Art Basel Miami 2021

As we remember the day that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, we can look at a recent attack on our shores by the Omicron variant of COVID, arriving inside the bodies of rich art world people from around the globe. Of course, I’m talking about Art Basel Miami, previously covered here in

My journey began at an Art Basel Week party in a Miami Beach house. The host is a refugee from the disorder and filth of San Francisco (wife insisted on a move due to worthy locals shooting up heroin in the driveway of the $10 million house). By the time the party was in full swing, the street looked like the aftermath of flash mobs robbing Ferrari and Mercedes dealers. The dessert table and dock (yacht on order, but delayed due to “supply chain” issues at Volvo for the engines):

I migrated from the party to the vaccine papers check tent, as previously discussed, and then entered the convention center:

In 2018, sponsor UBS was celebrating women. Not this year, however. It is unclear if this is because the term “women” is undefined in our 2SLGBTQQIA+ world, if the “imbalance” that needed rectifying in 2018 was fully addressed, or what. From 2018:

Monica Bonvicini gets my vote for maximum prescience with this 2019 work, titled “Hy$teria” (13′ wide):

John Giorno (1936-2019) should get some credit for this letter from CO2-emitting humans to our beloved Mother Earth (“You Got to Burn to Shine”; also a good tutorial on black-body radiation?):

Speaking of artwork by deceased artists selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars… The gallery owner calls the artist and says “I’ve got some good news and bad news.” Artist: “What’s the good news?” Gallerist: “A collector just came in and bought all of your paintings at list price.” Artist: “That’s fantastic. What could possibly be bad then?” Gallerist: “The collector is your oncologist.

Christine Wang can’t get credit for prescience, but this 60×60″ 2021 painting would be nice to hang right next to an original Hunter Biden.

Fair to say that this artist has never been to Walmart?

If you’re looking for something that you could replicate via a trip to Walmart, this pegboard piece by Theaster Gates seems like a good candidate:

Do you have $220,000 to spend on a pony? (there are almost no price tags, of course, but I was crass enough to ask)

Note that the guy doesn’t have a lot of hair, but if you average with his female companion, there is enough to go around. In Miami, it is not a good assumption to read this scene as a father-daughter excursion. (forgive the assumed gender IDs, which I adopted for brevity)

Torbjørn Rødland shows that Norwegians might be good at pumping oil and buying Teslas, but they are not competent at interior painting (55×40″):

Here is a can’t-lose investment, consistent with established Wall Street wisdom, “they’re not making any more USB sticks”:

The value-added tax on this one is going to be staggering (cost: some wires and hatchets):

Some local color:

Some folks who refuse to #FollowScience:

(Note the Pomeranian whose only visual hint of qualifying as a service dog is the green hair dye.)

Also perhaps suitable to hang next to your Hunter Biden collection, a work by the late Tina Girouard captioned “1992 Immigration Migration 1492”:

Generally the show is geared toward folks who have blank walls that are at least 15′ in width and 12′ in height and/or a lot of empty floor space. Here are some photos showing the scale:

If you missed your chance to buy a 1954 Rothko, come down with your checkbook:

Or just make something kind of like it (Idris Khan, 2020, 100 inches high, no doubt made with far higher quality paint that won’t fade! Apologies for perspective distortion):

My best 2021 dress-to-match picture:

One of the only works with a price tag, a 2007 work by El Anatsui (though actually created by “dozens of assistants”) at $1.65 million:

Camera notes: These are a mixture of iPhone 13 Pro Max and Canon R5 with 50/1.8 STM lens. The iPhone did a much better job with white balance than the Canon.

Worth a special trip to Miami? Not unless you’re connected enough to the art world to get invited to one networking event after another and can expect to know at least 25 percent of the people who are there. Worth fighting through traffic and $65 for a ticket if you’re already in Miami? I think so!

8 thoughts on “Art Basel Miami 2021

  1. “Generally the show is geared toward folks who have blank walls that are at least 15′ in width and 12′ in height and/or a lot of empty floor space.”

    LOL. I’d put that differently: folks who have too much money and too little taste.

  2. What is the title of the statue depicting a back-stabbing? My suggestion:

    “Middle class Democrat voter finds him/her/zir/themself confronted with Bidenomics.”

  3. The patrons are definitely more interesting than the artwork. An awful lot of the wealthy democrat voters of Miami don’t do what they preach. Time for The Greenspun to get in there & sell some artwork.

  4. If I’m not mistaken, the green luxury handbag held by the companion of the man near the $200,000 “half empty” pony is a variant of the Hermes Taurillon, approx. $8500. Hers is a bit different than this one, but I think it’s a real Hermes nevertheless. Don’t leave that on the bus, Alice!

    Together I would estimate that they (look to be) wearing at least $25,000 worth of clothes and accessories. I can’t see much jewelry or any wristwatches that I can identify, but you have a good eye for blue ponies and people sporting expensive clothes and accessories. Her dress is also black velvet and the shoes on both of them are absolutely KILLER.)

    • I do, however, like the use of light, color and the mix of forms in the large painting off the Urban Cowboy’s right shoulder, in the background. That would be an attractive painting to scan and reproduce on a large format printer with a canvas substrate, to decorate an entire wall, and you could make an attractive smartphone wallpaper from it. So I’m not a complete philistine. I wonder what that one costs?

  5. @Philg: > Apologies for perspective distortion

    Doesn’t the iPhone 13MP have a “perspective crop” feature? I’m a little surprised if it doesn’t. That’s an MVP Photoshop tool and covers a multitude of sins. I would have thought that would be relatively easy to build into a smartphone camera interface.

    • Por ejemplo, this is the “You Got to Burn to Shine” painting with a very quick perspective crop in PS. At this point if you know the aspect ratio of the original you’re golden, you just stretch it to the exact aspect ratio.

Comments are closed.