How To Basel - 2019 Edition

2002 changed Miami forever. It boasts Miami’s inaugural Art Basel Festival, a festival that started in Basel, Switzerland, some 32 years prior. Artist, collectors, gallerists, fashion folk, the jet set, and more have flooded the streets of Miami every December since to take in the world’s most cutting-edge art and fantastic parties.Like any weeklong fête, navigating Art Basel can be overwhelming, no matter if it’s one’s first, second, or tenth time in the throws of it. Where does one go, what does one eat, and what artists must one see to take in the full Basel experience? Without the right tour guide it could become a week of black cars to nowhere and unmet expectations. Thankfully for you, we would hate to see that happen…

First and foremost, some thoughts from a New York art lover and skillful Basel navigator on how to prepare for and sail through the festival with poise. Michael Diaz-Griffith, starts with packing. “If you’re headed to Miami from a cold climate, remember to bring a packable down jacket. You may not need it when you’re leaving, and you probably won’t need it in Miami, but there’s a chance you’ll arrive back in New York, for example, in a blizzard.”


On navigating the fair itself, Diaz-Griffith continues, “Check out a map of the fair online before heading there. It really helps orient yourself, allowing you to concentrate on the art and social interactions in the aisles – which Miami is all about, for better or worse.” And during those social interactions, “Because so much alcohol flows during Miami Art Week, switch to soda water after your first round. If there’s champagne and everyone has a flute, ask for your soda water in a flute and forego the ice and lemon wedge. They’re dirty anyway!”


Once packing is done and bearings have been established, another question is bound to pop into one’s mine… “So, now what?” Mosha Lundström Halbert*, fashion director and co-founder of Therma Köta**, has those answers in spades.

        All Day Miami, Downtown

  Pink Beasts by Fernando La Posse, Design District

All The Eternal Love I Have For The Pumpkins by Yayoi Kusama at ICA Miami

First and foremost:

“I started the week with a hammam at the spa at the Faena Hotel. It’s amazing how energized and squeaky clean you feel after a few rounds of sauna, steam, and an ice chip scrub. I try to stick to my daily 8:30 am Jet Set Pilates classes. Basel or no Basel.”

While Baseling:

“This year, I’m looking forward to checking out a room of my friend’s that interior design firm IG Workshops did for the Casacor [Miami] home design instillation. I’m extending my artistic program to beyond just the art and furniture fair to also include music. I can’t way for Thursday’s Rhye concert at the North Beach Bandshell, an intimate venue.”

For a festival scene sans art:

“Order the Duke and Duchess of Windsor champagne cocktail at the Four Season’s Surf Club. Everyone looks beautiful and glowy in the perfectly lit Champagne Room.”

For a festival break:

“Need a break from the scene for a moment? Sneak uptown to Tequiza, a casual beachside spot, for the best tacos and purple corn totopos.”

To recharge:

“Refuel after a night of art party hopping at All Day, a gem of a café that’s not far from the design district, but in a much more emerging nook of Miami near downtown. I order their insane matcha latte made with coconut water and oat milk and a house-made smoked salmon bagel everything bagel platter, scooped out. Once a New Yorker… If I need a touchup or product top-up, I pop into Gee Beauty. Their Dual Action concealer is good at hiding the lack of sleep. “

If it’s good enough for Mosha, then we’re happy to subscribe.

A Traffic Jam Of Sand Cars by Leandro Erlich, Miami Beach


A few other must-do’s come from our very own Fernanda Quintero and an Antidote favorite, Flora & Form’s Danielle Romeo.

-Fernando Laposse’s “Pink Beasts” installation in the Miami Design District

-Yayoi Kusama’s “All the Eternal Love I Have For the Pumpkins” Exhibition at the ICA Museum

-Works of Eugenio Espinoza at the Piero Atchugarry Gallery in Morningside Miami

- A Traffic Jam Of Sand Cars by Leandro Erlich on Miami Beach

Whether it’s your first Basel or your 17th, try out these suggestions and we’re certain that you won’t leave disappointed.


Words: James Francis Kelley