Hola/Greetings from Design Miami & Art Basel/Miami Beach!

The palm trees are wrapped with Christmas lights and Miami has been invaded by critics, dealers, collectors, aficionados and international social moths drawn to the flame of design/art. Art Basel/Miami Beach, itself a spinoff of the original art exposition in Basel, has spawned dozens of related expositions, including Design Miami, Scope, The Artists Fair, Art Asia, Photography Miami, Art Miami, and ArtPhotoExpo.

In addition to the Miami Convention Center, massive tents and innovative temporary structures have sprung up all over town, even in places as unlikely as under the I-95 highway overpass. Hotel lobbies and even entire motels are serving as art galleries. Basically all of Miami has been taken over: the Russians are here, along with the Chinese, the French, the Italians, the Saudis, the Kuwaitis, et al. It's been a flurry of events and parties (oh, how to choose?), capped last night by the Kate-Spade-designed reception at the Wolfsonian-FIU for the "Celebrate Democracy" exhibition (60 designers re-imagined Norman Rockwell's Four Freedoms). Chip Kidd, looking especially dapper, agreed with me that the resulting posters should have been identified with the designers' names (but it was fun  trying to guess who designed which).

The constellation of parties and events has been the perfect opportunity to check out the brand new Mondrian Hotel, the Miami Standard, and the freshly redesigned Fontainebleu (which updates the original fabulous Maurice Lapidus design) and a chance to get away from cold, grey NYC. (It hasn't been all art and design...I confess: I spent a couple of hours on the tennis court and went salsa dancing on Lincoln Road...it IS Miami, after all.)

Today, a "Design Marathon:" 35 artists take the stage at the Wolfsonian for five minutes apiece to "express themselves." This event honors Dutch designer Wim Crouwel (whose work is also on exhibit at the Wolfsonian) and celebrates our right to freedom of expression.

It is impossible to see it all...wish you were here!

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