Atención, Miami! Art Basel Has (Un)officially Begun!

Last night, famed television personality and Art Basel host committee member Raúl de Molina, in conjunction with gallerist Nina Menocal, held his seventh annual Art Basel kickoff party at his home in the Grand Bay Towers and Residences on Key Biscayne. As co-host of Univision’s No. 1 rated entertainment news show “El Gordo y la Flaca,” De Molina is a celebrity in his own right, beloved for his candid personality and humble demeanor. He is, essentially, the Ryan Seacrest of the Latin world.

An avid art collector since the age of 18, De Molina has compiled an impressive collection, starting with works from Cuban artists and soon expanding to masterpieces from all over the globe. Ardently displayed throughout his home are dozens of interesting, thought-provoking pieces from top artists like Pieter Hugo, famed photographer from South Africa (“The Hyena and Other Men”); Kcho, an award-winning Cuban sculpture featured in the esteemed Marlborough Gallery in New York City; Martin Schuller, who is known for portraying extreme close-ups of celebrities (De Molina has one of Clint Eastwood and one of Bill Clinton); Manuel Mendive, the Cuban artist known for his “Voodoo Alters”; Jose Bedia, Hunt Slonem…the list goes on. No wall is bare in the De Molina household; and no detail left unadorned. The array of bold colors and textures blend effortlessly, creating their very own personal MoMA.

As is typical for a De Molina event, the living room was not only overflowing with impressive art, but also with impressive people. Guests included Jorge Perez, Miami’s top real estate developer (aka The “Donald Trump of the Tropics”); Stephanie Reed; baseball legend Sammy Sosa; Gary Nadar; Sascha Nikitin from Art Basel Switzerland; Lily Estefan; Silvia Tcherassi; MAM Director Thom Collins; and many more. A delicious gourmet spread with cheeses and caviar along with passed hors d’oeuvres and Champagne was the perfect accent to the lively atmosphere and respectable crowd.

When asked what he’s most looking forward to in the upcoming Art Basel week, De Molina had trouble identifying just one thing. He ambitiously stated that he plans to go to “everything.” He was also adamant about the fact that Art Basel it’s not just about art, but also about an entire Miami cultural experience. His passion for Basel is based on the more intangible component that makes it come alive — the energy. “Art Basel is the premiere event in Miami. There is nothing else that compares in the entire United States,” he gushed, continuing to emphasize that the energy and the culture of the city during the week-long exhibition is his favorite part. “I love how the entire city comes together. And not just the city, but people from all over the world. Miami is the perfect city for such an event. It’s the Casa Blanca of the United States.”

With such high regard for the event, would he change anything? “Art Basel should be at least a week,” he suggests. “There’s not enough time in five days to see or do everything!” And so, as is tradition, De Molina has taken matters into his own hands. Although the festivities don’t technically start until Dec. 2, his party last night has now (un)officially kicked off Art Basel.

Check back with Haute Living for more exclusive Art Basel coverage!

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