Art Basel 2013: A Local Perspective From Inside the Convention Center

Photo by George Martinez
Joke's on you, Barbara Kruger.
A few weeks before Art Basel's arrival, I noticed Vice's infamous "I Don't 'Get' Art" article being shared on Facebook. In the piece, Glen Coco (best pen name ever, by the way, and probably written by West Coast editor Jamie Taete) admits he cannot grasp what contemporary artists are trying to say these days.

Coco followed this up by attending Art Basel last year. Unfortunately, that didn't help remedy the situation.

See also: Art Basel 2013 at Miami Beach Convention Center (Photos)

Wandering through the maze of booths at the Miami Beach Convention Center, I totally get why contemporary art can frustrate people. A lot of it looks like it was slapped together without any thought or meaning. And when artists try to go for shock value (enough with the genitals, sex toys, etc.; I've seen plenty) it comes off as trying too hard to get a reaction out of the viewer.

Photo by George Martinez
This says, "I'm edgy because I used the word 'motherfucker.'"
Yes, I will say it here: A lot of the stuff on display at most art fairs, including Basel, isn't worth a dime. Buying art is less like stock trading and more like high-stakes gambling. You are putting money on something hoping that eventually the artist will generate enough "buzz" to raise the value of the piece. Unfortunately, the art world is plagued by people who are paid to generate "buzz," which makes the process a bit disingenuous. Talent doesn't always have to be there in order for "buzz" to be created.

That doesn't mean I don't believe in the work a lot of contemporary artists are doing. I do. I'd just wish the process of recognizing artists involved more academic study and discussion and fewer Russian oligarchs and people who want something pretty to hang in their Brickell condos. (And I know I'm totally contradicting myself. I understand that it's these kind of people who keep galleries and their artists afloat. But a boy can dream.)

So with that long-winded intro done, now I will tell you what I saw.

Location Info



Miami Beach Convention Center

1901 Convention Center Dr, Miami Beach, FL

Category: General

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Ÿänn Hidalgō
Ÿänn Hidalgō

Contemporary art is so edgy i refer only to classic masters

frankd4 topcommenter

This says, "I'm edgy because I used the word 'motherfucker.' JD DURAN

well I LOOKED at it and i say the letters are ALL from various and famous LOGOs; the M from Mobil Oil, the F from either Friendlys or Fuddruckers, the R from Rexall, the T from, TexasInstruments, the K from KFC etc

the more art you see the more art becomes conversant to you like doing crossword puzzles (which you also don't get i would assume)

now an art snob may say you are just too simple to be interesting - i would tell you if i can get it anyone can get it BUT you do have to try = period

frankd4 topcommenter

.................................the K from KFC etc

and i can even tell you the K is uPsIDe dOWn - in the KFC logo the upper / is thin and the lower part is FAT (in the art piece it is the other way around so the K in the piece is upside down)

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