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Albert Oehlen’s Dose (2003), from the collection of Carlos and Rosa de la Cruz, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami
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by Walter Robinson

The latest round of art festivities in Miami began on Nov. 29, 2005, with a welcome party at the Delano Hotel thrown by Art Basel Miami Beach, the 600-pound art-world gorilla whose four-year-old presence at the Miami Beach Convention Center provides the occasion for a record number of additional art fairs -- how many are there? Five? Seven? -- and a host of ancillary events. Art Basel director Sam Keller set a hospitable tone, standing at the entrance to the Art Deco hotel, welcoming visitors from Europe, Latin America and points elsewhere. Inside were fetching young hostesses in low-cut orange dresses -- a bit of local color, so to speak -- as well as music, cocktails, a dinner buffet and a cigar bar. It was noisy, crowded and annoying -- in other words, a success.