Art Basel is an event I’ve always read about, but never gave much thought to attending until a few years back. I suppose I never really thought I belonged there…I’m not a billionaire and therefore don’t collect art. Also, the only artists I can name are the ones you typically learn about in high school or college 101 classes, but in December 2014 I was in for a real education.
When I first sat down to write this post, I wanted to simply talk about Miami - how I had never really been to Miami and how I was basically expecting to be walking amongst throngs of these tools. The fortunate reality is that Miami is really nothing like what Chicago, namely the “Chiami” crew would lead you to believe…yes, fuck you @ChiamiLifestyle you’re ruining not one, but two perfectly good cities.
Art Basel is pretty gnarly; for one week in December people from all over the world descend upon the relatively small city of Miami - all in the name of 'art'. Some come to purchase, some to look, while others simply come for the party. Basel itself is held at the convention center and is difficult to describe without using words like ‘enormous’ or ‘overwhelming’. There is so much stimulus - paintings, sculptures, photography, interactive exhibits, film, etc that museum fatigue [yes that’s a thing] sets in within about 2 hours. It took me two days to navigate Basel itself and I still didn’t come close to seeing everything.
In addition to Basel there are other exhibitions that are held all over Miami during the same time frame such as: Pulse, Scope, Design Miami, NADA, and Aqua to name just a few. I was lucky enough to have procured a pass from my friends at Artsy that would allow me access to all of these exhibitions. For the next 4 days I shuttled [and UBER'd] around Miami trying to dedicate a ‘morning’ to one particular exhibition and an ‘afternoon’ to another. This method worked for a few days, but the deeper I went, the longer I stayed…I was on to something. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but every exhibition I went to was slightly more ‘underground’ than the last - if there isn’t a designated shuttle then that is ‘underground’.
After a few days of soaking it all in [including the aloe for my sunburn] I thought I should get some of these thoughts down. Art Basel is the 'Main Event' with famous people like Jay-Z, Leo D, Pharrell Williams, etc. looking at [and tweeting about] famous pieces from famous artists, but you never read about any famous person popping by the smaller exhibitions where in my humble, non-celebrity opinion the real art is. Is it because they haven’t heard of the artists that are showcasing at the smaller exhibitions or [more likely] is it because it's not 'The Main Event'? As much as I’d like to believe it’s the former, odds are it’s the latter and that’s totally fine. Each of the above mentioned celebs are artists in their own right and have earned the right to go to whatever they want.
The point here is not to say that one [exhibition] is better than the other and it certainly is not to position myself as an art critic. The point here is simple…OPEN YOUR EYES and find what you like. If you fancy yourself creative then DON’T BE LAZY and go with what you know or with what everyone "says" they know - there are so many beautiful, fascinating, intricate, creative things out there and while it’s so easy to simply go to ‘The Main Event’ the REAL tastemakers & trendsetters won’t be found there. And if they are, they're probably not the ones posting every single piece they pass by to their ‘insta’ [that’s Instagram, people] feed to show how cultured and cool they are. This is my challenge to you, creative industry. 2015 is around the corner. There is some really amazing stuff out there, but there's also a lot of bullshit so open your eyes, put down your 'insta' and let’s see what you’ve got.
ULTRA SPECIAL THANK YOU'S TO: Stas @ Artsy, Apollonia @ Gallery on Wade, Yuki @ Yuki-Sis Gallery and UPS
Here are a few SFW images from the event.