“I swear to God we were in a music video together a few years back. I swear to God!” a boy with tattooed hands, no taller than five foot four, kept telling Dagsen Steele Love, a 21-year-old male model, now the head of growth at a fashion start-up, in line for drinks at the “Miamionized” party for Art Basel. Love nodded and smiled. As a host of the party, which took place in a back room at SandBar in South Beach, Miami, he wore a red wristband, which meant he got unlimited free drinks.
After a year’s hiatus, Art Basel, the international art fair, was back in Miami Beach. Two hundred fifty galleries set up booths to show and sell art to the rich and sunburnt. Chanel, Balmain, Live Nation, Dior, BMW, Saint Laurent, Porsche Design, and Sean Penn’s charity all threw parties in Miami. James Murdoch and Derek Blasberg drank champagne at the Louis Vuitton men’s fashion show, which was half-converted into a service for Virgil Abloh, the house’s star designer who passed away suddenly in early December.
People under 30 who weren’t contractually obliged to attend brand events went to parties hosted by people famous on the Internet: media girls from downtown New York; crypto bros; podcasters; art gallerists; people who Tweet often; masterminds behind startups that do, you know, this and that.
“Miamionized,” a 150-person party, was hosted by 35 people and galleries, most of whom have tens of thousands of followers online. Various configurations of these hosts have thrown parties together before, in New York or Los Angeles, at venues with guest lists and cell-phone numbers posted on Instagram that you have to text to get on. Ion Pack, a Lower East Side film podcast hosted by two anonymous guys who wear masks in public, has hosted with the painter Lucy Bull, who has hosted with Love, who has hosted with the Hellp, a band two emaciated boys big (they D.J.’ed much of the Miami event).
Not all of the hosts knew each other. Bull didn’t know the boys behind the Praxis Society, a group of 20-something-year-olds who have raised over $4 million (including, reportedly, from Winklevoss Capital) to create a “vibes-aligned” city-crypto-state. Love, they say, is the “glue.”
Signing on as a host doesn’t mean helping pay for the party, or even showing up. It just means putting your name on the invite shared via Instagram. Hosts pointed to other hosts as the people who really organized the event.
Media girls from downtown New York; crypto bros; podcasters; art gallerists; people who Tweet often; masterminds behind startups that do, you know, this and that.
Everyone was excited about Lil Miquela, one of the hosts, an Instagram influencer with 3.1 million followers and who sucked face with Bella Hadid in a 2019 Calvin Klein ad. The 19-year-old Brazilian-Spanish model is a C.G.I. avatar that was created in 2016. She’s represented by C.A.A. Even though Miquela posted the invitation on her Instagram story, her creator never showed up. “Miquela is really busy this Basel,” someone said.
Bull, who has been to Basel before, says the fair felt younger this year. She thinks there were more crypto-currency investors. A young currency feels destined for young artists’ and gallerists’ wallets. “Youth always does sell,” she says.
A 27-year-old guy in a leather blazer who does “metaverse investing” said people working in crypto have been taking over “weeks,” like Basel and New York Fashion Week. His boss at the crypto-currency real-estate-development firm sent him to Basel. “They want me to be the social person, the person who shows investors we aren’t boring,” he said. “There’s yachts, there’s parties. It’s kind of funny. It’s mostly torture.”
Everyone was excited about Lil Miquela, one of the hosts of the party who is a C.G.I. avatar. “Miquela is really busy this Basel,” someone said.
A beautiful boy with full lips told people Roger Stone was going to come. People nodded, sipped vodka sodas mixed by two girls in black mini skirts through paper straws. “I wish they were plastic,” one girl said (of the straws). Stone never came.
A bodybuilding influencer with 100.2K followers on Twitter and 55.4K on Instagram, who stays anonymous online while still posting photos of his eight-pack by blurring his face, showed that face at the party. In real life, he wore blue-light-blocking glasses that had red lenses. “Blue light disrupts your circadian rhythm,” he said.
The Ion Pack wore white masks that covered their face and hair during their D.J. set, but took them off for drinks after. Even without the masks they stayed anonymous—few people know the faces behind the voices.
Some people ate hot dogs. Some people danced. Everyone was exhausted. One person suggested I see art, if I had the time. Some of it, he said, was not bad at all.
Jensen Davis is an Associate Editor for AIR MAIL