Monday, December 06, 2010

Art Basel is's safe to leave the house!

You don't have to look far to find pretension in South Florida. It's a part of life here, 24/7/365.

You'd think with such an abundance of naturally-grown pretension, we wouldn't have to import any. But, we do every December. It's called Art Basel.

If you're a person who avoids rampant douchebaggery and pretentious people at all costs, this was probably a bad week for you.

For starters, the Miami Herald printed an Art Basel story on its front page for 8 straight days. From Dec. 1 through Dec. 6, Art Basel was the the subject of - or at least mentioned in - 56 Herald stories.

The paper's website even had a video of a graffiti artist in Wynwood who claimed to be offering "hope" to people in earthquake-ravaged Haiti by spray-painting walls in Miami! I'm not sure how that works.

Yesterday, the Herald's Lydia Martin capped off a week of puff pieces with a piece entitled "Nudity, celebs, chickens -- Art Basel has everything." Lydia managed to snag this quote from Miami sculptor Robert Chambers: "There's so much art. It's everywhere you look." Quick, someone call the Pulitzer board!

TV stations aired Art Basel stories, too, easing up just a bit last Thursday when the Miami Heat traveled to Cleveland.

For the better part of two weeks it was non-stop Art Basel.

I covered Art Basel in 2005. I still find it hard to forget the scene in one room where people crowded around a picture of the late Mao Zedong that hung over a sink full of fortune cookies.

But, what was really lacking in all of this year's media coverage was just one voice of reason. One person with the courage to shout, "cut the crap already!"

Well, there was one.

Gus Garcia-Roberts of Miami New-Times says that last week, "While I was wandering around the Convention Center [I found myself] getting annoyed."

So he grabbed a cocktail napkin and started taking notes. Today he put together a list of 25 reasons why he's glad Art Basel is gone. It's very funny and very close to the truth - which is why you'll never see anything like it in the Herald.

Some of my favorites:

#24: Dressing like you're schizophrenic does not make you appear more interesting. Just insufferable.

#18: You see how we're all forming this human snake to the bar? It's not some strange ritual. It's called a line. Social norms require that you stand at the back of it, not just walk up to the front and order a drink.

#7: One day, Wynwood is the most happening place in the world and everybody is dropping bills at the Sanrio pop-up shop, eating street food and drinking cappucino. The next day, the moving trucks are here. The day after that, it's a ghetto again and it takes cops thirty minutes to respond to a call there.

I asked Gus if he liked anything about Art Basel. He admitted he liked the free porridge and espresso at Jennifer Rubell's food installation.

Read Gus's entire list here.

1 comment:

  1. A very interesting point -- this could actually have been the one time the Herald needed Glenn Garvin.


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