|As the week wears on and the sand starts to fuse with my brain all the art here starts to look the same. This five day long party seems to hit it’s apex around day three, so by the fourth day there are collectors passed out on lawn chairs at NADA, and the gallerists look like panicked zoo animals in their booths. Yesterday was also…umm…a little wobbly for Bill and I, and I’m having a tough time deciphering some of my notes. Here are some highlights to the best of my recollection.|
By Thomas Seely
As the week wears on and the sand starts to fuse with my brain all the art here starts to look the same. This five day long party seems to hit it’s apex around day three, so by the fourth day there are collectors passed out on lawn chairs at NADA, and the gallerists look like panicked zoo animals in their booths. Yesterday was also…umm…a little wobbly for Bill and I, and I’m having a tough time deciphering some of my notes. Here are some highlights to the best of my recollection.
We took a giant charter bus out to NADA, the cool fair. On the way into Miami we watched the cruise ships dump off their tourists and pick up more. I wondered what it’d be like if I wandered onto one of those things passed out, and woke up in Bermuda.
We got into the design district, which looks like Bushwick with palm trees. Saw a lot of run down buildings and boarded up homes, all painted bright orange and turquoise. When we got off the bus the driver told us to walk in pairs if we left the fair.
The scene at NADA reflected the young well dressed demographic of the fairs, and made me feel rather inadequate. It reminded me of walking through the “popular kids” parking lot in high school. It definitely heightened the nagging feeling of “otherness” that’s been hounding me this entire trip. I’m not quite sure if I should be here. I’m worried that at any moment everyone will catch on and I’ll be exposed, chased out of Miami by a well-dressed mob wielding pitchforks and torches. It might be worse. I might just get laughed at.
After NADA we went to Scope, and as it turns out, Scope is were all the fun fled to when Basel rolled into town. The fair is held in what is essentially a circus tent plopped down in the middle of a crappy softball field. Outside, pork was being served from a giant smoker that an artist built on the lawn and kids were climbing on Dennis Oppenheim’s two giant parking cones. Later, after checking out Jade Townsend’s amazing installation Born Between Piss and Shit, we stood around chatting, trying to avoid two drunk guys driving a forklift around the field. At one point they stopped to share their beer with us, and then drove off to shoot the shit with a police officer that was hanging out over by the portable toilets. When they left, a friendly, and obviously stoned painter friend of Bill’s wandered over to say hi before continuing back into the fair to check out the Port-a-Party installation by Nick Rodrigues. Apparently, the one he’s making for a show in L.A. comes complete with fold out coke mirrors and marble flooring. Scope totally wins the fun award.
I took the creepy Scope shuttle (it’s a luxury bus with facing leather benches, a neon track-lit ceiling, and mood lighting) back to the convention center and ate sushi on Collins avenue. Around 11:30 I decided that I was going to take the plunge, and attend the ARTFORUM party.
The thing about the ARTFORUM party is this:
You wait in this crazy line, which looks more like the pulsating egg sack from that movie Arachnophobia than the kind of patient queue you’d expect to be formed by intellectuals and people with MFAs from Yale. After that you push to the front and scream at an overwhelmed intern holding a clipboard:
“What do you mean I’m not on the list!”
“I’m so sorry sir, but your name is not on here. Did you RSVP?”
“RSVP!? Of course not! Why on earth would I do that?”
Once you get inside the super cool ARTFORUM party, you realize that you’re only as special as the thousands of other hip people who also got into the ARTFORUM party. Next, you wait in line for 10 minutes for a tiny glass of champagne, which will run out about 5 minutes after that (If you’re smart you steal a bottle and guard it will you life. Seriously, don’t tell anyone). Then there is a point, probably when you’re sitting on the edge of a red sofa, in an all red room, with squares projected on the wall, that you have the following realization:
Wait a minute! Anyone who’s actually cool will not be here. And I’m certainly not any cooler for showing up. I might just be stupid. All the people who are actually important are at a party I don’t even know about. In fact, they probably just organized the ARTFORUM party to amuse all the regular people. The real glitterati are sitting in a tower somewhere cackling and drinking liquid diamonds from champagne flutes.
This is when you do what you should have done all along. You take a cab to the Raleigh hotel, strip down to your underwear, climb the diving board and throw yourself into the pool. After that the rest of the night is glorious.
(NADA and SCOPE)
Total Spent Today: $52,500
Total Spent: $171,500
Remaining Funds: $798,500
David Rathman (http://www.clementine-gallery.com)
I’d hang this painting next to the one of Larry Bird I saw at Basel
Matt Leines (http://www.clementine-gallery.com)
Animals, especially birds and ferocious mammals are a reoccurring theme in the work at the fairs, but this is the first drawing I’ve seen of a beaver.
Jade Townsend (http://www.priskajuschkafineart.com)
If I bought this piece, I’d build a museum to put it in.
Nick Rodrigues (http://www.rhysgallery.com)
You really can’t put a price on fun.
Oliver van den Burg (http://www.kuckei-kuckei.de/index.html)
If I were a real collector I’d keep these carvings next to one of the floor to ceiling windows in my penthouse, right next to the telescope and the death ray.