It's hard to believe that Art Basel Miami Beach only officially kicked off on Thursday, since it's essentially been going on the entire week—or at least since the queen about Basel, Paris Hilton, touched down on Tuesday. Now, however, with Drake's performances and Scott Disick and Sofia Rochie sightings out of the way, a little more attention can be paid to the actual art, whether the works now on view at the main fair's Convention Center home or the museums and galleries around town. Here's a cheat sheet to the most popular and out-there works you may have missed, aka the ones you need to Instagram to prove (or pretend) that you actually made it to South Beach.
Drake's drones weren't alone in the Miami sky in his performance on the beach. The Amsterdam duo Studio Drift let around 300 of them loose in a project called Franchise Freedom—a futuristic vision of the swirling phenomenon of a flock of birds termed a murmuration.
It's perhaps fortunate that the Bass didn't meet its expected deadline of finishing up the $12-million renovation of its landmark 1930s Art Deco building in time for last year's fair, because its re-opening just in time for this year's now has visitors finding themselves alternately delighted and disturbed by Ugo Rondinone's army of clowns currently occupying the museum, who are managing to steal the show even from the Swiss artist's omnipresent, DayGlo Magic Mountains installation.
Art lovers, collectors, and artists alike have flooded Miami's hotels, but only those who've passed through the Nautilus get the pleasure Suzy Kellems Dominik's 12-foot tall installation, I Can Feel, each time they step into the lobby. The vagina itself, though, is only 5'3.5", the precise height of the artist, and surrounded by fireworks that help illustrate the full, 27.68-second orgasm. (Make sure to click the video above for the full effect.)
Everyone from Beyoncé to Adele to Kanye West to the Metropolitan Opera has tapped Es Devlin for her inventive set designs, and while it doesn't have a celebrity attached to it, her latest work has a glittery star power of its own. A mirrored maze of an installation complete with video and sound effects, ROOM 2022 spans more than 7,000 extremely selfie-friendly square feet at the Miami Beach Edition for visitors to get lost in.
Philippe Parreno’s beloved inflatable fish have migrated from London's Tate Modern to the shores of Miami, though they're unfortunately not as free to wander in the Convention Center as they were in the museum's expansive Turbine Hall. This time around, the installation requires its very own balloon wrangler to keep its school of fish within the confines of Pilar Corrias's booth, though one still managed to escape before some staff from White Cube caught it. In total, the installation costs $412,818—not a bad bargain for 30 salmon, 30 smelt, and 30 roache balloons, plus 60 backups, though that doesn't include the price of helium that's currently being replenished to keep them in top form at the fair every day.
"Fair.", as it's called, made waves long before it opened in the Brickell City shopping center, thanks to its all too timely appreciation of women. The noncommercial fair, curated by Zoe Lukov and Anthony Spinello, features entirely female artists tackling all forms of sexism, from Yoko Ono and her Wish Tree, which has invited visitors to tie their wishes to it for decades; the Guerrilla Girls and their decades-old billboards calling women's underrepresentation in the art world which are unfortunately still all too timely; and newcomers like Reed van Brunschot, whose oversized "Thank You" bags add materialism and commodification to the conversation.
Lately, the buzzy up-and-comer Tschabalala Self, who has deep ties to Harlem, has been exploring her usual themes of race, gender, and femininity through the lens of bodegas, independent corner stores that are dying out despite their importance to New York's black and latinx communities in particular. Using the spaces as a metaphor for the treatment of black people in particular, her new show Sour Patch is separating Thierry Goldberg Gallery's new Miami outpost from the typical designer stores in the area with a full-on installation complete with tiled floors, likenesses of goods like laundry detergent and Hershey's bars, and, of course, that essential sliding-door freezer case of pints of ice cream and frozen Snickers bars.
...Even More Ice Cream!
One would think we'd all be sick of the Museum of Ice Cream by now, which has generated endless hype ever since it opened with a 70,000-person wait list in New York last year, but perhaps because Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, David Beckham, and all too many others made a point to stop by its L.A. edition late this year, pre-sale tickets to the preview of Miami's own, four-story version of the Instagram sensation sold out before the week even started. (FYI for those who won't manage to make it inside, they've generously decorated its façade with reasonably Instagrammable pink palm trees.)
Calling a nightclub an art installation may seem like branding, but Carsten Höller's three-night transformation of a former ice factory and 1920s film studio into the Prada Double Club, in collaboration with the Fondazione Prada, was so elaborate, it deserves a shout-out. Höller transformed the space with a technicolor outdoor tropical garden that leads to a black-and-white indoor disco, whose dance floor was such a hit that Miuccia Prada was spotted there late into the night.
With all the week's festivities, all too many seemed to identify with the skeleton that Urs Fischer stretched out on a bus stop in the Miami Design District, with a little help from Sadie Coles Gallery. The work has already proven itself meme-worthy.
Meet the Chameleons of the Art World, aka the Humans of Frieze New York: