Monday, December 08, 2008

Miami, Miami: Part I

Back from Art Basel Miami, the free world's biggest art trade show. Oh ho ho! My jet-setting ways!

I have a show up right now at World Class Boxing in Miami, which is an exhibition space of Debra and Dennis Scholl's private collection. Tremendous thanks to Debra and Dennis for their hospitality and generosity. I love the Scholls! The show at World Class Boxing looks great; it was installed perfectly... and thanks to Desiree for helping with the installation.

The Scholls are good news, my friends. Each year they have a curator come and curate their home... this was really strong year. I had 2 immediate favorites upon sight: a beautiful, and deceptively delicate piece by Tara Donovan and a Julie Mehretu painting that just knocks you out. Also, there was a real beauty of a painting by Mark Bradford in another room and the two being so near to each other was just awesome, a real testament to the strength of cartography that's both personal and physical. Both Julie Mehretu and Mark Bradford are, without a doubt, two of my favorite working artists.

And what about the awesomeness of the United States Artists crew? Hold on, because they are super awesome. Thanks to Kathie Shaw and Amada Cruz who were gracious and fabulous companions. As well as the handsome Peter. Seriously, thanks, thanks and thanks. They were meal companions and event companions and tour guides...I just love those guys and am really grateful they let me get all up in the mix.

I really didn't see any art outside people's own homes except for a quick run through an exhibition at the Bass museum, Russian Dreams. Completely contrary to my usual leanings, I was pretty into this show because of how crowded it was at the opening. There was a distinct sense of confusion and the flow of the show was great. It was as if you had to wait in a crowded line to get to the back, which was a dead end, and you had to turn around and walk back in another crowded line of people. There was a great sense of futility with that structure. I say yes for that! Many of the walls were wooden pallets painted a gulag grey, which seemed a bit over the top and obvious, but I actually thought they heightened my sense of American nostalgia for an identifiable USSR, as opposed to the new Russian reality which we seem to have a difficult time defining: swimming pools, movie stars, velour sweatsuits. I thought that was an interesting aspect of the exhibit, Russian artists exploring nostalgia about their own national identity seemed welded to American cold war identity. There was most certainly a sense of "...and you knew what you were then, girls were girls and men were men..." However, there was a "new Russia" sculpture that was pretty funny, stacked glittering faux diamond dominoes.

And that leads to my other favorite Basel exhibit, Cartier's “Diamonds, Gold and Dreams,” a creation by filmmaker David Lynch in the Cartier geo dome. Wait, I'm lying! You've got to be kidding me with that shit. Jesus fucking Christ. It was a dome the size of the biosphere with bouncers and a velvet rope. Please. Just stop.


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Outside Art Basel... this is photo is completely unaltered.


Sartorial Art Basel Commentary by Zoe Strauss

basel trio

When I saw this awesome trio, I felt like I didn't need to see anything else in the convention center... they nailed it. The outfits yell out "art" and are akin to a paper boy yelling "Extra, Extra!" or a hobo with a red bandanna of stuff tied onto the back of a stick. I don't know these people and I snuck this photo without asking, but I celebrate these folks. Thanks!

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Here are two outfits that predominated another facet of Art Basel fashion... Czech Republic Nightclub Wear. It's weird, because I know and kind of like these outfits, but I only know this style from a "Polish Port Richmond corner clothing store" perspective, not from this cash flow bracket. Incredibly, while I know that these clothes mush have cost 70000 times the amount that one can get an outfit like that in the Greater Northeast or in Port Richmond, the style is indistinguishable to me.

I rocked a Phillies Jacket that's about 4 sizes too big for me and a brown tshirt, but I did wear a pair of jeans that fit.


Coming Up... Part II: Kismet! Bruce, Beth and Liam in the same restaurant where I went out to dinner for World Class Boxing, more on how much I love United States Artists, and I randomly meet Lorraine Opperman, originally from 7th and Wolf (Tree St.) but moved to Miami 55 years ago and works at Miami Jai alai.


Heart As Arena said...

My big Miami moment? I met Todd Oldham at Aqua and thanked him for publishing your book. Ha! Then 5 minutes later in the AMMO room I found out that he doesn't OWN ammo. Heh-heh. Let's go back and see it from Todd's side . . . crazy man I don't know says HI and then something else that doesn't make sense, but I'll be totally sweet anyway.

Tema Stauffer said...

Julie Mehretu was a student at Kalamazoo College where my father taught until he retired last year. I was completely in awe of Julie and her girlfriend when I was in high school to the point that I embarrassed myself in a major way.

She's gone a long way since her thesis show in K College's fine art center.

She's pretty bad-ass and probably even a nice person.

ZS said...

That is a super Miami moment! And Todd doesn't own AMMO, but he's the one responsible for the book getting published so it's not crazy! And that Julie Mehretu is killing it!

Heart As Arena said...

Oh. That makes me feel better. I'm not TOTALLY crazy. Yes, I am. No, I'm not. Yes, I am. No, I'm not. Am. Not. Am. Not. Am. Not.