Thursday, January 19, 2012

Miami Social Diary

Miami's first-class art collectors, connoisseurs, and patrons of the Museum of Contemporary Arts (MoCA) converged at the Miami International Art Fair's invitational VIP opening preview held January 12 aboard SeaFair, the $40 million megayacht docked next to downtown Miami's InterContinental Hotel.
Aboard SeaFair + Bal Harbour + South Beach
By Augustus Mayhew

When Lee Ann and David Lester anchored the Miami International Art Fair aboard the megayacht Grand Luxe at Chopin Plaza, they fortuitously located their third edition of SeaFair between two of Miami's prominent aesthetic landmarks — the Isamu Noguchi-designed Bayfront Park and the InterContinental Hotel's lobby where the Henry Moore sculpture is regarded among the artist's largest privately-owned works. Organizers of the world's most extensive network of art fairs, staging 20 fairs during 2012, the Lesters also enhanced this year's already-significant event with a Sculpture Miami exhibition where more than 30 large installations framed the gangway leading up into the yacht's main show decks. Along with all-weather fine dining and lounge areas, a sky deck with a Bistro360 scenic café, and champagne bar, the ship accommodated 30 select Miami-to-Moscow galleries displaying an artistic spectrum of both established and cutting-edge works by prominent and emerging artists.

Among them, the Evan Lurie Gallery, perhaps reason enough to move to Carmel, and Hal Buckner's wall pieces at Arcature.

But before the SeaFair happening, I met a friend for lunch at La Goulue, the staunch Parisian bistro at Bal Harbour Shops located in Miami's UES. Afterwards, I had time for two brief stops on South Beach, the Bass Museum of Art and Española Way.
Thursday afternoon, sunset at SeaFair. First conceived by Lee Ann and David Lester in 2007, SeaFair's venue was designed by Luiz de Basto who transformed the yacht's interior into gallery and entertainment spaces with a posh private-club ambiance. After the MIA's January 12-16 seasonal inaugural, the 228-foot Grand Luxe is scheduled for additional art extravaganzas, returning to Miami in March for the Art, Sculpture, and Design Fair before cruising to Florida's west coast. Then, the floating showcase heads north for exhibitions in Greenwich, Martha's Vineyard and Maine.
Bal Harbour Shops
Bal Harbour Village

A season has passed since my last visit to Bal Harbour Shops, now run by a third-generation of the Stanley Whitman family. While I am always impressed by the al-fresco venue's unsurpassed array of shops, aesthetic standards and uncompromising amenities, I was even more gratified, if not dazzled, by my recent visit. The courtyard landscapes are flourishing. Retail sales have rebounded, making BHS the nation's top-ranked mall in terms of sales per-square-foot. After all, Bal Harbour was the site of the first Neiman-Marcus store outside of Texas. On Thursday, the bespoke crowd of free-spenders appeared to be a mingling of Rio, Buenos Aires, Moscow, Caracas, and Milan, with more than several women styled in the air of Carolina Herrera.
Never disappointing, La Goulue remains one of my favorite spots.
For lunch, La Goulue has always been my first choice among several options. On Thursday, from our table on the outside terrace, we had superb seats for the head-turning convoy of exotic custom cars arriving at the valet stand. And while Palm Beach has an impressive assortment of swellness, I cannot recall ever seeing so many of the over-sized RR Ghosts and Phantom Drophead Coupe convertibles. But where else is to park the Granturismo when Moscow experiences suspended animation, frozen in below-zero iciness?

Beverly Hills is a bit of a schlep; St. Bart's can be a little too remote; Parisian winters, much too damp and cold; the South of France still cloudy, and with Sunny Isles, known as "'Little Moscow," only a few miles to the north, Bal Harbour may be the perfect spot. We had already progressed to our double order of raspberry cakes with pistachio ice cream by the time a table of Muscovites was seated next to us. I became captivated by one of the women who wore a sequin top, mini-mini mini torn denim shorts, and pink suede go-go boots with fur trim and 3-inch brass heels, though I claimed they were solid gold. By the third time she left the table, she had caught most everyone's eye. By 3:30, I felt like I never wanted lunch to end; and for many, La Goulue was still jammed, it probably never does.
A second-floor concourse at Bal Harbour Shops features Gucci.
A YSL graphic masks the upcoming store front, set to open at its new first-level location in Spring 2012.
Stella McCartney. Sensational! Bottega Veneta.
Bal Harbour Shops, courtyard.
Bass Museum of Art
2100 Collins Avenue, South Beach
Built in 1930 in the Deco style, the Bass Museum of Art was designed by Russell Pancoast.
Collins Park extends from the Bass Museum east to the boardwalk along the ocean. The W Hotel is to the left.
A 16,000-square-foot addition was built in 2001, designed by Arata Isozaki.
War Hero. Carlos Luna, artist.
Española Way
South Beach
Located between Ocean Drive and Lincoln Road, Española Way offers a mix of eclectic cafes, restaurants, clubs and boutiques. Española Way may provide relief from Art Deco fatigue.
Española Way at Drexel Avenue.
The historic Clay Hotel.
A view of Española Way looking east towards Washington Avenue.
SEAFAIR hosts Miami International Art Fair
12-16 January 2012
100 Chopin Plaza, Miami
The Grand Luxe, a view from Bayfront Park at around 5:15 on Thursday afternoon, an hour before the VIP opening. Last year, SeaFair was docked in front of the Fontainebleau Hotel on Miami Beach.
I arrived early and walked around the adjacent Bayfront Park, a 32-acre urban oasis redesigned during the early 1980s by Isamu Noguchi. In the foreground, one of the park's many landmarks, a Noguchi-designed fountain with the Biscayne Boulevard skyline beyond.
Immortalized by this fashionable work located in Bayfront Park, pioneer Julia S. Tuttle (1849-1898), thought of as the "founding mother of Miami." The InterContinental Hotel as seen from the Noguchi fountain to the north. Built in 1982 as the Pavilion Hotel by developer Theodore Gould, the IC Hotel was designed by architect Pietro Belluschi.
A Sculpture Miami exhibition was inaugurated at this year's Miami International Art Fair.
Queued up along the bayfront, the towering sculptures provide perspective for the surrounding condominiums.
An equestrian sculpture perfect for any Wellington entrance hall.
White Moon, the monumental 30-foot marble sculpture by Oriano Galloni, was donated by the artist to be sold at auction with proceeds to benefit the Arts for India organization. Lee Ann Lester, pictured above next to a painted aluminum sculpture by Edwina Sandys, and her husband David Lester, are the owners of International Fine Art Expositions that produces the Miami International Art Fair.
InterContinental Hotel. The hotel was said to be designed around the 18-foot 70-ton Henry Moore sculpture in the lobby. MIA's opening was an invitational event for MoCA Shakers and the area's prominent collectors.
Ramon Cernuda, Nercys Cernuda, and David Lester, principal of International Fine Art Exhibitions.
Cernuda Arte, Coral Gables. Vicente Hernández, artist.
Un canto a la vida (A Song to Life), detail. Vicente Hernández, artist. Cernuda Arte, Coral Gables.
Jim Molidor, Director of Contemporary Fairs for IFAE, Luisa Lignarolo, and Sergio Cernuda.
Ascaso Gallery, Miami.
Edwina Sandys, New York-London-Palm Beach.
Lee Ann Lester, Mike Williams, Bill Farkas, Susan Grant Lewin, and Beth Dunlop.
Rudolf Budja Galerie, Vienna.
Butter Gallery, Miami. An exhibition of sculptor Phil Stapleton's imaginative work.
Evan Lurie Gallery, Carmel.
Evan Lurie Gallery, Carmel.
Evan Lurie Gallery, Carmel.
Jessica Anderson. Juan Torralva. Caren Brooks.
Daniel Florda and Barnabé Pagay. Galerie Lelia Mordoch, Miami-Paris.
Erin Parish and Meredith Weil.
Isis and Sinuhé Vega.
Brian Bernstein, James Bernstein, and Evan Agatston.
Michael Ragan and Deborah George.
Lee Kyu Pak. E.jung Gallery, Seoul.
Galeria Medicci, Caracas.
Kavachnina Contemporary, Miami.
SeaFair affords spectacular views of the Miami skyline. SeaFair's downtown location makes it easily accessible to many of Biscayne Boulevard and Brickell Avenues sights.
Arcature Fine Art, Palm Beach. Ryan Ross, principal of Arcature, stands amid the work of sculptor Hal Buckner.
Arcature Fine Art, Palm Beach.
Terry and Lonnie Kaplan.
L. to r.: Orlando Valdez, Jasmine Juday, and Nelson Suarez.
Warren Resen and Jeanne O'Connor.
Stars Bridge, Moscow.
Pink Cats. 2011. Acrylic collage on canvas. Andrei Sharov, artist. Stars Bridge, Moscow.
Irina Afanaseva. Stars Bridge, Moscow.
Photographs by Augustus Mayhew.
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