Another work on the beach in front of the Bass that blends practical reality with fanciful invention is The Guiro, an intricately constructed wooden bar by the Cuban duo Los Carpinteros that’s modeled on and named for a ribbed percussion instrument made from a gourd. The word is also Cuban slang for a party, and the work, sponsored by Absolut vodka, incorporates seating and a bartender mixing drinks. It will also be the staging area for musical performances including a piece by composer Joan Valent for Wednesday night with 15 musicians playing guiros and other instruments.
Another group is turning the ubiquitous cocktail party into a creative opportunity at the NADA art fair at Miami Beach’s Deauville Hotel. Produced by Friends & Family, a design and event agency owned by New York restaurateur Taavo Somer, it’s meant to appeal to a hip, creative crowd for whom drinks and a DJ just don’t do it anymore.
“That’s so boring,” says party producer Johnny Misheff. “Miami during Art Week suffers because of the emphasis it places on catering to these New York and European fancy pants, this VIP exclusive ‘Did you get into that party?’ thing. We hate those parties.”
Instead, Misheff and company are staging a free event open to anyone at the Deauville that will include artists painting on the beach, inflatable sculptures in the pool and other tongue-in-cheek takes on children’s party activities.
Misheff says art-loving crowds increasingly expect a creative sensibility wherever they gather.
“People are tired of the minimalism of the late ’90s and early 2000s,” he says. “Our parties have fun friends doing fun things that challenge you in so many different ways. A party to us is people gathering and being active in supporting each other and being alive.”