Part 3 – Seven Days, Seven Watches, One Pagani – Art Basel Miami

Top - LR

This is Part 3 of my continuing five part, Art Basel Miami series; for links to the prior articles click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2. For Art Basel Miami this year, I decided to have a little extra fun. I would mix three of my passions: my love of contemporary art with my love of watches and sports cars


Day 4 – PAMM Museum Ribbon Cutting, Art Basel First Choice VIP Opening, and Parties Parties and Parties

For another art filled Art Basel Miami day, naturally, I started my day just like any other Art Basel day by admiring the art already parked in my driveway, Horacio Pagani’s Huayra. 


Horacio Pagani - LR

PAMM Museum Ribbon Cutting

My first stop in this lovely car was the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the grand opening of the new US$130 Million, Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), designed by the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron.  It’s hard to describe how special a day this was.  My wife Marcella and I have worked and waited years for this moment. It’s the culmination of everything that has happed in Miami’s art world over the last decade; Miami’s “Debutante Ball” to the world of Art if you will. 

PAMM Ribbon Cutting Event

For such a historic day, I chose a watch with history all its own, my 1920’s 18K rose gold, enameled dial, National Chronograph.  To me, one of the things that makes owning a vintage timepiece such as this so enjoyable is knowing that this piece has functioned for almost 100 years.  How many other wrists has it been on during those years, who were they and what happened to them?

Ribbon Cutting - LRAt 40mm, it’s quite contemporary by today’s standard of larger size watches.  The enameled dial is in as perfect condition as the day that it was made and the blue steel hands shimmer in the hot and sunny Miami days.  Notice it is a monopusher, with the single chrono button at the unusual 6’clock position.  This is from a time when placement of such buttons had not been standardized to the 2 and 4 o’clock position – a relic from a long gone and forgotten Swiss watch company.

I glanced up to my colleagues at the PAMM ribbon cutting; Miami’s leaders have all gathered to commemorate this historic day.  Immediately after the festivities, I took a few moments to speak with friends but had to move quickly;  I had already been there far too long, and I wanted to beat the rush, as Art Basel Miami Beach opened on that day.

 Bulgari – Daniel Roth Papillon Chronograph 

Art Basel Miami Beach is the grand event of the week.  This whole week is now commonly called “Art Basel” for the simple reason that this is the most prestigious art fair here, and everything else is secondary.  For a contemporary art fair of such grand proportions, I needed a grand contemporary watch. My Bulgari – Daniel Roth Papillon Chronograph.

pocket - LR

I really love this watch. It is largely unknown outside of the watch world, but it looks simply gorgeous.  At 46mm in 18k rose gold, there is some substantial weight to it.  It rides high on the wrist and there is no denying, it’s a statement.  Functions include a jumping hour indicator, a chronograph central second hand and what Bulgari refers to as a Papillion seconds hand which has to be seen in action to be understood. All hands on the watch are in blued steel over a brown and rose gold dial.  All in all, a very nice package.

Bvlgari - Driving - LR

Daniel Roth was an independent watch brand that was absorbed by Bulgari.  Although, generally speaking, I am not a fan of all of the consolidation that is occurring in the Swiss watch industry, in this case, I believe that Bulgari’s version of the Papillon Chronograph is much improved from the original Daniel Roth version.   Some reviewers have complained that it’s difficult to tell time with this watch because so much is going on in the dial. My response simply is, “who in this day uses a watch to tell time”? An IPhone is far more accurate. For a dial, I look at the whole package, aesthetics, the materials, the complications, the finish and that certain je ne sais quoi; by that measure, this is one of the most elegant timepieces I have worn.

Art Basel First Choice VIP Opening

Upon arriving at Art Basel, we quickly made our way to our friend’s gallery; Spinello Projects.  As one of only two Miami based galleryies exhibiting at Art Basel, gallerist Anthony Spinello is a special talent.  His artists reflect his aesthetic, which is fresh, visually striking and fun.  For a Miami kid such as me, it just works. 

 Bulgari- Daniel Roth  - Art Basel - Agustina Woodgate - tapestry  - LR

At his gallery were exhibited pieces we had not seen before, from two local artists which we love and collect  —  one, an enormous tapestry from Agustina Woodgate, made from literally of hundreds of re-purposed stuffed animals; some donated by my daughters no less, and  —  two, a commanding large back orb from local artist Sinisa Kukec.

Spinello Projects' Booth, with Anthony Spinello and Marcella Novela
Spinello Projects’ Booth with Anthony Spinello and Marcella Novela

Next a quick stop at Rhona Hoffman Gallery, to see the latest work from artist Luis Gispert, an artist we greatly respect.  The enormous hands sculpture was something I saw in progress a few months ago at his studio in Williamsburg, New York.  At the time the piece was unfinished and I was amazed with the finished work.

Luis Gispert - LR

Here’s a couple of other significant works which caught my eye.  Kate Moss has a way of doing that.

Ai Weiwei
Ai Weiwei
Chuck Close photograph of Kate Moss
Chuck Close photograph of Kate Moss

The Art Basel VIP lounge this year had a watchmaker from Audemars Piguet, who was displaying what they do, and graciously answered all of my questions

Art Basel VIP Lounge - AP- LR

Soho Beach House

After a quick pit-stop at Soho Beach House to rehydrate with some of the worlds best and freshest coconut water (from my friends at The Coconut Cartel, great name and so Miami appropriate), we had to do a quick stop at Casa de Novelas for the Mrs. to do a wardrobe change before our next event.

Soho Beach House
Soho Beach House
Leaving Soho House with The Coconut Cartel's Coconuts
Leaving Soho House with The Coconut Cartel’s Coconuts

W Magazine – PAMM Party

The W Magazine party at PAMM was one of the best art parties I attended during Art Basel. My hats off to our friend John Lin for organizing what was universally agreed as the perfect combination of interesting and beautiful people; quite a difficult combination to achieve indeed. And Hew Locke’s suspended boat installation, For Those in Peril on the Sea, was even more magical at night. 

Hew Locke's exhibit, chatting with Carlos Betancourt and PAMM's Deputy Director Leann Standish
Hew Locke’s exhibit, chatting with artist Carlos Betancourt and PAMM’s Deputy Director Leann Standish
Leaving PAMM
Leaving PAMM


Interview Magazine – OHWOW Gallery Party

The W party was a tough act to follow. Having arrived late to the Interview party, as we commonly due in Miami, I could see we had missed a decadent affair.  The few friends I saw that were still there were all leaving and our friend Fabian had entertaining comments about the event which I cannot print.  Annoyingly, shortly thereafter when I went  to leave, the valet, although charging an extra $60 for his promise to not move my Pagani, had moved it. I waited another 45 minutes for them to retrieve it, while the valet exercised his best Ferris Bueller impersonation, and who could blame him.

leaving inteview party - LR
Its here, finally…

Chez Andre’s Pop-Up At Rec-Room

Chez Andre’s pop-up at Rec-Room was just the ticket to sooth my nerves until my next day. I had an Art Basel breakfast like none other to attend the next day at the Rubell’s.

 Chez Andre - Rec Room - LR

Day 5 – Rubell Family Collection Breakfast, Pulse Art Fair Brunch

Rubell Family Collection Breakfast

The Rubell Family Collection Breakfast has become a tradition of sorts during Art Basel Miami Beach.  Jennifer Rubell, the daughter of famed collectors Mera and Don Rubell, creates an new edible art installation that is always a highlight of the week. In 2012, due to damage in her NYC studio from Hurricane Sandy, her breakfast installation was cancelled after being an Art Basel Miami fixture for 11 years.  This year, I was happy to see it had returned as Jennifer Rubell’s “Faith” (2013).


Rubell Breakfast - LRBreakfast consisted of a sweet egg tart, on an endless seesaw. My daughters tested this seesaw repeatedly up and down, until someone complained, not in the spirit of this kinetic installation, but there you are.  I then spent quite a while admiring Zhu Jinshi’s Boat.  The Rubell’s collection this year is named “28 Chinese,” reflecting the origin of the exhibit. Boat is a 40 foot rice paper installation that you can walk through, made from 8,000 individual pieces hanging from the ceiling on thin strips of bamboo and thread. Simply amazing.

Rubell2 _ LRAs we left the Rubell’s I spent a few minutes chatting with the two gentlemen with twin Bugatti Veyrons parked outside.  This is the closest competitor to the Pagani Huayra, and I had to take a few minutes to give due respect. Miami is one of these odd places where seeing a Bugatti is special, but not unusual.  However, I still prefer the Pagani.  It has soul, and mine is the only one I’ve ever seen on the streets of Miami, even if I have to give it up in three days.

Bugatti - LR

Pulse Art Fair Brunch

Pulse’s Art Fair VIP Brunch has become a Novela family tradition. I always take my girls out of school for this day. It’s an approachable art fair that the girls really enjoy, and hey its brunch. 

The Novela girls at the Tim Biskup installation
The Novela girls at the Tim Biskup installation

The art did not disappoint, with great pieces from Oleg Dou and Jen Stark and other pieces, that even as a satire, were, shall we say, less great. Swarovski toilet anyone?

Oleg Dou at Pulse - LR

I called it an early art day and headed back to the Novela Law office to close a $90 Million financing for my client, The Legacy Companies.  Less anyone believe I was not actually working during Art Basel, here is the proof in the Daily Business Review.

The following day I had the Art Conductor – Chopard dinner to attend to and that Saturday the PAMM Gala, the most anticipated event of Art Basel Miami 2013.

This is Part 3 of my five part Art Basel Series. Part 1 link is here and Part 2 link is here.  Stay tuned for Parts 4 – 5 which are still coming up and follow me on instagram @novelawatch or twitter @mrnovela.

Shout-out to my friends at for their great jackets, Espiritutara for my bracelets and for their pocket squares and accessories. A special mention to Style Mafia for Marcella’s spectacular dress.

Photo Credits:  Nicolas Stipcianos, Daniel Novela, Spinello Projects, Mike Zig/Coconut Cartel and Alberto E. Tamargo/AETphoto.

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