‘If I should die before I sleep . . .’


Ricardo Mor will be among the Miami Herald’s team of reporters covering the countless art fairs, parties and performances during the week of Art Basel. He has written a satirical auto-reply for his e-mail:

To whom it may concern:

I regret to inform you that I am attending Art Basel and cannot immediately reply to your e-mails, texts or phone calls. While I am tentatively scheduled to return on Dec. 8, there is the chance that my untimely demise will come first because of the precarious nature of festivities taking place. In the event of my premature death (which would otherwise be ruled inconclusive by puzzled crime-scene investigators and coroners), I have enclosed a list of possible scenarios that might cause me to depart to the great unknown:

▪ After spending most of a week existing on luxurious champagne and canapes, my body will have come to reject all sustenance except the finest food and drink available. Following several days of continuous consumption of hors d’oeuvres that have been prepared by Michelin-starred chefs and wines that would be fit for the Holy Grail, I will make a detour in Wynwood where I unwittingly attempt to scarf down a typical non-Basel meal: an unknown meat concoction served from an unmarked food truck and paired with a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon. My body will immediately be sent into shock, instantly killing me.

▪ Distracted by taking an #artselfie in a shiny Anish Kapoor sculpture situated at a booth in the main fair, I will fall into a hole excavated in the convention center floor. The hole will have been created by conceptual artist Urs Fischer as a recreation of his 2007 work created in New York gallery Gavin Brown’s Enterprise. There, the artist dug a crude ditch into the gallery’s floor. I will survive the fall, but unwitting city officials will order the hole filled while I am still in it after assuming that the much-maligned convention center is falling apart during its biggest event of the year.

▪ The enormous stress and lack of sleep experienced by the staff of any public-relations firm who has a client involved in Miami Art Week has driven these otherwise sane professionals into a temporary state of madness. One account executive will hire an assassin to kill me after I cancel, at the last minute, my attendance at a private event for the opening of a luxury boutique. Her hired gun cuts the brakes on a taxi I plan to take, but the clogged traffic during the week means that the resulting accident results only in a minor fender bender. However, the driver of the affected car will go into a murderous rampage after the crash ruins the bumper to his weeks-old Italian sports car.

▪ In an effort to attract new, wealthier customers, online retailer Amazon will announce a partnership with an art fair that will allow art to be shipped through its in-development drone delivery service, allowing for same-day delivery of art anywhere in Miami-Dade County and next-day delivery throughout the country via an army of small automated aircraft. However, the plan will fail to take into account the enormous ambitions of contemporary artists. Things will go awry when a collector requests to ship a Richard Serra sculpture, an enormous slab of Cor-Ten weathering steel weighing several tons. Unable to sustain the weight of the sculpture, it will fall from the sky and crush me while I’m imbibing poolside at a private party for a new high-end liquor.

▪ Never one to let anything short of the fire marshal stop a bash from taking place, party planners throughout the city will continue to host events despite their venues being active construction sites. Therefore, it should be no surprise if I have fallen to my death from an improperly secured balcony of a half-built penthouse in an under-construction, ultra-luxury condo tower on the beach. Enterprising foreign investors will use the incident to their advantage and ask for reduced prices on remaining units in the building. Developers will offer a 10-percent price reduction to party attendees, which sends a flurry of offers their way. The building will be sold out before week’s end despite the tragedy.

▪ If for whatever reason I go missing and cannot be found after Art Basel, please assume that I am being held hostage in a undisclosed location in the Design District by Kanye West as he continues a week-long rant whose subject seems to encompass all of society. If this is the case, please ask his wife, Kim Kardashian, to attempt to break the Internet again with a nude photo shoot so that he can be reminded of what he has to look forward to if he ends his rant and goes home.