How to be a poor person at Art Basel

How to be a poor person at Art Basel

A couple of months ago one of my best friends made a really great suggestion in the face of the looming and long winter ahead. November days dipping below forty degrees were becoming more common.

The deep winter sadness was quickly approaching and Megan, in a stroke of genius, texted:


Yes. I was for sure still down.

She then added,


Yes. We should definitely do Art Basel. If there’s anything in the world I like, it’s getting as close as I can to large and sometimes ridiculous objects that are valued at $65,000+ with free alcohol in my hand.

And, like, beaches I guess too.

So I’ve never been to Miami, and neither had Megan, and we knew it had a reputation of being really good for going to ~da club~ to get ~bottle service~. We are just plebes in the creative class and the closest thing we’ve been to bottle service lately is the BYOB taco place on St. Nicholas in Bushwick where they will let you bring *YOUR OWN* bottle of wine. Luckily, years of living in basement apartments and windowless rooms in apartments in New York City has taught us to appear chic to the outside world while actually being very broke and very grimy.

I aspire for this post to be *somewhat* informational so I’m going to actually include some of the costs of this trip along the way so if you, a fellow poor-ish person that has aspirations of also attending this art fair for the bourgeoisie, can feel inspired to do so.










The first step of any trip is to actually book your transportation. I’m a carless freeloader so I mostly depend on busses, trains, planes, and hired cars. Miami is too far away for an Uber so I chose to book a flight. I found a *SICK DEAL* on a round-trip flight that was around $250, but like some kind of dum-dum I put off buying it for another week. My biggest advice here is not not live anywhere near the Cincinnati airport, and patronize another hub of air transport, but sadly this is all I had. My punishment for my procrastination was a price of $351.20 for a round-trip ticket from Cincinnati to Miami. Don’t sleep on a cheap flight, buy your ticket as soon as you semi-solidify your plans. I find it’s usually the most painful part of the traveling process.

The next thing Megan and I needed to figure out was lodging. We could either ball out of control and get a hotel suite right on the strip near the beach in one of the cute art deco style hotels. Or we could slum in a hostel and also maintain our monthly eating budgets and student loan repayment. We decided the mysterious allure and vast possibility represented by dormitory style living with traveling strangers won out. We booked two beds in a room of 8 at the SOBE Hostel in South Beach for December 3-6 for a grand total of $131.99 each.

A month later I’m on a plane…

 Thursday December 3rd,



When you get off of the airplane, do not be seduced by the yellow cabs outside no matter how nostalgic you’re feeling about the time you lived in New York. Take an Uber. The difference is about a $35 ride vs. a $15 if you’re heading anywhere near South Beach. Megan is a lot smarter than I am and figured this one out.

Checking into the SOBE hostel was pretty easy/awesome.


We were there way earlier than our 4PM check-in so they let us stash our bags in their bag room, and they even let Megan take a shower. Showering is really important to Megan. They have a bar where you can get a free beer for checking in on Facebook, which is also a great way to show everyone on your Facebook that you’re having the greatest time in Miami.

Seeing Megan was a very emotional experience for me because I love her and don’t get to live near her anymore. She’s one of my most favorite people on earth, and always has really cool hair.

This is Megan politely ignoring me in Miami while I take her picture.
This is Megan politely ignoring me in Miami while I take her picture.

The first thing we did was find margs and tacos near our hostel so we used google maps and found Bodega, which is a great place you should go to if you’re in Miami. They have $3 tacos and really huge, strong $12 margs. We then headed back to our hostel because I made a mistake and wore leather culottes in 80 degree weather.

After a really fat nap we headed out for the night and decided we would walk down to the pier and flirt our way onto a yacht. On our way Megan got a really fabulous can stuck in her shoe.


But we saw some really great architecture.


We found the yachts and got a beer next to a pool with someone who was about to do a catering job on one of them, and as hard as we flirted:

No one was into it. Twitter was telling me that Wynwood was hot tonight so we hopped an Uber over the bay and got out in front of a club that was not in Wynwood, but we didn’t know that yet. The club had a $15 cover so in honor of frugality we said “nah” and started walking towards the bay because we saw some large blinking lights and very chic people in the distance, which we both like a lot.

The blinking lights turned out to be the PAMM. We were wandering around the very futuristic garden out front, looking apparently very bright eyed and very poor because a very cool kooky art couple came up to us and asked if we wanted their wristbands for the party. Then, in a movement that gave me flashbacks to a life before age 21, they carefully removed their wristbands, trying to preserve the sticky part so we could reuse them.

Earlier Megan and I had decided that our mantra for this entire week would be, “Just keep doing something until someone stops your or says no.” Which, when applied to everything besides sex stuff, is actually a pretty liberating strategy.

We boldly and fearlessly walked through the entrance past the guards, and then spent the next hour mildly freaking out that it worked and telling each other how cool we are.


Everyone inside was very cool and wearing Hood By Air. There was also a lot of really great art.

Nari Ward: Sun Splashed
Nari Ward


Jenny Holzer: 15 Inflammatory Essays
Jenny Holzer: 15 Inflammatory Essays
Lawrence Weiner: ‘A Wall Built To Face The Land & Face The Water At The Level Of The Sea’
Megan taking a ~chill~ ASMR break.
Megan taking a ~chill~ ASMR break.

We felt very powerful for our first day at Art Basel and we decided it was a good time to call it a night, but not before being drenched by the El Nino rain that was plaguing the fair this year. Though it was very calming and cool to see nature, the great equalizer, causing chaos amongst the chic at the PAMM. You can pay for a private driver, but you cannot pay the sky to stop raining.

 Friday December 4th,

Friday was Convention Center day. We headed uptown to the show. This was the one we planned ahead for. Tickets were $100 to this show, but well worth it, as this is what everyone comes to see.

I was very tickled at the convention center’s realness. I liked imagining that we were about to look at rare Frank Stella’s in the same building that yearly furry conventions and boat expos are probably held in.

Megan bringing you funky carpet realness.

We saw a lot of really great art here too.

Karl Holmqvist
Karl Holmqvist
Doug Aitken
Doug Aitken
Andrew Carmellini: Sound & Color
Andrew Carmellini: Sound & Color
Kehinde Wiley
Kehinde Wiley
Nancy Dwyer
Nancy Dwyer

Megan saw this one and said, “This was definitely put together by faries.”

Claire Morgan
Claire Morgan
Jimmie Durham

Apparently at some point during this day someone got stabbed and everyone thought it was performance art. We were not there, but I can confidently say I would have also thought it was performance art.

About two hours in we were getting pretty art fatigued and started playing the game “which piece of art would you like to to have sex on top of”.


Tense, but sexy.
Yes, perfect.
This is a visual joke about butt plugs.

About this time I received a very hot tip about a cool show in North Beach and we decided to bounce.

The Miami sky above us was threatening to burst again.


So I thought this would be a great time for Megan and I to try out Miami’s bike share.


To be continued…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *