Art Basel Miami: High Heels & Short Skirts

Good God, where do I begin? Let’s just say I wasn’t looking forward to spending a few days at Art Basel, I was also freaked out about flying for some reason, but my only hiccup was TSA agents constantly asking if my tattoo was gang related (what?). But I’m glad I went! Met lots of people, saw old friends, got to exhibit my art, and basically pack as much fun as I could into two days. My only regrets are not making it to the convention center and missing Scope because I really wanted to see this stuff in person.

People told me I’d be staying up late, and they were right, I had get used to eating dinner at 3 or 4am. The funniest scene was at a late night joint on Collins a bunch of us starting crying all at once from the raw onions we all had. A couple girls also from Cleveland were freaking out and the manager had to console them, but it was hilarious that women in their mini dresses chowing on Gyros were staring at about 8 of us all red eyed and crying for no apparent reason. The late nights made things difficult since I couldn’t sleep past 9am for some reason! Thank you Red Bull and vodka for keeping me somewhat functional.

My hotel was in the middle of everything — and made me feel like a Dashiell Hammett character, I got to hang out with my pal Madel who is awesome, as well as spend the weekend getting to know Scott G. Brooks better, Molly Crabapple, Fred Harper, and many artists exhibiting with Art Whino besides old friends and people who I only knew online before this weekend. People in general in Miami were nice — especially the homeless guys and the cops who let everyone go wild — and I got to see a lot of bad art and a lot of good art. I must have had fun, because the last day I woke up with no voice, my feet were killing me, and I have some mystery bruises! I want to think I somehow had a conversation in Spanish with the lady I got my late night burrito from, and I hardly know any Spanish. Hmmm.

In Miami, everyone is better looking than you; that should be their motto. They were giving away free breast implant certificates at one of the clubs, and all the commercials on TV were for plastic surgery; luckily my purple kimono I wore for the really fun Dr. Sketchy’s flash mob was a hit, because a few fashion photographers then decided to interview me or take photos of my art (thank you kimono!). It was 90 degrees and 100% humidity when I got to town  but that didn’t stop the New Yorkers or the bored and sulky gallerinas walking around in leather, sweaters and leggings — y’all must be insane! Also, Marilyn Monroe art was everywhere; it was kind of annoying actually, but I guess people still collect crap with her image either because they really like her or they just don’t know any better and can’t afford a Warhol. Michael Jackson was the music of choice everywhere we went it seemed. Well, really everything 80s, even at the Art Whino event the DJ busted out some DeBarge!

The Art Whino show was amazing and I have to give a standing ovation to the staff for making it happen — it was off the hook. The Multiversal show was surreal in itself, besides the location having a full bar with some funny townies sitting around, there was a wedding going on while we had the art exhibit, body painting, and belly dancers! Old friend Tara McPherson and Buff Monster did a really cool collaboration piece as well.

In the end, you can always count on the fact that no matter what city you are in, the artists will always end up at the dive bar that looks like every bar in the rust belt. Fellow Clevelander Jason Byers, took me to the Deuce, which when we pulled up I screamed “Oh my God it looks like Pittsburgh in there!” and I meant it in a good way. There was a Keith Richards impersonator, a great jukebox, and there were no snotty galleristas in sight. South Beach was the land of short skirts and tall heels, so I’m glad I survived my two days there with the added visual overload; any more and I think I would need to go into a coma for a week just to feel normal again.

Here are some random pictures….

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