Editor’s note: On Dec. 5, Lanny McDowell and Sam Low (aka The Two Cousins) went to Art Basel Miami Beach — the huge art fair that in sheer size trumps everything on the annual art circuit (Paris, Shanghai, Tokyo, London, everything) They filed this report.
“Vineyard Gazette? What’s that?” said someone checking our press credentials at the Art Basel fair in Miami — “some kind of wine magazine?”
But, once set right — “Oh, Martha’s Vineyard” — they all knew about the Vineyard and that celebrities went there, too, so it seemed natural that the Island paper would send down two reporters to cover the event.
“But why did they send two old geezers?” you felt them thinking as they looked you over. “We’re cousins,” I wanted to explain to clarify things. But, then, I knew it probably wouldn’t — so I just let it go.
There’s no way to write a coherent piece about ABMB, as it’s called down there. You’d have to invoke Hunter S. Thompson (who traveled to Las Vegas with his attorney in tow, accompanied by a bagful of exotic substances) or perhaps Tom Wolfe (as in The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test). There’s something about trying to take in 20,000 different pieces of art and two dozen or so different venues (from cubicle-sized hotel rooms, to 60,000-square-foot tents, to an entire exhibition hall) that gives the impression of a drug-induced hallucination.
We could mention Picasso, Matisse, Arbus, Miro, Vasarely, Frankenthaler, Motherwell, Calder, Chagall, Giacometti, Warhol, Viola, Burchfield, Marsh, Weston, Eisenstaedt — and on and on. But that’s just name dropping if you weren’t there.
So Lanny and I decided to just give you a visual feast instead. Pictures are worth a thousand words, after all, and how else can we sum up so many paintings? And sculptures and photographs, and — well — whatever that thing was . . .