Every December, artists, gallerists, and collectors all over the world pack up their blackberries and oversized sunglasses and join the mass exodus to the tropical art haven known as Art Basel Miami, the largest (and arguably most distinguished) art fair in North America. Celebrities, fashion designers, and not to mention anybody “who is anybody” in the art world flood the streets of the Design District flip-flopping between art events such as Art Miami and glamorous parties from names like Dior and Hermes. With all of this martini-laced artistic frivolity, sounds like the perfect way to savor a love of art with the elite, no? After our interview with Berlin gallerist and former Miami resident Daniele Mancinetti at Mila Kunstgalerie, the gig is up: many Basel-goers aren’t there for the art at all.
Mancinetti chose to attend the fair as a visitor this year because his Berlin gallery is not old enough for the age threshold to gain entry into Art Basel. However, because of his two year residence in Miami and his connections from his former career with fashion, Mancinetti is no stranger to this inner circle which frequents these kind of renowned cultural extravaganzas. “For me it was like almost like fashion week because there were exactly the same people from W and Vogue that I know.” he said. “I see them and say ‘Hey what are you doing here?’ and they say ‘Well what are you doing here?’… but I don’t think at the parties I heard a single conversation about art to be honest.”
Two Warhols Please, Do You Guys Giftwrap?
Uh, excuse me…come again? Maybe any period of time in an artistic paradise like Berlin could turn someone jaded against this sort of frivolousness at such a culturally important event, but I tried to remain hopeful. Someone had to be there for the art right? “I think you see the real art people at the preview before the fair opens and there is a press and VIP day on the 5th of December,” Mancinetti explained.”The real serious collectors, the ones that are in the market to buy the really expensive works, they don’t really care about all these parties.”
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