“I remember goin to the first Art Basel Miami Beach, at the convention center. Nobody knew what it was. It was like in 2001. An artist friend from New York named Twinny told me and my wife Nezzie about it. She was all excited. She knew all about it. She was so into it y’know, “Ooooh Art Basel is going to be in Miami!”
Nobody else really knew what it was. But Twinny was really into it.
Twinny is Barry Weiss’s aunt. Barry’s the CEO of Universal Records, and the son of one of my best old friends from the music business, Hy Weiss. Hy Weiss and his brother Sam founded Old Town Records. They had tons of artists like Bobby Blue Bland and Arthur Prysock. Later, Sam and his son Michael founded Nervous Records, the electronic music label. Michael runs that now. That electronic music is what’s taken over and replaced all the live acts in the clubs.
Anyway, this Art Basel Miami Beach has really become a huge event. It’s good for the city. All the hotels are full. That first year I went was pretty exciting. I remember walking through and seein all the art. I still had my eyesight at the time, hadn’t gone blind yet. I’ve been all around the world to every kind of convention you can think of, and this one is as good as the best of those. Even better, it’s right here at home in Miami.
I know now they’ve got all that action in Wynwood too. I went last year and checked out the street art, and the murals. I may be blind now, but I’ve still got my great vision, and I can see that this whole Art Basel Miami Beach adds a great energy to the first week of December.”
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