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ab/mb presentation

Post #674 • December 1, 2005, 7:29 PM • 36 Comments

Ladies and gentlemen, Publications presents Art Basel/Miami Beach.




December 1, 2005, 8:06 PM

I have to go back again. So do you.

Load up the camera and check out what you missed.


ms quoted

December 1, 2005, 8:28 PM

Thank you Franklin! It was a delight to view them!

May I make a request? (Do not continue to read the rest of this post if the answer is No.)

If you go by the Caro again, could you take another photo at a different view? I find viewing sculpture from just one photo torment. Thank You!



December 1, 2005, 8:35 PM

OP: Can you be more specific?

Ms.: I'll see what I can do.



December 1, 2005, 8:51 PM

Righto. Thanks for the spate of images. Just gives me a hankering for more.



December 1, 2005, 9:01 PM

I am forgetful, and we were late, and rushed, and I spent a lot of time talking to people, but there was a room full of Miros, far better Averys, excellent Gottliebs & a dazzling Noland, nice early Jawlenskys, excellent Beckmann & Bluemner drawings and a fabulous Fauve Braque, and so much more I just can't recall. I'm glad you put that Okada up - a real painting lesson in a few square feet. Who says gray is cold and colorless? And if you are losing your taste for Hofmann with the couple vertical ones Ameringer had you really ought to go look again.

This AB had more good stuff in it than all the others put together, and I say that having seen less than half of it.



December 1, 2005, 10:15 PM

wow. i wasn't sure that we would make it this year, but now i will see to it. thanks for posting.



December 1, 2005, 10:35 PM

I'm afraid I may need mood-enhancing drugs before going to art fairs. Of course, unlike Oldpro, I made my way, however desultorily, through the whole convention center; perhaps I should have quit while I was ahead.

Yes, there were some wonderful things, the kind we normally have to leave Miami to see. There was also a far greater number of completely negligible, expendable, would-be eyegrabbing work that was ultimately tedious. I honestly don't see how this sort of stuff can stay in business, but then again, I'm hardly the average customer (for which many gallerists should fervently thank whatever Higher Being they believe in).

As for Franklin's photos, I agree with OP that there were better Averys, and there were better Morandis (including a simple ink on paper that I couldn't stop looking at--the spirit of Rome was in it, as if it were quietly channeling Piranesi). Some of the Morandi oils were almost painfully exquisite; they make someone like Wayne Thiebaud look hideously vulgar. The gorgeous Braque landscape is at Landau, and it was at Basel last year. The same gallery has a better Hofmann than those at Ameringer & Yohe (it's smaller but more concentrated, and packs a greater punch).

Besides what's already been mentioned, there was a beautiful little Klee watercolor from 1915, a small but powerful Franz Kline watercolor and gouache, an early (1940s) Dubuffet gouache that was both crude and lyrical (I don't much care for his later stuff), some excellent small Giacometti bronzes (especially busts), and very interesting work by Nicolas de Staël.

There was also, as usual, much too much inferior Picasso, which irritated me. There's something to be said for being prolific, but the man should have been a better editor (of course, when you know that absolutely anything you crank out will sell...) He definitely declined with age, becoming a kind of crude parody of himself. It's interesting how Matisse's talent was chastened and refined instead. Perhaps Picasso was too firmly grounded in the flesh, which coarsened him.

Anyway, see for yourselves.


J.T. Kirkland

December 1, 2005, 10:54 PM

Thanks for doing this Franklin. I've been dying to see something like this.

Not to be a bugger, but I think #12 and #18 are duplicates. At least when I went through them they were.

Like the others have said, more please!



December 1, 2005, 11:03 PM

I missed a couple of things you mentioned, Jack, even though I probably walked past them (it is so easy to get directionally bewildered in that broken-row set up they use) and will look for them. I felt there were fewer really doggy Picassos than last year, although I did see a couple of monsters. For me Thiebaud is too slick with the brush to be "hideously vulgar"; I am a sucker for technique, and I get a kick out of them.



December 2, 2005, 12:04 AM

Good catch, JT. It's fixed.



December 2, 2005, 12:11 AM

Actually, Oldpro, I don't disagree with you about Thiebaud, and I saw and enjoyed a pastel by him of a chocolate-covered cake and slice thereof before I saw the Morandis. It's a relative thing, and some of it is not strictly visual but, well, spiritual if you will. I sense there's more behind Morandi; Thiebaud strikes me as more slick and facile, more flashy and exhibitionistic--but yes, I like his technique.

As for the inferior Picassos, I wouldn't call them all monsters, certainly, but as a group they hardly enhance his reputation, rather the opposite. I can also imagine what they're selling for, which bothers me, because inferior work is inferior no matter who made it, and paying top dollar mostly for the name is not something I respect much.



December 2, 2005, 12:23 AM

I can't help mentioning a large abstract painting which I thought was one of the worst Joan Mitchells I had ever seen--only it was actually by Georg Baselitz. I found it rather amusing, but maybe I was hard up for amusement by then.



December 2, 2005, 12:28 AM

Weird . . . i tried to cover the entire room as meticulously as i could, and i don't remember laying eyes on most of these. I have a completely different set of images on Critical (adding more in the next few minutes, too), with the exception of the Victoria Gitman, which, ironically, is immune to online reproduction.



December 2, 2005, 12:37 AM

franklin i don't know if you are joking and i'm not trying to be a wise guy, but your painting up on real painting looks like a complete deirivative from hofmanns best years (1952 until the end). i can't connect that painting of yours to anyone of consequence but him. personnally i like yours better when they are more figurative compared to the more abstract one on the real painting page.



December 2, 2005, 6:23 AM

Alesh, the good thing and the bad thing about a show like this is the utter randomness imposed on the viewer by the extremes of quality, the "static" of the crowd (which I thought looked pretty ratty this year, oddly enough) and the peculiar maze one has to walk through. it is good because it is like a jungle, setting up a pure, anti-museum chaos that puts the enitore of burden on your eye. It is bad because of the sheer size and complexity and the inevitability that you will miss things. But when there is this much gold scattered in the dross it is as much fun as any hunting expedition.

Jack, yes, it is a relative thing, for sure,and I will take Morandi any day (it is didacticly interesting to compare the two, by the way). And I think the bad , late Picassos may affect me more because I know too much about the great early pictures and am too aware of and saddened by the long decline he went through



December 2, 2005, 7:47 AM

i find nothing "pure" about the experience. it is a fair and fairs are generally bewildering. i think the mish-mosh presentation is ridiculous, but hopefully will enjoy it tomorrow nontheless. what do you mean by ratty? commoners? that would be a good thing, meaning the p.r. machine has worked this year.



December 2, 2005, 8:40 AM

No, they did not look poor, just shoddy and unhappy and bewildered, lots of them stuffed into uncomfortable (undoubtedly fashionable & expensive) clothes but with no sense of style. The only people that looked like they were having fun were dealers, who were probably not only making money but having a good time saying hello to each other and talking art gossip.



December 2, 2005, 9:08 AM

Ah, yes, OP, the prescribed art-person get-ups...Sigh. I used to enjoy them more--in a perverse way, of course--but it's so predictable and rote that it's become tiresome, even shabby, despite the undoubted expense behind the frippery. Don't these people get the joke? Sorry, stupid question.



December 2, 2005, 11:38 AM

Some snippets from The Art Newspaper I picked up at the AB/MB convention center yesterday:

Some "mega-collector" was quoted to say "The quality of the booth installations is outrageously good this year." Uh, no, but have a nice life.

"Serious collectors buying on their own behalf were, however, outnumbered by a veritable army of art advisers." Need I comment?

"Some collectors are employing the 'spray and pray' technique, meaning they go in, buy everything they can and hope the artist will become famous." Lovely.

The "mega-collector" quoted above also said he hadn't bought anything yet, but "that may be because I heavily dose myself with sedatives before the doors open: it helps slow me down." I'm also considering pharmaceutical assistance, but not for the same reason.



December 2, 2005, 12:10 PM

Looking at the JPEG pix Franklin so nicely posted, the only one that clicks my clicker is the one by Leon Polk Smith. Smith is one of only two "minimalists" I know of who made that method work in painting. I'm not sure if he was ever regarded as a minimalist as far as that goes, but he often surprises me and this pix was indeed another very pleasant surprise.

Of course I haven't seen the show in the flesh, and I won't rushing down on the next flight out of the frozen north either. Guess I'm with Jack. But I understand that the locals can be grateful that this monstrosity has gotten better. And those who assume artblogers automatically hate this show will need to rearrange their brains some. That's good.


Concerned Pulse Artist

December 2, 2005, 12:38 PM

When will you be visiting Pulse? Will you have pictures of other fairs? You are a good and thorough person. Thank you.



December 2, 2005, 12:45 PM

I went to Pulse and Casa Lin yesterday and do have a report coming up tonight. So far I've stuck pretty close to the itinerary.



December 2, 2005, 1:16 PM

and franklin just in case your wondering i do see the portrait/face.

good luck with the opening tomorrow night!



December 2, 2005, 1:16 PM

and franklin just in case your wondering i do see the portrait/face.

good luck with the opening tomorrow night!



December 2, 2005, 2:29 PM

1, the colors in that one are fairly Hoffmannesque - you could talk me into that. I really meant that Hoffmann isn't landing on me like he used to. They looked clotted and even a little mannered. They're still great paintings, but I didn't feel the wallop.



December 2, 2005, 3:15 PM

what is the admission fee to basel?



December 2, 2005, 3:21 PM

I believe it is $22.00



December 2, 2005, 3:33 PM

that's per person, eh?



December 2, 2005, 3:54 PM

Yup. Students get some kind of discount.



December 2, 2005, 4:08 PM

i'm going for the senior discount.
thanks for the info



December 2, 2005, 6:59 PM

Went to NADA today. Nice site, pleasant atmosphere, but now I know I need medication. Despite rather grandiose claims in the press as to NADA maturing or some such, the first NADA (off Lincoln Road) was clearly superior to this one. Most of the work this time is so poor it would seem to be consciously and deliberately so, but that can't be the case because it would be irrational. A smaller proportion is curious or interesting, as in a curious specimen or an interesting oddity, but we're not talking aesthetic pleasure. Less than a handful of artists actually appealed to me to any significant degree. At least it was free.

Given my NADA experience, I'm not about to pay $10 to get into Pulse, which I'd otherwise check out. Scope exhausted my patience last year. I plan to see Aqua, assuming there's no entry fee. I also plan to stop by Edgezones and, needless to say, Real Painting Saturday evening.

But first, I'm paying a nice visit to Walgreens.



December 2, 2005, 8:37 PM

oldpro~ your comment (#15), is perfect. I'm repdoducing it here, if you don't mind. And I'm glad you're enjoying Basel; I think it would be fun to walk around with you (i'll be back saturday; say hi if you see me - i'm 32, balding, have stupid 80's wire-rim glasses and a not-quite grown in beard (i'm quite a spectacle!) and a press around my neck).

Franklin~ I saw a couple of Hoffmans on Wednesday, and I thought of you each time, even before I knew for sure (looked at the label) they were Hoffmans; probably because of the thickness of his paint, but interesting anyway.

So far, I've not seen any of the satellite fairs; I've heard that NADA is the one to skip. yes?



December 2, 2005, 8:40 PM

help, my hyperlink broke! i meant here!!!



December 2, 2005, 9:09 PM

Needless correction (meaning I'm sure nobody cares):

Scope exhausted my patience two years ago. I didn't go last year (by then, I was a recovering masochist).



December 2, 2005, 11:48 PM

Thanks, Alesh



December 5, 2005, 12:29 AM

while i was somewhat rushed and only saw about 20-25% of what there was to see, i'd say that there was plenty of very good art.

my favorite painting was a hofmann, my second favorite was a hofmann and my third favorite was a hofmann. he also had another in my top ten and another in my top fifteen. sure he can put out some dogs or experimental randomness. but he can also climb to the top of the mountain and make other very good works by the most historic of artists look just pretty good in comparison. talk about a guy that can take it to another level or put it in another gear. that is hofmann in the late 50's forward.

while i don't have a great feel for sculture. there was a caro table piece in an adjoining room to the one above that was extremey good. it was painted green, composed of much fewer parts than the one above and partially hanging over on one side. did not catch the date. think i would put this in top 5-15 if i had time to sort it all out.



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