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December 02, 2010

Pieces of work: Art Basel celeb roundup, chapter 1

The boldfaced and the beautiful have started to trickle down to this arty, boozypalooza sponsored by [insert favorite high end liquor brand here] and so far, celeb-wise, we're sort of underwhelmed. First one to make sure he was spotted: self professed amateur art collector Lance Armstrong, at a table Monday night at Blue Door Fish at the Delano. 'nuff said. More interesting than the so-called celebrities have been the colorful (and at times odiferous) crowds, who make Art Basel the second best excuse next to Halloween to dress, uh, freely.

No stranger to Art Basel Miami Beach, fiesty supermodel Naomi Campbell has begun to make her rounds, first at the MOCA Vanity Fair International party Tuesday night where she refused to pose for pictures--because, duh, that's work and pictures of her will cost you more than some of the art work for sale at Vernissage last night.

Speaking of Vernissage, the convention center was bustling with buyers, braggarts and freeloaders last night. Among them, and you decide who fits into what category: Bravo's Work of Art judge/gallerist Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, photog Bruce Weber, seen at the book store where he spent some time adjusting his trademark bandana, George Hamilton, who said he couldn't afford any of the art, Danny Glover, vying for the title of most random Basel celeb, and a solo Ben Stiller, who had earlier checked into the Shore Club. Besides a showcase for museum quality (and questionable) art, Vernissage also doubled as one big gay pickup joint, with nattily dressed hipsters checking each other out, looking for the next human Statue of David.

Later that night at The Raleigh, where there were approximately 300 events taking place at once, including the Vogue Lounge and the MOCA Los Angeles party with LCD Soundsystem, a buzzy scene in the front of the house drowned out any background noise as people scrambled for tables at the just opened Royal restaurant, starring star chef and recent Gossip Girl cameo, Chef John DeLucie, who, like a fine piece of filet, was inundated with peoples' business cards all night--people hoping that when the Basel dust settles, they'll be able to go straight to the source for that highly coveted reservation at The Royal or its NYC sibling The Lion. Begging as performance art at its finest, we love it.

Setting up next to us, a huge Last Supper-esque table for art dealer Tony Shafrazi and his illustrious guests--among them, Campbell, Stiller (who was overheard later at Skybar marveling at the fact that his hotel room had a private pool), and a Cameron-less Alex Rodriguez. Strange tablemates indeed, but then again, if everything during Art Basel Miami Beach was perfectly matched a la Garanimals, it would just be another day at the office.

Speaking of offices, former Raleigh owner Andre Balazs stopped by that very hotel he sold for $30 million in 2009, checking out the action like a teenager in a playground, spying on the child she gave up for adoption.

Later on, Campbell and Shafrazi made their way over to Wall at the W South Beach, where Paul Oakenfold was spinning the DeLeón Tequila Art Basel kickoff. Also spotted there, another random: Adrien Brody.

Tonight: another ubiquitous Baselite: Pharrell Williams and NERD at the Paper Mag/AOL/ Friends With You opening party for bounce house--er, inflatable installation, Rainbow City, and Sanrio's Small Gift Miami, featuring Art Basel's number one star, Hello Kitty, and her entourage of hangers on.