Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Art Basel Video Kiosks

The sheer volume of artwork to be seen in the convention center is mind boggling. These large video kiosks build out of plywood were constantly occupied not only by people curious to see the videos, but by people just looking for a chance to rest their feet. I sat on my portable artist's bench and started sketching. The video pods were playing 22 films selected by Artprojx and they played on a continuous loop. I watched one for a short while. It was a black and white film that showed a Marlyn Monroe look alike as she wandered aimlessly in a deserted city lot. I lost interest quickly and moved on.

In the background of the sketch is a black sculpture hanging by a chain from the ceiling joists. It is "Untitled #1176" by Petah Coyne made between 2007 and 2010. The piece consisted of a chandelier which was covered with taxidermy birds, candles silk flowers, hair pins, felt, thread and Velcro. I don't know where someone would want to hang the thing.

I walked around with Mark Baratelli for a while and we came to the conclusion that this was the year of broken mirrors and hair. Just as we agreed on this, we came across four woman's wigs framed on the wall. One small piece mounted inside a clear plexiglass box looked like a bar of soap carved out of a piece of wood. Mark read the plaque and discovered that the wood grain was actually a long strand of pubic hair. He enjoyed explaining the piece to two women who wandered by.

One artists work did capture my imagination. There were large plexiglass dioramas mounted on the wall. One diorama depicted a giant swirl in the ocean with two tall ships getting sucked into the "Maelstrom" by Mondongo. The colors were small strips of Plasticine. It reminded me of a 3D version of a Van Gogh. I loved how the work danced a fine line between painting and sculpture.

We went to the Wynwood Arts District in the evening to check out the vibrant galleries and graffiti art. We went to an Absolute Party, sipping Coconut Vodka while listening to musicians performing in front of a shipping storage container. Art covered every imaginable surface. The whole neighborhood was a riot of sound and color. A sketchers dream, but I was being escorted on a lightning tour of the neighborhood. We stopped in an empty lot full of food trucks. I suspect the neighborhood would be partying all night but it was time to crash.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

No comments: