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Basel

Post #919 • December 7, 2006, 2:37 PM • 16 Comments

Within a couple of hours of attendance at Art Basel/Miami Beach I got my fill of fabulosity, for which I have modest needs: I saw Ann Hamilton outside the hall, and I saw Chuck Close motoring around the fair. As I was checking in, someone from the press office marveled at the presence of Keanu Reeves and Dennis Hopper in the building. On the other hand, I never tire of decolletage.

AB/MB has ramped up its blue-chipness. Several times I heard dealers quote seven-digit figures to collectors and the idly curious. Alesh noted how it looks tamer every year; I don't disagree, but I experienced it as finding more objects worth my time, and fewer faux-sophisticate horrors. Modernism's trend upwards at the fair seems to have emboldened sales, or attempted sales, of some of its more modest objects: Hommages to squares by Josef Albers, of all things, appeared in three or four places, likewise Judd, and I learned of some other worthies like Jack Youngerman and Paul Kelpe.

About halfway through it the cold meds wore off, but I pushed on. (I am paying for it today with an existential and physical malaise that not even coffee could mitigate this morning.) Alas, in this weakened state Tyler's sought-after historical construct came to me. In the early 1200s, Pope Innocent III was engaged in vigorous expansion of papal influence on secular matters. He notably refused an audience to a group of humble, shoeless holy brothers who came seeking his permission to establish an order. A dream of a crumbling church held up by a poor man made him change his mind about Francis of Assisi, but our moment resembles the one before the dream: in the midst of lovely finery and worldy influence, we have misplaced the core mission to such an extent that a vigorous contemporary reassertion thereof would look like heresy and effrontery. I have enjoyed looking at all the art, and yet I detect something vital lying quietly outside this exciting picture. Commercialism, for all its benefits, will do such things.

But no more bitching - this particular example of commercialism will put quite a few things worth looking at in front of you. Noted:

A lovely Anne Chu watercolor at Victoria Miro.

Park and Bischoff at Hackett Freedman.

Andrew Kerr at BQ. I wish I could find images for him - he's a talented painter who does highly abstracted interiors.

John Sonsini at Cheim & Read.

Zilvinas Kempinas at Spencer Brownstone. I don't normally go in for kinetic sculpture, but the loop of tape, spinning aloft between two fans, delighted me.

Jacob Hashimoto at Rhona Hoffman. I noticed him last year as well.

Kristen Everberg at 1301PE.

Ugo Rondinone at Matthew Marks.

Naoto Kawahara and Yun-Fei Ji at Zeno X.

Olitski at Knoedler. I love these early five-color Olitskis.

Sigmar Polke at Karsten Greve.

José Lerma at Andrew Rosen.

Alice Neel and Lee Krasner at Robert Miller.

Susan Rothenberg at Sperone Westwater.

Charles Burchfield and George Tooker at DC Moore.

Carmelo Arden Quin and Alfred Reth at Adler & Conkright.

Auerbach and Bacon at Marlborough.

De Kooning, lots of it, at Allan Stone.

Jack Youngerman and Lorser Feitelson at Washburn.

Frankenthaler and Motherwell at Ameringer Yohe.

Albers, Louis, and Avery at Waddington.

Kossof at Annely Juda.

A Degas pastel at Achim Moeller.

Katharina Grosse (similar to this one) at Schwarzwälder.

Paul Kelpe and James Brooks at Carberry.

Comment

1.

opie

December 7, 2006, 4:16 PM

I must say, your eye is a hell of a lot more accomodating than mine.

I'm sorry I missed the Burchfield; someone told me about it. The roomful of de Koonings was a treat. I find Albers a bore, but the prices have leapt up lately and there are a lot of them around, so they get featured. Park & Bischoff were good to see; there was also Diebenkorn and a couple other Californians we ought to see more of. The Gross looks interesting but I missed it. How could you notice Frankanthaler (2 beauties, or was it 3?) and the thoroughly mediocre Motherwells (except for one) and walk by those killer Hofmanns?

2.

Franklin

December 7, 2006, 4:27 PM

Hofmann just doesn't work for me like he used to. I began to prefer his landscape drawings last year and the same impression holds for me now.

Aquavella deserves mention. Freud, Morandi, de Kooning, and a great little Braque.

3.

opie

December 7, 2006, 4:44 PM

Yes, a 1913 Braque, something you just do not see outside of museums anymore. It was a shock to come across it. There was a sweet little Morandi under it and some other Morandis around.

4.

George

December 7, 2006, 6:27 PM

Aquavella sold a Cezanne in the last auction for $16 million
He (don't remember his name) had bought it several years ago for for around $7 million which seemed like a lot at the time.

5.

Franklin

December 7, 2006, 6:35 PM

Oh, it's Acquavella. My bad.

6.

ahab

December 7, 2006, 8:35 PM

I'm not really in the Miami Beach spirit, what with our North Saskatchewan River being all jammed up by icefloes, but I'll pick the Burchfields over almost all the others linked here.

7.

Marc Country

December 7, 2006, 11:20 PM

I especially like the early decolletages of Picasso and Braque...

8.

Curious

December 8, 2006, 7:24 AM

OP
Do you still feel that after seeing the wonderful Morandi paintings and the "killer Hofmans..."that Basel has done little for our art community, and has in fact become a huge negative influence" ?

9.

opie

December 8, 2006, 9:02 AM

Of course, because, as I have repeated so often in this painful exchange with you, my feelings about the event have nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that there usually is a very small percentage of good art to be found in it, and everything to do with the effect it has on the art community.

I don't know if you persist in misunderstanding what I am saying out of simple inability to comprehend or a deliberate attempt to be irritating, but either way it is no fun.

10.

Lauren

December 8, 2006, 8:47 PM

Saw Keanu Reeve possibly purchasing a Kim Dingle from Sperone Westwater around 6:30 tonight. So Dingle Dangle that.
Lauren

11.

opie

December 8, 2006, 9:11 PM

Yes, a friend of mine saw him there this afternoon, hauled around by some art consultant.

12.

Jack

December 8, 2006, 9:24 PM

I'm sure I'm missing something, but what does Keanu Reeves have to do with the price of tea in China? Oh, sorry. How silly of me. For a minute there I lost sight of the context in question. Carry on.

13.

opie

December 8, 2006, 11:38 PM

Everyone is more excited by a famous miovie star than by the art, Jack. After all, if he is buying the stuff, it must be good, even if he doesn't trust himself to do the choosing.

14.

Jack

December 9, 2006, 11:41 AM

Well, my art advisor called in sick, so I guess I'll have to go see the stuff myself. Such a pain, too, with all the social activities going down. Of course, one has to put in some sort of appearance at the Convention Center, at least--and besides, being there can easily be turned into a social activity. My advisor gave me a list of booths to visit and pieces to haggle over, or at least appear to be intersted in. He's on call by cell phone, of course, anytime I have a question. Now all I have to do is put on a funky-artsy enough get-up, and off I go.

Air kiss.

15.

Tasha

December 9, 2006, 5:35 PM

I'm actually quite horrified that people need art consultants to help them decide what to like and what not to like. I'm more than happy to provide that service as I do enjoy telling people what to do and I have vast experience spending money. However, after going to art basel and seeing what is out there for purchase, my advice would probably tend toward "Save your money for when something good is for sale" Is there really an actualy career available in that field? What type of credentials are necessary?

16.

opie

December 10, 2006, 12:47 PM

Without consultants, Tasha, they will buy awful old fashioned art like Kinkade.

With consultants they will buy awful avant-garde art, like Koons or Richter. But then they will be admired for being on the "cutting edge".

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