Miami Art Basel 2011
by Eve Therond
Eve Thérond is a journalist and art consultant based in New York. She’s attended the Fair for the past nine years. She doesn’t plan on coming back:
"The Art Basel Miami Beach festivities (around twenty per night for five nights) begin in the private residence of a very private and very wealthy individual, who is hosting a very private dinner honoring an obscure artist who will be very soon forgotten, and whose name the other private guests (celebrities, socialites, sociopaths, all VIPs) will ignore, and continue to ignore, as they continue to ignore gallerists, art dealers, curators, singers, dancers, actors, producers, watchmakers, champagne makers and fashion designers, who in turn were responsible for making this obscure artist suddenly successful and who, having gorged themselves on a meal prepared by the greatest chefs from New York, Paris, London and Miami, did it all just to have their pictures in the glossy pages and on Billy Farrell’s blog.
Art Basel Miami Beach is not a fair for art lovers. It’s for people who love themselves.
What’s more, people who actually come for the art (as opposed to those who just come for the parties, like the Hilton Sisters, who are yet to make an appearance at the Convention Center) only buy the most expensive work, and when they hang it up at their house they only reflect on the dollars they spent on it, using it to remind themselves (and everybody else) that not only are they rich, they are cultivated, too.
Like Sean “Diddy” Combs (sporting, it must be said, a panther shirt on opening day) who bought himself Tracey Emin’s symbolic neon sculpture, “I Listen to the Ocean and All I Hear Is You” for $70,555 at the Lehmann Maupin Gallery. Since its early years as a small, familial festival for connoisseurs, the family has bloated to accommodate night after night of parties and celebrities: Val Kilmer, Adrien Brody, Will Smith, Pharrell Williams, Moby, Tilda Swinton, Catherine Zeta Jones Michael Douglas, Lyor Cohen, Fabien Baron, Naomi Campbell, Sean Penn, Gina Gershon...
I could go on, but I’m starting to feel sick."