From Rush to Scope to Shark Tank. . .

Art Basel has it all!

Art Basel Madness at the Convention Center photo by Allison Weiss Brady
There simply is nothing better. Art Basel Miami Beach is the best art fair out there – in terms of well established artists, emerging artists, celebrity and social attendance, and the most fabulous, yet exhausting week of the year!

The King of Art Basel Miami Beach is undoubtedly Russell Simmons. Yes, I am on the board of his non-profit, Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, but it’s still true. He and his brother Danny Simmons had some of the best events all week long. Everyone from Madonna to Jon Bon Jovi to Martha Stewart, who was spotted around town with stylist Elysze Held and Susan Magrino, to “It Girl” Olivia Culpo, who was seen at the new hotspot ORA, were in Miami, the place to be during the first week of December.

Kicking off events on Monday night was the Toys for Boys magazine issue release honoring cover stars Kehinde Wiley and Julio Le Parc, hosted by PAMM’s Franklin Sirmans, and attended by Miami’s top socialite Erin Newberg, who was joined by her fashionista mom Dale Newberg.

Franklin Sirmans, Erin Newberg, Dale Newberg, Kehinde Wiley at the Toys for Boys magazine party photo by Ryan Troy/World Red Eye
On Wednesday night, Russell Simmons and Brett Ratner were spotted at Rudolf Budja Gallery events, including the opening of the new gallery on Purdy Avenue. Joining them were Food Network’s Ana Quincoces, artist representative Thyme Gadson, and charity consultant for Kids Hear Now Etain Connor. One of the gallery’s events called “Urban Artist Expo” featured artwork by Sean Ritchwood, Wulf Treu and Edward Crowell, who are sure to become art’s crème de la crème one day.

On Thursday, Rush and Merrill Lynch Private Wealth Management held an art auction at SLS Brickell, where they were joined by Venus Williams, Jorge M. Perez, Darlene Perez, and New York City socialite Jean Shafiroff. My husband and I ended up purchasing a Kate Moss star-dusted piece by Mr. Brainwash, after we were outbid at the last minute by Venus Williams on a Sean Ritchwood piece.

Later that evening at the 7th Annual Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series, with music by Jermaine Dupri, guests including Rosario Dawson and A$AP Rocky voted on the best artwork from emerging artists, choosing Darius Frank as the winner.

Art Basel selfie photo by Allison Weiss Brady
Down the street at the Nobu Hotel in South Beach, the trendy group Ivy hosted an event featuring the release of first limited edition prints by artist Bradley Theodore. Hipsters including Ian Gerard and Lauren Rae Levy were there. I know both of them from NYC, and they are both a delight.

On Friday night, Markowicz Fine Art Gallery in the Design District partnered with Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry and urban street artist Kai Guetta, for an event where Jarvis and Kai painted a mural at the front of the Enida M. Hartner Elementary School in Wynwood.

On Saturday morning, I walked around the official Art Basel Miami Beach in the convention center, where I ran into and chatted with former NY Giants player & Good Morning America’s Michael Strahan, who, he tells me, just flew in for the day to see the artwork. Michael also sent regards to my dad, who he knows from hosting a charity event for one of my family’s foundations. While at Art Basel Miami Beach, I ended up doing an impromptu scavenger hunt with our family friend’s youngsters. They had to find art around the Convention Center that was made out of rope, a piece with something from nature in it, a piece that had a reflection in it, something that glows, etc. I highly recommend creating this type of activity any time you take kids to a cultural event or a museum. It makes it fun and a great learning experience for them, exposing them to various viewpoints and creativity.

On Saturday night, I arrived at SCOPE around 7:30. It closed shortly after that, and I have no idea why so early on Saturday during Basel. When I walked in, I spotted Sela Ward, who was taking in all the pop modern artwork by galleries, including Miami’s own Macaya Gallery. It was very cool to see mini glow-in-the-dark statues in the shape of Batman in highlighter-colored hues of pink and orange, as well as decorated mirrors with a video image of an eyeball that blinked at you.

Artwork by Tigran Tsitoghdzyan at SCOPE
Although I didn’t have a chance to attend, down the street at Soho Beach House was the Beyond Type 1 and Diabetes Research Institute event, a charity founded last year by singer Nick Jonas and friends. It featured the artwork/artistry of Natalie Irish, Darren Brass and Appleton, all of whom have diabetes. I love a great Basel event that combines art and charity!

After SCOPE I headed to one of the best parties of the week hosted by Loren & JR Ridinger, in honor of artist CJ Hendry, whose framed work including boxing gloves with a Louis Vuitton logo was displayed around the stunning Ridinger property during the event. The hippest of Miami was there, including Amber & Duane McLaughlin, Chris Bosh, Alison Sokol Zhuk, Jenine Howard (wife of former Miami Heat player Juwan Howard), her sister Shakira Wardally of the Juice Foundation, socialites Martina & Fabian Basabe, Larsa Pippen and Damon John from Shark Tank, who let me in on a little secret – that “Russell Simmons is his idol!”

What a fun week! Now it’s time to rest my feet and enjoy my new artwork! Xo

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