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Who Knew Death Spirals Could Be So Fun?

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5th Dec 2008

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'A world without you'
Atsushi Kaga
Art may be everywhere in sight, but the only thing on the lips of the Art Basel crowd seems to be the tightening noose on the global economy.

As everyone expected, numbers, prices, and sales are on a downward spiral at America's premiere art fair, but the surprise is the vibe - Art Basel feels like it has flattened out but offers more to see and do than ever. With 17 satellite fairs, the growing impact of Design Miami, Scope, Pulse, NADA and others has spread the spirit of ABMB way beyond Miami Beach.

Buyers may be scarce this year (the fact is, everyone knows the market is heading down so they are waiting for lower prices) - and across the board, from Design Miami to the main fair, the operative word is "slow." Its a function of psychology, but the art world has seen declines before, and there is little indication that galleries and deals are going to completely disappear.

Miami tends to revolve around the hotel scenes, and this year's newcomers, (especially the Gansevoort South, Fountainbleau and the Mondrian) have stretched the epicenter of activities away from the periennial favorite, The Raleigh.

However, for the serious art folks, the Raleigh is still ground zero, and this year's lower numbers make the people who are 'still in it' appear that much more serious, by virtue of their presence.

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Simmons & Burke
Hot tickets.

Kelly Klein's book signing, where Bruce Weber, Rachel Zoe, Ivana Trump, Naomi Campbell and others popped by to pay their respects for her new book Horses. The Fountainbleau and Mondrian openings took the crowd's eye off the art, but Bruce Weber's party at Casa Tua, The Visionaire event at the Raleigh, and Riflemaker lunch and exhibition of tapestries have all been white hot.

NADA gets our nod - Atsushi Kaga's crosshatched images are poignant, Case Simmons & Andrew Burke's images are intense, fun and feel technical, and lots of great young galleries had a chance to show as part of this project. We also liked the In Fashion Photo exhibition, which featured an excellent retrospective of Naomi Campbell in anticipation of her new book.

Things That Should Go Away

1. Dennis Rodman

2. Political messiahs

3. Grumpy old women wearing sunglasses indoors

4. Ripping of keith harings farts

5. Gym wear at Vernissage

6. Slow slow champagne service. (Yes, its on purpose)

7. Skulls

8. Butterflies

9. Anything neon

10. Another new satellite fair

Signs that it's over, heard:

"OMG. Guess who went bankrupt!" "Even Cookie Monster is on the growl."

"Is that Marilyn Manson??"

"Enjoy it. Next year it might be us cleaning the hotel rooms."

"We do this a lot now so i gave up my swim meets"

"I'm sorry people, I can't keep up, I sprained my ankle in Bali"

"Here, take my card."
"Oh, thank you."
5 minutes later...
"Um, Can I get that card back, it was my last one and I need to give it to someone else."
"Oh. But I already lost it..."
"How could you lose it? It was 5x7."
"Um, duh."