A week of pure, concentrated art at an event attracting the major galleries of the world, where the multifaceted languages of different artists met in set-ups, performances and sculptures, and crowds of collectors and professionals from the field gathered. This is Art Basel Miami, the Swiss show that has turned Basel, Miami and Hong Kong in international capitals of contemporary art.
The world of art might be perceived as en elite universe, only meant for a niche of visionaries and critics, yet the 2019 edition of Art Basel, which just ended, was welcoming to the mainstream culture, and opened the artsy club’s exclusive halls to the language of the fashion system. A bond of art and fashion, which still held a wide appeal, although the event was centered on works that led to questioning the meaning of art, like a banana hung with tape, the latest provocation by Maurizio Cattelan, sold for 120,000 Euros.
Apart from ready-made pieces that led to think “I could have done it, too” (the Italian for which, “Potevo farlo anch’io”, is actually the title of an essay by critic Francesco Bonami), Art Basel Miami was a chance to have a look at two fashion pop-ups: one for the launch of a collab between Adidas Original and the Billionaire Boys Club, celebrated with Hebru Brantley and guest stars like Pharrel Williams, and one from Levi’s – the Levi’s Haus – focused on sustainability.
Experiential spaces, but also capsule collections, such as Valentino’s one, created in collaboration with American artist Emilio Villalba, from San Francisco, which resulted in a limited-edition line of ten bags that the artist painted by hand. Unique pieces that stand out for their graphics picturing eyes and lips, with a lithography numbered and signed by the artist himself.
The synergy behind the Vsling bag was celebrated at the label’s boutique in Miami, whose exteriors were revamped for the occasion with a new façade decorated with printed, colorful vinyls by Villalba, plus an interior set-up all inspired by the painter’s creations.
Art and fashion can build timeless dialogues, where know-how intertwines with creative visions to shape iconic lines, far from the hectic pace of fashion and worthy of any collector’s treasure.