When it comes to the tens of thousands of works of art on display at Basel -- well, let's just say that "free" is the last word that comes to mind. After all, there are beaucoup bucks to be made. Regardless of cultural relevance, this week is all about the green.
But California-based artist Dickson Schneider is all about bringing free art to the masses, and this week he's spreading the wealth on Miami Beach.
Funded in part by a Kickstarter campaign, Schneider was determined to make his way to Basel to expose an international audience to his free art message. After hitting his goal, he came to Miami in partnership with Oakland's Autobody Fine Art and Aqua Art satellite fair held at South Beach's Aqua Hotel.
Wednesday night, he set up shop with his cart outside the Aqua for an inaugural run. An hour or two after he began, he was down from over a hundred to two or three pieces of art. To each interested passer-by, he laid out a few different options.
We picked up an erased poem.
"Every month I give art away at the Oakland Art Murmur, it's kind of a tradition with me, every month I make something. It started with a student project, and then just became about trying to communicate with the community. How do you do that without a gallery?" Schneider says.
For Basel, Schneider took an art crate, added wheels and a handle, and made it mobile so he could take to the streets.
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"I'm not even sure what it means anymore, except the gratitude of people when they get stuff, and the interest I have in just making something and collapsing the -- OK, you can have a piece of art instead of having to go through all the other things people do, it doesn't cost anything."
"It's weird that sometimes people won't take free art. Sometimes they don't think that they deserve it, sometimes initially they're skeptical, but you know, there are some beautiful little things."
Go visit Schneider in front of the Aqua Hotel, all week long. Finally -- something (besides booze) that won't cost an arm and a leg at Basel.