Best Outdoor Art - 2007
During Art Basel Miami Beach, the competition among local artists to catch the eye of the cognoscenti can seem like the machinations of those early PR hucksters like Jim Moran, who took the publicity stunt to an extreme. Moran's finest hour came when he tried to send three midgets attached to kites, plastered with advertising, airborne over New York's Central Park. For sheer audacity, homeboys Sam Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III, who comprise the FriendsWithYou collective, may be Moran's heirs. The inventive duo, known for their zany line of plush and wood toys, curated the first ever Art Basel parade this past December, featuring fifteen art dirigibles that snapped necks along the stretch of sand from Seventeenth to Fifth streets on Miami Beach. Their kooky, helium-filled cosmic critters included a towering volcano, a fanged twenty-foot rabbit, and assorted unknown entities, some of which looked like funky black beans. (A number of balloons were also designed by other artist pals: Ara Peterson, Misaki Kawai, Paperrad, Mwarble Boy, David Choe, and Devil Robots among them). Nearly 200 volunteer balloon handlers helped carry the brightly colored confections during the raucous 90-minute march down the beach. The Hialeah Senior High School marching band led the procession, playing a tune composed by jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval Jr. especially for the event. Unlike colleagues who may have tried too hard to make a splash, these artists were among the rare locals more interested in putting on a show for the unsuspecting public than getting swept up in the fair hoopla. They focused on having a good time with family and friends, simply recognizing that no art savvy is required to enjoy an old-fashioned parade.