How This Artist Disappeared Right in the Middle of an Art Basel Party

Most people arriving to Art Basel Miami Beach are coming to be seen and photographed in their loudest statement fashion, not to disappear into the background. But the artist Liu Bolin, however, is only truly present when he is not to everyone else. The Beijing-based Liu, who has come to be known as the art world's "Invisible Man," began the first of his Hiding in the City series in 2005, when he painted himself into urban sites throughout China to silently protest the Chinese government's evicting residents to make room for the Beijing Olympics, and has since adapted his glocal acts of disappearance to brands like Valentino and Moncler, and staged in places as far-flung as Iceland. (He has even expanded his chameleonic approach online by hacking himself and his camouflaged co-conspirators into images of famed artworks like Guernica and the Mona Lisa on the internet, in a related series called Art Hacker.) Lately, his Hiding world tour has seen him collaborate with Ruinart, the champagne house with a history of supporting and collaborating with artists like Maarten Baas, Erwin Olaf, and Jaume Plensa, as its latest artist-in-residence. On Wednesday, at an Art Basel Miami Beach x Ruinart event right next door to the main fair at the convention center (which Ruinart also sponsors) in the Miami Botanical Gardens, Liu restaged the fruits of that residency, painstakingly painting himself into a backdrop of colorful liquids filling the famed Ruinart bottle shapes (the exacting details of camouflage are rendered over Liu's face, skin, clothes—everything) as VIPs sipped on Ruinart Rosé champagne and snacked on canapés by legendary Miami chef Michelle Bernstein. Soon, Liu began to disappear from view, and everyone took out their phones to capture the moment the artist left the party.

Liu Bolin during his performance at the Miami Botanical Garden at the Ruinart x Art Basel Miami Beach champagne event.

A close up of Liu Bolin's performance.

Another angle of Liu's disappearing act.

Can you see him here?

The famed Ruinart champagne bottles (although they don't actually come in these colors).

Fashion blogger Shea Marie at the Ruinart x Art Basel Miami Beach champagne event.

Liu Bolin, un-disappeared.

Preparing for his vanishing.

Jamie Soriano, Michael Irilli, Frédéric Dufour, Christophe Navarre, and Fabien Vallerian at the Ruinart x Art Basel Miami Beach champagne event.

Would it be Art Basel Miami Beach without (Ruinart, of course) rosé champagne?

The actual disappearance is best seen on camera.

Great natural lighting helps, too.

DJ Timo Weiland seems to be enjoying things.

TK Wonder at the Ruinart x Art Basel Miami Beach champagne event.

Crowding around Liu before he disappears from view.

Close to the vanishing point now.

Partygoers at the Ruinart x Art Basel Miami Beach champagne event.

More snaps.

The artist is present, with his staff.


Canapés from Miami legend Michelle Bernstein were not to be missed.

The scene after dark.

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