One week of feeding frenzy art exposure that had as little to do with the act of the individual expression of divine inspiration as a car show. Art Basel Miami, exhibited at the convention center and other locations around town, was all about the commodification of art. Like the stock market. Thousands of people milling around halls and halls, and booths and booths stuffed with art ready to take the gamble like they were looking for a lucrative stock portfolio.
An art overdose. An art oxymoron. OK. I know. You gettit. But let me tell you, among all that art and trend, there was hardly any Green. I’d been pitching the story of “what’s new in green art” to websites like Planet Green, Inhabitat and Treehugger, but phew I’m glad I got no bites because there was nothing to report. No thing. Nada. NADA was incidently the name of the edgier art show at the Deauville Hotel in North Beach, walking distance from my home, where the Beatles had played in the sixties and it hasn’t been renovated since. The stale baroque carpet and duck taped doors were supposedly cool and funky, and so all the cool and funky peole stayed there. But my favorite show was Pulse, at the old Ice factory, where that whacky halloween party took place a month ago, the best art, the best setting, the most together mix of people. Pulse’s old warehouse environment did not diminsh the art as much as the convention center (still reeking from last month’s wine show) did. Like Pulse had Maria Jose Arjona, the Pain Resistant performance artist who stood on blocks of ice spiked with large nails, which became exposed as the ice slowly melted. As a fakir she stood all day, blocking out pain, cold and the sight of drones of people ew-ing and ah-ing, watching, pointing and laughing. One woman in the audience said, “OH NO, her hair keeps falling across her eyes.” “Please,” I said, “thats the least of her problems. Like hypothermia and tetanus come to mind…?”
Is art shown at a trade-show still art? Or is it f-art? I mean there are trade shows for everything commercial. Cars, wine, porn,furniture and fashion all use trade shows as a means to connect to their markets. But isn’t art more? And best understood within the context of the artist’s life, mind, raw loft, rickety farmstead? Call me a romantic, but I want the entire art experience. I used to do trade shows myself. Every season, sometimes four times a year, in London when I had a collection called Giraf and then again in New York at the Javitz when I did a kids clothing line, called Baby Gordon. And I can tell you, with authority, that trade shows are like being cast into outer philistine space. They suck unless you’re really really hot. But boredom and not inspired creativity was modus operandus at Basel Miami where the art representatives escaped on their MACs, traveling to virtual worlds (Googling old boyfriends?) beyond their tiny cubicle and the bourgeois crowds.
Of course there were some really cool things with which I shall now debunk myself and I took lots of pictures for Alastair’s WSJ blog, best Basel Miami blog on the market, and when I picked the projects I liked to photograph I also picked my favorites, all of which are posted on Miami Street Style, and some here: