Friday, December 02, 2005
Pressing the Winter Flesh
Despite the holiday marketing craze, December is one of my favorite months. I'm always impressed by the surge of positive creative energy that December provides and the cold, but not yet frigid, weather appeals to my constitution. Last year a friend told me that I look healthier in the winter, though she wondered if the improvement might not simply be the result of a superior winter wardrobe. Whatever the case, I assume that my irrational relish for the month is fundamentally narcissistic; I was born on December 29th, another melancholic Capricorn who enjoys snow, cold weather, quiet nights in the studio, and contrary stances.
But December has also become a big month in the art world. ArtForum publishes its "Best of" issue, a coffee table essential for art-friendly urbanites, and during the first week of the month "everybody who is somebody" in the art world flies south for a winter weekend in Miami, Florida. Art Basel Miami Beach draws dealers, collectors, curators, and artists alike. All of these art world castes converge for some scenesterism, and for plenty of wheeling and dealing. Already considered one of the biggest, most important art events in North America - this despite a four year history - ABMB turns Miami into a center (if not the center) of art world commerce and consideration for one week each year.
Around ABMB, a number of smaller events/fairs have sprung up, most notably Aqua Art Miami, ScopeMiami, PULSE Miami, and the NADA Art Fair Miami. A quick survey of these names - Aqua, Scope, PULSE - and you might mistakingly assume that Miami's big art weekend is actually a gay Bacchanalia or a rave festival. Though it's neither of these, it is an orgy of consumerism and networking.
I'm one of a few artists that I know who isn't in Miami right now. Even though I received a couple of calls earlier this week, invitations to join artist friends in their trek to South Beach, I opted to stay put. I won't make any long-winded, pathetic excuses for not going. I'll just chalk my decision up to my preference for cold weather. It's too damned warm in south Florida! (Seriously, From the Floor is clear on why he elected to stay away, and suffice to say that if I can figure out a way to make a living as a working artist without ever having to go to this sort of event, I'll be a happy, happy man.)
I do feel, however, that I should keep my eye on the orgy, so I've been turning to more knowledgeable sources for information and reports. If you want to learn more about the parties, the celebrity sightings, the crowds, the money changing, and the ins-and-outs of trying to maintain your gallery mission while hiking up your thong and working it, I recommend the following blogs, all of which are covering Miami (a couple of which are good to excellent art blogs, no matter the season): Modern Art Obsession, Edward Winkleman, MetroBlogging Miami, MAeX ArtBlog, The Next Few Hours.
Photo credit: "Art Basel From Above," photograph drawn from SeanBonner's Photostream, via MetroBlogging Miami