Board any Miami-bound plane on the first Monday after Thanksgiving and you’re bound to be sharing an armrest with someone from the art, fashion or design worlds. Head to the Institute of Contemporary Art later that evening, and you’ll run into half your flight.
Which is to say, just about everyone who makes the annual pilgrimage to Miami Beach for Art Basel counts the ICA’s opening reception, presented by W Magazine, as an essential first stop of a jam-packed week. On Monday, November 28, the museum had the raucous, electric energy of a long-awaited reunion.
Raf Simons, fresh off of the announcement that he’s shuttering his eponymous brand and looking crisp in a black Prada boiler suit, was among the parade of colorfully outfitted artists, collectors, donors and party people who took in exhibitions of haunting portraits by Jiang Cheng and expressive paintings by Hervé Télémaque in the ground floor galleries. Upstairs, Nina Chanel Abney’s forceful paper collages prompted close inspection, as did the late artist Michel Majerus’s colorful capitalist critiques on canvas. Abney herself was spotted in the sculpture garden, embracing friends and posing for photos with ICA artistic director Alex Gartenfeld.
Elsewhere in the sculpture garden, among installations by Sol Lewitt, Allora & Calzadilla and Mark Handforth, revelers caught up over citrus-spiked Maestro Dobel Tequila cocktails, getting up to speed on the must-see booths, exhibitions and more that fill the rest of the “Art Week” schedule. Also among the artistic crowd: architect Suchi Reddy, collector Aureta Thomollari, writer Jet Thoomer, ICA curator Stephanie Seidel, and Art Basel’s Stefanie Reed.
Anyone in need of a quick lipstick touch up or scent refresh before hopping in a car to their next event was in luck: In one corner, a team from Valentino Beauty was on hand to offer spritzes of their Born in Roma fragrance and samples of Rosso Valentino High Pigment Refillable Lipstick—guaranteed to last, even if it takes 45 minutes in creeping traffic to travel the three miles back from the Design District to Miami Beach.