I have stayed with my dear friend Barbara for the past seven days, far longer than any friend should impose upon another. I was out of her hair most days and evenings, but she kindly stayed up and allowed me to rehash the events of the day with her each night upon my return. Last evening, I drove Kaarina to the beach after our gallery opening wound down, so I rolled in close to 12:30, and Barbara still stayed up to engage in dialogue about the state of the art world while I packed my things until 2 a.m. The day had gone well at the gallery, with art magazine editors, curators and collectors among the hundreds of bodies that had passed through the space. Between that and all the notes I made on cool art, business cards dropped off and names collected, I felt I could leave town counting the trip as a success.
I woke at 7:30 today to meet friends for breakfast, and decided that I needed to go back to Pulse and pay $10 for the second time, solely to introduce myself to a gallery that I had not been able to speak with on my first trip to the fair. The owners are friends of friends, and an introduction had been made via email yesterday, with links and such, and that opportunity rarely comes along, so I could not ignore it simply because I was in a mad dash to hightail it out of South Florida.
I left town at 11:30, with a detour to the French Bakery in Ft Lauderdale, only to find that there were no genoises with coffee buttercream waiting for me. I was crestfallen, but settled on a palmier, and got on the road.
On the ride home, I tried to digest what I have seen in the past week. I was seduced by light... not painted light, actual light, and by stop motion animated videos. There is a large silver silk piece embroidered with silver thread stuck in my head (done by Angelo Filomeno) from Gallerie Anne de Villepoix at Pulse, as well as these gorgeous gothic pieces made of black velvet with ornate black matte frames by Amelia Biewald.
I am also thinking about the powerlessness of artists in this huge event designed around the objects that they create, and the normal questions about class and privilege that might follow. VIPs. Many events at art Basel that used to be open to the public are now "VIP only". Artists, except the ones represented in the main fair and the ones that are household names, are NOT considered VIPs.
Delirious from lack of sleep, I am fantasizing about an artist’s parade, where they ride by on floats, being showered with confetti, waving like presidents and popes. The people who long to own a small piece of the creativity these Very Important People possess are watching from the sidelines, pressing their faces against the chain link fence designed to keep them out. “Look, there’s the artist who did those amazing shoes!” “…and there’s the one who paints herself like Superman!” The artists look out among the throngs and occasionally toss them little bits of things that they have made, and the masses clamor to catch the objects, hoping that the creativity will rub off by osmosis. Money is of no value here, and you only gain status by making things, amazing things, with your own two hands. A few people try to scale the fence to be near the artists, but the security guards have been instructed to keep the riff raff out, as the artists head to the VIP parties in their chauffeured BMWs.