Thursday, December 9, 2010

Art Basel Inspiration

Days after my return from Miami, my slight tan faded in the distance, I am still figuring why it is that I want, no NEED to return to Art Basel every year.

Aside from the blue sky and sunshine we saw before heading in to the vast climate-controlled art collections, the experience offered inspiration in spades, direct signs of the incredible efforts of artists of all kinds, new and old, creators of all kinds that aim to raise our consciousness and our spirits in all sorts of ways. I could have given away thousands of gold stars and might, should have if I wasn't so busy taking it all in.

I did, of course, give away a bunch.
Regina Kravitz got a gold star for her amazing zippered hat.

"It's a Kokin hat," she said, imbuing the name of a designer I am too clueless to have heard of.

"Well, it's awesome," I said.

We talked about how the people-watching, the fashion show as we rested our eyes from the visual art on display, was almost as scintillating as the show itself. Turns out, Ms. Kravitz is a clothing designer, something that didn't surprise me at all given her great personal style. She is starting a new line for her RIK designs, "relaxed spa-like clothes," she said. I will definitely be on the lookout.

It is not an easy industry, "impossible," she said. "I should be Diane Von Furstenberg but..."'s so hard to figure a way to the top of the heap. She stays on top of the latest ways of self-promotion, the social networks and such. She is on the circuit, she is out and about looking stylish, which is in and of itself great marketing! Based on her personal look, I am totally tempted to buy her new clothes or take advantage of her styling services.

My friend Miok and I met artist Per Adolfsen at the bar of the Raleigh. The Dane was in fine form and we got a glimpse of his art on his Blackberry, which didn't quite do it justice. The next day, we visited it in person at the booth of the Dusseldorf-based gallery, Schuebbe Projects, that is representing him.

"I love it!" I said.

He smiled. "But you have to say that, no?"

I laughed. Per does not pull punches, he's straight up. That's why I like him. "It's true, I do, but I actually mean it."

Per has only been painting for a few years but he is already commanding a pretty penny for his pieces. The one on display is going, if it goes, for $16,500.

I love the swirling chaos of them, love swirls in general both for their freedom of movement and their metaphor. As Per describes his thinking, a window into why his paintbrush goes where it goes, "I paint things out of order, chaos. Things don't make sense. We can't control life, or always put things together by making systems."

Gold star for bucking systems, for being bold in one's brush strokes, in life. Per gave a big smile and slapped his gold star straight on. He is a star in the making.

Xiliary Twil, from the St. Helena, CA-based office of gallery Caldwell Snyder got a star for her sunny demeanor, something that shone out in the art she stood by (in more ways than one) of rising art star Paul Balmer.

I could have stood all day in front of the bright cityscape of a fantastical landscape, lived happily in its midst.

"It could be anywhere you want it to be," Xiliary said.

"Excellent, I get to use my imagination," I said.

Too often, we expect to be told what something is, given someone else's opinion instead of being asked what we think, what we want something to be.

I loved Xiliary's side pony and told her so. "I think the side pony is totally back," I said.

She nodded in agreement. "I might do Princess Leah too..."

Absolutely. Now is a time of whimsy and fantasy, a time for make-believe worlds the likes of which Paul Balmer creates with his brilliant hand.

I was blown away by the energetic drawings behind Andrea Zieher of ZieherSmith gallery. She introduced me, sadly, only in spirit, to artist Eddie Martinez and his amazing work.

"He never stops painting, it just needs to come out," she explained.

Staring, mesmerized at the magical depictions of daily objects reimagined, I nodded. "I can see that."

In an interviewwith Mr. Martinez in a little book that Andrea gave me (even before I gave her her gold star!), he said one of his inspirations was Hockney because, he said, "he just always goes for it, whatever he's doing...he's still just fucking doing it every day."

I love that, I'm going to use it, give Eddie a gold star for the phrase if ever I should have the luck to meet him: just fucking do it, every day!

1 comment:

  1. Ha ha ! So Funny to see. Thanks for the nice company in Miami. Really appreciated your strait up foreward attitude. And thanks for the nice words. Keep up the spirit with your writing, and say hello to MIOK. Love this name.