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Typography & Art – Words on Canvas A Duality in Expression | Art Basel 2011

I listen to the ocean and all I hear is you” was twisted in white neon by Tracey Emia.

Two prevailing influences distinguishing this year’s Art Basel over prior editions  was the marriage of Typograph and Art and the insignificance of the written word as displayed by sculptural artist  Marco Roundtree.  Of Mexican and Irish descent he alters books from their original structure and binding.  Text and type are incidental and form supercedes content to great effect.  Marco Roundtree signals the end of books, civilization as we know it.  A death by a 1000 cuts.

The blue chip selections available within the price range of the vilified 1% bookend the  show.  A cache of Calder’s and Miro Sculptures at Helly Nahmad and swan necked Modigliani’s made those attending imagine they were miraculously transplanted to the Met, the Louvre or Prado all in a setting that is part luxurating Botanical Garden and sugar sand beachfront.

And to appease the other 99% was Mary Boone opining in a blaring billboard “Money Makes Money”.  The show’s standout performance was created by Paulo Nazareth in turban and workman’s cinched pantaloons.   Both brought Social Realism (read disparity) up short and in your face.

Paulo Nazareth – Things are not always what you think

His broken and rusty van held festoons of ripe bananas for “Banana Market/Art Market”.  He embodied the role of a disenfranchised street vendor who for a dollar would submit to a soul searching photo by what ever stranger passing by. A van, a man  and a bounty of fresh bananas, a sweet little play was set in motion. Language, ideas, actions and objects  converged with Nazareth teasing the bonds between people and their surroundings.  Especially the clash of the ’have’s too much’  with the  ‘have not’s’.

Nazareth depicts human nature in all its glory: revealing its creations, inner architecture and pathos – he creates a portrait of extraordinary people. What makes one rich? A nickel over what they need.   Smile.

Zarko Milijasevic, Buried relics at Ground Zero, Soon to be excavated

Zarko Milijasevic would not answer to “conceptual artist” more likened to a man recording history in the making.  He exhibited recently at the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris.  He  is a man of extraordinary eye sight, he walks and creates a presence no unlike a halo where ever he goes.   He described another socially relevant undertaking.  He admitted to burying sculptures at Ground Zero for many years and with plans to excavate them soon.

Sublime in its simplicity.