Sculpture - Looks Real but it's not
After day three of Art Week I feel I have already overdosed on art yet there are four more days of art openings, parties, and events to go. I remembered the massive crowds for Vernissage last year and the long wait to enter. This year I arrived early during the VIP and Press viewing so I was able to wander among the art calmly. And there was a lot of art see as 257 international galleries had all brought some of their best pieces to the show. And they are here to sell. During the VIP preview, there were collectors bidding and writing notes, conversing with their wives or partners, and rushing from one exhibit to another searching out the art. While I was enjoying the incredible art they were shopping.
While I was admiring the work of Picasso, Miro, Warhol, DeKooning, and countless other artists I had never heard of, gallery owners and dealers were sitting at tables selling millions of dollars of art. Without such a grandiose art budget I window shopped. While taking shots of my favorite art pieces I also admired the walking art. There was such a colorful walking parade of people that it was often hard to think about art. There were people who dressed to impress wearing designer duds and colorful jackets bought just for Basel. There were those dressed in costumes, or possibly their art wear. There were the serious art people who traveled en masse and discussed the art as they viewed it. There were also the groups that wandered through the halls like they had somewhere to go without ever stopping to look at art at all. And there were those who were only looking at the people. And then there was me, trying not to get caught staring.
Photographer Patrick McMullan ran through the crowd, quite possibly, I thought, running to a photo op however he did not have a camera. Rapper Pharrell Williams, once again with his model girlfriend, was with a larger group this time and attracted even a larger group of spectators. I tried to concentrate on the art and I wandered through Hall D until I felt I had seen almost everything. I stopped and chatted with friends who were as overwhelmed as I and could barely remember the art they had just viewed. The Art Basel experience is amazing and baffling at the same time. With massive amounts of great art it is so hard to truly appreciate it all so I feel fortunate that I'm able to photograph the art and review my favorites over and over. One favorite installation, a favorite of anyone I'm sure without an art budget, was the artist that had his art reprinted on giant pads, like a notepad so you could tear on an image to keep. I took several so I did leave Art Basel with works of art. Not original paintings but art none the less.
When the doors officially opened to let in the masses I escaped and went home to regroup before the rest of the evening which included performances in front of The Bass Museum and The Pop Up Piano Party at The Perry Hotel.
Musical Performance by Alicia Hall Moran
The Bass Museum had set up a stage for Art in the Garden, a series of musical performances that included Jason and Alicia Hall Moran with Brandon Ross (Alicia was a wonderful singer who danced and rolled on the tiles during her performance.) The group My Barbarian presented a piece called "Broke People's Baroque Peoples' Theater", a singing performance playfully engaging in questions and then passing the microphone to the audience allowing them to make predictions of the future. One audience member took the opportunity to do a commercial for her new cheese business and asked everyone to friend her on Facebook. Besides the stage and performance space, Collins Park had been transformed into a gallery of giant sculptures including two billboards by Gary Simmons (spelling out the words "I wish it could be morning all day long"), two seated men on pedestals that change color, and a big white tree with no branches. One installation, set on the grass by Collins Avenue for all those driving by to enjoy, was a sculpture of a melting snowman.
The Pop Up Piano Party at The Perry Hotel was a great break from viewing art. If you could make your way through the enthusiastic crowd that filled the ballroom you were able to see the 8 artfully decorated pianos on display before being placed in strategic spots all over Miami. The Friends of the New World Symphony, one of the sponsors of the event, joined in the festivities by bringing some incredibly talented performers like Yuna who wowed the crowd. All the ingredients for a great party were present, great cocktails, delicious food, hot music, and a beautiful crowd that included Commissioner Michael Gongora, Beau Beasley, Bibi Andrade, Harvey Burstein, Luis Iglesias, Dr. Ivan Rusilko, and singer Cat Shell. It was a complete night made even sweeter by the buffet of chocolate delights served at the end of the evening. Thanks to the Friends of the New World Symphony for such a great event.
Butterfly Pop Up Piano