Post #699 • January 1, 2006, 11:36 AM • 2 Comments
I said to myself that I wasn't going to wrap up the year with some kind of public spasm of thoughtfulness, but I feel the mood coming on. I've already had my first breakfast of 2006. We have fine weather today in Taipei, sushine, high 60's. Meanwhile, back in Miami, you're gearing up to celebrate the New Year in about an hour and a half.
I realize that I hardly feel the immensity of the world unless I travel. Last night, about ten, I shuffled around Taipei with a quarter-million of my closest Taiwanese friends, grabbing on to the jackets of my hosts as we made our way through the crowd, colliding against shoulders as we walked. We decided that the pop stars playing that night weren't worth the claustrophobia, so we found our way back to the subway and said goodnight. I passed the first minute of 2006 with my legs folded up, feeling myself breathe.
In Miami, people are not thinking about Taipei. In Taipei, people are not thinking about Miami. A handful of especially well-read and internationally oriented arts people have heard about Art Basel/Miami Beach; their lives operate just fine without it. Recent trips to New York, Boston, and Montreal made me feel annoyed about the situation of the art world in Miami. Coming out here, though, gave me a much-needed remove - I see it as just another city with some stuff going on, and I no longer identify with its success. Four separate publications quoted me last year (my last year, 2005) on how, stated variously, AB/MB represented a spike on a flat graph and that we needed to elevate the rest of the art calendar. Well, people, good luck with that. I'll keep doing what I do, painting and writing, and if Miami elevates its calendar, fine, and if not, Taipei will step up to the plate. Or another city will. I take myself out of the role of Official Balancer of Enthusiasm. I'll try to just describe things as honestly and accurately as possible.
Earlier this year I wrote an observation that I find myself thinking about more and more: that certain artists, regardless of where they work, live in a timeless, borderless country called Art. As I see from here, like the old British Empire, the sun never sets on this country, and all artists live there, whether aware of it or not, whether or not they can exercise their real citizenship. Its capitals are not the cities, but the museums within them. For all the carnivals traveling through it, there remain wide, quiet, unspoiled passages where golden light rakes through at a perfect 45-degree angle, all the centuries ball up into one, and you find your family everywhere. From that country I wish you a Happy New Year.