December 4, 2010
A sign on Collins Avenue had two stickers competing for attention. One declared ‘I Am Civilization,’ the other ‘Lush Life.’ Those opposing sentiments, the self-declared highbrow and the devotion to baser pursuits, refused to relent over the course of the weekend. And what stuck with us reflected those impulses: Pool Gallery’s smart booth at Nada, an indulgent lunch at Joe’s Stone Crab, Allen Ruppersberg’s dynamic installation at Margo Leavin, an aged rum Old-Fashioned (or two) at the Soho Beach House, ping-pong prodigies playing in the pool at the Delano. Sensory overload merged into one ongoing hum.
Le Baron, set up in a space below the Delano, served as unofficial HQ for pre-dawn misbehavior. A sample overheard conversation:
“Let’s go to the strip club.”
“Good idea. What should we take?”
“I meant, what pills should we take?”
Perhaps the work that best captured the decadent sensibility was Will Cotton’s painting of Katy Perry, at Mary Boone. It had the curves, the confection, the conviction in its own desirability.
Like a sugar rush, Miami hits you head-on, and then evaporates just as fast. Getting off the plane in New York the temperature was below freezing—you could barely remember what was real and what was a mirage.
December 3, 2010
The good people of Miami Beach like their automobiles and their architects to flash a bit of star quality (that’s true of their basketball team, too, but the fans don’t show up until the second quarter). So it’s not surprising that Herzog & de Meuron designed the new parking garage at 1111 Lincoln Road. What is surprising is how winning the space is, so light and compelling it’s a pleasure to stroll through.
In Miami you learn to come to term with paradoxes, and so it wasn’t a surprise at the MoMA/PS1 Interview party at the Delano that there was a performance by a quartet of red-suited synchronized swimmers in the long pool around midnight. There was a marching band, a mariachi band, some singing, what seemed like an improvised rap. There was the requisite Alexander Olch sighting. Then a lot of the crowd running onto the beach. It was enjoyable, but was it art? It wasn’t clear. At a certain point you know better than to ask.
December 2, 2010
What’s striking about descending into the madness that surrounds Art Basel Miami Beach is that you ever expect it to make sense. Art is not designed to unfold logically—so why should this most epic of American art fairs?
Lovely art deco buildings are packed with collectors, dealers, and artists, displaying various degrees of vanity. (Not that the writers are above the fray.) By day, people discuss the market with dead seriousness. After midnight, however, women walk through the lobby of the Fontainebleau in heels that would make a stripper blush. LCD Soundsystem played at the LA MOCA party on the beach behind the Raleigh Hotel. We ran into our friend Alexander Olch, the film-maker and designer, who treated the coincidence as if it was the most natural thing in the world. ‘I come here every year,’ he said, ‘but I rarely look at the art.’ That’s the spirit.