By Lieba Nesis
December 2-6, which is normally Art Basel in Miami, where thousands gather for a week of parties and debauchery, has morphed into a more sedated Art Week, where limited showings and virtual presentations have taken center stage. Despite the pandemic’s continued ferocity, with more than 10,000 reported cases per day in Florida, according to friends and family Miami is functioning at nearly full capacity. Hotels are packed, restaurants are full, and nightlife is soaring as partygoers conduct business as usual. According to The New York Times, The Perez Art Museum, Margulies Collection and Design Miami are featuring in-person installations. Craig Robins, founder of Design Miami, who owns 75% of the 18 blocks of luxury retail space in the Design District, is adding the Design Miami fair to the mix as well as renting spaces to pop-up art galleries from New York.
Even A.I.M.-the “Art in Movement” organization-has selected 69 renowned artists, mostly indigenous to Miami, to produce installations in neighborhoods vulnerable to climate change. Moreover, Jeffrey Deitch, has taken over a storefront at 182 NE 39th street in the Design District to present 101 face paintings by Kenny Scharf. Local dealer David Castillo, is similarly holding an exhibition of painter Vaughn Spann in the Design District’s Melin Building. The “show must go on” is the mantra in Miami as the nation is getting increasingly restless with stringent lockdown measures. The sunny temperatures in Florida, along with open beaches and vast outdoor spaces-allow far more latitude for safe gatherings.
-Speaking of art, the Israeli born Jose Mugrabi, and his two sons David and Tico, sold a co-owned Basquiat painting for $16.5 million in April. The Mugrabis, known for their savvy art collecting, also picked up a number of Joel Mesler works ahead of his show in Los Angeles which took place in November-according to Artnet news. The family who have more than 800 Warhols, and 100 works each of Basquiat, George Condo and Damien Hirst, is now bullish on Kenny Scharf acquiring a bulk of his 250 “MOODZ” paintings which were recently displayed in Los Angeles.
-According to Page Six, billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen’s 26-year-old daughter, Sophia, called off her engagement to financier Jason Levine in April. Levine, took off with the ring and some valuable red wine he had proferred to Sophia. Sophia will not be wanting for any material goods, as her father is worth $14.1 billion, after paying the government a record fine of $1.8 billion for insider trading in 2013. Cohen has given over $715 million to philanthropic causes including lyme disease research and children’s illnesses. Married twice with 7 children, he recently bought the Mets for $2.75 billion from the Wilpon family-a drop in the bucket for Cohen. Steve Cohen, CEO of Point72 Asset Management, is an undeniable trading genius, bringing home an annual paycheck of $1 billion just by sitting at his computer from nine to five.
-Not all real estate bigwigs are going under, as Joseph Chetrit and David Bistricer, recently secured $207.5 million in fresh financing from G4 Capital Partners. The Real Deal reported that the funds will be used to refinance the 233-unit condominium project on East 20th Street which Chetrit and Bistricer are building in Gramercy Square, at the former site of the Cabrini Medical Center. They bought the parcel in 2013 for $150 million and are now planning a four building project.
-Let’s hear it for Matthew McConaughey (50) and Russell Brand (45) for calling out the “illiberal far left” for their “patronizing and condescending “ behavior towards conservatives. Brand interviewed McConaughey for his Under the Skin podcast and in response to Biden’s win McConaughey was brave enough to respond, “I’m sure you saw it in our industry when Trump was voted in four years ago, they were in denial that was real.” Academy award-winning A-lister McConaughey will lose many jobs because of his outspokenness-as Hollywood possesses the most undemocratic liberal thinkers. Kudos to Matthew for putting his ideology ahead of his pocketbook in an unprecedented f- you to the radical left.
-Pondering the recent death of the 46-year-old Tony Hsieh had me sick to my stomach. The ex-CEO of Zappos died in a house fire on November 27th with an estimated fortune of $840 million and no existing will. The extremely private Hsieh took great pains to keep his personal life secret and yet no fewer than 20 “friends” spoke to Forbes about his growing drug abuse that had concerned friends alarmed. They cited his heavy drinking and inhalation of nitrous oxide as a possible cause for his being barricaded in a shed in Connecticut on Thanksgiving weekend. This along with his love for lighting hundreds of candles had many news outlets suspecting he had caused the fire.
Apparently, the fire department was often called to his place in Park City due to his 500-wax-candle habit. To top off his friends turncoat ways, a letter from singer Jewel was reprinted in which she warned him he was “killing himself” and the world would not see him as a tech visionary but “a drug-addicted cliche.” If Jewel gave the press this highly invasive and unflattering letter to resurrect her career she should be ashamed. If on the other hand it was one of Hsieh’s confidants the situation is no better. With friends like these who needs enemies. The open-minded and eternally generous Hsieh is undoubtedly turning in his grave as one confidant after another spills the beans. Hsieh frequented the drug-laden “Burning Man“ every August which gathers 80,000 plus attendees in Nevada for a week of debauchery. It is time for this event to be disbanded or heavily policed before other Hsiehs succumb to the hedonistic lifestyle promulgated by this festival.