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Blowing Up (balloons) at Art Basel, Miami

Art Basel Miami, that infamous feeding frenzy where a Hilton can still make news and Tom Wolf’s “The Painted Word” comes to life in one endless swath of over-contextualized Jacquard Pearl Ex pigment. If that last sentence makes no sense, let me just say that basically Art Basel is SXSW for people who pronounce Fois Gras correctly. And it’s in Miami! And The Borscht Collective are in Miami, so we were thrilled to be invited by Microsoft, as part of their 1msqft project

In a homage to Duchamp, Guerra De La Paz, and everyone who has ever attempted to muddy the banal opulence of commodifed art, we brought down twenty cardboard robots, a few hundred balloons, and our good friends from The 78 Project. Masterfully orchestrated by the NYC creative agency “Mother,” (who have the best business cards on Earth,)  we turned the Wynwood Cigar Factory into a playground for sheep, (actual sheep, thanks to my old friend Chris Ying of Lucky Peach fame). We learned a lot about creative collaboration in the process. 

 1: According to AXA Art Insurance Corporation over $3 billion worth of art was presented at Art Basel this year, this probably doesn’t include the $150 I spent on balloons and lollypops.

2: This shiny elephant apparently sold for $20 million dollars and I don’t care what people say about Koons, if his German metallurgist fabricators ever forge a polychromatic steel Giant Squid, I would pay twenty million for it.

3: Sheep are utterly nonplussed by paparazzi-style photoshoots. Would not have guessed.

4: At one point on opening night, the number of men in skirts nearly exceeded the number of men not in skirts, and those of us sweltering in our unimaginative trou envied their breezy practicality.

5: During Art Basel, the only people I saw working in Miami, ALL of Miami, including the majority of wait staff and servers, were the graffiti artists, who spray-painted walls night and day, non-stop. Their love for craft was inspiring, and also seemed like a great way to meet people.

6: The business of art still seems to revolve primarily around traditional paint and sculpture work. Other mediums, especially film, seemed pointedly marginalized. Henessy Youngman, please tell me why!

7: If your cab driver sees a friend driving down the opposite side of the street in Miami, he will stop, and they will have a nice conversation. Creative collaboration! I love Miami.

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