I had so much fun in Basel, learned so much, and attended so many events, but in particular, there were two really enjoyable Latin-oriented gatherings that were memorable; cocktails at the Miami Art Museum (MAM) hosted by its Director, Terence Riley. It was the first retrospective ever shown in North America OF Argentinean artist Guillermo Kuitca. Amazing. Also, the brunch at the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation “CIFO”, where the exhibition, “Being in the World” curated by the genius Berta Sichel (Director of the Department of Audiovisuals at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid) was impressive and involving.
James Rosenquist, I Love You with My Ford, 1961
The “Art Salon” series at Art Basel was a clever way of getting artists, advisors, curators and connoisseurs to mingle informally with collectors and visitors. This provided a forum to exchange ideas in a fresh and candid format. i got the chance to meet James Rosenquist, whose forum was moderated by Samuel Keller (Director of the Fondation Beyeler (Riehen/Basel). I was appreciative of Rosenquist’s humor and humility, and was fascinated to hear about his past and his path to becoming an artist. We all learned that as a child, Rosenquist and his family moved a lot, and that he entertained himself by drawing. That his job as a billboard painter was short—he quit after two people he was working with fell off a scaffold and died! And that his evolution to becoming an artist represented by the iconic Leo Castelli was mesmerizing, as well as Rosenquist’s own importance in the pop art movement in the U.S. we were all treated to these interesting stories, and more, and I was delighted to learn that the artist has just published a book about his career, “Painting Below Zero. Notes on a Life in Art”. Check it out here: http://www.amazon.com/Painting-Below-Zero-Notes-Life/dp/0307263428
Marilyn Minter, Shinola, 2008
Marilyn Minter, Leggings, 2009
As part of the art salon, I also got to meet the controversial Marilyn Minter, whose forum was moderated by Richard Flood, the Chief Curator of the New Museum. Marilyn explained how the subject matter of her work (photographs, paintings and videos) is the paradox between the flawless models of the fashion industry vs. reality, that nobody really looks that good. She also discussed the pleasure the billion dollar beauty industry offers to women, (especially), in pursuit of this impossibility. So minter had to demystify perfection in her work—a seemingly beautiful woman who is smudged, sweating, or some kind of untidiness, which is more honest. In pursuit of these kinds of images, I was surprised to learn that minter does not use digital pictures, but develops film in a conventional (and old-school) darkroom. The artist had a witty sense of humor and was generous with wisdom gleaned from a long career. Minter hinted at a new secret project (the dish was that it was involved with Madonna, who used one of minter’s videos, green pink caviar on her Sticky & Sweet tour). We’ll just have to wait and see!!
I loved this edition of Art Basel Miami Beach and came back to New York with the conviction that the contemporary art market is more than alive, it’s hot and there are some very good artists who are accessible and can become the starting point of a young and vibrant collection!
Labels: Art, Collecting, Fashion