Thursday, December 14, 2006

Art Basel Experience

That's me, upstairs at the Miami convention center, looking out over the warren of booths at Art Basel. As you can see, I am imagining my own art there -- seeing where I might fit in.

If I was dead I would have a better chance.

I don't know who creates the hype around an artist and his product. Those are the people I want to meet. From my point of view, even though I've been an artist all my life, I cannot look at a piece of art and determine if the artist is or will be famous with individual sales in six figures.

It was quite an eye opener to listen to gallery owners brag that they sold out their inventory in 12 minutes on opening day. People are buying art like there's no tomorrow. There is a HUGE buying public I was quite unaware of. That's what happens when you close your eyes and focus on what's at hand.

I didn't even intend to go to Art Basel, thinking there was nothing for me there, but a group of artist friends encouraged me. I am so glad!

In addition to Basel itself, there were at least 12 separate independent fairs operating simultaneously. My friend Nancy and I attended almost all of them, dragging ourselves through the third day with eyes that could barely discern one painting from the next. We didn't want to miss anything, but of course we did. The parties. By the end of every day we fell into bed exhausted, woke up to the crashing surf of Miami beach, and did it all over again.

The venue is billed as a contemporary art fair and it lived up to that. No traditional paintings in sight. The front of the fair was filled with established galleries selling established artists, Basqiat, Jasper Johns, Warhol, Raschenberg. There was an extraordinary amount of bling: shiny surfaces, glitter, sequins, mylar, silvered glass, metallic paint. A fair amount of cartoon based artwork, leaning toward the Hello Kitty happy Japanese style. Of course the requisite shock art was represented, with bloody body parts, genitalia and sexual couplings. Surprisingly few political statements.Interesting 3d assemblage of something that looks like tiny paper unbrellas, paper, fabric, and string, all assembled on wooden dowels.
The independent fairs represented artists of the here and now. No dead artists. This is where creativity reigned -- and it was sheer visual delight to see what's happening from artists all over the world.

I have to admit that I was shocked to see some (bad) resin covered photographs at prices that were four times what I sell them for. Guess I will rethink that.

The last three days in Miami were spent photographing, so I have added another thousand or so images to my growing database. These vary from architecturals of Deco Drive, day and neon night, to beach, fishing boats, mangrove forest, palm trees, canals of Ft Lauderdale, the shoreline of the Keys, and the magnificent Chihuly installation at Fairchild botannical gardens. It was a great trip.

3 comments:

KJ said...

I saw that piece on another blog, a head on shot with no enlargement... said something about Japanese umbrellas... I had no clue what it really looked like until your image with a better angle and resolution. How would you like to dust that baby? Long live the unique and creative, especially when intriguing to the eye. KJ

Janet said...

About time you updated us mere mortals...we knew you were really in Miami to partay and how refreshing to see your curiosity back! And hear those wheels turning...

Steven LaRose said...

I know I'm not supposed to be, but I'm envious of all those who went to Miami.

This is my first time to your blog so you will excuse me if I go poke around a bit.

Could someone point me to the paintings? I'll try the categories links.

Thanks Robin