Stars and Cars of Art Basel

Regina Kolbe is an arts journalist and President of PR To the Trade, a marketing firm specializing in arts and antiques. She writes The Art of Marketing the Fine Arts and The Art Release. Regina is currently in Miami covering the contemporary art scene.

SOUTH BEACH, FL.  Art Basel is looking like something of a Black Friday event for the rich and famous.  Despite that, it’s turning out to be a fantastic resource. In addition to seeing  how the other half buys art,  the seminars are worthwhile.

Today, there was a round table on how to conserve ephemeral art. The larger question was, as it has been for some years now, should ephemeral art even be repaired or is its decay part of the artistic process?  The timing of the event was incredible.

Yesterday a collector became so engrossed in a Rauschenberg that he stepped back and crushed a portion of Ai Wei Wei’s porcelain sunflower seed mound.

Ai Wei Wei
Ai Wei Wei's Sunflower Seed Mound

And on preview day, another fair goer stepped into Brazilian artist Laura Lima’s white flour installation and left white footprints in his wake.  The  price on the installation was $45,000.  I don’t think it was downgraded due to lack of quality ingredients.

The whole event made George Hamilton, who was in the vicinity, go for a beer.  (Or so the rumor rippled.) Meanwhile, there were sightings of  Julian Lennon, Danny Glover and André Balazs .

Today’s lectured  ended with a video of the  ephemeral art event by Kreemart. Held in a butcher shop, cake with blood red icing served a multitude of purposes that left walls and white aprons stained. Afterwards, the uniforms were reduced to ash.  If not for video, the whole thing would have faded into a bad dream.

When I left tonight  I realized the art was rivaled by a line up of high end super cars.  There were several  Ferraris and Lamborghinis, a Maesarati, a Porsche Panamera, an Aston Martin and a Bentley. (And I trudged home on foot; nary a taxi in sight.)

Just one of the Porsches at Art Basel

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