Best Basel Headline Grab by a Local Artist (2008)

Maite Josune

When Baselphrenia grips the Big Orange each year, the moonberries creep out of the woodwork, eager to add some homespun flair to the planet's greatest arts confab. Some peddle nickel bags of art and push shopping carts full of ephemeral trash across town, others splooge art swells with the sodden contents of a four-foot-long pneumatic pink-foam pecker. But Maite Josune froze traffic on NW Second Avenue and 23rd Street in Wynwood during the fair with her car-wreck-cum-jungle installation, which she christened "Mind the Snails." The nervy Josune salvaged a 1995 Mazda MX-3; slathered it in acidy cranberry, cobalt, and lemon yellow hues; and plopped it down in front of Art Miami for maximum media exposure. She covered the jalopy with huge white and green snails as symbols that "no artist should be left behind." To crown her achievement, Josune planted ficus, ferns, and palms from her Kendall garden in the car's trunk, bringing a loopy dash of suburbia to dreary art district. The homeless loved it, sleeping in her vehicle long after chichi art patrons evacuated the area at nightfall. Josune's problems arose when neighboring galleries called the cops to complain. Miami Police ticketed and impounded the tagless art piece, apparently unimpressed by the enterprising artist's conceptual clunker.

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