New York Gallerist Suggests Boycotting Art Basel Miami Beach to Protest Zimmerman Verdict

Nobody's happy with Florida these days. And for good reason: the George Zimmerman verdict has convinced the better part of the country that there's little more going on in the Sunshine State than a huge, ongoing, racist murder spree.

A petition urges travelers to boycott the state until Stand Your Ground is repealed. The legendary Stevie Wonder announced Sunday that he'll not perform in Florida until the law is removed. And the art world has gotten in on the action, too.

Jen Bekman, New York gallerist and founder of art site 20x200, called for a boycott of Art Basel Miami Beach on Sunday, calling it "an excellent way for the art world to express its disgust w/ the state of Florida."

The comment inspired a handful of retweets and favorites, while other @jenbee followers saw the idea as a wasted opportunity.

As GalleristNY points out, a massive boycott of arguably the biggest art event in the country is pretty unlikely. Given how crowded Miami gets each December, thousands upon thousands of people would have to change their plans before the average person (or politician, for that matter) noticed. And artists, as principled as their work may be, still gotta get paid. (Gallerists, too.)

Even as a hypothetical idea, boycotting Art Basel doesn't seem to make much sense. It amounts to punishing South Florida, the most liberal part of the state, for the sins of the conservative lawmakers in Tallahassee.

Besides, most Miamians would see fewer Art Basel tourists, and the resulting reduced traffic jams, parking issues, and overcrowding, as a good thing. If you're really set on punishing Miami for the Zimmerman verdict, why not send the whole gallery staff to town? Bring the extended family! And make sure everybody rents his or her own car to travel from fair to fair. That'll show us.

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Ciara LaVelle is New Times' former arts and culture editor. She earned her BS in journalism at Boston University and moved to Florida in 2004. She joined New Times' staff in 2011.
Contact: Ciara LaVelle