Weekend Flavor: Just Add Basel

You gotta figure that Miami is overrun about three times a year: (1) for Art Basel, which is happening immediately and through Sunday, so ya’ better get in your car – now; (2) for Winter Music Fest, and (3) for Hip Hop Weekend. But wouldn’t it be cooler if the crowds overlapped? If Basel’s fragile art collectors were seen riding shotgun in caddies with 26’s while rarely-heard ambient tunes floated peacefully from plush whips’ sound systems? One can dream. And with the way Basel has exploded, that dream gets closer to reality each year.

This year’s Basel runs from December 5 through the 9, but the major parties, exhibits, and galas occur during the weekend. With too many going on to examine each in detail (for more info see our Basel story in the front of the paper), here’s a couple of picks to keep you entertained. For a tasty slice of underground culture, check out Gen Art’s “Vanguard” exhibition and party tonight (Palm Court, 309 23rd St., just off Collins in Miami Beach). Gen Art always throws the greatest bashes (and it’s hell-bent on exposing you to the best emerging talent from the Europe and the U.S.) The exhibit is being curated by local-boy-turned-international-phenom Francisco Lo Castro and features 29 artists with work ranging from pop surrealism to urban contemporary. The party will be bumpin’ with complimentary beverages and a soundtrack courtesy of DJ Ray Millan. Tickets will run you $20 in cash at the door.

Another great must-see is Dope Art Dealer Jacqi Brown’s repeat offender exhibit “Pimp my Kart.” In “Pimp,” Brown refurbishes old shopping carts with rich excess, lavishly creating high-brow sculptures as a response to gentrification -- first of the homeless, then of the displaced artists. Last year you caught the show at Faktura Gallery, which, Brown explains, now exists only “theoretically.” With no walls confining her, the thesis behind her work is even more immediate, more pressing. She will be wheeling her creations through the diamond-glittering streets of Wynwood from Friday through Sunday, but she’s making those roads more than just her roving gallery; she’s making them her home. Brown will be living on Wynwood’s streets for the weekend, accepting no outside help for food and shelter. So no, you probably won’t catch her at an afterparty muggin’ down with Matt Damon. Get the full scoop on all sanctioned events by visiting www.artbaselmiamibeach.com.
Dec. 6-9, 2007