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Art Basel

Art Basel Miami Beach 2021 Brings Celebrities and Art Together Again

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Dec. 7 2021, Updated 3:25 p.m. ET

Art Basel is an around-the-world celebration of contemporary art. This year’s Art Basel Miami Beach touched off December 3 through 6, with a number of events leading up to opening day. It was truly a season to remember, with brands and artists bringing out the best they have to offer – all in celebration of a shared love for art. CELEB takes a look back at some of the biggest events of the weekend.

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Celebrities and Art Basel

Art Basel

Every year, Art Basel Miami draws its fair share of celebrities, and this year’s return to the live event was no exception. The eccentric, colorful, sometimes off-the-wall art festival is a bizarre blend of casual and high class, with events all over the spectrum.

This year, celebrities flocked to Miami to either party, peek or participate. Some of the most remarkable celebrity sightings include:

  • Season LA’s Well-Dressed Event: On Thursday December 2, FoodGod, Zack Bia and Paris Brosnan were seen at the Well-Dressed Event created by Odell Beckham Jr at Surface Area Miami. 
  • Guess Originals: On Friday December 3, West Coast met East Coast as Austin Mahone attended Nicolai Marciano’s Guess Originals party at Sushi Fly Chicken. The H. Wood Group hosted a bash at David Grutman’s Sushi Fly, and Kylie Jenner’s best pal Anastasia Karanikolaou was spotted along with Rickey Thompson, Blake Gray, Ski Mask the Slump God, FaZe Clan founder Faze Banks and Lyrical Lemonade owner Cole Bennett. DJ Zack Bia saw guests off with an intimate performance before the night came to a close. 
  • Cardi B and Offset: On Saturday December 4, after Cardi B’s event at The Goodtime Hotel, she and Offset headed to Hyde Beach at SLS South Beach for MAXIM’s Art Week party with Dano Tequila. 112 performed and other star attendees included Karrueche Tran, Taye Diggs, Teyana Taylor, Austin Mahone, Larsa Pippen, Joey Badass and December cover model, Cindy Kimberly. Celebs enjoyed the evening in private VIP cabanas while enjoying the art from LA-based artist, Ryan Keeley. Cardi B recently made a splash with the launch of her brand-new vodka-infused whipped cream, Whipshots
  • Scott Disick was seen partying it up at Alec Monopoly‘s Art Basel event, alongside a woman identified as Diana Diaz. 
  • Alicia Keys, Lizzo, Migos, Meek Mill, Diplo and Marshmello all took the stage at various events during the week. 
  • Sofia Vergara bought a piece from world-renowned 10-year-old artist Andreas Valencia. Channing Tatum, Jordan Belfort and artist Shepard Fairey all stopped by Valencia’s booth during the week as well. 
  • Other celeb sightings include Martha Stewart with swag at Komodo, plus The Denver Nuggets and Venus Williams at superstar Pharrell and nightlife superstar David Grutman‘s restaurant, Swan.
  • Hailey Bieber, Olivia Rodrigo, Brooklyn Beckham and Nicola Peltz were seen at Papi Steak.
  • Singer Camila Cabella was seen out and about in Wynwood. 
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Whether you were there to art-gaze or star-gaze, Art Basel Miami 2021 did not disappoint.

NFTs and Crypto Comes to Town

Kitson

One event that brought a lot of big names to town was the pre-game tailgating event aboard Bold; a 200+ foot Kitson Yachts vessel with a $40K ticket gate to cross. The event was a collaboration with the NFT community, and sponsors include Kitson, UTA, The Zhalizi Group, Coinbase, Thoma Bravo and more. It was another signal that NFTs and cryptos are creeping closer and closer to the core of the art world.

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Also at the heart of the tech-art collaboration is the advance of the crypto world. On Friday December 3, ABRA cryptocurrency platform headlined the SCOPE Miami Art Exhibit. The exhibit kicked off with crypto- and NFT-focused panels, followed by a Friday night party to comprise their “Celebration Of The Intersection of Art & The Blockchain” Activation Series. Masego and Devin Williams headlined the stage, with sounds by Ricks and a follow-up performance by DJ duo Angel + Dren.

ABRA is a cryptocurrency wallet, and their team said of the 500+ person event in a statement, “Friday night’s ABRA party featured drinks by Grey Goose, High West Distillery and COASTAL Spritz premium canned wine spritzers, with partners NFT Now, SuperRare, ThankYouX, YellowHeart, Art House and The Future Party. Additional partners included Pioneer DJ, ADE, Cookie Pop OREO and Secret Walls.

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Notable industry and influencer guests filled the room, such as Model Marta Pozzan and Giuseppe Giofrè, Lil Fresh Sam, Nastassja, Kodak Lewis, Kye West, Justin Crayton, Dash Williams, Darius Ricks, Sukie S, Yasmine Smith, Ming Bey, Xavier Banks, Nefatari Cooper, Stephanie Acosta, Giselle Liotta, Ali Lasky, Ale Wilson, Ben Wilson, Oshoke Umolo, Raj Ade, Ballers producer Joey Krutel, and many more attended the music, art and crypto focused celebration leading into the Friday night of Art Basel weekend, closing out the celebratory filled week.”

Along with this event, ABRA hosted an installation all week long at the Scope Art Show from artist Mister E, and a VIP show featuring Coastal Spritz.

Exhibits of Note

Art Basel

One of the most remarkable events of the weekend was the Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer menswear show. It’s remarkable for a very sad reason though; trailblazing visionary and legendary designer for Louis Vuitton, Virgil Abloh, died last month at the age of 41 after a protracted and private battle with cancer. The show was Abloh’s last gift to the world, and was attended by Rihanna, Kim Kardashian West and her daughter North, Ye – the rapper formerly known as Kanye West Bella Hadid, Joe Jonas, Maluma, Pharrell, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. Kid Cudi and Erykah Badu performed at the after-party. The show turned into a remarkable tribute to a man who changed the face of fashion – and brought social awareness and consciousness to every design.

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Other events to note include:

  • Balmain World AIDs Day Event at Scope: Balmain and Scope collaborated with (Red) and land and street artist SAYPE in Miami to mark World AIDS Day.
  • DJ White Shadow: The world-famous DJ who has collaborated with superstars like Lady Gaga hosted a Thursday evening celebration at Scope. 
  • CORE Response Annual Art Basel Gala: The annual even hosted by Sean Penn at SOHO Beach House, this year’s event raised money for COVID relief programs in Latin America. Anitta co-hosted and then took the stage to perform. Celebrity attendees included Dylan Penn, Leonardo DiCaprio, Francisco Costa, Alan Faena, Princess Eugenie, Vivi Nevo, Shareef Malnik & Gabrielle Anwar, Soleil Moon Frye, Lukas Haas, Danny A. Abeckaser, Dave Grutman and Isabela Grutman, and Laurie Lynn Stark. 
  • Arthur J Williams Jr VIP gallery exhibit pop-up: World-infamous master counterfeiter-turned-artist Arthur J Williams hosted a pop-up in Wynwood titled, “One Hundred Dollabyte.”
  • Chanel, finally! The long-awaited Design District Chanel store opened during Art Week in Miami. 

Icons, Transformed

Shutterstock teamed up with globally-renowned visual artist Bradley Theodore for the Icons, Transformed exhibit over the weekend as well. It was a two-day event that kicked off with a VIP launch party on December 1 at W South Beach. The bungalows underwent a stunning transformation as Theodore painted a massive 25×33 foot mural on the exterior featuring historic icons such as Freddie Mercury, Prince, Jimmy Hendrix and Josephine Baker.

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The artist, who works in a variety of  mediums, invited guests to participate in a live studio event, and immerse themselves in Theodore’s 6-foot-tall sculptures as they sipped cocktails poolside. Theodore took the stage with DJette Kiwii in celebration for his upcoming album with Michael Mogg.

In a statement, Theodore said of the event, “Shutterstock is renowned for bringing together best-in-class creators across a variety of art forms, and I’m thrilled to partner with them for such an extraordinary event. It’s been an exhilarating experience exploring Shutterstock’s vast archive collection for muses. My imagination is on fire, and I’m looking forward to celebrating our unique and exclusive collaboration.”

Overall, Art Basel this year was as eccentric and unique as ever; truly a triumphant return after a year on pause. With events that offered a little bit of everything from parties and sipping tequila booths to up-and-coming young artists like Valencia, Art Basel catered to people of every background and every taste. Street art blended seamlessly with other mediums, and digital currency and art began melding more seamlessly with physical installations. Art Basel is balanced directly on the edge between what is and what will be, and the future is arriving. Art Basel 2021 may be on the books, but it won’t soon be forgotten.

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