Miami Art Basel 2011
by Jonathan Alpeyrie
William John Kennedy
Jonathan Alpeyrie is a photojournalist. We asked him to share with us his journal of the Fair:
"Art Basel Miami, is not for that hart fainted, with thousands upon thousands of artists gather with the galleries who represent them, gathering to show what is new and up and coming in the art world.
What is really an art fair? For some it is just reminder that the art world is still doing well in these difficult times, and that it can bounce back from collapsing sales through the United States: indeed, in the times of crisis, the last thing people have in mind is to spend their hard earned money on new art. However, the art hungry, the amateurs, or the professional, have gathered in the tenth of thousands to criticize and view the art.
For others it has an historical connotation. Such gathering a reminiscence to older times in Europe where people from all over the continent gathered in a major commercial town to present their work, make new contacts, and sell their talent, These “Foires”, or fairs (in English), is an old idea, and today this idea has the same meaning with an international context.
The variety of people that can be seen at Art Basel is astounding: from Liberal artists, to savvy businessmen looking for the next best thing; or the simple tourist and his family looking to expend his artistic culture, to the well pampered ladies all dressed up for the occasion but with little interest for the arts. With such a variety of people, one can ask himself the question what are the true intentions of thee people. At first it seems obvious that many of these “Hipsters” are there to be seen and not to see the art portrayed through out the city. The rather large group of people represented at Art Basel has perhaps a good resonance to what our world has become. Of course, as much as the art professionals present at Basel are there for very serious reasons, these “in the scene” people have developed a strong sense of self, to a point that it is more about what they are wearing, and the fashion statement attached to it, rather then the art itself.
With that being said, the art itself is ample and not for the weary. The amount of art shown is enormous, and its cultural range impressive, it almost seems that modern art is able to reinvent itself at all times, and Art Basel proves that. The creativity of these artists, whether or not one likes modern art, is it safe to say that, there is truly no other time in history than in the modern period where the arts has expended to so many different realms and possibilities. However, whether or not any of this art will survive the test of time is something to be seen, and in my opinion unlikely."
Born in Paris in 1979, Jonathan Alpeyrie moved to the United States in 1993. He graduated from the Lycée Français de New York in 1998, and went on to study medieval history at the University of Chicago, from which he graduated in 2003. Alpeyrie started his career shooting for local Chicago newspapers during his undergraduate years. He shot his first photo essay in 2001 while traveling the South Caucasus. After graduating, he went to the Congo to work on various essays, which were noticed and picked up by Getty Images, and signed a contributor contract in early 2004.