Win: At Basel, the Art Kabinett booths were almost all good. Elmgreen & Dragset created a sort of virtual art gym, with lockers and whatnot, and this sculpture, which was taller than me and for all I know had real blood.
Lose: Tracy Emin, who was in town and appeared on two of the Art Conversation panels (the video is online), was not at all well represented in the fair. There was a 5-part piece in one booth that included memorabilia from her abortion, a letter, and a couple of watercolors.
Win: Mac Premo, The Dumpster Project, at Pulse. This was not just a “create clutter, pile crap on top of crap until the effect is overwhelming” type of thing, eh? This was a craftsmanly constructed Rauschenbergian space.
Lose: Crap like this. Mostly at Art Miami. It’s the “another artist got successful making something like this, so let’s make something similar but easier to collect, and rake in the buxxx.”
Win: Olafur Eliasson. In addition to the two pieces I had on the Atlantic piece, there was this beauty.
Lose: Tables of Basel. This year it was all tasteful mid-century modern wood stuff. One or two notable exceptions, especially this one, proved the rule.
(Oh right, also this one.)
Win: David Rohn set himself up as a fortune-telling automatron just inside the entrance to Scope. A long line formed, with no visible activity. I thought the joke was just to get people to stand there while nothing happened, but in fact — he was writing these lengthy full-page fortunes for them.
Lose: Glenn Kaino’s outdoor performance, part of the official Basel program, had him inviting passers-by to help hold up a large vessel “for all of Basel if we can.” He seemed like such a nice guy, but by Saturday morning the thing was smashed and abandoned.
Win: Collectors. (But then, they always win.) In this panel, a couple of them (I think it was Norman Braman, video here) claimed credit for getting Basel to come to Miami 10 years ago. In the Q&A, someone asked their opinion about the MAM renaming. The question got completely shut down by Bonnie Clearwater, “I don’t think we want to get into that.” Bizarre, because I for one most certainly DID want them to get into that.
Lose: Gabriel Orozco. Well, maybe not: he also spoke at one of the Art Conversations, and I’m a huge fan of his photography and his more recent work. But this World Trade Center painting, done in a machine-made Seurat-type style, seemed gratuitous.
Win: The Barry McGee Rule says that if you bring a whole van to Basel, anything else you do is gravy. Over in Art Positions, Paulo Nazareth took that shit to heart.
Lose: Ana Mendieta. The turkeys at Galerie Leong took it upon themselves to take this piece, meant to be displayed outdoors, and show it on sod they dragged into the convention center. You’ve just made it about the fact that you brought sod indoors, dude. NOT I think what she had in mind.
Win: Whoever made this painting at Mihai Nicodium Gallery at NADA. Damn, dude.
Lose: Design Miami. For me it’s a waste of a half-hour. For the people who get tricked into paying admission (when you buy tickets to Basel they offer a package deal for $55, vs. the regular $40 Basel-only price, which may sound like a good deal if you don’t know better) it’s a damn shame. It’s (1) only a few booths, actually, and (2) NOT ART. Snooze. And that’s from someone who does design for a living.
Win: Taking photos at Art Basel. Used to be verboten, and I felt extra lucky for having journo credentials for hauling around a camera. But lately they’ve sort of given up, and everyone’s walking around with iPhones and pocket Canons. How else can you remember what you liked?
Lose: Dicks. They’re around every year, but this year they were in force. WHAT. EVER.
Win: Teresa Diehl. Her installation kicked ass at Pulse.
Lose: Wynwood. I got there 10-ish on Thursday and everything was shutting down already. Came back earlier and most of the good galleries hadn’t even bothered to open. Mostly just skeezers everywhere.
Lose: Me. There were signs, and two BIG guys, very much not permitting photos of Miru Kim’s performance. I asked for permission, and was told that NOBODY was getting to take photos. Woke up the next day to find photos at the Herald’s site and the New Times site. Boo.
Lose: Photography and video art. You literally could not throw a rock and hit a piece of video art at the Convention Center, that’s how much less of it there was than past years. This photo, by Alain Delorme, was at Pulse.
Lose: Gerhard Richter. Just KIDDING, Richter is always winning. This painting, from 1984, probably looked like it had aged very poorly by 1988. But it came early enough that I guess you could call it one of the spearheads of the terrible 80’s Ab-Ex painting excesses. I SO wish I’d asked what this was selling for.
3 thoughts on “Art Basel: the obligatory ‘winners and losers’ post”
actually, those 3 little piggish babies are done by the original person but it’s still a little sad that she hasn’t found anything else to do…..name is something like Piccinini….
All thumbs up, today i received a “thank you” box of chocolates from ABMB.
those 3 little piggy babies are now the the three stooges representing south florida in congress..
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