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Post #449 • January 10, 2005, 6:55 AM • 34 Comments

Iconoduel brought this to my attention: a two-fisted review of Art Basel Miami Beach by Chicagoan and former Gallerist Paul Klein. Money quote:

Chicago has so much more substance than Miami. Our collectors don't need to collect 8000 works of art to compensate for anything. And we support our institutions.

(Dan's right - I felt less than enthused about Art Miami and continue to be so after having seen it. More on that tomorrow.)




January 10, 2005, 4:15 PM

Basically Klein praised Art Basel, saying it ought to come to Chicago and do the Navy Pier Show because it is so good at what it does.

Why not? Every major city can use a tower of art babel to keep their detached reason in free float and their eyes glued to the abundance of discourse that otherwise would be taken out with the trash. It isn't the money that's important (Klein seems to disagree), but the dyslexic tamponade that such a glut of cultural narrativity brings to serious looking. Boring it is not, satisfying it is not either. One can conclude, somewhat off the point, that this art has objective value. But only if one is unable to see how the observer has replaced the artist, an observer that is in hot pursuit of what's interesting. Learning to like the observer's stopped up pig out will rescue you from your own numbness and that's the paradigm that works.

Gotta go take that damn prelim. Academe does suck.


read my lips

January 10, 2005, 5:58 PM

Seems they need more regulation of the fair...
the section of walmart art really brings down the level
puts a palor over the whole thing...



January 10, 2005, 6:49 PM

What is so "two-fisted" about it? He loves Art Basel - thinks the show is great, the art is great, everything is awe inspiring. Seems to have his fists in his pockets, if you ask me.


read my lips

January 10, 2005, 7:17 PM


I was talking of Art Miami



January 10, 2005, 7:39 PM

I was referring to what Franklin posted.


am aware

January 10, 2005, 7:58 PM

how bout the kerry ware show and the scalise show?



January 10, 2005, 9:55 PM

oldpro is right. Maybe a two fisted love fest. Klien is a complete follower of the system. If it perchance dished up good art, I'm sure he would love that too. He is just waiting to be told.



January 10, 2005, 9:57 PM

flatboy, are you saying you like stuff that is bad?



January 10, 2005, 11:22 PM

for some reason, i find nationalism kinf of offensive, but i like city pride (even though i have mixed feelings about miami). Paul things his town is great. I like that.



January 10, 2005, 11:38 PM

Clearly, I read more irony into it than' y'all did.



January 11, 2005, 12:30 AM

Klein's comments were written primarily in the context of the latter day failures of Art Chicago and the lackluster challenge to it now on offer from
the crew that just brought you folks Art Miami.

He does have some kind words for Art Basel's operation, especially their proven ability to draw what he sees to be the best of the nation's and the world's exhibitors and collectors.

[T]he Basel group has already raised the bar so high that only they, I think, could do a successful show here [ie, Chicago], because only they can draw the right exhibitors.

(Failing that unlikely scenario, it seems he "would prefer a void.")

But does he really offer the kinds of superlatives that elicit reactions such as these?...

oldpro: "He loves Art Basel - thinks the show is great, the art is great, everything is awe inspiring. Seems to have his fists in his pockets, if you ask me."

catfish: "oldpro is right. Maybe a two fisted love fest. Klien is a complete follower of the system."

Anyone else see something beyond a congratulatory love-fest in the following?

What's it about when one collector owns 8000 works of art?


The show itself is glorious and odd. The art is awesome, the dealers exemplary. And it isn't about the art at all. It is all about commerce. I rather felt as if the art was demeaned, that it was looked at for its dollar value and not first or second for its intrinsic merit. Just about everything belongs in a museum and here it is in the bazaar, denuded.


Two collectors have amassed separate holdings, ercollections and have scant interest in benefiting their communities even though they give lip service to it. One major collector even took out a full page ad in the newspaper to defeat a bond proposal for a new museum facility (it passed) saying they didn't have enough of a collection to merit a new building. The hotels near the Miami Beach Convention Center are competing to amass the most ostentatious collection of lobby art, and paintings sold at Wednesday night's opening could be seen hanging in several hotels by Thursday. Art has many purposes: in Miami it is an indicator of which hotel has the deepest pockets. Oh joy.

(Emphasis mine.)

But I guess anything short of an unqualified shellacing couldn't possibly satisfy the iconoclasts around these parts.



January 11, 2005, 2:05 AM

He said The was glorious , the art awesome, the dealers exemplary. He also said just about everything in the show belonged in a museum. Good grief!

No matter what else he said these statements stand for themselves. That is more or less what I responded.
it was neither "iconoclastic" nor a "shellacking"



January 11, 2005, 2:07 AM

sorry: "the SHOW was gflorious".

For some reason my comments drop words sometimes.



January 11, 2005, 2:30 AM

Just looking for balance. As an example...

Klein says:

The show itself is glorious and odd. The art is awesome, the dealers exemplary. [Emphasis mine.]

Oldpro paraphrases this as:

He said The [show] was glorious , the art awesome, the dealers exemplary.

Clearly his comment re: most everything belonging in a museum is overblown and laudatory. To be fair, however, it is mostly marshalled for sake of a contrast against the vulgarity of the art fair bazaar. Again, "it isn't about the art at all. It is all about commerce. I rather felt as if the art was demeaned, that it was looked at for its dollar value and not first or second for its intrinsic merit."

Balance, friends.

(And to be clear: by "anything short of an unqualified shellacing couldn't possibly satisfy" I'd meant you'd accept nothing short of a total shellacking from a reviewer.)



January 11, 2005, 2:56 AM

Let's see. Mr. Klein, a former gallerist, tells us Basel's "art is awesome, the dealers exemplary... Just about everything belongs in a museum." Indeed. Either he and I saw different fairs or one of us is hyperventilating. Badly. One can almost see him drooling at the prospect of being one of the Chosen Ones in the Big House. He gives us the astonishing intelligence that Miami's "climate is hot." Who knew? But what really takes the cake is the little song-and-dance about Basel being about commerce (read money), not art. Sacre bleu! Quelle surprise! Truly a classic of disingenuousness from someone who's been around and surely knows the score (not that it takes much to figure it out). Spare me.



January 11, 2005, 5:47 AM

you guys? really dont have anything more productive to talk about.than
basel its over DONE let it RIP!
move on!!!!!!!!!!!!


doing more

January 11, 2005, 7:18 AM

well as it seems, paul(the chicago gallery guy) is baffled and cannot explain how burlesque MIAMI can succeed in bringing all this interest to the art fair that is art basel, though -as i've interpreted his letter- in comparison the city (miami) is a void of artisitic integrity and cultural essence. fine, chicago is better. to me it is more about -beyond the basics of consumerism and social competence and status- capitalizing on the pre-holiday jitter of spending time and money in the warmest part of the continental u.s. period. i mean, did anyone see the show, it was a simplistic repeat of last year's, wasn't it? but that's what it's about. so where the fair happens is irrelevant. as a local miamian, i accept the cons and try to absorb the pros. and every time i actually see the fair, the people, the fashion, and the attitude...the entire thing is an incongruos effort to prevail in the networking pyramid of the art world; YOU AIN'T SHIT 'TIL YOU OWN 20 CINDY SHERMANS, SOME DAMIEN HIRST, AND A DASH OF M.BARNEY. a collector goes by the market and prevailingly is an asshole, right?. either way, i like what i do and basel opens the possibility of immersion and strictly temporary assimilation to the art phenomenon that takes over the city for four days.



January 11, 2005, 7:31 AM

Hey dongmore
I'm sure if your were able you would own
The starving artist crap is old man get real.
Collecting art is a hobby just like my used tampon collection!



January 11, 2005, 7:34 AM

Come on guys. This is getting sloppy.


Jerome du Bois

January 11, 2005, 8:00 AM


I must second oldpro; sloppy as hell. What's with the bercollections and suchlike leaking out?

Why tolerate L8R for one more post? This twit is slapping you around. Shameful.

And, as usual, the talk is all general. Which art is awesome? Which dealers are exemplary? Or the inverse? No names, just jabber.

I'm really interested. Phoenix has a future, and needs lessons to avoid. You can help us, Miami!



that guy in the back row

January 11, 2005, 10:48 AM

I can see it now: Art Basal / Phoenix desert...



January 11, 2005, 3:19 PM

In reference to comment #6 the recent show at Dorsch seems more important than the bantering that occures therafter. I know that this blog is important and perhapes it should'nt be a blog that is as subjectively comical as it often reads. I often turn it off when the contributers with their aliases and clowning around become opinionated and unproductive. No wonder that outsiders think poorly of Miami artists and our institutions. I do not intend to sound negative ( and because of my 'spanglish' I often do not spell correctly either ) but this blog was created to inform, debate and learn from/with one another - not to vent personal disatisfaction with each other.
Ware's show was apparently 'tomb like' and we should all get to hear why from the more experienced of us. Claudia asked for some comments from yours truely but I did'nt have the chance at the time to deliver. Here it goes; when people stand in one spot for some time their feet have tendons and ligaments that flex under stress - especially when their modeling for a perceptual painting. The metatarsals and philanges undergo an immense amount of descriptive change under pressure. The fat pads tend to become more pronounced than normal when standing as a model for the period of time that it takes a painter to make a perceptual oil study. Not only this but the toes tend to swell and the knuckles of the phalanges appear less irregularily bonelike and become more cylindrical, redish or puplish(depending on skin color)and symetrically uniform. The top of the feet appear to have more surface area than when the figure is sitting down and/or moving around a lot. The veins bulge like a 'hard on'. Claudia, the context of perceptual experience is missing from your figure paintings. I know that the pressure and tension involved with painting from life involves a process of simplification and editing - yet what the figure/model is doing and where they are in real time and space (context) under the forces of gravity and the volumetric bathing of light is'nt apparent enough to add a layer of vicseral experience for the viewer. Nice forcefull strokes with the hog-hair though!
The pecs and breasts look good.
Just my observations - keep it up!



January 11, 2005, 3:58 PM



Sorry . . . the first part of your comment I'm 100% baffled by. Then in the second part ("what the figure/model is doing and where they are . . . is'nt apparent enough"), do you mean that Claudia Scalise should put the background back in her paintings?

w/r/t Art Basel (that's Miami Beach, NOT Miami), I have no problem believing that Chicago has a better art scene then Miami; heck, it's twice as old. The Basel people were looking for a place to plop a sattellite fair, i'm sure their considerations went (in order) something like this 1) in America, 2) good weather, 3) decent art scene. Tough for Chicago, and a mixed blessing (according to the folks here) for us.



January 11, 2005, 4:11 PM

Jerome, I didn't have time yesterday to nudge this discussion the way I wanted it to go. "Two-fisted" wasn't the best description of the article, so I take responsibility for things getting off to a goofy start, and I apologize for not offering input along the way. Monday's going to be my eight-hour teaching day for the next few months.

L8R's not slapping me around, but he is biting my ankles. I hope he realizes how much of his credibility he's sacrificing with the grammar errors and gross-out references. Lately everyone's spelling, grammar and punctuation have been atrocious, even by blog standards. I don't know why.

As I've said before, I don't do much to control the comments boards - I remove ads, and what I've started to think of as OTNS (rhymes with "crotons," an indigenous plant variety) - an acronym for Off-Topic Non-Sequiturs (See ArtForum Talkback for examples). But that's it. Such is the price of freedom.

Nevertheless I do think about quality control, and how the lousiest comments are invariably the anonymous ones, and how comments registration would remove a certain amount of anonymity. It's a tough trade-off - the anonymity allows people who feel uncomfortable doing so to speak up, but allows other people to get nasty and idiotic without concern for real-world consequences. Tyler Green once advised me against comments based on his experience. I wouldn't drop comments altogether, but registration occasionally looks attractive.

In the meantime, people, let's show the world that we can be smart and spell.



January 11, 2005, 5:17 PM


I don't think you should mess with your format or procedure. it is much more important to have complete freedom and availability than it is to get rid of a relatively small amount of bad comment and introduce a sense of inhibition. As artists we should expect a little unruly behavior. We can always tell them to shut up.

Furthermore, when i joined this blog last Spring the crap somponent was far higher. I think the blog culture you have encouraged has facilitated a gradual rise in the general tone and attracted a fair number of regulars who are articulate and have a point of view.
Let the idiots babble. And please allow me my quota of typos and misspellings.


I haven't commented on the Dorsch show because I assume Franklin will put it in the Roundup.



January 11, 2005, 6:54 PM

There will be a post about the Dorsch show, right Franklin?


doing more

January 12, 2005, 4:17 AM

it's important that we can recognize that much of what goes on at the scale of collecting mathew barney, and others mentioned before, has a lot to do with more than a hobby. if you buy 'art' during craft festivals it's a hobby; the realm i'm refering to is more interested in becoming part of the art discussion, increasing the market value of already owned artists, and also -even if only a little- to gain social stature. of course, these are general statements that describe the collecting populace only partially, a lot factors into investing in art. anyway, my previous comment had nothing to do with being a starving artist. in fact, i recognize that no matter how hard i -or anyone who makes art- thinks this practice is, it is a very priviledged position to be in.
i hope this clears up your misinterpretation.



January 16, 2005, 5:58 PM

I am new to this blog, but would like to comment on the possibility of registration being required. I do not believe that it would be beneficial. There are those of us (read: YOUR students) that would prefer to be able to post in anonimity. Many on this blog seem to be local area educators, as well as artists, and I would prefer to have my grades unaffected by my opinions on the blog. FWIW. Peace-



January 16, 2005, 6:51 PM

I agree 100% Burnsey.

it is in the nature of a blog to be anonymous. Even if you don't have practical reasons (like grades) it is better because it allows anybody to say anything and puts everyone on an equal footing - it is not the person, only the content of what they say.

The only drawback is an occasional person who does not know how to behave, but they get shot down pretty fast.



January 16, 2005, 8:31 PM


Yes, the anonimity does provide a sense of security, and I have noticed the "shooting down" process on this blog. At least it is civilized. Many of the blogs I participate in DO require registration, and I was trying to get across that even that would eliminate the anonimity of those that are in classes with the moderator of this site (Franklin). I feel safer knowing that the connection is not immediately apparent, but may be if he or others have to read my papers. So far I am finding this an interesting, albeit a little high-brow, site.



January 16, 2005, 8:40 PM

Unfortunately the idea of "safety" tends to encourage the "stop hiding behind your alias, you asshole" kind of remark, but as far as i am concerned safety is as good a reason as any.

"Highbrow" is OK as long as it is jargon-feee and makes sense. We do our best . Franklin nudges things now and then to keep it that way.



January 17, 2005, 2:54 AM

I appreciate your concern for anonymity, but you should know that even if you used your real name on this blog and expressed opinions I disagreed with, it would not affect your grade. I hold my teaching to high standards of professionalism.



January 17, 2005, 3:55 AM


The comment was just for general purposes as you are not the only instructor from any of the local schools frequenting your site. And you seem to have some high standards, but not everyone is on that level. I did not mean to imply that YOU couldn't handle a students critisims, or to imply that anyone else couldn't either (although I have my doubts) but that it does make the student feel more secure in expressing their opinion if it is anonomous.


doing more

January 20, 2005, 7:56 AM

"but that it does make the student feel more secure in expressing their opinion if it is anonomous." damn! what are they teaching you over there (wherever that is)? i mean, could your grades really be affected? do you make art or are you in the business of pleasing. stand strong and say what you will, whenever. if i assume correctly, you're at odds with this institutional system, so forget the role playing! are you a freshman, or what?
p.s. i'm a student at a local institution that would benefit from having a rotating roster of professional artists as their faculty, instead of having people who don't care about art and its processes, mystify good art-making and its discourse as an unattainable end... they're our teachers but they're just people.
plffff............................................................................................good luck to us all.



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