Phil Tarley writes:
The sixth annual Art Basel Miami Beach, North America’s most important art show, brought 40,000 attendees to bask in the glitz, the glamour, and the gaudy at the most massive assemblage of contemporary art the world has ever seen. In a strange, sexy move, the merger of high-end fashion and contemporary art zapped the zeitgeist with more money, more energy, and bigger sales. Net Jet’s fleet of private airliners whisked the wealthy to their one-stop art shop at Art Basel Miami Beach. Here, they could fulfill their art-shopping needs at what has been likened to the Target of the art world. For five furious days, the works had been vetted, priced, and put out on the floor in the most gigantic fine-art department store.
UBS, Net Jet, Perrier-Jouet, Hennessey, Davidoff, and Cartier – all corporate sponsors – jockeyed to position alliances with contemporary art. As I smoked Davidoff cigars and swilled champagne under the blue-lit Dome du Cartier, I wondered if contemporary art sold out or was bought out. Yes, beautiful works were all over the ABMB floor. Warhols abounded. Edward Steichen’s portrait of Gloria Swanson flew out the doors for a cool half a million. But ABMB was a safe bet, with Classic Contemporary its major theme.
This year, the provocative art was off-site at SCOPE, PULSE, AQUA, NADA, and the smaller, edgier shows that mushroomed up around town. Best of the show had to go to Los Angeles photo art dealer Stephen Cohen, who aligned his show, PHOTO MIAMI, with another photo phenom, AIPAD. This double show morphed bleeding-edge photography in one hot power venue which left viewers dazzled, dazed, and delighted. It flashed the lightening-like insights, freshness and the magic moments of vision we always hope for at an art show.
Non Art Basel art around Miami Beach: