Many people love art for its power to transport, whether through a painting that brings us to the banks of the Seine in 19th-century France or an installation that immerses us in a fanciful and imagined alternate world. But what about when art refuses to carry us away, offering instead only blank space, an empty frame staring back at us?
Lost in a Metro-North commuter train daze, I watched the Wassaic Project pass by the train window without recognizing it. But the giant slingshot and makeshift teepees that decorated the lush green grass next to a towering grain elevator hinted that artists and their ilk may be nearby. Inside, I would find works by Eric Fischl, Agnes Martin, Gary Hume, Richard Prince, Dieter Roth, Rebecca Horn, Gerhard Richter and Imi Knoebel … among others.
There’s no point in giving you a “review” of the mothership of art fairs in Miami, Art Basel Miami Beach, so I thought a photo essay with some observations were more appropriate.
I admit that I got a little bored after three hours of wandering around. I found myself seeing the same thing and getting the same numbness I get during marathon holiday shopping trips or walks through ancient souks … there’s only so much merchandise you can see in one stop.
It was still refreshing to see some galleries display the prices of their wares freely, and examples of excellent abstraction by names mostly absent from the art history survey books, but I was most shocked to discover what must be the most awful Basquiat I have even seen in my life.