2022 has just flown by, ending with artful minds being in the throes of the Art Basel happenings. Once again I found myself compelled to be a part of the insatiable Basel Art Week scene. In its own way it always seems to be a unique barometer of the current economic market. It also reflects our present decisive and precarious times. The year before conversations about NFTs even being advertised by airplanes passing the city back and forth was echoing throughout Basel and around. The blow out of NFTs and the ping pong existence of crypto currency have brought markets back to basic…perhaps ground zero. In some regard the decreased economic frenzy validated good art, well established artists, and those who deserve to be.
Miami Art Week Fashion
Miami Art Week is still one of the few opportunities in the world for a given week that one can flux wantonly through art, music, social mores, and various cultures without trepidation. Very few places are like Miami and it’s Wynwood section, where art can be seen continuously on building walls along with people walking or dancing to the beat of the music throughout the wee hours of the night. There is an insatiable appetite for art and being seen around it, however good, bad, or ugly it may be. And there is certainly a fair share of it all on the streets, in the fairs, and all over the city. Art, fashion, music, and design vibrate freely through the air. This week of extravaganza world class fairs like Basel, Art Miami, CONTEXT Art Miami, Untitled to name a few transform Miami for that week and it goes back to something else the day after all the crowds pay up, check out, and fly or Jetset and drive home. Miami is certainly a fun and hopping place after but it doesn’t have the the same atmosphere as during the Basel week.
The fairs themselves perhaps are a double edged sword. They give visitors an opportunity to see established galleries and their world famous artists. They also have some very good but middle sized galleries, that are pushed to their limits with the high cost of participating and paying for large gallery spaces. Moreover, the fairs have an abundance of very commercial and not-so-good art as well. Yet, such situation still provides the public a generous opportunity to see and experience. When schools and universities are cutting down on art programming and art cultivating has become less practiced in raising the young, it is a godsend to have this chance. There are many people nowadays who do not visit museums or galleries on their own accord and there are many who do, and Basel caters to both of these categories. The sophisticated and the avid students of the arts as well as people with perhaps less interest in visual culture are drawn to various media, genres and styles of work, to fun and lively atmosphere, and to other fascinating people from all over the world. Even though nothing is cheap these days, you couldn’t see and experience all of this with one trip in one week unless you are a wealthy world traveler (a price tag and time not too many can afford).
CONTEXT Art Miami
As mentioned above, the fairs this year were a mixed bag. There still were the standard good and great galleries, many of them showing superstars of art history like Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Salvador Dalí, Niki de Saint Phalle, Alexander Calder, Willem de Kooning, Keith Haring, Sol LeWitt, Barbara Hepworth, Roy Lichtenstein, etc. Present were also the works of living superstars such as Judy Chicago, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Gerhard Richter, Wolfgang Tillmans, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Andrea Zittel, Kara Walker, Robert Longo among others. With this prestigious groups there are examples of some of their best pieces that are available on the secondary market, and their secondary works as well. If one is willing to invest their time and vision and look hard enough throughout the best fairs, there are still large morsels of less known and emerging artists that are worthy to obtain for both experienced collectors as well as aspiring ones.
What makes this potpourri somewhat complexing and challenging yet eventually rewarding is to sift through all the bad and the ugly to find the good. It is definitely advisable to take at least 3-5 days to peruse the fairs, because this kind of effort, although enjoyable and entertaining, requires viewer to take a break from time to time and join in on the fun available that week. Filtering special pieces out of the swarms of commercial art featuring various yet uninspired images of Mickey Mouses, Marylin Monroes, and King Kongs is a task not for the faint at heart. But if you do, you would be able to develop a refined art aesthetic and eventually find many great works in the offering in any of the shows. One can say that visiting these art fairs will suffice any art class at a university.
We hope that the montage of photos in this article will give you some flavor of what art Basel brings to the table and encourage you to also look at what DBFA has to offer on our social media platforms.