Last night Art Basel kicked off with the official opening reception at Collins Park. The manicured patch of greenery located in front of the Bass Museum is a part of Basel's Public Sector, featuring large sculptures, installations and performances accessible to the general public. Tuesday night's event, however, was anything but public. The catered event hosted over 3,000 locals and art pilgrims where they got an exclusive glimpse at what curators have put together.
The night's break out star was Front, a performance piece led by Danish artist Christian Falsnaes.
See also: Art Basel Miami Beach 2014 Fairs Guide
Around 5:30pm, just as attendees had settled in with their cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, the artist got on the microphone to work the crowd. "This work couldn't happen without you!" Falsnaes yelled.
As a circle of party-goers rallied around the lanky Falsnaes, he commanded them to walk to the other end of the park where a white wood panel awaited the group. Once there, he handed out spray cans and instructed the crowd to paint as much of the untainted surface as they could.
Like a jazz musician, volunteers sprayed swirled lines and doodles in a stream of consciousness exercise that called to mind Jackson Pollock paintings. During the spectacle, Falsnaes yelled out tips and instructions. "Let go of everything you've ever known about art!" he screamed at the enthusiastic crowd.
Once the surface was full of abstract forms, security set up a perimeter, and a team of technicians equipped with hand saws and hammers demolished the newly painted structure. The energy was palpable as Falsnaes participated in the violent demolition.
After 10 mins, the structure lay in ruin on the grass in-front of the onlookers. Suddenly, out of the rubble Falsnaes gave the signal to the security guards, the established perimeter was removed and participants salvaged pieces of the purposefully-ruined work. Under the artist's careful guidance, men, women and children carried those pieces to the other side of the park, where a large wooden framed awaited them.
Falsnaes asked them to reassemble the pieces on the new frame. While volunteers held up the shards in place, technicians came around with drills and secured the pieces. Once all the fragments were newly assembled, Falsnaes instructed the audience to "take a look at your new work, Front!"
Apart from the invigorating performance, attendees marveled at the number of sculptures and installations laid out on the grounds. The exhibition features 26 large-scale and site-specific work made by leading and emerging artist from 13 countries.
Eva (Eve), 2014 by Ana Luiza Dias Batista is one of the more intimate pieces at the park. The work is a scaled replica of a popular 1980s Brazilian theme park attraction.
Untitled, 2014 by Oaf Metzel features a jumbled map of Los Angeles over a metal frame. The piece comments on the City of Angels' irregularly shaped and culturally diverse neighborhoods. Furthermore it calls into question the complexity of portraying these realities in mass media and art.
In case you missed it, Falnaes will be recreating front for the public opening. Public Opening Night, which is free, will take place in Collins Park on Wednesday, December 3, from 8:30PM- 10PM.
The Public sector is free of charge and open to the public from December 4th- 7th. Tours will be offered daily at 10:30am, 11:30am and 12:30pm. Collins Park is located between 21st and 22nd Street, in close proximity of the exhibition halls within the Miami Beach Convention Center and adjacent to The Bass Museum of Art.
On Friday, December 5, from 5pm to 6pm, Art Basel's Salon program will see Nicholas
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Baume in conversation with Ryan Gander, Lyz Glynn and Nicolás Goldberg. Art Basel
entry tickets include admission to Salon.