Monday, December 7, 2009

Where art meets money

Setting: the Convention Center located in the (dilapidated) Art Deco District of Miami Beach.
The tickets were available at the lower level, then, the crowd had to stand in lines to get in the exhibition area. The bags were screened mainly for cameras by burly guards who were enforcing the rule and made me leave mine at the cloak room (which is ludicrous, the visitors were making pictures with their phones!)

Finding the galleries was very difficult even with the floor plan in my hands. I felt caught in a maze at times, and the art was poorly displayed. The space was so crowded that it was not possible to see one piece and take a step back. This made it tiring for the eyes and the mind. The lighting also was poorly set up, so bright in an area that it made a beautiful collection of Calders look like soundless chimes. A Calder needs to be seen with its shadows. I made the comment casually to the gallerist who just went back reading her newspaper. (see picture attached from ARTOBSERVED
Can you guess where are the sculptures of Calder?

One gallery was showing next to each other a blue painting from Yves Klein, Fernando Botero and paintings from the actor such a confined space that it was impossible to take a great look at any of the works. The paintings from Sylvester Stallone were out of place next to outstanding artists. He is a great actor. I was not there when he visited the fair. I got this picture from the site "ARTOBSERVED", already linked above.
His paintings are in the background.

The well known galleries brought small works from well known artists. and the young galleries brought mediocre to poor works from unknown artists.

I was glad, the Galerie Thomas from Munich (present at the FIAC) brought its treasures to Miami. As an added treat, a small booklet of the works on display for each fair is available for the visitors to take as a souvenir. My preferred work is a painting from Kandinsky. This "chef d'oeuvre" made the trip from Paris to Miami.

The crowd was not interesting/interested. From schoolchildren brought by buses to well groomed South Americans VIPs conducted by guides through the galleries , the crowd was confused and tired. The areas to rest were very limited and occupied at all times.

I found the whole fair dragging me down. I came back the following day to spend more time and was not able to stay more than two hours, again exhausted by the presentation of the works.

I read the local papers and blogs and figured out that Art Basel Miami Beach is really a succession of private parties where it is important to be seen. This year, Lance Armstrong and Naomi Campbell made the headlines...

Let's not forget, UBS is the principal sponsor of this event.

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