Art Basel Miami 2016… The Land of Two Worlds of Art

Art Basel Miami 2016… The Land of Two Worlds of Art

This past weekend I got the opportunity to attend my first Art Basel in Miami. Art Basel is an international show that showcases contemporary art by established and newly emerging artists. Over the years it has become a hotspot for art lovers, creative spirits and celebrities alike. As inclusive as art and expression should be there was a complete divide in the two classes of artists… the contemporary well established artist and the emerging more urban artist. The contemporary well renown artists were displayed at the Miami Convention Center. The massive Center displayed thousands of paintings, and sculptures. Walking into the center was overwhelming as it was exciting. The layout started with known works from revered artists of the 1800’s like Pablo Picasso through the 1980’s and the rise of daring artists like Jean-Michael Basquiat. One of the most beautiful pieces I saw was from Kohei Nawa. The Japanese sculptor redirected our perception of the billions of molecules that make up our bodies and the life around us with PixCell. This set features stuffed animals (in my case a deer) covered in crystal beads of different sizes to magnify and distort areas of the deer and recreate the molecular structure of the animal. It was one of the most beautiful pieces I saw.

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One of the more disturbing pieces that I saw was the “Maze of Quotes” installation by Toilet Paper. The collaborative magazine project by Italian artists Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari featured the installation of a 1 bedroom apartment (Bathroom, Living Room and Bedroom) of a person after a wild liquor filled dinner party which included spewing spaghetti everywhere. And yes it was real spaghetti… coming out of the sink, toilet, in the bed, on the table and even in the mouth of the plastic 6 foot alligator. The only place ironically that wasn’t t’pied with spaghetti was the gold plated bar equipped with real bottles of vodka and dark rum. I guess the only place in an apartment that most 20 something’s care about is the bar, which then makes since that it was polished and clean. I couldn’t stay there for too long, it made me feel nauseous and in need of a shower (reminiscent of when I have a hang over, so mission accomplished on the part of the artists).

After getting my full of art on Friday at the Miami Convention Center, Saturday I headed to Miami’s renown Wynwood Art District. WOW! What a difference! Beautiful graffiti and bright colors plastered every store front and building wall. The Hive an outdoor party that went well into the wee hours of the morning attracted the young, hip and eclectic art lovers in the middle of the art district with great music, lots of drinks and a huge outdoor skateboard park. Rapper and G.O.O.D president Pusha T and Addidas formed together to present exclusive merchandise and art at his pop up shop. The art displayed at the pop up shop were politically and socially charged. One painting depicted the four major fast food chains (McDonalds, Burger King, KFC and Wendy’s) as the 4 horsemen of the Apocalypse. One painting depicted Donald Trump as Hitler and still another showcased the end of privacy with the depiction of 4 police officers visiting Steve Job’s tombstone to ask for a change to his company’s privacy policy in order to crack into someone’s phone for the sake of solving a case. More socially charged tongue and cheek art displayed throughout the pop up shop, one touching on the recent trend of leaked nudes. A mirror stood off to the side with a illuminated neon sign that read “Your Nudes are Safe With Me.

Walking outside I was greeted by a small U-Haul trucked decked out with Christmas lights, a drummer, sound system and an artist standing on top of it all commanding all the surrounding attention with his lyrics. Art seemed to take a different spin in the Wynwood Art District area, focusing on more so the beauty of creativity  overall rather than on a specific painting or sculpture. The small pop up shops blended fashion and art, with many celebrities choosing to rent small spaces to showcase jackets, shirts, hats and sneakers on racks below pop cultured theme paintings.

The age, and race demographic varied greatly between the Miami Convention Center and that of the Wynwood Art District. The convention center was visited by groups of people who were very much older, married, and White. The atmosphere was much more uptight, and rigid with the bare white walls and lack of music or talking by those viewing the art. It for me very much imitated what many think viewing art to be like and what most museums of art consist of. The stark contrast between that and the Wynwood Art District is night and day. The Wynwood seemed to evoke the new age of art… the explosion of color, bold and often controversial works of art depicting the negative of society and the media around us with the blaring of hip hop serving as a the soundtrack for it all. Every art gallery and pop shop was filled with a younger diverse crowd equipped with iPhones feeding their Twitter, Snapchats and Intsagram with images of it all.

Art Basel 2016 Miami is the juxtaposition of old centuries and new age art under the Palm Trees and blazing sun of Miami Florida.

Image result for Miami's renown Wynwood Art District

Image result for "Maze of Quotes" installation by Toilet Paper







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