Michael the III takes us through the "who's who" of the art world and his groundbreaking shawarma plate installation in booth A13.
I schmoozed all weekend and examined more art than I thought possible. I ignored even more. I found out I’m okay with abstract expressionism now. More than once, I even smiled. I didn’t have an invite to the hottest event of the weekend, but I found a way in, almost.
Jason Jackson, 36, is an art dealer and the most likely person to get me into the party of my dreams. His keen eye for subtext and unmatched understanding of his clients’ desires earned him the title of 2017’s Best Art Dealer in New York City. In Miami I’m not so sure of his skills, for there I was desiring to be a plus-one more than I ever had desired it before and he did nothing but mention art to me. What a bore.
If you only saw to see one piece of art at Art Basel in Miami Beach, I hope it was the Liechtenstein Booth in Section A13. It’s actually Jason Jackson’s booth of choice. Right next to it you’ll find a white dais on which I left a plate of shawarma. It doesn’t sound like much, I know, but Lilian Zhāng, art-critic extraordinaire, was absolutely floored by its brilliancy. I tried shouting, “Hey lady! That’s not art, that’s my lunch!” but she wouldn’t hear of it. Quite frankly, I was ashamed I hadn’t seen its potential first because before long, the shawarma plate had its own hashtag and sold for just under $15,000. Pending a janitorial sweep, it’ll still be there now.
Carlos Lopez, age 21, is Miami’s new it-boy. We met when he DM-ed me and I liked his photo. He drives a yellow convertible and is most recognizable for his colorful sense of fashion. Carlos and I have never met until now, but that has never stopped either of us from having a good time before. One would think an it-boy could get you into an it-party, but Carlos is more inspiring than inspired. His nude portrait was on display at the McDonna’s pop-art booth, H21. It’s quite a very tastefully done nude, so tasty you might put it in a dining room. It is, of course, best suited for non-vegan homes, unless like Carlos, it’s hung in the bedroom.
If you were looking to get a good sales pitch, you should have looked no further than Bill Yeardley at Booth B33. Angle your body in the direction of one of his pieces and you’ll soon enjoy the unique tranquility that comes with knowing exactly how you’ll be spending your next 49 minutes. His impressive speech informs you of not only what you’re looking at, but also what you aren’t. I would have bought something right then and there, only I was saving $90,000 for something else, like perhaps giving it to a doorman as a last resort.
One of the newer booths to the festival was “Yoga Art and Commerce,” J19, most popular for offering free take-away face masks. The masks are organic, of course, and infused with relaxing art scents like varnish, opening night cheese, and wine-breath. You may have seen them already all over Instagram, as if a facemask isn’t documented, it might as well not have happened. They’re the ones with Andy Warhol’s face printed on them. Oh, yes, I’m sure you saw them. Well, I took three: one for me, one for Carlos, and one to get into the party. Who could refuse Andy Warhol?
Pippa Daniels is the curator of MIMA, and at age 24 she is the youngest one yet. She also happens to be as big a gossip as I am. Pippa’s favorite piece was the giant elephant sculpture crafted out of imitation orange skin. I said, “Mine too!” Pippa bought three paintings for herself and a bas-relief for the MIMA. “I almost bought that one too!” When she brought up the after party I said, “Ya, see you there!”
My ex-boyfriend Christopher is an art baby. He was born on a canvas in 1981 and a jar of buttons was his first rattle. By the age of three, whilst other children played with wooden cubes, he had already mastered the art of cubism. When he was 13, he put on performative art pieces in the school gymnasium on the subject of middle school paranoia. We met not long after that. I saw him as I waited expectantly outside the after-party for any chance to get in.
Christopher had made it big as a museum director in London.
“Christopher!” I shouted, “It’s me, Michael! Listen, I know this is an odd time to apologize but I really didn’t know that was your brother until after we kissed. Well how was I supposed to know you hadn’t grown a beard? Oh Christopher, let’s just talk about this inside, can’t we? Say, you’re looking great! How’s that dog of yours? Say, how is your brother?!”
I didn’t end up getting into the party. Perhaps next year I will be more lucky. Perhaps, I’ll have that $90,000. Perhaps the bouncer will know less about Andy Warhol. My advice? Don’t kiss anyone unless you’re sure they’re your boyfriend. And as far as Art Basel in Miami Beach goes, skip the brunches. It’s best to observe art on an empty stomach, for nothing fills a void like thousands of works of art, back to back. And nothing ever should! And if you happen to fall hungry, there’s always my shawarma in Section A13.
It used to be that you could live no more extravagantly than in a French cave, painting animals on your walls with twigs and berries, and you’d end up a renowned artist: the first of your kind, a genius. Today, if you’re not showing work at a major world exhibition, can we even call you ‘up-and coming’? For spectators too, there’s increased pressure. If you don’t know who Rothko is, do you even like art? If you go to Art Basel in Miami Beach and do not get an invite to the official after-party, are you even cool? The answer is yes, because I’m cool and I did not get an invite.