Jose D. Duran

Coconut Grove Arts Festival, a Poor Man’s Art Basel

Poor Coconut Grove Arts Festival, with the arrival of Art Basel seven years ago to the sunny shores of Miami Beach, it has become the city’s ugly duckling of art events, diminished to an arts and crafts show focusing on mass-produced Brittos and hippie knick-knacks.

Then again, the festival never was about selling millions of dollars worth of high-end artwork. It was and continues to be a family friendly event that is as much about the decorative arts as it is about giving patrons a festival-like atmosphere complete with funnel cakes and cotton candy – no complaints there, as I like to consider myself a connoisseur of festival cuisine.

However, most of the artwork found in the neatly arranged tents is, to put it nicely, forgettable. A regular Second Saturday gallery walk in Wynwood is more exciting than anything I saw this weekend. There were a few that stood out, but at the same time I asked myself: Would they still catch my attention if they were standing next to anything on display during Basel or your average night in Wynwood? Probably not.

Despite the event’s lackluster art, thousands still poured into Coconut Grove demonstrating why this event has been going on for 45 years. You eat and drink while relaxing on a beautiful weekend, and how can you compete with that? - Jose D. Duran

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