99% of the art at Art Basel Miami was for the 1%, the remaining 1% was for the 99%.
You get the math?
Global capitalism at work! Consumerism in overdrive, showcasing the trickle-down effect to a select few formerly starving artists (most now dead) and their Prada clad uber dealers. Selling masterpieces or rather masturbation pieces to the super rich.
But where is this irony reflected? Is a Picasso still a radical challenge to the status quo? Where is the new rage?
This commodification of status art is boring. The endless (and I mean endless) rows of mind-dulling booths with static canvasses, photos, installations, sculptures and hangings is so overwhelming that it’s impossible to recognize the good from the bad from the new from the old.
Picassos, three in one booth, look blah, Calder, Delaunay, Miro, feel like so what? An entire gallery filled with about 200 original Warhols, cute but can we go home now…
To present art, some great art, as interior decorating like an all-you-can-eat art buffet to binging collectors in the same space that held the car show just a few weeks ago and the boat show next month diminishes its cultural and historical value. Just because the creamiest 1% of the 1% cream have agreed to agree, leaving nothing to chance. Their millions safe within the vaults of big brand investment art.
Design Miami was nestled like a co-dependent snooty mistress in a tent alongside the massive convention center.
Design Miami used to be in the Design District, where this year the Buckminster Fuller Dome and Dymaxion car where re-created by Sir Norman Foster making an inspired statement for inventive design that reflects past and future. Art Basel Inc. has taken over Design Miami and keeps it close to their all-encompassing police-state-of-the-art campus, with Schwarzenegger-esque guards who look like they will pepper-spray anyone that does not meet the humorless Swiss code of conduct.
Design Miami houses designers. Or rather galleries who sell the work of furniture, jewelry, lighting, life-style designers. No art allowed in this building. Just design. One booth had two blank walls with nails where their fifties wall weavings would have hung had it not been for the style police deeming them to be art and forbidding the gallery to sell them.
So, you may wonder, what happened to art that says fuck you to all this monitoring, keeping track and bourgeois judging of what should live and what should not?
Where is the To Create Art is To Burn Alive spirit behind this snob spectacle?
Where is the devil-may-care, I have the urge to get lost, give me a piece of wood, a canvas, a block of clay and I’ll see you next year, spirit of the artist?
Sanitized! Lobotomized! Exorcized!
Even the satellite shows with younger and edgier work were eager to register on the luxury radar, and attract those god-like collectors who spread the magic gold that makes or breaks careers.
Still there was the upside that the remaining 1% of art was for the remaining 99%
This 1% was getting dirty in Wynwood where another set of walls had been given up to artists who painted manically, obsessively grinding and wielding their cans, sprays and ladders.
The 99% was there, in the street, raw energy alive with loud music, swanning the galleries, eating from food trucks, dancing, taking pictures, making movies, kissing, noisy, funny, sexy, young…
And the art was there on the walls, being created in the moment for everyone to see – a democracy of participation.
No luxury price tags.
Unavailable for ownership.
Art that hopefully foreshadows an awakening to a time where status is lost, luxury deemed boring and boundless creativity – like anything – is possible…again.