Art Basel
9:30 am
Sat December 8, 2012

How To Get Your Fortune Told By A Giant, Smoke-Breathing Dog

One of the great things about Art Basel week in South Florida is you get to see a lot of strange things in the form of both art and people. After a few Basels, you may start to feel like you’ve seen and done it all.

This black dog often appears throughout artist Desi Santiago's work.
Credit Arianna Prothero

But I’ll bet you’ve never had your fortune told by a gigantic, smoke-breathing dog named Gypsy.

Artist Desi Santigo has created an epic-sized installation at the Lords Hotel on South Beach. Called “The Black Lords,” it is a giant, inflated black dog with glowing red eyes wrapped around the outside of the hotel.

Despite the fact that it looks like a demonic bounce house, the installation seems to be pretty popular (this reporter has been back four times). After all that serious art, we finally get to have some good old, fortune-telling fun.

This is how it works: You go to the hotel and walk between Gypsy’s giant paws that are hovering right over the entrance. You then go to the table set up on the porch area and pick up one of these cards:

Credit Arianna Prothero

You write your question on the back of the card and stick it in the left side of a podium that is facing the giant dog head (there’s only one, you can’t miss it):

Credit Arianna Prothero

Then you stand at the podium and press the button in the middle of its surface. Gypsy will give you a yes, no or maybe answer while smoke bellows from her nose and lasers shoot from her eyes in seizure-inducing patters. You have got to see this thing at night for the full effect. 

I visited Gypsy for the first time on a Thursday and asked if Miami was becoming an art Mecca. She gave me a resounding no. But don't lose hope: my boyfriend asked if the following day was a Friday and she also said no.

Sometimes even hell hounds get it wrong.

Wrong or right, Gypsy is perhaps bringing a little bit of good luck to South Beach’s hotels this Art Basel week.  According an article by the Miami Herald’s Hannah Sampson, hotels are seeing sold-out nights at top rates:

Hotels countrywide are reporting about 90 percent occupancy, according to a preliminary survey by the Greater Miami convention & Visitors Bureau. That’s a slight increase from last year’s 89 percent occupancy.

Nicholas Christopher, president and owner of official Art Basel travel agency Turon Travel, said rates in general are slightly higher than last year. He said most of the visitors are booked through Friday or Saturday, so some availability (and lower prices) could return by the weekend.

You can read the story on the Miami Herald's website.

The Lords has definitely raised the Art Basel bar this year for the other Miami Beach hotels. The installation is open 24 hours a day and runs through Sunday. Go at night and take the kids. And if you can’t think of your own question, ask Gypsy if Miami is on its way to becoming an art Mecca.

Maybe we can get a more optimistic sounding false-positive. 

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