Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Analysis of Our Love Hate Relationship with Art Basel: Is it the Fair Worth It? by Chloe J. Roberts

Analysis of Our Love Hate Relationship with Art Basel:  Is it the Fair Worth It? 

By:  Chloe J. Roberts

Art Basel Week in Miami. Do you love it or hate it? Is the art work there worth forging through the wild week of traffic, parties and jam packed restaurants? Many popular critics have refused to attend (including two of my favorites Jerry Saltz and Carol Diehl) and have declared it overrated, dying out and losing steam. Some artists, including Adam Lindemann, have disparaged the fair, then exhibited work there, only to leave wearing a “F*ck|Art Fairs” T-shirt. Art lovers have declared it a vital source for discovering new contemporary and museum-caliber art. I somewhat agree with all the above.   

Whether you are flying or driving, the largest and most prestigious art show in the Americas is about a seven hour round trip from Orlando.  The twelfth edition of the fair hosted over a hundred exhibiting galleries featuring the most respected international art dealers.  The fair also includes special exhibition sections featuring young galleries, performance art, public art projects and video art.  During the afternoons, the Art Salon program features artist talks, panels, lectures, and performances, with the range of speakers including artists, academics, curators, collectors, architects, art lawyers, critics, and many other cultural players. 

Even if you are an experienced Baseler, you need a spreadsheet and an event planner to keep all the exhibitions, conversations, salon talks, art videos and dozens of satellite art fairs straight.  No matter how deep and wide your art appetite, it is not possible to experience all that Art Basel has to offer.  Even for an extreme, “live, eat and breathe art” lover such as myself, it is absolutely an overdose of art that leaves you with mentally drained. The experience of walking around all day viewing exhibits, listening to unnecessarily long and frequently monotone art lectures, and mingling at crowded art dinner parties is absolutely beyond exhausting.  

After many years of experiencing Art Basel, I have concluded that near death by overdose of art is a worthwhile experience.  Not only did Art Basel financially help the artists and galleries left ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, but it generated unparalleled revenue for our ailing economy and South Florida businesses. I love Art Basel. I always have. I always will. With only a relatively short drive you can experience an entire week of new art from all around the globe.  My favorites at this year’s fair include a grid of 81 Polaroids from Warhol's 'Torsos' and 'Sex Parts' series at Kicken Berlin, Andrea Bowers and Ricci Albenda at Andrew Kreps Gallery and Jon Kessler at Salon 94.  
Andy Warhol Sex Parts 2

If you did not make it to Art Basel this year, go ahead and start planning for next year’s fair which takes place December 5-8, 2013.  There is nothing more exciting than spending a week in South Beach immersed in art.  I hope to see you all there! 

Chloe J. Roberts was born in Miami, Florida.  She is a lawyer, art writer and playwright.  

By:  Chloe J. Roberts

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