The following is an assortment of interesting moments from Art Basel 2013 through the eyes of an outsider (Victoria, who experienced the show online) and an insider (Ariel, who traveled to Miami to experience the fairs).
OUTSIDER by Victoria Fanti
When looking at Art (with a capital “A;” these aren’t the doodles of Pictionary) through a desktop screen, certain elements get lost in translation. From frigid New York, though, Art Basel Miami 2013 became a digital experience. As it turns out, the view from the outside lends itself to thinking about exhibit themes, many of which really pushed the buttons of current social debate.
The Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami (MOCA) showed “Tracey Emin: Angel Without You,” a compilation of neon-light works by the British artist spanning back 20 years. Scrawled script defiantly illuminated black walls–one phrase per artwork, texts maxing out at circa the length of a Tweet. For a style inaugurated decades ago, Emin showed an uncanny foresight as to the rise of brevity in public discourse. At the same time, her phrases speak to the timeless themes of love and loneliness: they stir up the grit of love’s elation, rejection, and remorse; they evoke a spectrum from blind optimism to the crumbling pedestal, from the enraged ex to a resigned eulogy to love. Emin’s show looks to have been an odyssey in techno-philosophy.
This year’s Wynwood Walls show focused on female graffiti artists “to correct the historical imbalance,” according to co-curator of “Women on the Walls” Jeffrey Deitch. Enough said? You go, girls.
Public, Sculptures at Collins Park
A great challenge of modern art is that it rarely aligns with what the public has been taught art is or should be. It’s not necessarily pretty, its purpose can seem either totally opaque or totally inane, and sometimes it feels like a piece could have just been assembled at Ikea. What gives?
The sculptures at Collins Park this year face this tension head-on. Thanks to a grant, the sculptures will remain publicly accessible in the park. I personally think that the works are unique enough to be thought-provoking yet fundamentally upfront enough that the broader public can relate to them—take the gilded “REAL FAKE” or embodied “Dreams Dreams Dreams / Dirt Dirt Dirt” sculptures. Yet, irrespective of what passerbys ultimately think about the sculptures, they’ll still be (consciously or not) evaluating the place of art in their own lives and in the public sphere—and that’s a start.
INSIDER by Ariel Wilchek
In its 12th annual celebration of art and commerce, Art Basel Miami 2013 was an aesthetic roller-coaster. From bold and aggressive to gentle and serene, the fairs and installations boasted veteran artists and emerging scenesters in a flurry of “look at me” displays that would make anyone’s head spin.
In my mind, the most inspiring moments were far from the convention center floor. The following enveloping installations and larger-than-life transformations of space stood out for their conceptual clarity, impressive scale, and ability to transport viewers.
Perriand House by Louis Vuitton
A brilliant realization of the 1934 design by notable French architect (and Le Corbusier cohort) Charlotte Perriand, the “pre-fab” house was realized at the Raleigh Hotel in South Beach. The minimal design, matte wood structure, and elegant styling spoke volumes. The collaboration with a deceased French designer was not only unique, but strikingly peaceful in comparison to the flamboyance that is customary throughout Art Basel.
Colette Art Drive Thru
We love pop-up retail here at VP+C so of course we had to stop by the Colette Art-Drive-Thru at the 1111 Lincoln Road Garage. On the 5th level of the structure, drive-up and walk-up kiosks offered touch-screens to shop the art-inspired merchandise from notable names like Moncler, Kenzo, David Arsham, and so many more art A-listers. And who can resist a roller girl in a cute skirt delivering the merchandise to your window?
Formless Finder for Design Miami
Design Miami managed to stand out against the “fine art” fairs and the entrance was particularly eye-catching. The TENT PILE created by Formless Finder looked like a construction sight at first glance, but upon closer inspection, emerged as half sand dune, half modern lounge. It was iconic and suggestive as an installation and one of the most talked about and photographed items at Art Basel.
Matthu Placek Film @ Young Arts
In a sea of art trade show monotony, Matthu Placek’s A Portrait of Marina Abramović screened at The Young Arts Foundation was a breath of fresh air. The 3D film was free and open to the public from 6pm to 3am and shown in the Jewel Box venue – a stained glass wonder that set the tone for the raw yet elegant work. Consuming music paralyzed viewers as they watched a white, introductory screen, only to be presented with a nude Marina standing in an abandoned warehouse. It was glorious yet simple.