The lucrative alliance between artists and purveyors of high-end luxury goods has morphed into a major trend. Not many in the art world took it seriously, until this year when Cartier commissioned filmmaker David Lynch to make a magical and highly phantasmagorial seven-minute computer-generated video, projected on their Dome du Cartier at Art Basel Miami Beach. Though many international galleries brought some of the best, freshest, most innovative, and of course, most expensive art from all over the world, it was David Lynch who took his high tech canvass and made it his own diamond dome. Lynch, who gave us such masterworks as Eraserhead, Mullholland Drive and Blue Velvet, had a rough assignment: How to promote his sponsor’s wares and push his filmmaking into new artistic territory. He has done both. His video thrills like a big phat Cartier jewel while his Lynchian hallucinatory vision shifts us into art-overdrive. The filmmaker first cuts a hole in the top of Cartier’s Dome, like the Roman Pantheon, then he stretches the Dome high up above the audience’s head. Rings of giant diamonds whirling in concentric circles scoop us up into the bejeweled heaven that Lynch has made. For seven minutes we feel as if we are first showered with diamonds then taken up into the firmament to become diamonds ourselves. As we sipped champagne from below – the bubbles drifting up our noses – we were dazed and dazzled by the filmmaking above. David Lynch’s video projection easily scored best-of-show for me. Cartier also published a monograph of David Lynch’s paintings and drawings. Who knew he drew?
What has Art Basel Miami Beach become? In its first years ABMB was THE venue. UBS, the major corporate sponsor of ABMB, wisely realized that what it brought to Miami is a unique phenomenom in a constate state of flux. Now UBS throws the biggest art festival in the Western Hemisphere and they happily provide complimentary luxe coaches to bus art-lovers to Pulse, Photo Miami, Flow, Nada, Acqua, Gen Art, and venues all over Miami where collectors or anyone who wants to see the works, at whatever price point, can buy or admire the art. This is one crazy, party-driven art show, a delicious malaise that grips Miami for one week each year. ABMB has brought a seachange to the art world and to Miami, too. Even though the foot traffic was off a bit this year and the economy made the prices of most works negotiable, the richness and eccentricities of this mad art show should keep it running for many years to come.
(All photos by Phil Tarley)