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Art Basil, 2012 Galleries to Dine For – A Feast for the Eyes

By Cristiane Roget (eat@artbasil.test)

Miami Beach, FL- The connection between the euphemistically named Art Basil (artbasil.test) and Art Basel/Art Miami may seem tenuous, but guests that attended the three hallmark Art Basil affaires unanimously agreed, “the appreciation of art ’ was made more palatable with samplings of ‘gourmet bites’ prepared by internationally acclaimed chefs and paired with stellar spirits and libations.

Celebrating its 11th year December 5-9, 2012, Art Basel permeated South Florida once again with the intoxicating aroma of turpentine, rampant commercialism, horn blaring grid lock and galleries jammed like clown cars.  The unbridled success of Art Basil was predicated on the immutable fact that no matter the activity one must still ‘eat’.

In contrast Art Basil’s collaborators served up global culture through a prism of fine food and hand crafted libations to share, awe, and inspire, while paying homage to the perseverance of Art Basel-Art Miami.

Eschewing the idea of a cohesive brand, cultivators and founders of Art Basil stand united in defiance of any singular definition. The ad hoc gatherings were earnest in the manner of the Slow Food Movement, commercial as a tradeshow, and jocular as a good-time gang bent on debauchery.

“Embracing the legend of ‘Rock Soup’, where from a stone sustenance is born, ‘Basilites’ have one discernable mission,” states Getty Global photographer and Art Basil co-founder, Steve Levine “it is advancing the preservation of our fragile planet through resourcefulness and sustainable initiatives.”

The coterie of participants and media attending ArtBasil combined their love for contemporary art with moments of epicurean bliss.  Whetting appetites were exhibits that featured gender polemics at the La Rete Art Projects’, ‘Boys or Girls? Who cares?’ Mauro Nicoletti’s consistently minimal Magazzino installations ( and Peter Anton’s experimental ‘Sugar and Gomorrah’, a reworked Carnival Ride. Throughout the proceedings there were countless galleries advancing gluttony in the way of obscenely priced, second tier Picasso and Dali lithographs.

Chefs participating in the premiere ArtBasil rallied with a quantifiable reevaluation of how the food and beverage industry is interacting with the environment. All along the food and beverage chain, fine food purveyors are donning ‘green genes’. There is a newfound understanding of what needs to be done to economize for survivals sake. This shift is evident in the way menu items are sourced, kitchens are run, and waste is dispensed.  Participating chefs created menus and pairings that were designed to turn heads and invoke sighs of bliss.

ArtBasil reckons back to a time when social gatherings were not ‘friendings’ on Facebook and spam.  Community interaction was defined with picnics serving the other ‘spam’ and   open houses with family and friends.  ArtBasil brings together culinary wizards long separated from their diners by a kitchen door and centuries of decorum to advance the notion that, ‘food shared is food paired with memories and moments savored’.

Steve Levine of Steady 70, Cristiane Roget of VIPictures, Celia Evans of PlanetFashionTV and RestaurantProducer’s Jerry Prendergast launched the idea of Art Basil on November 10, 2012 drawing inspiration from Charlie Coiner and Jonathan Rousseau at the helm of Rock Garden Herbs.

With over capacity attendance at each gathering, ArtBasil’s ad hoc group is assured their unique recipe, pairing food with art, is a winning formula that has already garnered an enthusiastic following of foodies and fans.

Future ArtBasil gatherings are in the hopper and will be announced within weeks.