Sunday, April 8, 2012

a Safer Swamp

South Florida has a style all its own. When it comes to industry, it mostly relies on the packaging of luxury to sustain the allure that draws wealthy visitors back. And nothing attracts the well-heeled better than the spending festival know as Basel.

Now, I know it's not December because Miami is sweltering in an early summer pollen loaded haze, but ABMB is un-seasonably in the news... swampy economic entertainment news that is.

Recently the lackadaisical Morley Safer of TV 60 Minutes fame has once again dabbled in a bit of gonzo journalism by revisiting the unsavory fact that even in tough times contemporary art sells. His mouth-full-of marbles commentary focused with sharp wit on the the swamp and its ABMB uber-elite with their deep-pocket investments on contemporary art.

No commentary on contemporary art is complete without bespeckled Jeffrey Deitch. In Safer's expose Saint Jeffrey reminds Droopy Dog Morley that the art elite does not forget but certainly forgives past peccadillos of the media elite. It's tough to tell one from the other.

No this is not Deitch's ride. Trecking among the hoods of Miami, art can be found in the most unsuspecting places, such is this low-brow tire tread spotted on a candy-red hummer in the Design District

Meanwhile back in the fair video, Safer seemed as perplexed as the customers with a mumbo jumbo sales pitch of a well regarded curator twisting and spinning to justify a tangle of home depot stuff passing for valuable commodity.

The Basel art fair may be here for only one week but Wynwood galleries keep up the momentum year round. If you like street art but dont want to go outside, you can acquire this graffiti making contraption for a paltry 5 figures, respirator not included.

Meanwhile back at the fair video, dealers from Paris and elsewhere around the world are seen surrounding themselves with celebrities, collectors and the village people for a flurry of economic high-jinks. With no allegiance to place, these folk come and go like pop ringtones.

Basel may be gone for now but if you need a room full of art, this resurfaced tires assemblage by Hannes Bend is on view in a Wynwood gallery. There is a market for $50 paintings, as there is clearly a market for $5,000,000 works, but sadly there is no market for $5,000 art.

The swamp is a playground for speculation as evidenced by the behavior of those intent on capitalizing on art and the deluge of oligarchs that migrate here in search of trendy treasures and titillating nights.

In closing be aware one never knows where the next blue-chip treasure will be unearthed, like this early Andy Warhol drawing found amongst the rummaging at a yard sale. Authentication not included.


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