December – Week 1 2011.
Art Basel-Miami gleefully celebrated its first decade as decidedly the world’s most jubilant and fresh gathering of contemporary Art found anywhere on this planet. Que la fete commence!
Art Basel is feeling the push and pull of the ‘novo’ globalization. At its inception Art Basel filled a small muted corner of the Miami Beach Convention Center. It was a staid and hushed affaire. As America’s Gateway, Miami was the obvious location for the Art Basel incarnation.
The bridge was built to link Latin and North America, where obscene gobs of Venezuelan petrol and white gold were looking to buy into (or at least underwrite) the elusive American Dream and Art Acquisition. What better way than drop a cool mil on an Enrique Grau or a zaftig Enrique Grau?
Countless artists, collectors, curators and the ‘paint-by-numbers’ curious make an annual pilgrimage to SoFla in early December. The local canvas is transformed into a maelstrom of exhibit tents, lavish cocktails and unbridled hoopla. Permeated with the intoxicating aroma of turpentine, rampant commercialism, horn blaring grid lock and eateries jammed like clown cars; let there be no mistake, ‘a cultural road show has come to town’.
With its hold on POP culture, Art Miami is in the cross hairs of emerging nations everywhere. As a nation the United States continues to exert enormous power over opinion to steadily diminishing returns. Art Basel is a world in micro with la crème of every continent represented.