July 30 2014

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At Art Basel, Swimming In The Nudes


Mara Hoffman is selling swimwear at during Art Basel Miami Beach out of an old, beat-up Airstream trailer. This being Miami, though, that’s not as bohemian as it might sound. For one thing, she’s seeing lots of black cards. (Hoffman did about $7,000 of business the first day, with Santigold among the clientele.) For another, she’s got limited-edition pieces (15 each) created in collaboration with a handful of contemporary artists, ranging from Spencer Tunick to Brooklyn-based muralist Maya Hayuk. Those two came to Hoffman’s presentation of the pieces at the Mondrian yesterday around sunset, where she explained how the whole thing came about: “I’ve got a lot of artists in my life.” Hoffman’s husband, Javier Piñon, is one of them—he provided her with a print for a swimsuit, too.

John Newsom’s parrot print, with bursting with tropical pinks and reds (above left), is perhaps the most eye-catching of the bunch. It’s also the one Hoffman relates to most. “The Spencer Tunick piece is a ton of nudes (above right)—it’s awesome, but I would never do that,” she explained. Newsom’s, on the other hand, “resonates with me as far as color, and richness, and kind of fun clothes…that’s sort of what I do normally.”

Wearable collector’s items, the suits are individually numbered and signed by the artist. Doing the breaststroke in one of them won’t necessarily lower its value, either. “We used a permanent pen,” Hoffman said.

Photos: Courtesy of Mara Hoffman

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