Miami Journal
4-8 December 2002

4 December 2002

First pre-day of the Art Basel Miami shows. even though i woke up at 2am to finish my laundry, pack and do a little work, i barely made the 6:20am flight this morning. anyway, after boarding, we ended up sitting at the gate for another half an hour. slept almost the whole way.

after settling into our rooms, we went to the pre-vernissage. it was great to be able to have all that art to ourselves before the floodgates are open tomorrow. however, i barely covered a fifth of the exhibits after almost four long hours of viewing. and i was exhausted and my back was aching.

afterwards, we met for dinner at Bond Street. then a short walk through at the Bass Museum Opening. opening party on the beach and short fireworks. then browsed through series of projects displayed in converted shipping containers. then Mynt for the after party. we stayed for about 10 minutes, and realizing that we were all exhausted finally called it a night.

and now my bed is calling me...

5 December 2002

Our second day at ArtBaselMiami began with a visit to Miami's Museum of Contemporary Art (new to Miami since 1996). we were awed when the Director and Head Curator Bonnie Clearwater related to us that the building designed by Charles Gwathmey (Gwathmey Siegel & Assoc.) was fully designed and constructed for less than $2 million. less than the cost of many manhattan apartments! inside were several exhibits including a travelling Yoko Ono retrospective. honestly, i hadn't realized the extent to which Yoko Ono was an artist in her own right even before meeting John Lennon. one interesting piece was a lifesize plexiglass maze. we were warned to walk with our hands in front of our bodies, as it was incredibly easy to really slam into the invisible walls (as one of our members did!). they'll definitely have to reconstruct that piece over time.

after visits to several galleries and lunch at the Beach House resort, we visited the beautiful home and private collection of a Miami collector. as our host graciously explained to us, after their children grew up and left the house, they decided to remake their home as they dreamed, virtually converting it into a viewing space and research center for the public. their beautiful collection was extensive and included diverse talents from latin as well as continental and japanese artists.

afterwards, in our two hours of free time, i returned to the convention center to try and do a better job than i had done the day before. yesterday i had barely seen a fifth of the collections in nearly four hours. so today, by virtually running through the exhibits, i covered more ground than i had done before. but i still didn't finish. and i also felt like i was missing alot, as shown by the paucity of my notes and digital images.

in the evening we had dinner at the Big Fish, in a more industrial area by a working canal (really the Miami River). we ate to the sounds of dock loaders and miami's elevated trains, as several ocean going cargo ships were pushed pulled and escorted under two nearby draw bridges. over the course of our dinner, we had a very interesting discussion with Jordan Kantor, the new assistant curator of drawings at MOMA, about (1) the different roles of creatives and curators with respect to the work of artists and their placement in context, (2) the arguments for collecting art, even if you think you have no resources, and (3) the importance of periodicals (like Parkett). by the time we returned to the hotel from a street party for Miami's Design District, i could do no more than drag myself into bed.

so now day three. a few more private collections, a private group dinner at an art benefactor's residence in Coral Gables, and then three more parties in the evening. i'm already exhausted. but loving the weather, especially when i see all the snow in NYC!

6 December 2002

after a full day of collections, and two private parties, we were out till 4:30am last night at the Delano, Mynt and then the living room at the Opium Garden. so today waking at 8am, i was thoroughly exhausted and didn't have any time to post anything from yesterday, Day 3. so here are a few pictures now.

now off to dinner and a few more parties. hope to be able to post some pictures later from today's schedule. and still need to rewrite and finish my account from Day2.

so..... tired.......... zz . zz. zzz z. zzzzzzzzz

7 December 2002

Another beautiful day in Miami. in the morning, we visited the homes of a few private collectors. while visiting the home of one such collector, i was mixed with feelings of inspiration and depression. it's hard to be confronted with perfection.

in the evening, we attended the showing of a taped interview with Karl Lagerfeld. the subject -- 'is fashion art?'. whatever. it was almost insulting to have to answer some of the questions posed in that context. sort of like 'boxers or briefs?'. so banal. (ok, i'll have to think up a better analogy later...) the art writer of the Times and her husband, next to whom one of our group was seated, were both outwardly laughing at the questions. and people were so rude. after 10 minutes of the interview, the chatter around was starting to drown out the taped interview. i was in the front and still had to lean forward and concentrate to hear clearly.

Last day now. and it is actually pouring. we've been so lucky to have great weather our whole time here. so let the rain come. wanted to go to the beach today, but i guess i'll just spend all of my remaining time trying to get through the last third of the convention center and the Scope exhibits here at our hotel, where one of my sister's best friends from college (Ethan Cohen). has an exhibit of chinese art.

and then tomorrow the plane and back to the cold and snow of NYC...

8 December 2002

last day and raining off and on. but finally had a little time to see a little more of south beach. after a last walk through at the convention center, took a little walk down the beach and ocean drive. not as many people as there used to be. but maybe its a little early in the season.

so exhausted. my brain needs a rest. and not looking forward to going back. new york city is going to be cold. very cold.

Art Basel Miami Index  

P A U L W.H. K A N
all images © 1995-2001 Paul W.H. Kan
130 Orchard Street #33
New York, NY 10002
1 212.475.8853