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Partying in the Name of Art

This is what Art Basel Miami looks like: it’s Wednesday night at the Mondrian, the city’s hottest new hotel, and a crowd is gathering for the official opening party — a cocktail soiree toasting Marcel Wanders, the hotel’s designer.

This is what Art Basel Miami looks like: it’s Wednesday night at the Mondrian, the city’s hottest new hotel, and a crowd is gathering for the official opening party — a cocktail soiree toasting Marcel Wanders, the hotel’s designer.

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The place is in virtual lockdown. If you’re not on the official list or a guest of the hotel, forget trying to crash the place. Security guards patrol the perimeter of the pool. Another is stationed blocking the elevator buttons. No pushing those unless you can show a key. NB, Mumbai.

But folks inside are having a merry time — the weird sort of revelry that occurs every December when a pastiche of celebrities and hangers-on get together to party in the name of art. Mind you, many of these folks wouldn’t know Donald Judd from Naomi Judd, but whatever. It’s a tony excuse to drink mojitos wear slutty clothes.

At Asia de Cuba, the hotel’s Chino-Latino restaurant, A-Rod sits at a table by the window, trying valiantly to scarf down some grub as young women in stiletto heels and skimpy dresses keep finding an excuse to saunter over and introduce themselves. That’s when he’s not being hassled by jock sniffers, who just want to shake his hand, and what? Congratulate him on a fine season? Or on bagging Madonna?

Back in a booth in a corner, Ivana Trump, in a very pink pantsuit, and her signature blonde beehive (now looking very Sarah Palin-ish), is dining with luxury mag mogul Jason Binn, and her new hubby, Rossano Rubicondi. She’s a little chubbier than in her days with The Donald, and her eyes are starting to take on that Bride of Wildenstein look.

The David Lynchian moment is when Marilyn Manson, looking revoltingly creepy — with his whitened face, greasy hair, and flaccid body — strolls over with his skinny Gothish girlfriend to say hello. Did Ivana even know who he was? Did she care enough to stop eating lobster mashed potatoes to say hello? Did she know what she was doing when she posed, with Manson, his beanpole chick, and Binn? Who knows? But she gamely linked arms with the Celebrity Deathmatch dude and mugged for a friend’s camera.

All night, people who had nothing in common but fame, kept meeting and greeting each other, like old pals, relieved, no doubt, at finding other bold face names in the room. Whew. Right party, right time.

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Or maybe they were just swapping notes on how to negotiate a discount on a Warhol, Hirst or Basquiat. Call it the Art of the Deal.

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About the author

Linda Tischler writes about the intersection of design and business for Fast Company.

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