miami basel hell

Photo by Paddy Johnson of the inside of a Borg cube--I mean, Art Basel Miami. This is where artists are assimilated, er, discovered. Their difference adds to the perfection of the Hive Mind, that is, "provides a spiritual lift to the buyer for cash." In any case, resistance is futile.

(You gotta love the irony--the owner class extracts capital from cube farm labor, then seeks personal fullfillment and the pressure release of excess money buildup through art a cube farm.)

- tom moody 12-10-2006 12:28 pm

- j (guest) 12-11-2006 3:44 am

Nicely put Tom. Made my night.
- Luke Murphy (guest) 12-11-2006 8:29 am

Wow, cubes with full-spectrum light, and really high dividing walls. Awesome! (/dilbert)
- mark 12-12-2006 12:29 am

The Borgification and Dilbertification of art. I mean, I did a show in a cubicle but it was ironic.
- tom moody 12-12-2006 1:55 am

The typical contemporary-art object, judging from Miami Basel, is well crafted, attractive, interesting enough, and portable. It may be figurative or abstract and in any conceivable medium: a pleasantly ungainly painting by Peter Doig, a tiny sculpture by Tom Friedman, a video stunt by Tony Oursler. Not only is there no leading style; there is no noticeable friction between one style and another. These impressions might fade if you focussed on any particular work, but fairs destroy focus. Thousands of works coexisted cozily in Miami, sharing a pluralism of the salable. Talent counts; ideas are immaterial. Exactly one work drew raves from art people who still crave audacity: the New York dealer Gavin Brown left his large space almost bare but for a crumpled cigarette pack (Camels, perhaps to evoke the Middle East), which, attached by a fishing line to an apparatus high overhead, slowly and hypnotically flew above or skittered along the floor. Conceived by the Swiss artist Urs Fischer, this squandering of prime showroom real estate on the trashed container of an addictive product was a smart insult to the occasion, though an awfully mild one. (The piece sold for a hundred and sixty thousand dollars.) A decade ago, much new art was eyebrow-deep in critical theory. Now it seems as carefree as a summertime school-boy, while far better dressed. I found relief from the convention center’s crushing elegance at the alternative fairs—with names like NADA, Pulse, and Aqua—where galleries featured the scrappily zestful ingenuity of kids who haven’t had time to forget why they became artists: for joy, revenge, and camaraderie. Drawing and language were common, and there were arresting sentiments. “My utopia hates your utopia,” from a busy picture by the New Yorker David Scher, at NADA, stuck in my mind.

- bill 12-19-2006 8:12 pm

- mark 12-29-2006 11:17 pm