February 25, 2024

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Art Basel parties in Miami featuring Janelle Monáe and Harmony Korine

Art Basel parties in Miami featuring Janelle Monáe and Harmony Korine

Miami Arts Week Taking place in South Florida, it is anchored by Art Basel Miami Beach. We were on the scene attending parties in the area that included artist Janelle Monáe, director Harmony Korine and prominent figures from the art world.


Pop star Camila Cabello enthusiastically greeted Harmony Korine Thursday night inside El Palenque nightclub in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood.

Mr. Korine, a director and artist, drew about 600 people, including Ms. Cabello, to the sprawling space decorated with red neon lights. It was an introduction, for many, to his new design range, Edgelardpronounced “master of the edge,” is a reference to online trolls who are known for flirting and enjoying controversy.

“I just want to work on future content,” said Mr. Koren, 50, adding: “I think it comes after linear logic.” What is more sensual? What is most integral to a specific feeling or type of thing that goes beyond simply expressing it?

Inside the club, the DJ stage was surrounded by LED screens with visual effects and animation mimicking Mr. Korine’s new film, “Aggro Dr1ft,” which screened this year at film festivals in Toronto and New York.

The audience at the event included comedian Hannibal Buress, artist Alex Israel, and skateboarder Evan Mock. The party was hosted by Boiler Room, an online broadcaster and promoter of the club. The evening opened with a set of songs by AraabMuzik, who composed the music for Mr. Koren’s film, followed by rapper BLP Kosher from Florida and rapper Yung Lean from Sweden.

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At about 1 a.m., Mr. Koren, wearing a yellow mask resembling a skull with horns in reference to the song “Aggro Dr1ft,” stepped up to the turntable for what he said was his first public appearance as a DJ.

Mr. Koren described the sound, a heady mix of Brazilian funk with elements of trap music, South Florida rap, and 1990s pop and metal, as something made by “slum players.”

Around him, people in white suits and masks swayed to the beat of the music, and women in long neon green wigs stood and stared straight ahead.

To prepare for the set, Mr. Koren said he “smoked a lot of e-cigarettes, drank a lot of Mountain Dew, ate pancakes, sat on a boat, and listened to a lot of Brazilian music.”

He wanted to try the craft, he said, because “I thought it was the right time.”


On Wednesday night, artists, curators and musicians gathered under palm trees for an event celebrating artist Mickalene Thomas at the Miami Beach Edition Hotel.

Ms. Thomas was showing her work at Art Basel Miami Beach and released a capsule collection in collaboration with Shop with Google, which included T-shirts, a sweatshirt and a baseball cap featuring some of her motifs.

“What interests me about this night is the community of people here together,” Ms. Thomas said. “It’s about celebrating women.”

Guests, including actress Tasha Smith, musician George Clinton, and gallerist Yancey Richardson, milled around a poolside bar sipping rosé while servers passed out pockets of pepperoni pizza and chicory salads.

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At around 8:30 p.m., Janelle Monáe climbed to the top of a diving board suspended above the pool wearing a custom cape made of black-and-white ruffled fabric flowers that she designed with Ray Ortiz.

“Happy birthday, my love!” Actress Yvonne Orji shouted the name of Ms. Monáe, 38, and took the microphone.

Over the course of about 30 minutes, Ms. Monáe performed several of her hits, including “Float,” “Make Me Feel” and “Come Alive.”

“I’m here for you, Mickalene,” she told the crowd. “I love you so much. One of the greatest artists of our time. My friend. My sister.”

As she was wrapping up her set, Ms. Monáe walked into the blue waters behind her, fully dressed, and swam to the other side.

The audience cheered, and Ms. Monáe returned to the stage, finished the show and walked out, wrapped in a large white towel.

On a Tuesday evening, blocks from the luxury accommodations on Collins Street, a disco ball slowly spun over the pool while a DJ played a mix of Afro-Caribbean jazz, disco and Italian pop.

Before opening Art Basel Miami Beach to VIP clients, the distinguished Gagosian gallery hosted a party at Freehand Miami, with a crowd of more than 600 gathered at the hotel’s Broken Shaker bar and Restaurant 27.

The evening was designed in part to channel the laid-back energy of Italian hotel Le Sirenuse before a week dedicated to art fairs and luxury consumption shifts into high gear.

“Relax,” chanted Antonio Sersal, owner of Le Serenuse, as he paced around the courtyard convivially like a hotelier dealing with the good life. Servers were stocked with fried oysters, and stations were set with tacos and ceviche.

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(Members of Gagosian’s staff, as well as many of the show’s clients, are fans and regular guests at the five-star family-owned hotel, organizers said.)

Attendees included Jeremy Pope, actor and artist who participated in the Scope Art Show; Photographer Tyler Mitchell. Artist Chloe Wise; and Meredith Darrow, an art consultant whose clients include Kim Kardashian. Guests drank champagne and margaritas poolside and chatted with work friends. Larry Gagosian, owner of the gallery, did not attend.

Ms. Wise, who is exhibiting her work at Art Basel Miami Beach, said she plans to celebrate her birthday, see art and go to the beach.

“I feel very connected to Miami and Florida in a humorous and inspiring way,” she said, specifically referring to the bikini shops near the beach.

“It’s this combination of something I like to make fun of, something I look at, something I participate in, and I find it’s kind of a funny, but meaningful, American consumer space,” she continued.