AB/MB death march
Post #918 • December 5, 2006, 5:37 PM • 154 Comments
I was going to skip it this year, partly to finalize the divorce between myself and Miami. But what the hey, I thought, Artblog.net ought to go and do its thing, and there are some Miamians I want to see. I bought a ticket. Then I caught a cold. Then a phone call to Orbitz revealed that if I backed out, I would eat the ticket. Present status: underwhelmed, and hoping that this new Zicam stuff is everything it's cracked up to be.
I've said before that an art writer has as much to do at an art fair as a food writer has to do at a supermarket. ("I notice a subtle increase in the amount of produce this year, particularly exotics like broccoli rabe. But the larger question remains - what impact will this warehouse-size foodstuff emporium have on regional vegetable stands and restaurants?") Tyler, I notice, is trying to situate AB/MB in a historical context, and good on him, but I think I know why: there is no larger meaning, except what we can cobble together out of the frenzy. I think this has to be treated exclusively as a commercial event, measured in dollars exchanged. If I see some art I like, I'll note its existence, but I won't seek transcendence any more than if I were touring a cattle auction.
I will note, though, as a new out-of-towner, the degree to which Miami itself has slipped into the shadow of the December fairs. With a dozen fairs to choose from this year, and only three full days I could bear to part with Supergirl, it will be a miracle if I make it by a local gallery. Even a constitutional cynic like myself will say that AB/MB has made Miami an important destination for the art world. I will pass out my business card accordingly. But as of yet, nothing is happening there that requires my presence during the rest of the year - the show that I must see. (I except my friends and gallery from this, for personal reasons that you probably don't share.) And yet I remain hopeful that one day the city will be mentioned in the same breath as NYC and LA, even if I couldn't wait around for that to happen. Each year at Basel, you can almost believe that it's just around the corner.