MIAMI—The most prestigious art fair in the Americas, the 2023 installment of Art Basel Miami Beach, in collaboration with UBS, brought 277 international galleries and 79,000 attendees to the Miami Beach Convention Center from Dec. 6-10.
The venue presented an updated five-sector floor plan this year to accommodate artist showings from 25 new participating galleries hailing from the U.S., Mexico, Brazil, France, the Netherlands, Poland, and Egypt. Additionally, Art Basel’s Conversations programming was centered on people of color, including Chance the Rapper; collector, curator, and philanthropist Estrellita Brodsky; and Cuban-born artist María Magdalena Campos-Pons.
In the exclusive upstairs Collectors Lounge, high-end brands took advantage of innovative artist collaborations. BMW tapped Alex Israel to present an AI-powered video installation, “REMEMBR,” which fused art with technology, using visitors’ smartphone footage to create a real-time, immersive work across seven custom-designed screens, which encased the new 100% electric BMW i5.
Across the way, Casa Dragones joined forces with Gloria Cortina Studio to unveil a sleek and dramatic Tasting Room laced with Mesoamerican and Mexican motifs. The intimate lounge played host to exclusive talks and the upscale Art-Tender Series, where a roster of artists crafted and served specialty cocktails.
“We were thrilled to be a partner of Art Basel Miami Beach, which underscores our commitment to celebrating contemporary art and design,” said Bertha González Nieves, Casa Dragones co-founder and CEO. “Presenting a Tasting Room inspired by obsidian from our agave fields showcases our passion for Mexican craftsmanship. The Tasting Room delivered a transportive concept where guests experienced our terroir firsthand.”
Outside the convention center, Miami Beach-based hotels took full advantage of the heightened foot traffic to produce satellite programming. Loews Miami Beach Hotel, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month, served as host hotel for SCOPE Art Show, which included a partnership with artist-in-residence Aaron T Stephan, whose work was showcased in the Palm Court and within the lobby—Stephan also served as the inspiration for nightly turndown amenity confections.
“Working with Aaron allowed us to further integrate with SCOPE Art Show and act as an extension to the fair,” explained Mutluhan Kucuk, complex managing director for Loews Miami Beach Hotel. “It was a wonderful way for guests to get a preview of SCOPE and then hop into an Acura VIP Shuttle to go to see more of Aaron’s work at the tent on the beach.” Plus, collage artist Derek Gores created a live installation, and brands including Ruinart, Delola, and St-Germain worked in conjunction with the culinary team to pair daily featured pours with signature bites.
Out on the sand, Loews welcomed the Chase Sapphire Lounge, which brought cardmembers to a day-to-night lounge build-out on the sand. “We had the pleasure of working with Chase Sapphire to create the Chase Sapphire Lounge on our beach, featuring immersive dining experiences, culinary showcases, and exclusive performances by Becky G and Miguel," Kucuk said.
Chase Sapphire was not the only credit card serving up artsy perks. Just a short walk from Loews, UNTITLED welcomed the Resy Lounge pop-up, where guests could spectate and then relax and recharge with an array of culinary delights curated by Stephanie Izard. Delta SkyMiles American Express cardholders scored swanky swag bags.
Amex also activated on the sand at Miami Beach EDITION Thursday to bring PLAY by American Express Platinum, in partnership with PlayLab Inc. and Mattel Creations, to display an array of toys as limited-edition collectibles from artists including Salehe Bembury, Eny Lee Parker, Surin Kim, Serban Ionescu, and Kumkum Fernando. To round it out, chef Kwame Onwuachi hosted a Saturday night poolside soiree with Marriott Bonvoy American Express, inviting movers and shakers to indulge, imbibe, and peruse multi-medium art from Kelly Dabbah at W South Beach.
Food was undoubtedly a central theme at this year’s art extravaganza. COTE Miami’s Art After Dark in the Design District was the hottest Thursday night bash, debuting its “Relationships” exhibition to bring everyone together with art and food, and works curated by COTE owner Simon Kim, Rosa Sue Kim, and Ji Park of Artline were displayed. Executive chef David Shim fired up the grills to serve exclusive bites, while principal bartender Sondre Kasin debuted the ready-to-drink One Time cocktail featuring Ten To One Dark Rum and Vita Coco Coconut Water in a can designed by artist Devin B. Johnson.
When it came to the late nights, in partnership with BDG, NYLON stole the show with two weekender fetes that were the hottest tickets in town. On Friday night, the lifestyle pub upped the ante with NYLON House presented by e.l.f. Cosmetics, which graduated from a hotel pool party in 2022 to a 3,500-guest beach tent blowout behind Cadillac Hotel & Beach Club. Guests danced to beats by Rampa, Desiree, Talon, and Luciana Scallioni, and got all dolled up thanks to beauty brands like Keys Soulcare, Sally Hansen, and Vera Wang Fragrance, while snacking on Cheetos and sipping Patrón El Alto cocktails.
“NYLON has always had its pulse on music and nightlife culture. We want to bring that spirit to all of the world’s biggest stages and moments from art to fashion, sports, gaming, etc., and Art Basel was a big part of that strategy,” said BDG's executive vice president of brand marketing and experiential, Lindsay Leaf. “NYLON holds a rich legacy as a cultural powerhouse, and talent, influencers, and brands have an appetite to engage with the experiences we are creating.”
On Saturday evening, NYLON Nights took over the spacious backyard of an iconic Star Island mansion known for its association with Scarface. Leaf says this affair was the more “intimate” of the two, bringing 800 guests to an elevated experience set against the backdrop of the stunning Miami skyline. In partnership with BODYARMOR—which supplied a fully stocked Flash I.V. fridge—guests grooved to sounds by Guy Gerber and DJ Rony Seikaly while Patrón El Alto helmed the bar. The showstopper of the night, though, was the omakase speakeasy pop-up from Sushi By Bou with its family-style sushi platters and bottomless sake pours. But it was the surprise Tuna March of a 200-pound fish imported from Spain—with front-row carving art by David Bouhadana himself—that was all the rage at this NYLON Night.
For more of the 2023 art, spirits, after-hours, and brand highlights, continue on to our colorful gallery below...