Art Basel Miami 2012: The Calm Before the Storm

Bullet Shih Dec, 2012 1
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I have woken up in Miami prepared for the onslaught of art and “other stuff” this week.  I must admit my emotions range from excitement to trepidation as the daunting schedules already have me in triage mode, and it is only 10 AM the day before the fair 0fficially opens!  I have not been to Art Basel Miami for about 8 years and while I  feel I have a pretty good idea of what to expect, I do believe that over the years the scene has morphed into an even larger multi-headed beast.  I have taken a sampling of a few previews ranging from pragmatic to damning.

Paul Carter Robinson the editor from ArtLyst offers the most level headed introduction in my opinion.

The eyes of the art world will be firmly focused on Florida next week as Art Basel Miami Beach (6-9 December) gets under way. ArtLyst are going to be there, out in force, reporting the best and the worst of alcohol fuelled excesses, and yes whats hot and what’s not on the emerging art scene.

This is the USA’s largest and most influential art fair. Art Basel Miami is a cultural and social highlight for the Americas. The fair features 257 leading international galleries, with work ranging from Modern to the most contemporary. Special exhibition sections feature young galleries, performance art, public art projects and video art. Now in its 11th year, this four-day event showcases works from over 2,000 artists along with a varied and lively programme of cultural and social events. What the outcome will be??? better pack my Carter’s Little Liver Pills!!!  – Best – Paul Carter Robinson ArtLyst Editor

The NY Post’s Page Six offers its own A-List spin,

Expected at the fair this year are Sofia Vergara, Will Smith, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lenny Kravitz and Scarlett Johansson, who we hear will accompany artist Domingo Zapata.

A mix of super-rich collectors, celebrities, beautiful people, glamour ghouls and wannabes will fuel an ever-growing Basel party scene that annually threatens to drown out the actual art.

The dizzying mix includes a tribute to Kurt Cobain, performances by rapper Rick Ross, DJ Tiësto and burlesque diva Dita Von Teese, book signings by Donna Karan and Pharrell Williams, and fetes by labels Chloé, Dior, Christian Louboutin and Valentino, plus a “Basel Biergarten,” a Chanel event with the Web site Art.sy, an exhibition hosted by Heat stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and a pingpong tourney with teams from Gagosian Gallery and the Whitney.

Perhaps for many of the above reasons, Simon Doonan from Slate is following in Adam Lindemann’s lead from last year and boycotting the event,

1. Art Basel Miami.

It’s baaa-ack, and I, for one, will not be attending. The overblown art fair in Miami—an offshoot of the original, held in Basel, Switzerland—has become a promo-party cheese-fest. All that craven socializing and trendy posing epitomize the worst aspects of today’s scene, provoking in me a strong desire to start a Thomas Kinkade collection. Whenever some hapless individual innocently asks me if I will be attending Art Basel—even though the shenanigans don’t start for another two weeks, I am already getting e-vites for pre-Basel parties—I invariably respond in Tourette’s mode:

“No. In fact, I would rather jump in a river of boiling snot, which is ironic since that could very well be the title of a faux-conceptual installation one might expect to see at Art Basel. Have you seen Svetlana’s new piece? It’s a river of boiling snot. No, I’m not kidding. And, guess what, Charles Saatchi wants to buy it and is duking it out with some Russian One Percent-er.”

One Comment »

  1. Kathy Dec, 2012 at 7:58 am - Reply

    “No. In fact, I would rather jump in a river of boiling snot, which is ironic since that could very well be the title of a faux-conceptual installation one might expect to see at Art Basel.” You make me smile Bullet : )

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