In a bizarre and emotionally transparent performance, Miley Cyrus mocked her own music, opened up about her dark year and belted out some Led Zeppelin. Oh yeah, and she smoked pot onstage.
Wearing a silver metallic Cleopatra wig and bright turquoise eye shadow, Cyrus kicked off a private, poolside show at the Raleigh Hotel in South Beach singing a duet of "Super Freak" with a topless woman. Cyrus was among the top-billed acts during the star-studded week of the prestigious Art Basel Miami Beach.
The 22-year-old singer performed mostly covers, including Led Zeppelin, the Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" and Johnny Cash, telling the audience she understood they were serious about real art and probably weren't fans of her pop-music style.
"You thought (Art Basel) was a respected place where you could escape me," said Cyrus, who talked about her difficult year after her twerking performance at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards and the death of her dog.
The former Disney star said it took her to a dark place and made her realise many things she was doing seemed meaningless.
"This year has constantly challenged me, and that's why I started doing art," she said before launching into a song she wrote after her friend's cat spoke to her in a dream. She also played the macabre song on the piano, abruptly banging on the keys at the end, saying she was sick of talking about death and wanted to move on to something fun.
Later in the show, she donned a massive rainbow with a cutout for her head, while two other performers wore mushroom costumes. At one point, two costumed sharks and a penis ran across the stage. Despite distractions of bubbles floating through the air and falling confetti, one thing stood out- her vocal chops.
"Usually I don't smoke weed and drink, well that's a lie ... usually I don't smoke weed and drink on show days, but I felt like it was fine in Miami," said Cyrus, whose boyfriend, Patrick Schwarzenegger, also attended the party, hosted by designer Tommy Hilfiger, art dealer Jeffrey Deitch and V Magazine. Schwarzenegger is the eldest son of actor and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his estranged wife, journalist Maria Shriver. She is a member of the Kennedy family.
Offstage, art abounded as a trio of nude women covered in body paint, wearing only giant wigs and black thigh-high boots, posed for pictures. Neon necklace-clad plastic baby dolls were tucked into the branches of trees surrounding the pool.
Inside several poolside cabanas, art installations showed video images of Cyrus with a neon green Oz-like background alongside strangely photo-shopped images of her and messages accusing her of torturing her real fans and urging her to "stop posting terrible art."