How to survive an art fair: A day at Art Basel Miami Beach
I’m at Art Basel this week in Miami Beach. Surviving an art fair is surprisingly complicated — and exhausting. Here’s how to get the most out of it, based on yesterday’s Art Basel VIP preview:
First you are going to have to find parking. The nicer your car, the less it matters that where you stopped isn’t actually a parking spot. Look for the long line of valets.
Then, get ready to queue. Everyone coming to the VIP day at the fair is of some importance. Unless your name is on a museum somewhere (and maybe not even then!), you’ll need to wait in line with the rest of the Very Important set.
Once you’re in, it’s time to shop. Art fairs are basically the world’s most expensive mall. As with any mall, look for the name brands: Warhol, Calder, Koons… or in this case, a booth designed by an architect famous for making things white.
If you’re looking for a certain thing, check your map. Or, in my own case, look at the map, get confused, and just start walking.
If you really collect art, by all means, start looking at the work. Otherwise, it’s time to head over to the center of the fair, where there’s already a crowd wanting to see and be seen outside dealer Larry Gagosian’s booth.
That crowd may or may not include Leonardo DiCaprio and his entourage (center, with the cap).
Follow the crowds to the hidden sculpture, behind which is…
A bar handing out free coconuts! Remember, this is the 21st century and everything is art.
Now’s the time to buy your art. The VIP day is probably the only day the big dealers will actually be at the fair, so get in before it’s too late. For the most cachet, pass up the dealers in suits for the ones in jeans, like David Zwirner.
What you’re really angling for is to be invited into the back room, where there is more — and sometimes better — art for sale.
Perhaps most importantly, try to get out early, sparing yourself the humiliation of 1) feeling like you just spent six hours in a giant room full of bland art you can’t really remember and 2) having to wait in yet another line.
Six world powers meet this week to discuss what may become a historic deal to limit Iran’s proliferation of nuclear fuel and opening the oil-rich nation’s access to precious metals and petrochemicals markets.
Chinese officials plan to alter the one-child law for the first time in nearly 30 years: The revision could be a step towards abolishing the policy altogether, though its demographic effect may be small.
Since Hassan Rouhani became president, Iran has stopped expanding its uranium enrichment capacity, a U.N. inspection report showed on Thursday, in a potential boost for diplomacy to end Tehran’s nuclear dispute with the West. The quarterly report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also said that since August no further major components had been added to a potential plutonium-producing reactor that worries the United States and its allies.
The marked slowdown in the growth of activities of possible use in developing nuclear bombs may be intended to back up Rouhani’s warmer tone towards the West after years of worsening confrontation, and strengthen Tehran’s hand in talks with world powers due to resume on November 20.
The six powers - the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China - are pressing Iran to curb its nuclear program to ease fears that it may be seeking to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.
Moscow fears return of militants from Syria, Bangladeshi workers get a raise but protests go on, and Philippines president blasted over typhoon reaction. Today is Thursday, November 14, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner.
Russian militants fight in Syria, raise fears back home
Local resident Dzhabrail Magomedov, who studied at a religious school in Damascus, looks on in Novosasitli village in the Dagestan region, September 28, 2013. REUTERS/Ilyas Hajji
Militants’ return. Russian officials fear that locally-born Islamist militants, fighting in Syria alongside rebel troops, may return home to join a violent movement for an independent Islamic state. Deadly clashes between militants and law enforcement are a near-daily occurrence in the North Caucasus region, where some residents abide by Sharia law. Moscow reports that hundreds of Russians are now fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a long-time Russian ally. Some Russian militants who joined troops in Syria fought for Chechen independence in the 1990s, repurposing their training for a new battle:
Since Putin rose to power 13 years ago and crushed a Chechen separatist revolt, he has said he would not allow the Caucasus provinces to split from Russia. But the nationalist cause that inspired Chechens to revolt after collapse of the Soviet Union has mutated into an Islamic one that spread to nearby Caucasus mountain lands. Defeated in Chechnya, rebels now launch near-daily attacks in Ingushetia, Dagestan and Kabardino-Balkaria. Today, the ranks of fighters are filled by youths disillusioned by police brutality, joblessness, corruption and the perceived persecution of religious conservatives.
Russia will host the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014, and has renewed anti-terrorism lawsin preparation for the event. This summer, insurgent leader Doku Umarov called for “maximum force” during the Olympics. Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed plans for a stalled peace conference and the country’s chemical weapons disarmament process with Assad. The opposition has insisted Assad’s removal be a prerequisite for peace negotiations.
A view of a cemetery, where people including militants killed by security forces are buried, on the suburbs of Makhachkala, October 1, 2013. REUTERS/Ilyas Hajji
Wage war.Bangladeshi garment workers protested on Thursday, saying the 77 percent minimum raise proposed by their employers was not enough. The hike would increase the monthly minimum wage from $38 to $68, a figure that would keep Bangladesh’s minimum wage the lowest in the world.
A policeman loads his gun during a clash with garment factory workers in Ashulia, November 14, 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj
Violent protests have shuttered more than 100 clothing factories this week. Bangladesh’s lucrative garment industry was put under an international spotlight following the death of 1,130 people, mostly women, killed in the April collapse of a building housing several garment factories.
Aquino under fire. Philippines President Benigno Aquino faces criticism over his response to – and preparation for – the typhoon that devastated his country over the weekend, as foreign aircraft begin to deliver aid and ravaged towns start to bury their dead.
Remnants of a wall that was once part of a building of the Philippine Air Force is seen damaged in the aftermath of super typhoon Haiyan at the Tacloban airport, November 14, 2013. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
Aquino said casualties were avoided by evacuations, but victims report they did not receive sufficient warning of the tsunami-like wall of water. Philippines officiasl report 2,357 confirmed deaths, but aid workers expect the number of casualties to rise. According to the United Nations, 544,600 people were displaced by the storm and nearly 12 percent of the population was affected. Click through for an interactive chart showing the damage, and information on how to help survivors of Typhoon Haiyan.
Nota Bene:Disgraced German ex-president Christian Wulff stands trial for corruption.
Years after it was founded, Setad is an economic giant. To make the organization’s asset acquisitions possible, governments under the watch of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, systematically legitimized the practice of confiscation and gave Setad control over much of the seized wealth, a Reuters investigation has found.
The supreme leader, judges and parliament over the years have issued a series of bureaucratic edicts, constitutional interpretations and judicial decisions bolstering Setad. The most recent of these declarations came in June, just after the election of Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani.
Khamenei’s corporation eased sanctions strain, Iran blames nuclear impasse on Western leaders, and China’s meager Philippines aid could further harm ties with Southeast Asia. Today is Tuesday, November 12, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner.
Ayatollah’s assets protected him from sanctions squeeze
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei attends a meeting with high-ranking officials in Tehran, August 31, 2011. REUTERS/www.khamenei.ir/Handout
Spotlight: Iran → Sanctions sidestep.A six-month Reuters investigation found that Setad, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Ayatollah Khamenei’s land-grab firm, has provided the leader with the economic backing needed to remain in control. Setad has also been key in allowing Iran tomaintain independence despite tough Western sanctions, and has managed to avoid restrictions:
In July 2010, the European Union issued a 12-page list of Iranian individuals and entities it was sanctioning. Among them: Mohammad Mokhber, president of Setad, which the EU described as “an investment fund linked to Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader.” Mokhber and the others were cited for alleged links to Iran’s nuclear or missile programs, but the EU gave no further details. The action didn’t target Setad itself. The broader sanctions effort grew tougher. That same month, Washington enacted its strictest measures so far, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act, which targeted Iran’s oil and gas sector. The Act, and a series of EU and U.S. sanctions over the following two years, increased pressure on Iran, in particular its energy exports and its banks. Growth slowed to 3 percent in 2011, and the economy shrank 1.9 percent in 2012. Oil exports have fallen by around 60 percent in the past two years as European and most Asian buyers reduced imports because of U.S. and EU sanctions. Iran now earns around $100 million from oil sales a day, down from $250 million two years ago. Setad itself, however, managed to evade the tightening noose. In October 2012, without any explanation, the EU removed Mokhber from its sanctions list.
In June of last year, the U.S. sanctioned Setad and several companies it oversees. Though an official from the U.S. Treasury department told a Senate committee that Khamenei controls Setad, the Ayatollah was not specifically targeted because the U.S. did not want to be seen as motivated by regime change. Explore Setad’s corporate holdings in an interactive chart, and click through forparts one and two of the special report on the Ayatollah’s assets. Stay tuned for part three tomorrow.
Spotlight: Iran → Geneva flop.Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blamed Western leaders for the impasse during last week’s nuclear negotiations in Geneva, contradicting Secretary of State John Kerry’s statement that Iran held up proceedings. On Monday, Kerry said that major powers had drafted a proposal over the weekend: “There was unity, but Iran couldn’t take it at particular moment.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry leaves after a news conference following nuclear talks in Geneva, November 10, 2013. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
On Twitter, Zarif responded: “Mr. Secretary, was it Iran that gutted over half of U.S. draft Thursday night?” Russia agreed that it was not Iran’s fault that representatives from France, the U.S., the U.K., Germany, China, and Russia could not agree over the future of Iran’s disputed nuclear program with representatives from that country. Hopes were high for the Geneva meeting, which followed a warming of ties between Tehran and Washington.
Super typhoon survivors seek aid, Khamenei’s economic power comes from property seizures, and Fukushima residents face the prospect of never going home. Today is Monday, November 11, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner.
Typhoon leaves an estimated 10,000 dead, and survivors begging for help
Residents walk past a cargo ship washed ashore four days after super typhoon Haiyan hit Anibong town, Tacloban city, central Philippines, November 11, 2013. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
Survivors’ plight.Victims of typhoon Haiyan, which killed at least 10,000 people and left whole towns isolated from help, struggle to find food, water, and medicine after one of the most powerful storms ever recorded devastated the Philippines this weekend:
Three days after the typhoon made landfall, residents of Tacloban told terrifying accounts of being swept away by a wall of water, revealing a city that had been hopelessly unprepared for a storm of Haiyan’s almost unprecedented power. Most of the damage and deaths were caused by waves that inundated towns, washed ships ashore and swept away villages in scenes reminiscent of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sits next to a portrait of late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini while taking part in a television live programme in Tehran on the occasion of the Iranian New Year, March 21, 2011. REUTERS/Leader.ir/Handout
Long way home.Fukushima evacuees are anxious to go back home, but would settle for acknowledgement from the government that some may never return. Japanese lawmakers on Monday said the government should scale back cleanup goals.
Norio Horiuchi, an evacuee from the town of Tomioka speaks during an interview with Reuters in his unit in a temporary housing estate, where 200 former Tomioka town residents also have been evacuated to, in Iwaki, Fukushima prefecture, November 8, 2013. REUTERS/Sophie Knight
The government may offer compensation to residents whose homes were in the most contaminated regions and will not be able to return. So far, 1,539 displaced Fukushima residents have died due to illness associated with prolonged evacuation. Japan is dealing with fallout from the faulty nuclear plant, which was wrecked by earthquake and tsunami in 2011 and is currently leaking nuclear radiation.
Nota Bene:The chief financier of the Taliban-linked Haqqani network was killed in Islamabad.
Gold no-go - Romania thwarts a massive Canadian gold mining plan. (Associated Press)
Dreamscapes - A photographer captures images of Europe’s forgotten nuclear bunkers and hippodromes. (The Atlantic Cities)
Painful protest - A naked artist is detained after nailing his scrotum to Red Square. (BBC)
Shopping police - Venezuelan soldiers occupy stores accused of price gouging. (New York Times)
Fishy solution - An EU ban on discarding edible fish may not be all that helpful. (The Guardian)