Record Crowds Attend VIP Preview of 23rd Art Miami and Inaugural CONTEXT Art Miami Festivals

Record Crowds Attend VIP Preview of 23rd Art Miami and Inaugural CONTEXT Art Miami FestivalsThe line of elegantly dressed and carefully coiffed bold face names that formed well before the doors opened to the exclusive VIP Preview of Art Miami and its new sister fair CONTEXT Art Miami is testament to the fact that Art Miami, Miami's longest-running contemporary art fair, remains the preeminent, must-attend event of Miami Art Week. The giddiness in the crowd was almost palpable as art lovers waited patiently, eager to have the first look at - and first opportunity to purchase - the most important works of contemporary and modern art from a stellar roster of the world's most prominent galleries.

The VIP Preview of the 23rd Art Miami officially kicked off Miami Art Week drawing a crowd of over 11,000 international collectors, museum curators, interior designers, artists and connoisseurs. Among the notable attendees were: Darlene & Jorge M. Pérez, developer and longtime trustee of the Miami Art Museum – to be renamed next year as the Pérez Art Museum Miami; Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google, Thom Collins, Director, Miami Art Museum, James Rosenquist, acclaimed American Pop Artist; Lucien Clergue, world-renowned French photographer; Arnold L. Lehman, Director of the Brooklyn Museum; Holly Hotchner, Director of the Museum of Arts & Design; Sarah Arison, arts activist and philanthropist; rocker Lenny Kravitz; Carol Damien, Director of Frost Art Museum and international collectors Ruth & Ted Baum, Marvin & Elayne Mordes, Marvin Ross Friedman & Adrienne Bon Haynes, Jack Tilton , Eric Feder, Steve Lavigne and Jonathan Blue Louisville.

In classic sophisticated Art Miami style, guests were accorded VIP perks such as shuttle buses from Kempton's EPIC Hotel, the fairs Luxury Hotel partner to the pavilions where while sipping cocktails form Bootlegger 21 NY Vodka and Rums of Puerto Rico, guests toured the mammoth pavilions in search of that unique treasure to add to their collection. There was much discussion about the "Banksy Out of Context" exhibit of five massive stone wall reliefs equaling six-and-a-half tons in weight that feature the artist's most iconic stencils; "ART FROM BERLIN," Miami's first showcase of some of Berlin's most celebratEd Galleries. CONTEXT Art Miami also revealed the Art Video | New Media Lounge, specially curated by Julia Draganovic and Claudia Loffelholz, founders of LaRete Art Projects and presenters of the "Girls or Boys? Who Cares?!" exhibition.

Peter Anton's "Sugar & Gomorrah." a repurposed roller coaster ride through vignettes featuring scantily clad couples juxtaposed with Anton's oversized sculptures of confections had riders positively giggling like schoolchildren at the experience.

"Art Miami gets better year after year," said Jutta Grusdat from the Munich-based Galerie Terminus. "It has exceeded expectations, and in comparison to the other fairs, has the most diverse art work."

During the special event, Art Miami LLC presented a generous donation to the Miami Art Museum, which will reopen next year in a new Herzog & de Meuron-designed facility as a world-class museum for the city's thriving community of artists, designers, collectors and its avid and growing art-engaged public. The Miami Art Museum will host a specially curated on-site booth in the Art Miami Pavilion for the duration of the Fair, featuring information about the 2013 reopening of MAM as Pérez Art Museum Miami. thanks to the extraordinary generosity of arts patron Jorge Perez.