Art Basel Miami Beach: Parties and Exhibitions Kick Off the Week

The VIP opening of Art Basel Miami Beach is two days away, but the parties have already begun. From the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens to the Historic Hampton House and Nina Johnson's house, the art crowd is gathering to celebrate and explore various exhibitions and events.


The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens: A Digital Art Gathering

On Monday, the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens hosted one of the most prominent events of the night. The property, originally developed by James Deering in the early 1900s, is known for its stunning tropical gardens and unique architectural style. However, on this particular night, the guests were not the typical upper-crust art crowd, but rather the NFT and crypto enthusiasts. Digital artists and collectors mingled in the beautiful setting, highlighting the intersection of physical and digital art.

The party was organized by Trame, a Paris-based digital art gallery, and ARTXCODE, a generative art agency. The main courtyard showcased the works of Jeff Davis and Martin Grasser, with their generative art pieces transformed into stained glass. The event emphasized the significance of physical expressions in the digital art sphere.

Historic Hampton House: A Celebration of Refuges

After the Vizcaya Museum, the art crowd headed to the Historic Hampton House Motel. This Green Book hotel was known for providing lodgings to Black travelers during the Jim Crow era and has hosted historic figures like Malcolm X and Ella Fitzgerald. Curated by collector Beth Rudin DeWoody, the motel presented its first-ever exhibition titled 'Gimme Shelter.' The show featured works by 25 artists, including Derrick Adams, Nick Cave, and Carrie Mae Weems, celebrating the concept of refuges.

The exhibition took place throughout the motel's preserved rooms, with a jazz singer and bassist performing in the old ballroom. The upper rooms were converted into exhibition spaces overlooking the courtyard, which became a lively dance floor. Notable figures from the art world, such as Marc Spiegler and Jeffrey Deitch, were in attendance to mark the inaugural exhibition.

Nina Johnson's House: An Intimate Art Experience

The final stop of the night was at gallerist Nina Johnson's house in the Shorecrest neighborhood. Guests entered through a path lined with paper lanterns, leading to a ranch-style house with a gourd-shaped pool. Throughout Johnson's meticulously styled house, artworks by prominent artists like Cindy Sherman and Katie Stout were on display.

Despite being a more intimate setting, the atmosphere was lively with the jazz-soul trio Fat Produce providing the musical backdrop. Attendees immersed themselves in the art-filled space and enjoyed the flowing bourbon. Some guests, like Adam Mrlik from Cultural Counsel, couldn't resist the party vibes and fully embraced the Miami spirit. However, not everyone indulged excessively, as gallerists preparing for NADA the next morning opted for a more low-key experience.