Art Basel: The bourgeoisie and the rebel

It’s that time of year again. When I dust off my old Art Basel post and refresh it with new nonsensical information to help non-Baselers get through Miami Art Week.


To be clear, this isn’t a post for novices attending the fair for the first time. There is no information in here that will coach you about what to wear (obviously, everyone knows to wear plaid Capri pants with a knitted hat) or how to act (every single piece you see must impress you). I will not be previewing the best pop-up Miley Cyrus concert or the secret experimental brunch exhibition. No. This post is for people who will not be attending any Art Basel related event, but may feel inclined to fib about it on Monday when everyone at work is talking about what they saw over the weekend.

So, without further ado, dear people of Kendall, the first thing you should remember is that Wynwood, the Beach, Midtown, the Design District, Omni, Downtown, and Park West are off limits until next week. Otherwise you may find yourself sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic for hours, before finally finding a parking space in an abandoned lot that costs thirty-five dollars an hour, and when you get to the bar that you customarily frequent, you will be asked for a cover, but don’t worry, you’ll have plenty to drink with a mandatory two-bottle per person minimum.

You'll be in traffic for as long as this guy is standing.
You’ll be in traffic for as long as this guy is standing.

Instead of putting yourself through that ordeal, choose to catch up on that television show that everyone references, but you never cared to watch, like Seinfeld or Lost. Combined, those two shows have six bajillion hours of entertainment to keep you indoors. And if you absolutely must leave the house for some recreation, make sure it does not require deviating off of the Palmetto Expressway. Do not veer into the abyss of 836. Do not take the curve toward the unknown of I-95. Stick to visiting family members in Hialeah, shopping at Dadeland Mall and dancing at La Covacha.

In other words, fill your weekend with activities that are too shameful to share on social media. This way, come Monday morning, your Facebook won’t rat you out when you’re plainly lying to that twenty-something-year-old in your office (who will not only judge you for missing out on Basel, but will also equate you to their parents if they realize that you have no interest in art).

Erwin Wurm, I Farted While Working Out At The Gym; 2008
Erwin Wurm, I Farted While Working Out At The Gym; 2008

So, take a deep breath. Now, exhale through your nose. With my easy-to-follow five-step plan you’ll get through that uncomfortable Monday morning conversation like a champ.


When asked, “Did you go to Basel this weekend?” respond with any of the below non-answers and let the other person take over the conversation.

  • Oh my God, the traffic!
  • My feet are pounding!
  • So many people!
  • Wynwood is so much better than the Beach!


In the event that you are asked a follow up question like, “Which fairs did you visit?” Respond by choosing any three of the following:

  • Blip
  • Score
  • Plus
  • Dot
  • Smack
  • Taste
  • Splash
  • Zero

You can also create your own, as long as you stick to single words that could double as names of gay bars.


Update your social media accounts with random photos of “art.” Don’t worry about quality. I mean, it doesn’t have to be “real art,” by any means. The more random, the more believable. Walk around your house and snap a photo of dust bunnies under the couch, the spoons in your drawer or yogurt in the fridge. In case this task is too daunting, I’ve provided you with a few examples you can use:

so realistic.
“Hanger/Untitled” OMG so realistic.
"Lifeblood/Untitled" my faves.
“Lifeblood/Untitled” This was my faves.
"Tears of a Clown on LSD/Untitled" was really moving.
“Tears of a Clown on LSD/Untitled” Really moving.


Inevitably, someone will ask you about the Basel parties. “So, did you go to any of the pop-ups?” To make it through this final gauntlet of face-saving, you will need to incorporate all of the above techniques into a 30-second monologue of nothing.

Start with your non-answers:

  • Oh my god the traffic! And the people! It was crazy! Wynwood is so much better than the Beach!

Create new names for gay bars:

  • We ended up at (choose one of the following) Silent Sound, Spray, Cherry Lips

And then drop names of celebrities:

  • You know who I saw? I saw Daniel Arsham! I know right? Hold on. It gets better. And he was with Usher. I almost died. Let me show you a picture <INSERT BLURRY NIGHT PHOTO>. That’s them in the corner! Crazy right?

Feel free to use this photo or create one of your own:

That's me in the corner next to the Hammer.
Crazy right?!


Whatever you say. Do not. Repeat. Do not mispronounce Basel and call it Art Basil.

Art Basil.
Art Basil.


Published by Mari

I was born with a widow's peak and a thick accent. I majored in English as a second language. I work ( and travel ( and sometimes do both.

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