There was so much more going on in Miami besides the art on display in the Convention Center for Art Basel. I spent an entire day trying to track down and sketch the CEO Stagecoach. In the morning Terry and I went to the Rosa Dela Cruz Gallery (23 NE 41 Street ) along with Elayne Pines, Bob Newlen and Derek Hewitt. I quickly ran through the 3 floors of modern art and decided I had to draw this furry Sasquatch with mirrored staircases spiraling in and around it. A female guard stood vigil in her white suite beside the sculpture the whole time. The wall behind was covered floor to ceiling with colored mirrors which appealed to many a vain patron or photographer. Periodically a patron would walk up to the furry monstrosity and snap a photo using their iPhone. To me the sculpted creature looked very annoyed at all the attention he was getting. Black ooze dripped from his fingertips and where the fur was stripped away the flesh was pink and raw. I wondered if his privates were the focus of these photos but I couldn't see from where I was sketching half way up a staircase. Just as I was finishing the sketch, I got a text message from Terry letting me know she was relaxing having a free coffee and cookies out on the back patio. After I tried a few cookies myself, we went to a staff member of the gallery and asked about the Stagecoach. He didn't know where to find it but he did an exhaustive internet search. It turned out that the artist was giving a talk about his creation at the LIONS Gallery at Museovault(346 NW 29th Street) and the coach was slated to be there till 4pm. Terry and I got back in her car and rushed over to that gallery.
As we pulled up to the Museovault, Terry pointed and shouted out "There it is!" The horse drawn art was on the move however. I was despondent. It was leaving. Terry suggested I get out and run after it, but I haven't figured out yet how to sketch while running. We went inside to ask about the piece anyway. The space had a fun quirky collection of art. There was a radio that once belonged to Robert Maplethorpe that Kieth Haring had drawn a few of his white stick figures on. I was informed that the CEO Stagecoach was going to pick up the artists parents and it would be returning. I sent out an excited tweet just in case any other artists had made it their mission to sketch the coach. I paced the gallery nervously waiting for my moment to sketch. Terry had one of the curators looking online for handbags and concertinas. I felt at home in this gallery which was humble compared to the circus of excess at the convention center.
The CEO Stagecoach was created by artist Jeremy Dean. He got the idea of cutting a Hummer in half and rebuilding it as a stagecoach after he read about how people bought cars before the Great Depression of 1929 and then they could not afford to pay for gas. All over the south Americans converted cars into horse drawn carts. These cars were referred to as "Hoover Carts", after President Edgar Hoover. The Hummer has become a symbol of American excess in the 21st century. Jeremy ended up spending his wife's life savings to buy a brand new Hummer to deconstruct. Luckily the piece was immediately purchased by a museum in Kentucky. After all the modifications the vehicle weighed in at 18 hundred pounds which isn't much more than a standard cart. The gorgeous Belgian Draft horses didn't seem to mind. As Jeremy said, "This is an exploration of historical amnesia, the culture of excess, financial collapse, sustainability and the future, through leather, steel and chrome." Jeremy is planning to convert a Cadillac Escalade next. I asked Jeremy to sign my sketch. After his talk a bicycle rolled by on the sidewalk riding on its rims with no rubber tires. There was something surreal about the moment as both vehicles made statements about want and economics.