October 25, 2014
Narcissus Garden

Yayoi Kusama: Narcissus Garden, 2004
500 stainless steel balls

Photo: Joyce Edmondson

o.T. (acrylic on couch)

Katharina Grosse: o.T., (foreground), 2012, acrylic on couch

Photo: Joyce Edmondson

Untitled, (Greedy Schmuck)

Barbara Kruger: Untitled, (Greedy Schmuck), (background), 2012

Photo: Joyce Edmondson

Composition aux trois profils

Fernand Léger: Composition aux trois profils, 1937, oil on canvas

Tulip with All My Love 2-1

Yayoi Kusama: Tulip with All My Love 2-1, 2011
Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic, metal urethane paint

Photo: Joyce Edmondson

At Art Basel, Miami Beach, 2012

A hallway between galleries at the Miami Beach Convention Center, Art Basel Miami Beach, 2012

Photo: Joyce Edmondson

Iván Navarro: Impenetrables

Iván Navarro: Impenetrables

Photo: Joyce Edmondson

I Won't Give upon You

Jon Pylypchuk: I Won't Give upon You, (Installation), 2012
Wood, expanding foam, denim, hot glue, ping pong balls, plether, cardboard, zinc, spray paint, latex paint acrylic paint

Photo: Joyce Edmondson

Nine Mechanisms for the Deformation of Layers and the Subsequent Folding of Rock

Harry Dodge: Nine Mechanisms for the Deformation of Layers and the Subsequent Folding of Rock, 2012, walnut burl, redwood, fir dowel, rigid foam, urethane resin, silicone, glue, dirt

Photo: Joyce Edmondson

At Art Basel, Miami Beach, 2012

A couple browsing at Art Basel, Miami Beach

Photo: Joyce Edmondson

First Lady (a detail)

Fernando Botero: First Lady, (detail), oil on canvas, 1967

Photo: Joyce Edmondson

Dita

Mel Ramos: Dita, polished aluminum cast with black polished granite pedestal, 2012

Photo: Joyce Edmondson

Reliquary

Scott Campbell: Reliquary, US currency mounted on paper, 2012

Photo: Joyce Edmondson

Arabe au fusil (detail)

Jean Dubuffet: Arabe au fusil, (detail), oil on canvas, 1948

Photo: Joyce Edmondson

Max Ernst’s Tete a Cornes

Max Ernst: Tete a Cornes in 24-carat gold

Photo: Joyce Edmondson

Armed Freedom Lying on a Sunbed

Allora & Calzadilla: Armed Freedom Lying on a Sunbed, 2011
Modified tanning bed and 6 foot bronze Armed Freedom sculpture

Photo: Joyce Edmondson

Walking Woman

Lynn Chadwick: Walking Woman, bronze, 1984

Photo: Joyce Edmondson

Expulsion from Number 8 Eden Close (detail)

Grayson Perry: Expulsion from Number 8 Eden Close, (detail), 2012, wool, cotton, acrylic, polyester and silk tapestry

Photo: Joyce Edmondson

OG-107 Scenery

Hector Zamora: OG-107 Scenery, 2012, installation, 17 army parachutes, paper, video

Photo: Joyce Edmondson

Devotional

Liza Lou: Devotional, 2010-2011

Photo: Joyce Edmondson

Etc. etc.

Ed Ruscha: Etc. etc., 1992
Acrylic and applied wood on canvas

Photo: Joyce Edmondson

Impressions of Art Basel Miami Beach, 2012

Joyce Edmondson | 12/9/2012

For a brief moment, the cigarette butt became a kindred spirit to the smoker, sharing the same remnants of discarded anger, desire and regret…

If that doesn’t make sense to you, perhaps you weren’t able to attend the 11th edition of Art Basel Miami Beach this past weekend. After going, what I can tell you now is – I’ll never look at a collection of cigarette butts the same way again.

detail of installation
Detail of installation piece: "I Won't Give upon You," Jon Pylypchuk

The international art fair, arguably “one of the best in the world,” an art consultant told me over coffee, featured 257 galleries from 31 countries. Galleries presented artists from the 20th and 21st century. The fair spanned four days and featured art on many levels: high-end art for sale, public performance pieces, artist talks, art films and outdoor sculptures. And of course, in true South Beach style, there were parties galore.

This year, crowds felt thicker than last year. The older works – Léger, Miró, Picassos, Gris, Duchamp, Calder and so on - seemed in more abundance. Clearly, in spite of the global recession, the secondary art investment world is still flourishing.

A sampling of some artworks can be seen in the photo gallery above. Random observations are in italics below.

Grayson Perry's tapestry was a very uncomplimentary slice of family life.

This must have some heavy auto-biographical meaning. Perhaps there’s a clue in the name of the piece? Yes, "Expulsion from Number 8 Eden Close," helps.

That makes me wonder, should an artwork stand alone, or does one need to know all about the artist, their milieu, the provenance, to enjoy it?

From Barbara Kruger’s "Greedy Schmuck," to the bejeweled bag of Ruffles, to a mummy made of money, one common theme was commerce.

Art is a commodity.

Like pork bellies.

Can they short-sell it?

Aisles at the Convention Center were mixed with serious collectors, students, casual tourists, art aficionados, interlopers, gallery representatives and artists. All ages, nearly all nations.

I believe I heard a dozen languages spoken. No, make that everything except Klingon.

On seeing Harry Dodge's sculptures that made up "Nine Mechanisms for the Deformation of Layers and the Subsequent Folding of Rock," I could envision them coming alive, walking, stumbling, slithering.

Every piece told a story. The experience was quite overwhelming. It made me recall friends who, when going to a museum, would contemplate two or three works, and after that, were so emotionally drained they had to leave. This type of art appreciation isn’t possible at Art Basel galleries, as it was too busy, too over the top for that.

I admire art such as Liza Lou's beaded Ruffles bag, because it dares to blur the line between craft and fine art. I bet that makes a lot of art experts uncomfortable.

So much angry art. Not much quiet art. More like BA-BAM, with lipstick on.

If you purchased one of these high-concept pieces, how long could you live with it – a few days, a month, a year?

In the end, I realized it doesn’t matter if you like a work or not, nor if you could live with it or not. The trick is - if you find it resonating in your head for a long time – bringing ideas and emotions along with it - then that is a great piece.

Tags: Arts & Entertainment

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