bother, opting to hop from one hot spot to another.
Up first: a meal in honor of Moving the Still: A Festival of GIFs in Miami's Wynwood District, hosted by Milk/MADE's Mazdack Rassi, Jenne Lombardo, and Keith Baptista, along with (take a deep breath) Paddle8, Tumblr, Dom Pérignon, and SmartWater. "It's exciting because everything in New York is so discovered, and to come to a city where there is still that sense of newness and openness and emptiness and space is fun," Lombardo told Style.com. Space was the operative word. Hidden on either side of a candlelit anti-chamber were two tiny doors that opened to a giant black room—in the center of which were panels upon which moving images by Nicola Formichetti, Rodarte's Kate and Laura Mulleavy, and Nick Knight, among others, played on a loop.
Then on to North Miami, where the Museum of Contemporary Art and Vanity Fair were fêting the Bill Viola: Liber Insularum exhibition. Blinking above the museum's courtyard was a 30-foot-wide installation by Jack Pierson spelling "Paradise." We heard no arguments from the massive crowd, which included Bruce Weber, Tracy Emin, and Christian Slater. Later, Stella McCartney, Pharrell Williams, and Calvin Klein sat down to dinner at Mr. Chow in South Beach for more celebrating with the Phillips de Pury crew.
Elsewhere on Collins Avenue, London's White Cube Gallery hosted a kick-off party of its own at Soho Beach House, while at the James Royal Palm Hotel, Interview and Sotheby's were serving up coconut-crusted lobster skewers and alligator empanadas. Guests responded to the reptilian treats in varied ways; the most memorable response came from someone who declined the hors d'oeuvre: "I only like alligator on my bags."