one view from our hotel. image / HD
If there were an Olympics of the art world, Miami Basel just may be it. There’s a sense of urgency- to get in, get it, and get it on- that CM and I realized taking a breather on a white vinyl lounge at Art Miami: we were sitting in the middle of a battleground, witnessing a great international struggle between galleries and collectors, all fighting for artartart.
Of course, for most of fair, etc, goers the battle is a bit of different kind, more like the kind of weekend warrior-ing the MAKESHIFT crew seems to find no matter where it goes. From one Art Deco hotel to the other, the art world comes together, glass in hand, to have a damn good time in one big hedonistic whirlwind. Not to mention, CM, myself, and our friend photographer Rin Johnson, left full of a kind of optimistic glow: if this is what it takes to get to Basel, we can SO get to Basel. And if knowing how to have a good time is part of this thing called art, then we are as professional as they come.
The day began with a quick dip in the pool, and a whole new kind of shock that a cup of coffee at our hotel cost $7.
We popped by uber swank hotel The Delano- more about this- to meet up with Berlin-based curator Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel and visual artist Cecile Evans, who I’ve been assisting for the past four months.
Then: to the fairs. Art Miami was the agenda, and boy oh boy. Our vision may have been a little altered, but the work we saw was not as bad as I personally expected. Plus, VIP passes got us into a lounge with free cappuccino. We learned that there is good art in Baltimore, like the mirror vortexes of Chul-Hyun Ahn and minimalist brick and slate rectangles of Madeline Deitz, and that a live snake is a totally viable accessory.
Outside of the fair, we happened upon some fun surprises and familiar faces.
Penetrable BBL Blue, 1999. Jesus Soto. Image / Collin Munn
While we didn’t make it inside Scope, right out in front was one of our fave hipster-y, food-growing, destination eating hotspots Roberta’s of Bushwick, who teamed up with neighboring artists resource space 3rd Ward to create a collaborative edible, audible, visual installation, and overall good vibes.
We considered attempting to go to the mythical island show, which was to include work by Terrence Koh and Hanna Liden among others, as well as DJing by our fave artstarbro Nate Lowman. Thank goodness we decided against it. Word from the scene was that the exclusivity blew up in everyone’s face: reports of up to four hours wait to get off the island, and some of the artists didn’t even make it onto a boat.
Rather, we relished in the happy surprise of stumbling upon Ink Miami, a refreshingly manageable take on the fair structure and 100% free. Ink occupied one small hotel, allocating a room to each participating gallery. Exhibiting a mix on NY and LA based galleries, and a few other surprises (Cleveland?!), we found ourselves leaving with that happy-I’ve-seen-some-good-art-and-still-want-more feeling.
The Deauville Resort, host of NADA. Image / Collin Munn
It was back to the hotel for an outfit change, then off to NADA. Housed in the flashy Deauville Resort, NADA presented not only a manageable scale with some bad-ass work, but also felt the most like home. The familiar faces (The Hole, White Columns, Vice Magazine, among others) presenting, for the most part, genuinely interesting, thoroughly considered arrangments made NADA welcoming in ways a booth full of Warhols or Man Rays just can’t.
Officially arted out, evening brought a delicious Cuban meal in South Beach. Plantain covered scallops, I’ll eat you any day.
Saturday was finally: THE DAY. Basel or bust. After shelling out the $22 student fare (that’s with a discount), we walked into an overwhelming clusterfuck of expensive, occasionally interesting art. We saw Basquiats, Baldessaris, and Bourgeois. Basel truly is an all-star game, with a light so bright its blinding. About an hour deep, I began to lose the ability to see.
I still haven’t gone through the copious notes on my Blackberry to truly take time with the galleries, works, and artists that caught my eye, simply because there was so, so much. The good parts I can remember, though, are already becoming precious gems: Houston-based Sicardi's knock-out lineup, and Fabrice Samyn's vintage postcard installation Ho ôn for Sies + Hoke's Art Kabinett project room, among infinite others.
Ho ôn, 2009/2010, Fabrice Samyn. image / Collin Munn
That evening, we hopped in a cab and shelled out the funds to head to downtown Miami for the kind of concert that makes us dirty kids’ hearts sing. A cool collective, not unlike our very own MAKESHIFT, Overthrow teamed up with PBR to throw a Basel show in an old castle-themed outdoor yoga studio. I was super-psyched to see Baltimore-based rapper Rye Rye, who not only murdered her set, but danced with us! Theopholius London and Blaqstarr were equally great, and the cheap drinks kept us up and at em.
Rye Rye on stage, image / HD
Around 2 AM, it was back to South Beach for our first attempt to get in at Le Baron, the hot spot Parisian pop up club, that draws the Basel bunch relentlessly. The Delano’s majestic grand hall welcomed us to a den of debauchery, which only further supports my belief that for the young, wealthy, and arty, rules simply do not exist. Alas, we showed up a little too late to be snuck into Baron by well meaning friends, so instead entertained ourselves with a dip in the pool, the very same pool in which Susan Sarandon’s ping pong party went down.
While we meant to attend the Rubell breakfast, when I first opened my eyes it was 1 PM, and there was work to be done, homework that is, as well as preparation for Art By Telephone, the performance event curated by Cecile and Rebecca that myself, CM, and Rin were brought on board to help out with.
curator Cecile Evans constructs as artist Alicja Kwade looks on, image / Rin Johnson
Eventually, after soaking up our last moments of Miami balcony glory and packing our bags, we headed to the Delano to set up for Art By Telephone. It was of course, freezing that evening, but after a few technical hold-ups, we were prepared. The performance included works by seven Berlin-based artists, who were skyped in for 15 minutes to direct the curators on how to create their artwork. The artists were projected onto the side of the hotel as the two curators constructed the works and enacted performances on the lawn below. I even jumped in to the replace voice-less Rebecca for Aleksandra Domanovic's work based off of a Marina Abramivic Youtube comment tiff. Each work re-calibrated, in different ways, the relationship between curator, artist, and viewer through use of digital media. Its an urgent question of our time, one MAKESHIFT has been thinking through since AK's show over the summer.
Around 3 AM, we rolled back one final time to our hotel, grabbed bags and set off for a 7 AM flight to JFK, where a snow filled skies welcomed us home.
It was whirlwind most definitely, overwhelming in glittering ways.
Yet, I’m already thinking: what are we going to do get there next year?
sunset over MIA, image / Collin Munn
This Wednesday, CM + HD will embark on a little trip down south. There will be art, some sand, and hopefully more than enough free things to drink. Stay tuned for videos and photos about the weekend’s event, particularly the second installment of Art By Telephone. For really up to date tabs on our thoughts on the people, sights, and sounds here, here, or here.
Freunde von Freunden talks to CA artist Kelsey Brookes about life in San Diego, surfing and hanging out in Berlin. Check out the interview here.
an exhibition to doccument the works made and ideas thought between New York, Berlin, and Accra.
Organized by Liz Janoff and Sarah Faitell
An interview with Anais, who discusses her thoughts on the music industry, and how she plans to make it work for her.
MAKESHIFT PRESENTS HALLOWEEN
RIOUX and BEAST MAKE BOMB do CMJ at Sidewalk Cafe in the East Village.
This Wednesday the 18th —- 94 Avenue A —- Free —- BMB @ 11, RIOUX @ 12 —- visuals throughout by JoshCabrido