Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
~ William Butler Yeats, “The Second Coming”
When William Butler Yeats wrote these words, surely Art Basel Miami Beach is what he had in mind. In this recurring race to the bottom, where rich people go to prove just how many things they would rather throw money at than equity, justice, the environment, or baseline humanity, a clear winner is already rising. Top prize in this anarchy of excess, veiled in a thin cover of culture, must surely go to a December 4 event summoned into this world by Rock the Bells and Cheetos, taking place on the Seafair Mega Yacht.
Enter Yacht the Basel, starring Lefty Out There: “The Art of the Cheetle” — if these words are not a hellish incantation that calls out whichever horseman of the apocalypse is currently waiting in the wings, what else are they? They also mean that one of those du jour street-artist-turned-muralists who like to cover everything in a repeating motif has now “upped” the ante by rendering his signature squiggles in Cheeto dust. Because taping a goddamn banana to a wall was not enough, no, the art world needed to do something even more stupid involving food. At sea!
What can be said about this situation? The facts are these: the Seafair is a 220-foot, four-story megayacht docked at Bayfront Park in downtown Miami. There are six bars, Cheetos-inspired activations, the Art of the Cheetle gallery, onboard activities, and “much much more,” according to a press release. But equally as true, the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned.
Far be it for me to tell anyone what to do with their time in life, or their ill-gotten and excessive wealth. I am no saint, and prone to my own frivolities — and anything I say would fall on the deaf ears of those full of passionate intensity. I congratulate Lefty Out There on a successful spectacle, and hope the work sells, because probably everything he owns is now covered in a fine orange powder and needing replacement. I assume the preservatives in Cheetos have a better shelf life than a banana taped to a wall. I wish everyone in attendance a great Art Basel Miami, and look forward to hearing what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born.
MTV’s The Exhibit Is Finally Spicing Up
In the penultimate episode, the show’s editors managed to ignite the spark of mindless reality TV.
Guggenheim Museum Union Rallies at VIP Opening
The museum’s commitment to diversity in exhibitions rings hollow to workers who say they are not receiving a fair wage.
The Public Theater Explores the Hurricane Katrina Diaspora in shadow/land
Written by Erika Dickerson-Despenza and directed by Candis C. Jones, this lyrical meditation on legacy, erotic fugitivity, and self-determination is on view in NYC.
Quieter Artworks Stand Out At a New York Photo Fair
At this year’s Association of International Photography Art Dealers show, the best works offer glimpses into the personal lives of photographers and their subjects.
Special Edition: 🖌️Artists’ Signatures ✍️
In this special edition, we investigate what artists’ signatures actually mean, and the fascinating results reveal the multifaceted history of this curious phenomenon.
The Rubin Museum Presents Death Is Not the End
Tibetan Buddhist and Christian works of art made across 12 centuries explore death, the afterlife, and the desire to continue to exist. On view in NYC.
What Is a Signature in the Internet Age?
As a cryptographic unit for record-keeping, an NFT can be seen as analogous to a signature or an autograph.
The Meaning of Ancient Greek and Roman Artisan Signatures
What did a signature mean in the ancient world, and how much can we trust what they seem to tell us?
When I Am Empty Please Dispose of Me Properly
Ayanna Dozier, Ilana Harris-Babou, Meena Hasan, Lucia Hierro, Catherine Opie, Chuck Ramirez, and Pacifico Silano explore the myths of the American Dream at Brooklyn’s BRIC House.
Michelangelo’s Signature and the Myth of Genius
Michelangelo served as a stellar example for future artists who sought status and economic independence.
Uncovering the Photographer Behind Arshile Gorky’s Most Famous Painting
As we pursue photographer Hovhannes Avedaghayan a fascinating picture begins to emerge of him and the world of which he was part.
Pratt’s 2023 Fine Arts MFA Thesis Exhibition Is On View in Brooklyn
The two-part exhibition features the work of 41 graduating artists across disciplines, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, and integrated practices.
100 Years of Artist Signatures in a Detroit Club
The beams in Detroit’s Scarab Club act as a guest book of sorts, carrying a wealth of stories and history, including signatures by Diego Rivera, Marcel Duchamp, Margaret Bourke-White, Isamu Noguchi, and others.
The Myth of Agency Around Artists’ Signatures
In an art world built on shifting sands, artists’ signatures become symbols of agency for some, and relics of the past for others.