MATTE at Art Basel Miami 2022 - Matte Projects
For almost a decade now, you'll be able to find me in Miami during the first weekend of December for Art Basel. It all started when I pitched in to help out with the now-defunct Fountain Art Fair, and since then, I've worn a lot of Basel hats. I've sponsored SCOPE, celebrated friend's debuts and launches, attended market research, and come just to have fun and let some steam loose. Every year the scene shifts a bit, for better and for worse, but there is a consistency to the week that feels like putting on a comfy sweater, or rather, that familiar scent of sunscreen and Gatorade. The week is truly a marathon and not for the faint of heart.
For my first Basel since COVID (and at MATTE Projects), I was thrilled to be down supporting our initiatives with The Macallan. The brand is so well loved and the team is beyond incredible, which is a fun space for a person like me to exist in. Here's a day-by-day diary of the week, which proved to most certainly be a Basel for the books:
Thanksgiving Day - 11/24
Basel veterans who work the fairs come down before Thanksgiving. Builds for SCOPE, Untitled, etc. kick off the week before the fair. I fly down to Miami and head to my friend's house in Coral Gables. Lonia and I met during university in Paris, and she graciously adopted me for Turkey Day 2022. I'm surrounded by 18 Venezuelans and have no idea what's being said at the dinner table, but the laughter is good and the wine is flowing. I soak in these last moments when my slack and phone won't be blowing up, with Bad Bunny blasting in the background from the neighbor's yard. Welcome to Miami.
Friday - 11/25
Once Basel kicks off, you find yourself just forgetting to eat all together. I started to make a point years ago to sit down for one good meal before the Basel machine takes you. I work with Groot Hospitality from time to time so naturally, I find myself at Gekko with some close friends. Both the food and vibes were immaculate. 15/10 would eat again, and soon.
Coral Gables is a bit far from the main action and my hotel doesn't kick in till Wednesday, so I jet over to a former colleague's place in Midtown to drop off my bags, and quickly head over to The Bass Museum for a very special unveiling. The Macallan has a long, storied history of being patrons of the arts, supporting over 200+ artists over time. As part of the greater relationship with The Bass Museum this season, The Macallan commissioned Jorge Méndez Blake to create a perenant piece for The Bass Museum through The Macallan Art Prize. The end result? A 40+ foot floor to ceiling installation drawing from deconstructed haikus anchored in nature.
From there, it's an account blitz. I headed up north with The Macallan Miami team to Fontainebleau. We have lunch and peek in on the progress of our 3D portal installation, which will be in the lobby during Basel and showcases the different components of The Macallan M Collection. As we wait for our car from the valet, the air is thick with buzz around Basel. It's palpable and can be cut with a butter knife. From there, we drive across the causeway and head to Wynwood to see if the Rubell is open (it is not). We pivot to the Design District and toast to the ABC's of the week - Art Basel, Baccarat, caviar, and of course, cocktails. Following a round at Baccarat, we jump over to Swan for one last cocktail before calling it.
How is it only Monday? I feel like I lived 18 lives today alone.
The morning kicks off at 6:30am with 300~ emails from the night before and I find myself coordinating security details should a couple high profile celebs come by our main Macallan event at The Bass Museum on Friday. I find myself at the gym with my laptop on the treadmill, and realize I am now that girl. Oh well.
After unchaining myself from the laptop, I make my way to South Beach for the W Hotels Hands on the Sand party. I stand in front of The Bass Museum and exhale knowing what's ahead, before walking into The W South Beach. Celebrating Pilar Zeta's art installation with DJ sets from Pascal Moscheni and Chloe Caillet, the crowd was well heeled and vibrant as the night continued on.
Game day. We get the keys to The Bass Museum at 11pm for an overnight load of 30~ carefully coordinated trucks to drop off in two parking spaces.
Prior to that, I'm attending the Haute Living dinner toasting Jeff Koons with The Macallan Miami team. We meet up at The Ritz for a pre-dinner Macallan espresso martini, and then head into Bagatelle for dinner. I've never participated in a high energy dinner before, and halfway through the dining lights go down and club lights come on. People start waving their napkins in the air as dancers and a saxophonist jump up and start performing. For a moment, I can't tell if I'm at dinner or at SoulCycle, but I'm not mad. Welcome to Miami Part Dos.
I leave Bagatelle and run into my friend WHISBE outside as he's leaving an event next door. He does the big gummy bear installs around the world. We hug and quickly catch up, and I walk over to The Bass Museum to check in on load in. The team is in good spirits. We do a quick huddle and I head back to the hotel for the last full night of sleep.
Rise and shine. The ambitions of the gym are dust and I head over to load in to see how the crew did overnight and bring optimism and cold brew. We're on schedule and the team is feeling good.
Cut scene 4 hours later. There's a torrential downpour for 90+ minutes, which is highly unusual in Miami for December. The gear is okay, but now we need to let everything dry before proceeding. The following 12 hours are a blur and the next thing I know, we're doing light projection testing at 4am through sunrise. What is time? But it's starting to come together. It feels like something tangible and real, not just images in a PDF.
I leave the venue at 7:30am after being up for 24 hours. I walk back to the hotel and hope to get 2-3 hours of shut eye. I shower, take a ton of vitamins, and make my way to Joe and the Juice for caffeine en route back to The Bass. Even the coffee shop has a DJ and employees are throwing napkins in the air. Welcome to Miami part three.
The following hours are another blur. We do a final light and sound test. Each minute it starts to feel more and more real. Doors open, everything falls into place. We've planned this event for 7 months and with everything that could go wrong, nothing really goes wrong. James Blake was mesmerizing, and the New York City Ballet knocked it out of the park. Everyone has their phones up and as a brand marketer, that's exactly what you want.
The Macallan team is so happy after the end, one jumps on my shoulders and we run around the lawn high fiving other Macallan team members. Art Basel said it was the most beautiful thing produced this season. Grand Slam. It was all worth it.
The production team begins their overnight load out at 11pm sharp, and I join The Macallan team at Soho House for a celebratory nitecap.
After hours of content review, the Argentina game is on. I get ready for the Bentley party and head over to Temple House with The Macallan team. Bentley and The Macallan have a wonderful partnership rooted in craftsmanship and luxury, and we have a small bar installed at their event. Bentley celebrates three art partner cars, and afterwards we jet over to the Haute Living party to say hi to the team.
After a couple of beverages, we depart and make our way to LIV to celebrate the team's efforts. What happens at LIV, stays at LIV. Sorry, some promises can't be broken.
We wake up and do a departing brunch with The Macallan recapping the night. Afterwards, I dip into Soho House to meet up with some coworkers, and then head to Coconut Grove for closing dinner at Key Club with the group of girls I went to school in Paris with. Not wanting the night to end, we went back to Lonia's house in Coral Gables. We toast, we laugh, we cry, we wouldn't have it any other way.
To no one's surprise, the airport is a disaster. New York has its own check in line because, of course. I landed back at LGA with a smile on my face, so pleased with what the team accomplished this week. Excited to do it all again next year xx
From there, we pivot to the Design District and toast to the ABC's of the week - Art Basel, Baccarat, caviar, and of course, cocktails
The entire week of Basel people lost their collective minds. All those beautifully laid plans? GONE. The Uber that picked me up to go to South Beach had a strap on the electric bill board to its hood. I should have known.
By this point in the week, I am tapped Into the mainframe. No rest for the wicked. We work in the car and fight car sickness in this house.
Arrive at the hotel and Sara gets to witness me explain to a fully grown man with a business how CC works on email, because the man helping us with a drone permit decided to open his email TODAY, start working 4 days before a shoot and do nothing but make our lives a living nightmare. It breaks my brain.
It's monsooning. The shoot is outside. Sarah is in the literal trenches. Everyone is soaking wet. I am taking calls on FaceTime for a shoot that is happening in New York in a week and a half. The tent that is attached to our activation has a panel of crypto investors who are doing a knockoff version of shark tank, the audience stomps their feet to applaud. Vibes are off.
GREY GOOSE DOWN! I repeat the goose is down, decapitation.
We finally get to shoot and once everyone is set up, I sit down to crank out the following day's call sheet. Thus begins my game of musical chairs: first it was a couch that I would later get kicked off of because in one hour’s time it would cost 10K to sit there for a concert, then I chose a dolly and got kicked off because they needed to use it to…. work and, lastly, my cooler in the sand.
After we wrapped this day, I stopped by to see my friend at the Pantone Color of the year event, where they put these insane VR sunglasses on you to see “Magentaverse”. Goofy as hell. VIVA MAGENTA!!
Home to work again.
Today is the day of what we thought would be two shoots.
Wake up, immediate problems.
Shit kicks into high gear around 1.
I arrive on set at 2PM. 28 crew members just for content. Fleets of events crew. It's massive.
When everything is set, we have 35 minutes to get cleans of the entire space. Tennis shoes: on.
There are so few pictures from this day because I barely had enough time to remind myself to breathe, but it all came together brilliantly.
Around 12:30 everything is in a place where I will at least be able to get the drives up to post and then head to Soho beach house to get our photographer settled there… my uber driver thought he was in Tokyo drift and went 50 MPH on ocean drive.
Drop off the drives, get to Soho house- it's a shit show. I end up finding Noel, Kian jumps a fence, we sneak in through the beach, and the party gets shut down. My friend asks the fire marshals if they are really strippers.
Noel and I head to the dive bar across the street and strangers give us some of their pizza when they see the looks on our faces.
I head home to continue to oversee photos till 5 AM, wake up at 8:30 AM the next day to prepare for clients and to go to the final set… the pick up day for Grey goose.
I feel stale.
The shoot gets shot.
The programing in the tent is now asking the occupants to consider if America is worth saving. Vibes are off.
I go home, sleep for 2 hours and then force myself to go out with my friend again because Basel is finally DONE and we look HOT. And it was chaka khan!!!
Spotted in the miami airport: Trash Louis
There are so few pictures from this day because I barely had enough time to remind myself to breathe, but it all came together brilliantly.
We touch down in the 305 and I’m already sweating. I’ve never been to Miami and my expectations are high. I initially think, “Damn, I should have brought more pastels.” We changed and get ready to go to The Bass. I enjoy a solo dinner with laptop in hand and tuck myself in by 11pm.
>48 hours until showtime. I make my way to The Bass and check out the progress and I’m baffled by the teamwork for the overnight load-in. Team dinner consists of gossip, martinis and kind words of how this dream team of 15+ made magic happen. We get to the bass for a 2am walk through that turns into a 4am walk through with a quick cat-nap from 3am-4am.
It’s finally here! We get to The Bass early afternoon for final touches, last minute guest list alterations and CVS runs for Celcius. We’re an hour from doors and I begin to think- “are we really doing this?” Doors open and there’s a sigh of relief. Working the door is a funny control I’ve always envied every bouncer at a NYC club for. People giving fake AR codes, naming random people they found online at LinkedIn and stating they bought tickets for the event. Note: this was a non ticketed event. Around 10pm the lights go down and a spotlight shines on Mr. James Blake. The crowd flocks towards the stage and I get the “No one knows I did this” feeling and I couldn’t be more proud of the team. 11pm and I throw my hands in the air. We did it! Celebrations at Soho House with clients follow as we dunk our feet in the sand and share stories about our POV of the night over Macallan.
I wake up relieved and high- off of endorphins. I finally get to sit by the pool and share a drink with one of our clients, gossiping about our night. I make my way to the Grey Goose activation to support Nicole as she’s been working for both Macallan and GG ever since she arrived. Beast Mode or Girl Boss? I don’t know but I'm so proud of that team. I hop in an uber to get ready for our final Macallan event. The Bentley x Macallan party at Soho House was an intimate celebration of Bentley craftsmanship and Macallan cocktails on the outside balcony. A cheers is shared by our amazing producer Douglas and GCD Cassie. Following the event we make our way to LIV with the client and I leave my body on the dancefloor.
The day has come. I sleep- all day. Shades down on the window, shades up on my eyes. We grab a team drink to celebrate our accomplishments, tears and trauma.
Are we there yet? We sit on the plane home for an hour and a half waiting for take off to be instructed we need to change flights. I’m cranky, I’m exhausted and need an iced coffee stat. After waiting in the terminal for an hour we move to the other side of the airport for two more hours of crying children and cranky passengers. An hour later we finally take off and I didn’t even care that the Uber prices were dumb high- just get me home.
Team dinner consists of gossip, martinis and kind words of how this dream team of 15+ made magic happen.