Art Basel Miami Beach at 10

A decade of debauchery, deals, and disasters.

"Isabella Rossellini came to my show at Dorsch," brags local experimental filmmaker Clifton Childree.

Adds Kevin Arrow, a Miami artist who has worked at the Museum of Contemporary Art for 15 years: "Last year I was wandering through the Miami Beach Convention Center and I bumped into Mike D of the Beastie Boys. We spoke for a minute, and I gave him a copy of my zine."

Keanu Reeves is the star who most impressed the Wet Heat Project's Orihuela, "just because he was genuinely interested in the art, not just going through for the photo op."

FriendsWithYou's "Skywalker Parade" wowed crowds in 2006.'
Ivylise Simones
FriendsWithYou's "Skywalker Parade" wowed crowds in 2006.'
Only hobos loved this 2007 car-wreck art piece called Mind the Snails.
Ivylise Simones
Only hobos loved this 2007 car-wreck art piece called Mind the Snails.

My pick for Basel's single greatest celebrity moment, though, goes to porn star Bridget the Midget, whom I literally stumbled upon at Crobar during Basel 2003.

Bridget is famous for starring in movies such as Mechanical Elf, Little Fuckers, Pint Size Pussy, and Only the A-Hole 7. Her claim to fame is squirting eggs out of her rump.

I was out on the town with local performance artist Jasmine Kastel, who was costumed in her "Montos 3000" getup, consisting of a Mexican wrestling mask and a ballet tutu. Earlier in the day, Kastel had ventured into the Bass Museum of Art in the garb inspired by luchador El Santo. A Russian TV crew followed her while she put chokeholds on unsuspecting collectors until, red-faced, they begged her to let them go.

After a surreal, drunken evening winding from Miami Beach to Wynwood, we ended up at the now-defunct South Beach nightclub Crobar. At one point, a certain local artist who demands to remain unnamed stuck her hand up Bridget's skirt and screamed, "Look, I can make my puppet talk and dance!" while a moaning Bridget hopped onto the bar with her eyes bugged and legs kicking out like a frog's.

Ten Most Memorable Exhibits: Sweatshops and Hickeys Galore

Distilling a decade of art into ten pieces is impossible. So the following aren't the best exhibits ever to visit the Magic City — just the ones that stuck most firmly in my brain:

1. In 2003, not only did Miami artist George Sanchez Calderon's "Midnight Midtown Midway" convert the Buena Vista rail yard into a carnival-esque playground replete with a giant Ferris wheel, performances, and a dazzling fireworks display, but also he proposed to his wife on one of the rides that night — all while presaging what a circus Art Basel would become.

2. At OmniArt in 2004, Tania Bruguera's Autobiografía was a sound installation comprising a solitary microphone dangling over a platform in a spare room. Spectators were invited to speak into the mike, while on opposing walls, speakers blared excerpts of speeches by Fidel Castro, creating a moving commentary on the illusory aspects of power.

3. The same year, Kader Attia at Galerie Kamel Mennour created a stir at Basel's shipping container space with his working sweatshop called "Illegal Studio Hallal," delivering a Muslim riff on capitalism's garment-industry model by employing Hispanic seamstresses to crank out trademarked "Hallal" urban gear inside a stifling metal container.

4. In 2005, Cuban conceptual duo Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla flipped the script on Basel with their piece "Download," for which they simply flattened an Art Positions shipping container until it looked like a sardine tin put through a trash compactor.

5. Also in 2005, at Miami Art Central, William Kentridge's sprawling solo show featured a broad range of the South African's work dating from 1979, including drawings, animated films, sculptures, and animated videos transferred to DVD. The piece transformed a first-floor gallery into a virtual cineplex, reflecting the tumultuous events he experienced following apartheid.

6. If only because she got under the skin, Marlene Haring makes the grade for her "Sucking Marks" performance at Scope Miami 2006, where the Austrian blonde gave hickeys to anyone willing to perch on her stool, pony up ten bucks, and swap DNA.

7. At the Freedom Tower in 2009, "Invasion 68 Prague" was an eye-opening exhibition of the photography of Josef Koudelka, who documented the 1968 invasion of Prague by Soviet and Warsaw Pact forces. The arresting photos captured Koudelka's street-level perspective of a seminal 20th-century moment and featured 60 images, many of which had never before been publicly displayed.

8. That year was also memorable for "Dark Night of the Soul" at OHWOW. The collaboration between Danger Mouse and Sparkle Horse showcased visuals by director David Lynch. It struck a discomfiting chord with brain-searing images such as Lynch's take on a Norman Rockwell-like Thanksgiving feast featuring an Eisenhower-era family gorging on a human head.

9. At the Frost Art Museum last year, Arnold Mesches's 15 large-format canvases, called "Selections From Anomie 1492-2006," combined surreal juxtapositions of disparate symbols and historical figures against dark, brooding landscapes. One of his garage-door-size nightmares, Anomie 1980: Nancy Reagan's Dream, depicted a downward-spiraling autopsy of the former first lady's dreams of governing the nation by supernatural force.

10. Also in 2010, Bert Rodriguez, Miami's inimitable conceptual quipster, knocked art off the altar and delivered it to the masses when he graced the cover of Miami New Times with his re-creation of W magazine's "Art Issue" — which featured a nude, spray-painted Kim Kardashian — by painting his own, less voluptuous ass silver for a photo shoot.

Basel's Worst Feuds: Graffiti Wars and Selection Envy

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
7 comments
Jessica
Jessica

I am a 26 years old girl, down to earth and cute but still single ... I wanna find my lover who can give me a real love,so I joined in the seekcasual.COM,it's the best club for man and woman finding their intimate encounters. Well, you do not have to be lonely , you can meet the Mr. or Miss. Right there.

ChrisTan1
ChrisTan1

Art Basel Miami Beach at 10...@readers:disqus My step-sister Mhaye got $43/hour just working on the computer. She have been unemployed for 5 months but last month her check was $7921 just working on the internet for few hours.Read about it Here (=====http://bit.ly/pVhh1F ====)

ChrisTan1
ChrisTan1

My step-sister Mhaye got $43/hour just working on the computer. She have been unemployed for 5 months but last month her check was $7921 just working on the internet for few hours.Read about it Here (=====http://bit.ly/pVhh1F ====)

ChrisTan1
ChrisTan1

My step-sister Mhaye got $43/hour just working on the computer. She have been unemployed for 5 months but last month her check was $7921 just working on the internet for few hours.Read about it Here (=====http://bit.ly/pVhh1F ====)

 
Loading...