UR ENTERTAINED: Art Basel 2013 Review
Written by S. Renée
Miami’s arts district, also known as Wynwood, is no stranger to its streets being full of hungry adventurers ready to take in all the area has to offer. The entire neighborhood is laced with large-scale
mural and graffiti wrapped buildings, live street performances and galleries showcasing everything from traditional art pieces, to 3D & light productions, to the occasional fetish fix, and everything in between. This past weekend, however, not only wereSouth Floridians and the general tourist population lining these eclectic streets, but, seemingly, so was some bit of representation from every part of the world,as one of the largest, most popular art festivals took place as part of a yearly, Miami ritual. Art Basel swept through the city like a storm, uprooting the best artists and pieces that the mainstream & indie industry have to offer, from every thinkable place on the planet, and dropped them all of in this neck of the woods, making for one the most stimulating experiences around. The events were grand,
the artists were enthusiastic, and the attendees were thoroughly satisfied — the perfect formula for a successful outcome. Basel planners don’t have much to do in convincing the art world and its affiliates to visit Miami for a weekend in the middle of winter to enjoy all its shining benefits, but the team did an excellent job of ensuring that there was no shortage of events to attend, free booze to consume, and celebrity sightings to squeal over. Even the local indie scene grabbed the bull by the horns this year, making more noise than ever before. Art Basel 2013 lived up to its brawny reputation in every way imaginable, and here’s a quick rundown of some of the events I attended that roused, inspired, and left me begging that the weekend would never end.
eVolve – The First Photographic Exhibition of Robin V.
Hosted by international model extraordinaire Shaun Ross, Miami-based professional photographer Robin V. held her first solo exhibit at her studio in Bay Harbour. A true representation of her evolution to the photog she is today, the image lined walls showcased everything from her very first photo (taken of her son and boyfriend, producer Rico Love), 3 years ago, to the stellar pieces she creates today, for everyone from singers, to fashion designers to store owners, and anyone who’d loved to be “Shot by Robin V.” Outstanding work from a young, passionate, driven woman and artist…a true inspiration.
W@WW (W/HAT @RE W/E W/ORSHIPPING?) – KESH
With a slew of art and music intellectuals in tow, KESH hosted her one night only exhibit during Basel to a crowd of enthused purveyors, oozing with respect and admiration for the eccentric artist. Donned in her usual “all black everything” inspired garb, KESH took photos with some of the cool kids that arrived to show their support, along with fans and onlookers, giving the crowd a visual souvenir of their exploits. The vibe was fun, and the work, seen in person, lived up to and slayed well beyond its worth in photos. KESH = a rising artist already halfway up the ladder, with a more than promising near-future.
ArtKlüb Basel – Indie Music Showcase
When most were complaining that the local, independent music scene doesn’t get any of the spotlight during Basel, Miami-based creative crew ArtKlüb acknowledged the problem and created their own solution: a showcase of its’ own, and other indie, flourishing, local musical acts. Taking place at the illustrious, downtown jazz lounge Avenue D, the show was hosted by indie host and artist StefisDope, and came fully equipped with performances by the scenes’ heavy hitters, including Prez P, Twelve’len, Phresh James and the ArtKlüb founder himself, Ransooo Rockchild. #ArtKlubBasel provided the first taste of what I deemed #IndieBasel, the representation of indie Miami in the sea of talent that was Art Basel 2013.
Atlanta Renaissance, presented by Atlanta’s “City of Ink”
For anyone that lives in Atlanta, (or doesn’t), and really loves the art of tattooing, the names Miya Bailey and Corey Davis most likely automatically ring a bell, as these two are the owners, and are amongst the many amazing talents working out of City of Ink Tattoo Parlor, located in Castleberry Hill. What most probably don’t expect, and what separates COI from your run of the mill tattoo shop, is that all of the tattooers are outstanding visual artists first, that have decided to double team their talent, leaving their mark on canvas, and on skin. The shops commitment to collaboration and independent progression seeps heavily throughout their community, not only supporting indie through gallery and art exhibitions (some held directly in the shop), but by bringing along local musicians for the ride to the top. Now, how does this all relate to Miami & Art Basel? Taking place at the Wynwood indie haven WAKEUPSTAR* Studio, City of Ink’s best, including Bailey, Davis, Paper Frank, and others, along with ATL’s most promising young Hip Hop artists, including Two9, Tuki Carter & Forte Bowie, all showcased their visual and musical work at #AtlantaRenaissance, a display of the best art & music Atlanta has to offer. A dream come true for me (I’ve loved Bailey’s work for years, and always wanted to see his work and meet him in person), many other Miamians and Basel attendees were given the opportunity of a lifetime as well — a chance to mix and mingle with their idea of the “cool kids.”
Underwater Photography Exhibit by Renowned Photographer “Gug”
Of all the beauty captured on land, there’s nothing more majestic than what goes on beneath the sea, and underwater photographer Chris Gug has made it his life’s mission to catch it all. Showcasing fantastically stunning, large-scale pieces of his off land exploits, it was more his passion when speaking of those adventures that showed the real beauty of art. It can capture and claim you, and Gug has been a slave to his master ever since he was a child. Talks of one of the only elephants documented that wasn’t afraid to dive in, to taking years of shooting sea turtles before finally catching the right image, Gug’s passion, dedicated, and joyous journey on the unbeaten path is reflected in his work ten-fold.
VIVE Block Party – Closeout #IndieBasel Celebration
Closing out Basel weekend with a true bang, the VIVE Block Party was by far, one of the best events of the weekend. A true, old-school outdoor block party in the middle of Wynwood, VIVE was a celebration of life, and showed everyone that not single person should be sleeping on Miami’s indie scene. A multifaceted mix of Hip Hop, Pop, spoken word and the periodic DJ mix, VIVE satisfied all tastes, and gave the crowd words to hear, messages to believe, old school and new school beats to rock to, and and all-around, reminiscent good time. The perfect end to a more than perfect weekend.