Miami Beach, Wynwood District-Florida The connection between the euphemistically named ‘ArtBasil’ (artbasil.org) and Art Basel/Art Miami may seem tenuous. Guests attending the three hallmark ArtBasil affaires unanimously agreed on one cohesive point, “that serious ‘art’ appreciation was made more palatable with Master Chefs sampling their made on-the-spot ‘gourmet bites’ prepared by internationally acclaimed chefs and paired with stellar spirits and libations!”.
Celebrating its 11th year December 5-9, 2012, Art Basel (and Art Miami) permeated South Florida once again with the intoxicating aroma of turpentine, rampant commercialism, horn blaring grid lock and galleries jammed like clown cars. The unbridled success of ArtBasil was predicated on the immutable fact that no matter how sophisticated or primary the activity everyone still must ‘eat’.
ArtBasil’s creators and cultivators served up global artistic culture through a prism of finley prepared food and hand crafted libations to share, awe, and inspire as a homage to the vision and perseverance of Art Basel-Art Miamis’ founders.
Eschewing the idea of a cohesive brand, the ad hoc ArtBasil gatherings stand united in their defiance of any singular definition. Guests in attendance were as earnest in the manner of the Slow Food Movement, commercial as a tradeshow and jocular as a good-time gang bent on debauchery.
Embracing the legend of ‘Rock Soup’, where from a simple stone sustenance is born, ‘Basilites’ have one discernible mission. States Getty Global Assignments photographer and ArtBasil co-founder, Steve Levine, “We are an informal collective advancing the preservation of our fragile planet through resourcefulness and sustainable initiatives. In other words FINE FOOD + LIQUOR = PARTY”.
The coterie of participants and media attending ArtBasil combined their love for contemporary art with moments of epicurean bliss. Whetting appetites were exhibits that questioned gender polemics at the La Rete Art Projects’, ‘Boys or Girls? Who cares?’, Mauro Nicoletti’s consistently minimal Magazzino installations (magazzinoartemoderna.com) and Peter Anton’s experimental ‘Sugar and Gomorrah’, a reworked Carnival Ride. Countering Art Basil’s basic principle of ‘waste not, want not’ there were ubiquitous displays of gluttony in the way of obscenely priced Picasso’s and Dali’s.
Chefs participating in the premiere ArtBasil rallied with a quantifiable reevaluation of how the food and beverage industry is interacting with the environment. All along the food and beverage chain, fine food purveyors are donning ‘green genes’. There is a new found understanding of what needs to be done to economize for survivals sake. This shift is evident in the way menu items are sourced, kitchens are run, and waste is dispensed with. Participating chefs created menus and pairings that were designed to turn heads and invoke sighs of bliss.
ArtBasil reckons back to a time when social gatherings were not ‘friendings’ on Facebook and spam. Community interaction was defined with picnics serving the other ‘spam’ and open houses with family and friends were just an excuse to break out the ice, , light up and enjoy each others company. ArtBasil brings together culinary wizards long separated from their di
ners by a kitchen door and centuries of decorum to advance the notion that, ‘food shared is food paired with memories and moments savored’.
Steve Levine of Steady 70, principles from Vector International Pictures VIPictures.com , Celia Evans of PlanetFashionTV and RestaurantProducer’s Jerry Prendergast launched the idea of ArtBasil on November 10, 2012 drawing inspiration from Charlie Coiner and Jonathan Rousseau at the helm of Rock Garden Herbs.
With over capacity attendance at each gathering, ArtBasil collaborators are assured their unique recipe of “pairing food with art and film is a winning formula that has already garnered an enthusiastic following of foodies and fans, ” confirms Production Manager Katherine Danaher Chade.
By-invitation-only Art patrons and Red Dot’s exhibitors were joined by a bonafide Princess, Sheikh H. of Dubai, and Stefan and Sandy Segal, two generations of the family owned Atlantic Coast Developers. Their ACD team has built some of the Caribbean and South Florida’s most luxurious resorts and golf courses. Rumors floated around that the CEO of Zagat Guide had covertly ‘popped’ in to rub shoulders with a cadre of art students craving a bit of sustenance to augment their meager diets of Maruchan Ramen Noodles.
To launch the ArtBasil visual reality and brand Nova Villanueva of VIPictures.com devised show stopping artistic direction and graphics. Rhiana Hritz, led up the production team with assistance from Stewart Simmons, Nic Sharas and Elliot Schrib. Photographers Emmanuel Salvant, Christina Strong and Don Parchment captured the colorful proceedings on their digital cameras.
Having recorded the likes of the ‘the 21st Century Doors’ and ‘the Four Tops’; Jim Kalamasz, of the legendary Spectrum Studios produced the audio portion of live performances and endorsements that were heard over the din of munching and crunching. Brett Miller blogged and provided on-the-spot ideas to keep guests and sponsors happy, while the respected Law Firm of Steve Rossi provided appreciative kudos and taste testing combined with helpful legal consul.
Future ArtBasil gatherings are in the hopper and will be announced within days.
By Cristiane Roget (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Edit Provided by Elin Trousdale, of Le Bistro in Lighthouse Point.