For roughly half an hour this morning, some art collectors had to consider a world in which they didn’t get that Alex Katz work. Art Basel Miami Beach is starting off just fine, with several visitors at today’s VIP opening unable to load the fair’s dedicated mobile app. According to an Art Basel employee at one of the information desks, the app was experiencing “technical difficulties” and guests of the fair were being issued physical VIP cards “on a case-by-case basis.” (Probably based on their net worth, holdings of oil barrels, number of boring Günther Förg paintings, or other honorable markers of prestige.)
Nina Surel, a Miami-based collector and artist who hails from Argentina, had just arrived from a breakfast at the Bass Museum and was highly amused by the glitch.
“Argentinians love it when things don’t work in Miami, it’s big news. The system is down, now we can all get in!” Surel joked outside the fair entrance. “It’s definitely the story of the day.”
At least 100 people stood in line outside the security entrance when I arrived around 11:10 am, 10 minutes into the fair’s official opening. (Nevertheless, a woman in a blonde bob who declined to give me her name told me she had been in line “for a very long time.”)
The convoy of VIPs thinned out relatively quickly as Art Basel’s employees worked diligently to issue collectors their passes, and by 11:45 am, just a few stragglers lingered outside the entrance, looking forlornly at their phones. Wouldn’t want to be them! They probably have second and third holds on the Katz.
For what it’s worth, I just tried loading the app and it did work, but unfortunately, I had already walked the roughly 14 miles to the other end of the Miami Beach Convention Center where the press desk is located to collect my physical badge. (I swear, they’re trying to tire us out.)