Art Basel Miami wants Jeff Bezos, Lauren Sanchez to be homecoming king and queen

It is the biggest party in the art world — and it usually attracts the most glittering stars.

But as artists, collectors and A-listers descend on Miami for Art Basel this week there is only one question on everyone’s lips: Will Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez turn up?

The Amazon founder and his fiancée are now Miami’s richest and most glamorous couple, having announced their relocation to Florida in November.

Their presence would be the ultimate seal of approval for the 3-day festival of contemporary art and its decadent party scene.

Art Basel begins properly on Friday but its cultural and commercial hedonism has already begun, with $1,000-per-plate dinners, all-night DJ sets, a relaxation space run by Deepak Chopra and works on show by Johnny Depp and Pierce Brosnan — not to mention half a dozen respected art fairs.

Sanchez was spotted Sunday in Miami with Camila Cabello hosting a holiday celebration for reunited migrant families, but then returned to Los Angeles, while her fiance has been more elusive.

Sanchez (second right) was with singer Camila Cabello (second left) to give toys and necessities to reunited immigrant families in Miami Sunday. Vanessa DÃaz/ThisIsAboutHumanity / MEGA
Jeff Bezos is on show, in the form of a mounted Roman (left) in a riff on classical sculpture called “Monument to the Battle of Corporate nations” by Chilean artist Sebastian Errazuriz (front, right), with Mark Zuckerberg (center) fighting Elon Musk (right) AP
Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez are the most in-demand guests at Art Basel, with Citadel billionaire Ken Griffin, also a transplant, in his case from New York, just behind them as a must-invite figure. Seth Browarnik/

He does, however, feature in marble and cast bronze and on horseback in a sculpture called “Battle of the Corporate Nations” alongside Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg.

This year, on top of Bezos and Sanchez, the celebrity stakes seem higher since Miami has become a haven for the ultra-rich and ultra-famous who also include soccer’s Lionel Messi, Ivanka Trump, newly-single Tom Brady, his ex-wife Gisele Bundchen and Citadel billionaire Ken Griffin.

Buzz was already swirling around a sighting of the Koru, Amazon founder Bezos’ mammoth, triple-masted sailing yacht, which at 417 feet was so large it had to be docked at the decidedly un-glam Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, shoehorned next to shipping containers and cruise ships.

Also on the a-list are Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, who have hit the social scene in Miami since moving there after her father lost the 2020 election. Getty Images for Carbone Beach
Retired NFL quarterback and newly-eligible bachelor Tom Brady is now a regular on Miami’s social circuit. Getty Images for Best Buddies
Brady’s ex-wife Gisele is a leading figure in the Miami social scene. Her Brazilian background makes her part of the increasingly powerful Latin A-list community which has gathered in Miami.

Alas, Koru, and its mermaid-like figurehead, which has been widely compared to Lauren Sanchez (she says it is not her because it is not busty enough) has departed for the Caribbean, according to Vessel Finder, with support vessel Abeona alongside.

But “the Bezos family” have put their name as hosts of the First Inspirational Gala at the Loews Hotel with special guest on Thursday night, raising speculation that they might be there.

The Koru was tied up at Port Everglades, amid container and cruise ships, because of its size. But it raised anchor before Art Basel, and is now in the Caribbean. Getty Images
Aboena, the support vessel for the Koru, is charting the same course as it. The two made their debut together in Mallorca, Spain, this summer.
Griffin, who is usually seen in a sober suit, showed his flamboyant side in a colorful shirt when he partied with Prince Harry in Las Vegas in October. r/Superstonk/Reddit

Tickets, with the chance to see Sanchez and her $2.5m engagement ring, start at $2,500.

According to the invitation, the gala’s goal is to “help to transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming STEM leaders.” 

The other big name new Miami resident who Art Basel organizers hope will make an appearance is Messi.

He was seen making the rounds as recently as last Thursday night on a double date at Brickell hotspot Sexy Fish with wife Antonela, teammate Sergio Busquets and his partner Elena Galera.

Lionel Messi, the captain of Inter Miami, was seen leaving the city’s most in-demand restaurant, Sexy Fish, after a double date last Thursday with his wife Antonela, teammate Sergio Busquets and his partner Elena Galera. Pichichipixx /
Sexy Fish is a flamboyant sushi joint where the prix-fixe starts at $287. Sexy Fish Miami
Sexy Fish boasts art by the Young British Artist Damien Hirst and the star-chitect Frank Gehry. Sexy Fish Miami

The sushi emporium, which features artwork by Damien Hirst and Frank Gehry has a full lineup of art events this week, including an appearance by DJ Claptone. 

If you can score a table, the experience will cost you: Their suggested prix-fixe dinner starts at $287 per person, and includes oysters with smoked chili, a lobster shot, caviar, BBQ king crab and wagyu beef, served on a silver octopus platter. 

High rollers and hedge-funders with an unlimited budget can also drop $1,000 per person for a “Miami Art Week” dinner at Papi Steak on Thursday. 

Longtime Art Basel Miami fixture is expected to be seen at a string of parties. Getty Images
Party scenesters will also be hoping for a sighting of David and Victoria Beckham, who are part-time residents. Beckham is one of the investors in soccer team Inter Miami and helped bring Messi to the city. Pichichipixx /
The avant-garde art has already arrived, including a sand maze by Chilean artist Sebastian Errazuriz on Miami Beach. Getty Images

Hosted by art darling Alec Monopoly and benefitting the charity Style Saves, the dinner will feature Alaskan king crab and caviar, dry aged Wagyu tomahawk steak, and, in honor of the first night of Hanukkah, latkes. 

Papi Steak regulars include David and Victoria Beckham, Travis Scott, Drake, Alex Rodriguez and Fat Joe.

Some A-listers trickled in Wednesday, including Serena Williams and supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio.

Miamians can also generally count on a Leonardo DiCaprio sighting, since the Oscar winner is an Art Basel enthusiast who gets early admittance to the fair to scoop up the best pieces.

Serena Williams was an early A-list arrival, inspecting some of the works on show at the Gagosian Gallery’s pop-up Art Basel Miami space. AP
The partying also got an early start at the House of Suntory, one of a series of pop-ups and activations by big brands determined to be part of the elite art scene. Suntory

Another iconic figure — Bond, James Bond — will be making an appearance at the Art Miami fair.

Pierce Brosnan, who portrayed 007 from 1995 to 2002, is putting his latest portraits and abstracts on display. The five paintings are in partnership with art technology platform OLEA and will be available to view all week. 

Johnny Depp’s artwork will also be on display at Art Miami. The embattled actor-turned-singer-turned-artist is launching his “The Bunnyman” collection at the Castle Contemporary booth at Art Miami. 

Pierce Brosnan, the former 007, is one of the celebrity artists taking part. He was seen in spring at another show of his work. Keely Shaye Brosnan/ Instagram
Brosnan’s Miami show will focus on abstracts and makes him the biggest celebrity to be present to show his works. Keely Shaye Brosnan/ Instagram

The four pieces portray a recurring character Depp and his son, Jack, have encountered in their dreams. Each one is signed by the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star and is priced at $5,250, or $19,950 for all four. 

Unfortunately, for Depp fans — or haters — he won’t be attending the art fair.

Probably the most anticipated appearance is by rapper Juvenile, whose NPR Tiny Desk concert resurrected his career—and earned the crooner a new fan base. 

Johnny Depp will show some of his works at Art Basel, but will not attend himself. he has shown himself at work on paintings and prints. Johnny Depp NFT/ Never Fear Truth
Depp’s work which will be on show is called “The Bunnyman” and shows a character he and his son Jack have encountered in their dreams. Courtesy of The Bunnyman Genesis

The “Back That Azz Up” rapper will perform Wednesday night at a members-only party at Soho Beach House, sponsored by Porsche. 

The parties that ostensibly are for art have little to do with it are too many to list, of course. But they span the fifth annual Maxim fete at Hyde Beach on Saturday night, Flex Bash hosted by Passes on Friday and the Late-Night at Sofia party with a performance by Chantal Jeffries on Thursday. 

Undoubtedly, Bezos, Sanchez, Griffin and other A-listers will be long gone — or hiding in their billionaire bunkers — by the time the more mainstream parties and activations unleash their TikTok-worthy vibe onto Miami. 

A 45-foot tall sculpture called “R-Evolution” by by artist Marco Cochrane which made its debut at the Burning Man festival in 2015 will be the biggest work on display. It has been in place for three weeks.

Big-name DJs and pure revelry are on tap for revelers who want to participate in the fun, minus the art. Local nightclubs like E11EVEN and LIV are going all in with marquee DJs and performers like Diplo, Snoop Dogg, DeadMau5, Tiesto and John Summit.

There’s a Wellness Oasis at the Standard Hotel to detox with health and wellness personalities like Deepak Chopra, Melissa Wood Tepperberg and Devi Brown.

Perhaps it’s appropriate that the signature art piece for the festivities was originally created for Burning Man in 2015. The towering “R-Evolution” sculpture, by artist Marco Cochrane, depicts a nude woman 45 feet high. 

The 32,000-pound symbol of feminine energy is now presiding over Miami Art Week on Lincoln Road, with outstretched arms and closed eyes. She seems over it already.

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