Shooting the decadence of Art Basel Miami

A new zine by photographer Rosie Marks provides a droll look inside the infamous art fair.

by Ryan White
18 August 2020, 8:00am

Photographer Rosie Marks, as you may have read in i-D, has a knack for turning the mundane and everyday into something absurd. “I’m interested in human behaviour,” she says, about the imagery she creates and the particular stories she pursues. Revelling in the strangeness of normality, as fellow photographer Henry Gorse puts it in Pylot Magazine, Rosie’s work is a little reminiscent of “early Martin Parr and Tom Wood combined with the raw feeling of Henry Bond”. 

Her latest zine, Miami 2018-2019, bears all these classic hallmarks. “These pictures were shot over two trips to Miami in December 2018 and 2019, mostly at the art fairs and after parties along the beach,” she says. “I had never been to an art fair before, let alone Art Basel, and was interested in showing up and seeing what and who I found. No one took much notice of me as there were many other photographers around.”

Granted a press pass, allowing her to move freely between the many different exhibitions and parties, Rosie quietly observed the extreme opulence and extravagance of the infamous annual art fair -- and its swarm international buyers, collectors and socialites. From high-heeled feet poking out of taxi doors to hands grasping onto champagne flutes and iPhones, these pictures capture everything one might find in a Getty Image folder, yet make a much more interesting commentary on it. “The pictures and the characters speak for themselves,” she adds. “The notion of wealth, privilege, excess and grandeur I suspect may be apparent in some.”

Although she initially shot these images without the intention of publishing them, Rosie’s desire to make something that exists outside of Instagram led her to create this booklet. “I also had a bit of time over lockdown and so got into this project more,” she says. “It feels good to finish something, it’s hard to move on when things remain incomplete.”

women getting out of a taxi at art basel miami
a man smoking a cigar at art basel
a pool party at art basel miami
a women opening her bag full of cigarettes
a truck with an american flag on it
a woman sat on an escalator in miami
a man wearing an elaborate butterfly sculpture
a man wearing a t-shirt with a paintbrush stuck to it
two attendees of art basel on their iphones
a man wearing a crab outfit at art basel


All images courtesy Rosie Marks

Art Basel
rosie marks