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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hint Tip: The Sads

As if Art Basel Miami needed another anything, The Sads (Aaron Rose's indie band) are playing the Nike Sportswear/NADA/ANP Quarterly party with No Age and Panda Bear on Friday...

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Beat Goes On

Belgian-born designer Natalia Brilli, who makes accessories by wrapping things in taut black lambskin, introduces her dark sensibility to Art Basel Miami with a rock band from beyond the grave. For the installation at Alchemist boutique (438 Lincoln Road)—before it travels to Barneys New York, Park in Vienna, Reborn in Montreal and so on—she's encased three skeletons (each one took 500 hours!), a drum set, guitar, amp and mic in her signature black leather. It's kind of like the Grateful Dead, but without all the unfortunate tie-dye...

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Cyril Duval's third and final report from Art Basel...

So I've covered the booths and the parties of Art Basel, but what about the beaches? Luckily enough, your loyal servant was cordially invited to miss an entire day of the fair to board a private plane and be one of the first visitors to Dellis Cay. And, for me, it was the best part of Art Basel.

What is Dellis Cay, you ask? Only the latest brainchild of Dr. Cem Kinay, a Turkish tycoon who's built a myriad of resort hotels all around the Mediterranean. Looking for a new challenge, the charismatic entrepreneur recently bought an entire 560-acre island in the Turks & Caicos archipelago off the Florida coast, not far from the Bahamas. Teaming up with the Mandarin Oriental hotel group, he then started crafting his dream of a luxury resort on the island chain, with living environments designed by some of the greatest architects of our time: Zaha Hadid, Piero Lissoni, Kengo Kuma and Shigeru Ban, to name a few. Forget Dubai, the Emirates and their dreams of glory and modernism! Just surf to Dellis Cay for a glimpse of the future architectural leisure paradise.

Sarah of Colette (with whom I have worked on several projects, including the opening of Colette meets Comme des Garçons in Tokyo) and I were excited to go to the island, invited by Nadine Johnson, who runs such a fantastic PR company. As Sarah and I are more actors in the fields of art, fashion and design than press, our idea was to "cover" the island with a different angle: taking tourist-style pictures of ourselves on the island with a disposable camera. We also brought on two other musketeers: Jina Khayyer, the Parisian correspondent of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, and Simon Castets, a mischievous friend of ours and a talented private art consultant.

We left early in the morning from the Raleigh Hotel and boarded the jet, where we met the others, about 40 people in all, including Dr. Cem Kinay himself, as well as Piero Lissoni to view the site of his future creation, the first on the island to be realized. When the plane took off and we all received little press kit of Dellis Cay (each contained in an engraved iPod nano!), we decided to indulge ourselves in the pleasures of the jet set. Here I am talking about Dom Perignon. Then I don't remember much, except that we entertained the other passengers with our tricks. At one point, I decided to challenge the supreme coolness of art collector Jean "Johnny" Pigozzi, who was talking with Sarah, by adopting a 1930's movie star look—I put on a fake mustache and read the Herald Tribune upside-down.

Landing in Providenciales, the main island of Turks & Caicos, we passed through customs, got a cool new stamp on our passport, jumped on a private boat and rode fast on the warm and clear azure water toward Dellis Cay, which is still absent of any buildings. (Construction will start in the beginning of 2008 and the island will officially open at the end of 2009. I can't wait to come back for the official opening.) Stepping foot on the island was like a Christopher Columbus dream—well, at least before we were welcomed by a small army of smiling staff, all dressed in white and handing us a personal beach kit to enjoy the day.

More champagne glasses later, and after a buffet of lobsters tails, I headed to the private massage parlor, where I had one of the greatest massages ever. But the clock was running so we decided to go swimming and start our tourist shoot. Simon and I had prepared everything, after hours of compulsive shopping in Miami's tackiest beachwear shops. We had a painted coconut bra for the Jina, an American flag beach towel for Simon, and a tropical sunset towel with flamingos for myself, as well as some special props I had brought from my favorite shop in Tokyo, such as sunglasses without the lenses. (Originally I gave these glasses to Mark Eley of Eley Kishimoto, as he said he couldn't live without them. We agreed he would produce them under his label, we would share the profits and that this collaboration would be our Kelly bag!)

The shoot we made was hilarious and the polaroids captured the colorful aesthetic I was trying to set up. Simon and I had picked out a colorful centipede floatie to play with in the water, but we couldn't fit more than three on it. Johnny then told us that it was exactly the same centipede that Jeff Koons had exhibited a few years before at Art Basel. Maybe he found it in the same shop where younger brains would dig it out a few years later.

The day was almost over, so we left the island to its beautiful original state and took boats back to Providenciales, heading to the house of Dr. Michael E. Misick, the Premier of Turks & Caicos, for late cocktails. Here at his residence, with its grounds laid with rocks in the map of the archipelago, we would enjoy our last moments, joking with the Premier and his son, who obviously shares the same passion for sunglasses and cigars. Simon took the opportunity to talk with Dr. Cem Kinay, who remained a man of mystery during the day, learning how he convinced the aforementioned stars of architecture to participate in the environmentally concerned yet luxurious project: by calling it a challenge.

That is all about Dellis Cay, but the dream has just started. One last anecdote: I arrived for sunbathing the next day on Miami Beach with the Dellis Cay bathrobe I was given, when Sarah asked, "But Cyril, do you realize that you are wearing the bathrobe of a hotel that doesn't exist yet?" As we realized the veracity and beauty of what she said, Simon added, "Cyril, you're a walking Pierre Huyghe."

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Part two of Cyril Duval' Art Basel adventures...

Now enough about art, let's talk about the world of glamour and futility—parties! First up, the fete for the fourth edition of Javier Peres' Daddy magazine, hosted by himself, Terence Koh and Aron (the downtown don) in a men's strip club called Goldrush. Seeing the queer mafia in this crappy neon temple, symbolizing Western hetero cowboy power, was actually pretty cool—cute faces all around, no useless celebs showing off, plus everyone got free lap dances, thanks to Daddy Javier. Later, speaking of naughtiness, Monsieur Andre and his Le Baron team again provided the best place for finding trouble. Indeed one could meet almost anyone there, burning the last energy of the day in secret communion before waking up four hours later to buy and sell more art. Then there were parties for Purple, WOW, colette (this pic is of Sarah and myself), etc. So many parties, so little time.

And now, I'm still shocked by how people can throw a party and simply expect people to gather in an ill-designed space. I mean, an open bar isn't everything. Thus, the award for creative laziness goes to Visionaire's party to celebrate its latest art book, despite the hot vinyl records inserted inside, such as my pal Mai Ueda, with her great “I Wanna Buy Some Clothes“ track, and a hilarious backstage compilation by Michel Gaubert. Not only did they settle on MINI as their sponsor (do we care about a toy car gift?), but the doorman was possibly the bitchiest ever—fortunately, I didn't have to tangle with him. Upon entering, we were welcomed by half-naked, long-haired Chippendale look-alikes (I never thought I would one day say that—please someone bring back Hedi's skinny boys), who shamelessly pushed copies of the new Visionaire in our faces, as if we were shopping for live chickens in a New Delhi market. Plus, the music was all about Justice (nothing against them, but you know), the cocktails were kind of weird and we had to contend with an army of paparazzi trying to find the beautiful people. Perhaps they were waiting for late-arriving Linda Evangelista, as I was not.

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Not even the theft of his laptop at the Miami airport (and no, there is no back-up) could keep Cyril Duval from sharing a few of his Art Basel adventures earlier this month. Here, the first of three parts...

As the main exhibition is the focal point of Art Basel and what allows people to expense their trips, I'd like to start with my two favorite booths. (Look for party tidbits in the second part.) First, a big shout-out to ShanghART for its supermarket installation, which artist Xu Zhen filled with products to resemble a Chinese grocery store. (With my numerous trips to mainland China, I can vouch for the authenticity of every detail). But here, all the boxes, bottles and so on were emptied of their contents in what appeared to be a comment on his country's paradoxical images of wealth and want, and which were available to buy directly off the shelves (we spotted art stars Eva & Adele doing exactly that). What a beautifully poignant concept.

Not that I'm allergic to the decorative nature of art, and certainly Miami is the ideal place to shop for colorful art that matches your chinchilla couch. It's just that sometimes functional installations are stronger than paintings, in the way that a simple tropical fish tank might rock your interior more than a Damien Hirst. Some leading curators have long analyzed this, and I am here thinking of French critic Eric Troncy, who has constantly challenged notions of artworks as mere display elements. To him and myself, a juxtaposition of work by great artists—say, Jorge Pardo and Olafur Eliasson—doesn't automatically work.

Hint readers will know I'm sucker for the work of Terence Koh—so now for the expected mention of the Peres Koh booth, perfectly placed in a corner of the exhibition hall. As always, Koh's Art Basel contribution was a dark monolithic riff on love, sex, life, death and immortality. Although some people still don't get him (at least if you read and believe the blurbsunami that flooded APB online), I'm always amazed by his clever plays on the media and the art market through the crude yet oh-so-real reality of his art. There's no bullshit in his work. Chapeau, Mr. Koh!

Finally, am I the only one shifting from admiration and respect to exasperation and lassitude regarding the whole Reena Spaulings/Bernadette Corporation/Claire Fontaine conglomerate thing? I mean, yes, we know that capitalism doesn't always work (oh, and by the way, Andy Warhol knew, too), but they are still making a good use of it. Well, we all do, but at least we don't make morality issue out of it.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Iggy Pop and The Stooges throw a concert on the beach in Art Basel Miami. Photos by David Prutting...

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Saturday, December 8, 2007

Hint's art editor, Aric Chen, in Art Basel...

"You're eye candy; I can take CARE of you." That was Pharrell Williams's way of saying hi to my friend Josee Lepage, with whom designer Tobias Wong and I created a pop-up tattoo parlor at Design Miami. Earlier in the day, Williams had come by with KAWS and said he was into creating a tattoo for us sometime. But at dinner last night, at the home of real estate honcho Craig Robins (left) and Design Miami director Ambra Medda, Williams was apparently into other things. And so was Josee. "I can take care of you, too!" she shot back.

Josee wasn't the only eye candy there. Terry Richardson came in with some of his own, and as he walked past his self-portrait hanging in Robins's foyer, it was like seeing double vision—both Terrys were wearing the same red lumberjack shirt. Meanwhile, piles of sushi overflowed from buffets around the swimming pool, as uber-curator Hans-Ulrich Obrist held court and Paper's Kim Hastreiter gushed about the talented photographer Marcelo Krasilcic's project for the magazine earlier that day. Picture a stack of furniture with bananas on top. "He's Brazilian," Hastreiter explained.

Our bellies filled, we headed to the hot-ticket Visionaire party at the Delano, where the door scene was just a mild drama compared to the full-blown train wreck we expected. Inside, Cecilia Dean and outgoing Art Basel chief Sam Keller were chatting up our favorite architect, Jacques Herzog—"It's wild in here," Herzog told us—as models struck trashy poses in trashier dresses and Paul Marlow of un-trashy Loden Dager hinted that the menswear line was in for a big award (stay tuned).

Sarah from Colette won us over, telling us she had been wearing the temporary tattoo we were offering (the rest are permanent), before we headed to the Purple party at Le Baron. Amid the dancing throngs, we ran into a fresh-faced (and drinkless) Ryan McGinley, whose legs were dead, he said, from seeing all gazillion-and-a-half fairs, while Eli Sudbrack of Assume Vivid Astro Focus told us he'd been in town since Monday and still hadn't had enough. Purple's Olivier Zahm used our shoulder as a prop, leaping up to take photos of all the girls dancing on the furniture. And after having more drinks spilled on us than a rug in a frat house, it was 4 am and time to go home.

—Aric Chen

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