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Money really talks at Art Basel Miami Beach

2 December 2022

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.

Miami is famous for its subtle approach to consumption, so thank goodness that the mischievous MSCHF collective from New York has decided to bring a cash injection to Art Basel Miami Beach. For readers not familiar with MSCHF’s previous works (or interventions): it first sprung to attention with Jesus shoes that allowed wearers to walk on water by means of air pockets filled with (holy?) water and a crucifix hanging from the shoe’s tongue.

Rakewell’s favourite ‘drop’ (as the collective likes to call its product reveals) is the Birkinstock, where fashion’s favourite clog meets the house of Hermès in the form of a cut-up Birkin bag (waiting list, three years), with the leather used to recreate the pumped -up sandal.

Now, MSCHF has taken Miami by storm by splicing the mechanics of financing with the aesthetic of an arcade game. Its has produced an ATM that helpfully presents the bank balance of its users in the form of a leader board for all to see.

ATM Leaderboard (2022), MSCHF. Photo: Pauline Shapiro; courtesy MSCHF and Perrotin

Rakewell has always enjoyed a gamble, but we are slightly concerned that the big players visiting Miami may be too wily to enter their details and reveal how much ready cash they have. We remain hopeful that vanity might overcome discretion. Still, unlike certain dark corners of the art market, at least everyone knows the rules of the game.

Got a story for Rakewell? Get in touch at rakewell@apollomag.com or via @Rakewelltweets.