Miami Art Week 2021: The Basel Blackout

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It’s finish. Art Basel Miami is an international treasure, but the circus has left the city.

Business makes the world go round, but it’s strange. Are The Best Jobs In The World Really Crypto And Highway Building? Likewise, gallery play systems like double parkers and Amazon trucks monopolize the bike path. Yet unlike an anti-vaxxer, I really did some research. After four and a half days of the Arts exam, here are some winners and losers.

Winners and good things:
Art Miami’s Context and UNTITLED have remarkable galleries and exceptional work. SCOPE is doing it too, although the presence of the company is becoming more and more disgusting. PINTA, although small, is precious. Design Miami remains a gateway to originality.
Untitled and Art Miami have verified the vaccination; many people were unmasked inside. The design did not verify; most wore masks. Go figure it out.
COVID Has Gotten Darker With Omicron Introducing itself to the World; artists and galleries responded with brighter colors.
Banksy and NCAA football coaches hold lucrative positions; Miami road construction workers have the best cradle-to-grave job ever invented.
The NFT and Crypto turmoil is in full swing.

Galleries and remarkable people: Galerie LeRoyer, Tokyo International Gallery, Bode Projects, LaiSun Keane, the modern contemporary art project, De Buck, Lisa Ashinoff, Katherine Siboni of MARTOS, EMBAJADA + KM 0.2, THE HOLE LA, Huxley-Parlor and Gallery Grimson.

Gallery expressing the coolest: Eden Airlines from afar.

Artists and works: Quilts by Michael C. Thorpe, Maduka by Idris Habib, Zak Ové, Autumn in Palace by Chang Min Lim, Julie Christie by Kadir Akyol, Jean Shrimpton by Stikki Peaches, Light and Bright by twfive, Building # 19 by Yasushi Ikejiri, Christina Nicodema, Lisa Ashinoff, Jan Kalab Twilight Medusa.

Celebrities: Like an addiction, we follow DiCaprio, Sean Penn, Venus, Serena and Bieber. B-lists and influencers are aspirants. DJ Khaled coating chicken wings with 24k gold and edible diamonds isn’t the best environmental message.

It’s complicated BUT good for business: Galleries showing their distaste for racism, mostly because THIS year black subjects matter ESPECIALLY, and black galleries hope buyers are fed up with racism because especially THIS year black subjects matter.

The losers and the bad things:
The surgical puppet is more at home at Art Miami. Sorry.
Dogs in papier mache.
Frigid Scope as cold as the Metrorail.
Opportunistic opportunists are jostling each other; daytime drinkers because it’s free; marketers marketing in their markets.
Tasteless C-list celebrities.
Cultural appropriation.
Very limited Asian subjects. Will we ever see subjects from Indonesia, the Philippines, Chile or Hawaii? Are my liberal, Dutch and Parisian gallery colleagues only guilty of sub-Saharan Africans? Do the lives of Afghans, Iraqis and Yemenis matter?
ZERO Chinese galleries.

Finally, for all the good, burying that cynicism in a late paragraph seems relevant: if you have a bunch of pop-up vodka restaurants, someone will feature a curator to host an instagrammable fashion show with an impending focus on latin diaspora or black topics with an international, multi-instrumentalist DJ-producer.

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About Walter J. Leslie

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