BASELFACED: Art Basel Miami 2011

Category: , By bassfaced


As Fall began to lend it's way into Winter here in the Northeast, a trip down to Miami for this year's Art Basel seemed to be the best way to absorb some culture and much needed Vitamin D before the Winter's hibernation set in.  With accommodations the only plans set in stone, fresh from the airport it was off to the hostel to get situated.  After the first of many drinks imbibed on the patio with fellow hostellers over the weekend, the next move was to Wynwood to check out the art walk and support some of NYC's graffiti icons.

.:THURSDAY:.

If you reside within the 5 boroughs, than you've undoubtedly seen the works of 2ESAE & SKI (aka Mike Baca & Fernando Romero) on rooftops, billboards, boxtrucks, or perhaps even bought pieces from them down on Prince St. on the weekends.  For those less familiar, you can read up on the UR:NY story HERE.

In collaboration with POP! International Galleries, December 2011 saw the unveiling of their 'Breaking & Entering' gallery show in Miami's Wynwood arts district, celebrating the duo "breaking & entering" into the gallery scene on their own terms.  Thursday night the gallery opened doors to the public complete with a spread of food, tequila, and a DJ spinning tracks in the backyard where just about any surface was plastered with throwies from both artists.

 
Another notorious NYC writer flying South this Winter for Art Basel was Bronx born & bred COPE2.  After lining the stomach with a healthy coat of free booze, it was time to cruise down the alleyway and make moves towards COPE's 'Rise To The Occasion' opening.

One of the MVPs of Wynwood this year, Cope's infamous clean bubble letters could be seen throughout the neighborhood, collaborating on walls with the likes of 2ESAE, SKI, Buff Monster, Lister, & the London Police.
     
His 'Rise To The Occasion' show featured a number of vibrant collage canvases incorporating old Daily News clippings, vivid colors, and his patented graffiti outlines and handstyle.  The ladies behind Kweenz Destroy also created a pop-up shop within the gallery, on their grind hustling a variety of their recent apparel releases.

 
Lister / Col / Chanoir / Cope2 / Pez / Free Humanity

After stopping briefly through Miguel Paredes gallery to pilfer some Sapporo, it was off to survey the Food Truck scene set up in an abandoned lot down the street.  After pangs of drunken indecision, the lure of the Arepabox truck and the "Cachapa", a sweet corn arepa filled with Gruyere cheese and slathered with a variety of green and red hot sauce, proved to be too much to resist.

Thursday night also marked the kickoff of the Sin City tour featuring N-Type, Hatcha, and MC Crazy D.  Miami local Juan Basshead helped get the night started with a set of varying tempos and going in on some DnB heavy hitters during the last half hour of his set.  Hatcha & N-Type's B2B 3-hour set included a healthy variety of music spanning across the dubstep spectrum.  Gritty tunes from Lost, Benton, and Coki, as well as some deeper bits from Mala and Phaeleh with Crazy D holding down vibes on the mic, proving why his banter game is second to none.  Big up the entire Miami Dubstep family for the hospitality.

"largin up full crew, you know what to do"

.:FRIDAY:.

In dire need of an electrolyte transfusion and some greasy sustenance, Friday started out with a trek to Little Havana to get the day started with the famous Cubana Frita from El Rey De Las Fritas.

The chorizo patty, creole sauce, and deep fried potato sticks sandwiched between a fresh Cuban roll proved to be the prescribed hangover cure.  A quick Cuban coffee later and it was time to cruise Calle 8 to sweat out the remaining booze.

After a quick lesson in cigars and dominoes at one of the many Cigar Lounges along SW 8th St, it was off to Maximo Gomez Park to check out the social epicenter of Little Havana in action.  Art seemingly inescapable over the weekend, THIS Blek Le Rat piece was spotted en route.

On the docket for Friday night was another venture to Wynwood for the opening of the Underbelly Project group show.  Started in the Spring of 2009, the large scale art project ushered over 100 artists representing 15 countries through one of NYC's long abandoned Subway stations to leave their mark deep underneath the konkrete jungle.

Taking to a warehouse on NW25th St in Wynwood, the Underbelly Project organizers brought together a sampling of art from the artists involved in the year long project.  The exhibition also featured a wall of screens looping time lapse footage of the artist's contributions to the subterranean art cache back in Gotham.  With some time to kill before heading to the Electric Pickle for the Wolf + Lamb / Soul Clap residency, it was time to take in a beer down at the Wynwood Walls themselves, a huge catalyst in the ongoing transformation of the neighborhood.

 

Dubtribe Soundsystem @ Electric Pickle

.:SATURDAY:.

Saturday started off with a stroll up Collins Ave. to the Aqua Hotel, the site of the Aqua Art Fair.  The two-story hotel's 40+ rooms are gutted for the weekend, as participating galleries from across the country are given a blank room and free reign to showcase the artists in their collections.  While the fair featured many a head-scratching piece of art, a notable standout were the paintings of Jason Bryant courtesy of Porter Contemporary Gallery.  Another highlight being the photography of Dulce Pinzon in room 218 curated by Alida Anderson Art Projects.

Miami Horror covering 'Once In A Lifetime'  @ Electric Pickle

.:SUNDAY:.

After a lifetime being shunned by family and peers in NY, it was time for this Dolphins fan to finally be among his people.  With an Australian in tow primed for his first NFL experience, we headed to Landshark Stadium around 11am to take in the sights and aromas of the bustling tailgate scene.  As hordes of shit-talking Raiders fans descended upon the parking lot, we crushed our remaining domestic piss beers and proceeded to watch the Dolphins absolutely trounce Oakland 34-14.

And the crowd goes wild....

Sunday night's debauchery was provided by the Overthrow's Art Basel edition of their Hard2Leave party at Gold Rush.  Track selections were about what you'd expect from a Strip Club DJ'd by Ninjasonik, Craze, and the Overthrow DJs.  DJ Assault & DJ Funk would have been proud.  Out to Tamara Sky for dropping 'Bassface' and proving that Sound Pelligrino tunes go off in the titty bar too.


.:MONDAY:.

Waking up to a severe dent in the wallet and hangover to match, a walk from South Beach to Wynwood seemed the most economical, albeit extremely inconvenient of options.  After asking many a local for directions and being told that walking simply wasn't an option, the stubborn New Yorker in me refused to be denied.  The causeway connecting the beach from downtown Miami may not have been open for pedestrian traffic, but 7.2 miles later and a few hours worse for ware, it was time for one last stroll through Wynwood before heading to MIA International.

After catching Rime busting the outline for his 50-character mural on Thursday night, it was time to check out the finished product in all it's glory.  In addition to mowing the spot on NE Miami ave, he was also asked to recreate Revok's 'We Own The Night' piece outside of the Underbelly Project warehouse.

The next stop was to the Kohn Compound to check out the murals of the Graffuturim "In Situ" installation.  Participating artist Eric Haze provided a foreward for the Co11ective group exhibition which you can find HERE.

Further down the block was a fresh production wall from IMOK's Ewok (5MH), Jick, & Mast.  For more fresh Ewok debuted at this year's Basel, you can also check out his Brainlington video blog here.


Last but not least, this year's Ironlak wall centered around a fiery piece from Sofles with a background of paint drips provided by OG, Risky.  Other artists participating included VANS, KEMS, VIZIE, JURNE, EWOK (MSK), and REMOTE .



Miami, it was real.  We'll be seeing you next year.  Special shouts go out to the Miami Beach hostel crew for keeping the vibes lively all weekend long.  Out to anyone and everyone I met along the way.  Your time!!

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