I know I live in southern California, twenty minutes from gorgeous Laguna beaches, but I discovered this morning, that’s not the same thing as being in Miami. We rolled out of bed this morning and headed straight to the beach for a wake-up swim and the water was glorious: clear, blue and warm. It was carribean bliss. We could’ve swum all day, but we got too hungry and we knew we had A LOT of art ahead of us. So, we met the rest of the crew for a quick breakfast at Jerry’s Deli on Collins Street, and then headed over to the convention center for the main attraction: Art Basel Miami Beach.

Basically, in a nutshell, this is the largest U.S. art fair and most major players in the gallery world have a foothold in some part of it, whether at the main convention hall or in one of the other surrounding dozen art fairs going on at the same time. Each gallery rents a “booth,” a white room with no doors, and hangs just a few of their best and/or most sell-able work. While some of the blue chip galleries are pulling out older works by blue chip artists: Baselitz, Roni Horn, Eva Hesse, most are showing recent work representing their stable of artists – and so the visitors: collectors, dealers, artists, writers, and other curious art types get a peek at one or two works of the large majority of represented artists you can name in LA and New York. This results in a massive, overwhelming scan of the art scene right now, today. Pretty fantastic. But there were no cameras allowed, so I don’t have a single image from inside to share.

I can tell you that it was like white-walled labyrinth crowded with the best-dressed people I’ve seen in decades and every few steps you could see artwork of every imaginable type: mobiles balancing quail egg sized lumps of melting ice, carpets of peacock feathers, quivering towers of blank CDs held together only with super-strong magnets, an infinity loop of magnetic tape hovering in the air suspended by the air blowing out of two steel fans… wait, that’s just art supernova, the corner of the hall dedicated to up-and-coming artists.

We only got through about half the fair before our eyeballs were bulging, our feet had swelled, and our stomachs were growling for another meal. So we took off in search for Cuban food, leaving the rest of the fair for another day. After a meal, a tiny bit of shopping, and a nap, we were ready to tackle the evening’s art at Art Positions, twenty or so cargo canisters set up on the beach as temporary galleries for more edgy art. That was too crowded to really enjoy the work, but I have to say that the feltwork (piles of it) was the only thing I saw that might convince me to come back for another look. Truthfully, I had come, like everybody else, because of the promise of a free concert on the beach by Iggy Pop and the Stooges. I called it a night shortly afterwards.

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