Musings on Art Basel

by Chakra Girl

The purple (or indigo) chakra, i.e. my third eye, a.k.a. Ajna, is responsible for creating all the amazing art I saw this week during Art Basel. The world comes to me and Miami every first week of December. We are so freaking lucky. Vernissage, or the opening night at the Miami Beach Convention Center, was Wednesday, Dec. 3 and the show goes on until Sunday, Dec. 7.

I attended the show on Friday, Dec. 5 from 5-7 p.m. I had also attended on the Friday night last year and there weren’t as many people as there were this year, even though the Miami Herald, the Art Basel daily newspaper and online media outlets kept pounding in the fact that “the economy was bad” and would take a toll on the yearly art show that has literally transformed Miami from the city of Vice into a city of Culture over the past 7 years.

“We had a 40 percent decrease in sales from last year,” said a Wynwood Art District gallery owner who swims on my Master’s team in Miami Shores.

But who is to say that the decrease in sales was due to the economy? Perhaps it was just that there are so many spin-off art shows like Art Asia and SCOPE going on throughout the city that the offerings have been diluted and there are too many choices?

The economy didn’t seem to stop Brad Pitt, Beyonce and her beau JayZ from attending the main show at the convention center, where the energy was thick with sophistication and conversations – a candy store for an empath and a nosy market researcher like me.

“It’s a great time for creativity and dance in these times.”

“Be present.”

“These are $1,000 each.” – woman @ flash art booth.

“Imagine trying to go to sleep with that guy looking at you” – guy in Sperone Westwater booth F-15 about Evan Penny silicone sculpture.

“They won’t give prices to people” says a lady with a NY accent.

A champagne girl in white shirt and black skirt and hose pushes a table down a corridor mumbling her wares for sale.

Silicone girls speak German as they sashay down corridors.

“Do u still have that Barry Mcgee? No I consigned it to an art dealer in San Francisco.”

Yes, people watching can be the main activity at Art Basel, but I did pay close attention to the art, which was much more inspiring than last year – perhaps it’s because I’m seeing through a different lens since I started talking to angels.

Marc Quinn’s Red River Hallucination was one of the first works on exhibit near the entrance, and I made a point to write down his information because I love a gold-plated lilly growing from a woman’s third eye.

Malcolm McLaren – Shallow, Musical Paintings. Yes, this piece definitely brings out the “shallow Hal” in all of us as who could stop staring at a pair of breasts floating in the water? Gawkers hovered at the entrance of the closed off video installation while musical lyrics “I will dream” hypnotized them into staying and watching longer. Shallow is a series of 21 “musical paintings”; the first 8 were created for a group show of the same name at 1-20 gallery, New York, curated by Stefan Bruggemann. McLaren completed the series for Art Basel Projects and premiered the complete work at Art 39 Basel, Switzerland.

Tom Sachs – A Rebours, pyrogrophy, wood, gold leaf

Mickalene Thomas – Framed video of naked girl singing, “Oh mickey ur so fine,” next to the famous Tony Oursler green-eyed monster. This one was pure salacious comedy. She made me and everyone else who loves a beautiful, naked girl who sings badly, into a screaming and fainting fan.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Mickalene Thomas earned her MFA from Yale University, and holds a BFA from Pratt Institute. In 2002-2003 she participated in the Artist-in-Residence program at the Studio Museum in Harlem. Her work has been included in many prominent group exhibitions including Hands on Hands Down and Frequency at the Studio Museum, Greater New York 2005, P.S. 1/MoMa, Wild Girls, Exit Art, New York, NY, and Do You Think I’m Disco, Longwood Art Gallery, Bronx, N

Nick Cave – Soundsuit. Rose sequin pants with leg warmers, cage of flowers over his head.

Francesco Clemente – Susan Graham as Marguerite & 3 other large paintings of women with big alien eyes. I could tell the stories of each of these characters if the artist would only let me…

Jenny Holzer – Spruth Magers, blue & white flashing story. Love it! Statements of stream of consciousness.

Sebastian Diaz Morales – The way between 2 points. Cool transparent video screen.

Michael Riedel -Filmed Film Trailer. Good subliminal message video

Barbara Kruger – “Don’t turn me inside out,” is the slogan that appears on this artwork exhibited at the Mary Boone gallery booth. Reminds me of a feminist bird call. Like my, “I am not a sponge anymore.”

I went to the Art Asia show at Midtown Miami and the first exhibits upon walking in were interesting because they appeared to me as market research, not art…the first was a piece that shows photographs taken by teenaged girls after they were given disposable cameras. The images showed them in their daily lives. The second piece was a commentary on YouTube. There were drawings of different videos that have been posted, along with their ratings and the number of views they’ve gotten. The artists happened to be standing in front of their artwork and told me that they had been commissioned to create this piece…that they hadn’t pitched it themselves.

If found that to be highly suspicious, and confirms my theory that a lot of the art work that is infiltrating huge art shows like Art Basel are merely market research and advertising for large corporations.

But as I made my way into the Art Asia show, I DID, with relief, see plenty of original artwork that came from the heart and the divine.