Post-Basel Musings

Jesus Rafael Soto's Gran Mural, 1967, Art Kabinett
Thukral and Tagra's Artificial Strawberry Flavor 1, 2008, Nature Morte Bose Pacia.
Chris Johanson's I Just Realized Something, 2002
Chris Martin's For Whom 2008, Seis + Hoke Gallery. Photo APF file, Erica Berenstein.

I can't stop thinking about Art Basel Miami 08.

There was so much portable art; that is, art which could be easily transported. This meant there were few installations. Basel is a fair, after all. A huge art sale.

I witnessed a steady crowd Sunday, the only day I went (much to my regret now. Next year, I'll allow myself two days). Attendees were an assortment of folks, much like you'd encounter at a leisurely day in the park, but I figured most of the serious collectors went the first or second day, naturally.

The gallery associates weren't bothersome, and didn't seem to be pouncing on anyone in an effort to sell. Surely by the last day, they were weary, ready to call it a day, so to speak.

Again, we saw a lot of paintings. Loads. As a painter, that is reassuring. Even more reassuring would be the discovery that a lot of paintings actually sold- something I'll have to research.

A variety of art movements was represented. I was glad to see such a mix.

A few booths seemed thrown together at the last minute. They had no descriptive labels near the art, and some exhibited a disjointed array of genres and media. The visitor didn't know anything about the work. Often there was no one present to ask.

A security guard checked our handbags as we were exiting. My writer friend Helen, who accompanied me, told the guard and anyone else who was in earshot, "I managed to stuff a Rodin in my handbag!" Maybe there was some small art that we didn't see, which might indeed be stuffed into a handbag. I'm still trying to recall if there was anything that small on display...

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