ART BASEL 2018 SHOWCASES AMAZING ART AND STEPS UP THE MUSIC…
Written By Duncan Walgreen
Photos by: Jamie Adam Rosenberg and Rocco Roefaro
This year marked the 17th edition edition of Art Basel in Miami, a world-renowned convention of artists and art lovers alike, that proved once again why the City of Miami is at the forefront of artistic expression. The five day event, introduced by Art Basel’s Director Americas Noah Horowitz, an art historian and connoisseur, tied together an incredible display of all things contemporary and modern, from the local corners of Miami to the more international corners of the world.
There are no limits however to one’s experience of “Basel” in Miami, seeing as it is a city that has deeply seeded roots in the curation of all arts, from the famously muraled neighborhood of Wynwood, to the Design District and South Beach alike. People travel from all over the world for one week in Miami for a plethora of reasons, from merely an appreciation of art or design, to snap a pic with the latest Banksy reveal, to get lost in a painting or for the massive list of parties that take place, no single traveler’s Art Basel experience is the same.
My time was spent focusing on the incredible array of music related events that compliment both the phenomena of Art Basel and the city of Miami itself. Miami is a city that I feel a strange attraction to; I have devoted a lot of my energy and time to getting to know and understand it. This week was a very special experience, that left me wanting learn even more about what led one of the historically young cities of its size to become the hub for artistic and musical expression in America that it is.
I will do my absolute best to describe the indescribable through my own journey of what has led to me to this desire of knowing more, based off of a handful of events that I attended that offered truly teachable moments with one common underlying factor: house music.
MY TOP 5 MUSIC EVENTS AT ART BASEL
#5 Paradigm Presents: Citric Acid @ Lemon City Studios:
“House” as it is labeled, is a musical genre known for it’s addicting and consistent rhythm, that was born in the City of Chicago, and “Techno” by its’ sister city of Detroit. The same legends that pioneered this genre, Chicago’s Frankie Knuckles and Marshall Jefferson, to the English Paul Oakenfold and Carl Cox that followed in their footsteps, (along with countless others) converged in Miami in the early 1990’s to light the fire of what is now one of the most quintessential cities for dance music in the world.
Paradigm, a leader in the underground dance scene of Chicago, has been hustling house music for years and took the leap to bring their vibe to the amazing Lemon City Studios, boasting a lineup of classic Chicago House heroes: DJ Sneak, Derrick Carter and Guti, as well as one of the founding fathers of techno, Carl Craig. This was an event that was well attended by those familiar with the roots of this genre, hosted in a gorgeous outdoor event space full of engaging
visual art displays. It was refreshing to see such a talented lineup pay homage to their craft in a city that has truly capitalized on this underground sound. This was a “you had to find it, and if you did you were lucky” kind of events.
#4 The Mayan Warrior x Catalyst Project @ The Wynwood Factory:
Word was travelling fast about this event, though I had only just showed up to Wynwood, I must have heard the words “Mayan Warrior Party” a dozen times before arriving at a line of hundreds of eager attendees. The free event, hosted by the Mayan Warrior and Catalyst Project, and presented by “The Collective,” was prepared to strip away all expectations of what one might think Art Basel (or at least the music that surrounds it) could be. If you were lucky enough to make it through the line, you were warmly greeted by a loungey foyer with soft music, dim lighting and incredible decor. I thought that was the end of this road, and I thought wrong. A walk down two disorienting hallways would leave you turning the corner, only to think “Wow, I sure didn’t expect THIS to be going on here.”
Imagine deep red lighting, a crowd one or two thousand deep, an entire wall of champagne bottles, dancers dressed in leather straps and mayan headdresses, and the most absolutely groovy music to accompany a very ‘Basel’ atmosphere. DJ’s Lee Burridge, Bedouin, Eduardo Castillo, Guy Laliberte, Van Jeeny led the Catalyst room with tribalistic tech house, while The Mayan Warrior + Zero Room was carried on to the early morning by Daniel Cowel, Dramian B2B Mandrake, Oonah Dahl and Tansen.
#3 Kaskade at The 1 Hotel Rooftop:
The 1 Hotel championed the chain of South Beach hotels with a series of Art Basel related events. The 1 Hotel housed a rooftop full of music all weekend, but it also was host to Daniel Mazzone’s Art Basel debut with 25 incredibly eye-catching pieces of art and several other art installations. The 1 Hotel was an undeniable force of music and art for the week, with sets from Claptone and Blondish throughout the weekend and an impromptu performance on Sunday night by Kaskade.
I arrived at the rooftop to listen to the talented Alyx Ander warm up the space, he is one of my favorite up and coming producers. The 1 Hotel Rooftop allotted a capacity of only 300 people, creating a perfectly intimate space for the magical moment that ensued. I was expecting a Kaskade concert, or at least your expected poolside Kaskade mix… this was not the case. If you were fortunate enough to catch wind of the surprise Kaskade set and were able to get to the roof, fans gathered around for what was once a rooftop, and soon became Ryan’s (Kaskade’s) living room.
The music started and we all heard the familiar voice we would otherwise hear shouting over a microphone at festivals for thousands, but it was Ryan in an endearing tone that would soon take us all on a journey, explaining how all these records that we have known for years came to be. He talked us through his life, through memories of trials and tribulations, how certain interactions and pathways bounced him around until his record, “Angel On My Shoulders” caught traction in Miami at nightclubs (long since closed) like Mansion, that he attributes to
‘breaking’ the record, as well as his now incredibly amazing music career. Anyone that appreciates music, the powers of Miami that be, or Kaskade himself were most likely teary-eyed, full of joy and feeling the rush of chills that comes with understanding who he is as an artist, and more importantly a person. Thanks for sharing that, Kaskade, I will never forget that moment for the rest of my life.
Rakastella is not just an event, but actually it’s own unique and boutique festival that is running it’s fourth year in conjunction with Art Basel in Miami. Nestled in the natural corners of the Historic Virginia Key Beach, I arrived in darkness and left with light, figuratively and literally. It was so dark out, even making sense of where I was, with a sober mind proved sort of difficult, but I could hear and feel that I was in the right place. This was a place for fashion, it was a place for art, it was a place for dancing, it was a place for music, but I think most of all this was a place for your spirit. Rakastella had three stages with minimal lighting production, a tent structure, a dome structure and a canvas tent with a stage adorned with plants, all shaking the sand with ferocious sound systems.
Considering most of the lighting was limited to the stages and some trees with colored lights cast upon them, the only thing guiding you here was the music and your own vibe. It brought me to the beach a few times to look up at the stars, it brought me to the front of the speakers so I could feel the sub shake me, it brought me to meet several new friends I will never forget, Rakastella brought me somewhere else.
Taking into account that we were all dancing the night away on an island just east of Miami, it wasn’t long before the sun began to rise over the horizon and that’s when the true glory began. When the wind is flowing through a crowd of crazily dressed, smiling festival revelers with shades on, the goal of Rakastella was made very apparent, the whole night was a passage to this moment in the sun at six in the morning with Dixon B2B Amé. Honorable mentions for DJ Sets were DJ Tennis, Gerd Johnson, Seth Troxler, DJ Harvey and Red Axes.
#1 The Terrace of Space Miami:
Space Miami is a nightclub staple of the city, it has been around for about fifteen years and has grown to become the Mecca of all things Techno and Tech House in Miami. One might ask, that if it is open every weekend, why include it in this article? Isn’t it just another weekend for this nightclub? Well, put plainly, it is not.
Throughout the Art Basel weekend, Space Miami’s Terrace was only closed for a handful of hours to restock the bars and sweep the floors, in between absolute marathon sets by the likes of Solomun, The Martinez Brothers, Lee Foss, Claptone, Marco Carola and Nastia. I decided to make my way to Space on Sunday morning immediately following Rakastella, Solomun was already on the decks for about five hours (that already is a rather long DJ set compared to most) and he proceeded to play well into Sunday evening, I had to leave by 8pm to head to Kaskade at the 1 Hotel, but I am sure Solomun continued his flawless mixing of melodic beats well
beyond my stay. I made sure to return on Monday morning for Martinez Brothers who had held a crowd until late Tuesday night, setting a new record for the Puerto Rican duo.
The crowd at this place is probably half of its’ beauty, other than the fact that you could watch a sunrise, sunset, and rise again from the same dancefloor. The VIP had familiar faces such as Marco Carola who played the previous night, or one of America’s favorite party-girls, Paris Hilton. The dance floor however, was an absolute zoo full of Miami’s roughest and toughest, hottest and most dedicated group of partiers on the planet. Regardless of ‘who you are’ or at even who you might think you are, everyone is on the same plane, or rocket ship. Keep in mind we are talking about a place where you could show up at 8am freshly showered and rested and it still being almost impossible for one to be late to the the party, it just keeps going… and going… and going… and going…. and going.
Overall Art Basel Miami had one of its best years yet, clearly evolved and grown to be such a World class stage for art and now music. Everywhere I looked and went I was bestoked by art and lifted by amazing music. People of all ages attending from every corner of the Globe brought together by the magic and the passion of art in all its glorious formats. Definitely one of Miami’s crown jewels and will continue to grow in the years to come with more and more artists looking to showcase their colorful creations or musicians and DJ’s wanting to rock the stage, its one big party that I will definitely be at next year!
For more info on Art Basel go to: www.artbasel.com