Sunday, December 06, 2009

Miami Design 2009 and Art Basel

Having some ‘air time,’ flying from SFO to Miami Design 2009 and Art Basel, I found myself sketching out thumbnails for some concepts I’ve been carrying around loose and vulnerable in my head. Lately I hadn’t had much time for such an indulgence so it felt like a luxury. It was a good start for a weekend of personal artistic development.

So what happened at Art Basel? I went expecting to have my head blown off. Didn’t happen. More specifically, I expected to be inspired, inspired, inspired – and by this I probably mean more wanting to try new things and new concepts. What happened for me instead are two things:
First, after seeing what was displayed at this renowned annual event, I walked away feeling
even more like an artist than I felt humbled. And I don’t even care if that is an egotistical perspective. I just couldn’t get why anyone would hang a lot of the work that was there, and even found myself asking again the ol’ question of “What is art anyway?” (In case you wrestle with this sometimes, do read Art & Physics by Leonard Shlain.) Of course there was a lot of good work there, some of which I really loved, and some well-accepted through the ages as groundbreaking and worthwhile (Leger, Duchamp, Man Ray, George Tice, Chuck Close, and many many others; can’t forget painter David Bower at a gallery nearby), but gosh...some of this work looks like it had nary a thought behind it nor effort in producing it. Well, maybe it is a matter of Money For Nuthin’ and Chicks For Free, but that’s my story and I’m stickin’ with it.

Second, to my surprise, I found myself looking closely at materials and construction. I’d been planning to go back to my art roots and branch out into other mediums for some time now, and these widely varied pieces allowed me to consider and reconsider my considerations. In toto, though, on this score, my thoughts kept coming back to my thumbnails and how I had planned to execute on it was more of a deepening of already existing thoughts than flooding in new ones.

But that’s good. That’s inspiring, no? The muse will come in all shapes and forms, and this time she came as a burly one with overalls, work gloves and a tool belt of sorts instead of that diaphanous gossamer of digitalis that makes the heart beat faster.

Miami Design 2009 was a bit more satisfying for me. I was juiced by a number of pieces there, and in the galleries we were led to, including Luminaire (the Coral Gables Showroom and the Lab in the Design District), Capellini, and Moroso. Thank you especially to Richard Figueroa of Moroso North America, for generously taking time to discuss the historical flow of creativity there, and also to Ido Mor of Cheskin for so generously guiding us through several venues.

And most of all...a big thank you with hugs and kisses to my dear husband, Darrel, for thinking up this cool trip and for making it happen.

[Shots shown: view from our hotel balcony in Biscayne Bay; an attendant at Art Basel; the 'lounge' at imaginative Audi booth at Miami Design 2009, and Darrel in the Moroso booth at Miami Design.]

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