Art Basel Opens With Bang

Miami Beach -- Art Basel launched last night with throngs of art lovers attending the Convention Center. This year's vernissage was attended by thousands of thousands of VIP A-listers, savvy collectors, billionaire financiers, museum curators.

Art collectors of ArtKabinett social media network were treated to early-afternoon access to this exciting art fair.

It was a mix of European elegance and American marketing panache, as numerous galleries are already reporting strong sales.

Today the fair opens at at 11:00. Art sales are expected to exceed $1 billion, making Art Basel Miami Beach the planet's most expensive retail venue per square foot.

Prior to last night's opening, ArtKabinett members attended five events and fairs.

Yesterday, our collectors enjoyed a great mix of art and design with the launch of Design Miami, a spectacular fair which showcases cutting edge design from across the globe.

Of note was the special Artists Jewelry exhibition mounted by Didier of London. This was a part re-creation of an exhibition held at the Boston ICA in the 1960s with much of the original artist's jewelry on display.

A collaborative display of new work by the iconic Maria Pergay sponsored by Fendi was also worth a visit. We also visited the unveiling of a house (never-realized) by the 20th century master architect Charlotte Perriand. This was constructed in the garden of the Raleigh Hotel. Her daughter was present in an emotional speech.

Next we attended Scope at its new location in Miami Beach. Exhibitors were from 48 cities in 22 countries but the UK wasn't one of them. It was a mixed fair with varying quality work and galleries with displays as diverse as street art, video art, painting and installation to Portuguese gallery, Cordeiros Galeria showcasing high end pieces by Appel, Miro and Penck.

Of particular note were The Parlour Bushwick from Brooklyn showing a full scale seated figure hidden behind jungle leaves made from paper by Michelle Matson and Yellow Peril from Providence RI showing a digital video table by Anne Morgan Spalter.

Tracey Emin opened her Pop Up show at Miami MoCA followed by a glittering party at the Shore Club.

Finally the launch of the Absolut Art Bar on the beach outside the W Hotel was the place to be with installation by artist Ry Rocklen titiled Night Court.

Night Court is at once a bar, a performance venue, a sports arena and a showroom for Rocklen’s new line of furniture, ‘Trophy Modern’.

As scores of art collectors, art fans, art critics and, of course, artists arrived at this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach, borrowing a tradition from most US sports games, the night began with a performance of the Star Spangled Banner, performed by a selection of local choir groups.

Guests had their own chance to get involved as the performance group Bodies International warmed up the crowd with their high-energy interactive act a kind of exercise video, but live. Lastly, acclaimed rapper, performance artist and poet, Mykki Blanco got up for a punk/rap set, you just need to check back to see what happens next...