The aesthetic World's Fair of our time
Post #1099 • December 10, 2007, 11:05 AM • 29 Comments
The managing editor of The Smart Set wrote in over the weekend to identify himself as an Artblog.net reader and direct my attention the site's Art Basel/Miami Beach coverage. Morgan Meis's (1, 2, 3) four-part ABMB series, completed this morning, captures the tawdry excitement of the week with great aplomb. I needed no reminder, but the desperate atmosphere, the tensions between aesthetic enjoyment and greed, the relief one feels when inspiration punctuates the miasma of mediocrity, all come through the prose with evocative force, cementing the certainty of my decision to skip my first Basel for the sake of peace of mind.
Arguing with Greenberg in his head all the while, he reaches equlibrium by acquiescing to the commercial nature of the fairs (yes, on a churning ocean, drowning is a kind of equilibrium), and he ends up going home with a souvenir mistaken for an art purchase. Sadly, not even a PhD in Philosophy (which Mies holds from the New School) provides a deep enough keel to keep sporting judgment, the old college try to go out and look a bunch of stuff, from capsizing into mere enthrallment. (Note to CM: Your fondness for the "But is it art?" issue, as you call it, doesn't differ much structurally from the fondness of the implied Christian message enjoyed by aficionados of Thomas Kinkade. I appreciate the inclusion of my work all the same. Sort of a converse of the old saw that sculpture is something you back into when you're looking at painting, but a confirmation of the old saw that there's no such thing as bad publicity.) But I forgive him on the grounds that he writes well. Have a look.