David Byrne's Art Basel essays. A few choice excerpts:
On the buying frenzy: The pieces are jumping off the shelves — it’s a frenzy of art buying and selling. The testosterone AND the estrogen levels are through the roof. For a world in which NONE of the products have any real practical worth, the worth balances on a delicate construction of hype, status, desire and, yes, innovation and beauty.
artist is to Art Basel as banana is to United Fruit: I asked myself, why am I enjoying the art so much? Shouldn’t I be taking a more cynical attitude, with all this nonsense going on all around? Am I naïve? I realized the banana doesn’t know much about United Fruit and its nasty ways as it grows in the fields — it just tries to be the best banana in the bunch. Likewise, many artists, myself included, I guess, are driven to do what we do and if it gets bought and sold by unscrupulous developers and skeezy dealers, well, that’s not going to change our urge to make the stuff. Some artists are more cynically involved in the marketing of their stuff — but many are just bananas.
Miami's stellar rep: At a dinner the art fair folks invited me to I sat next to Jim Rosenquist who lives up near Tampa, and has spend a lot of time watching Florida change. We’ve been acquainted for years, and he told amazing stories non-stop — he’s a great storyteller — one story from the cocaine cowboy days featured someone buying art with a bag of money, giving instructions for the gallery to just count it in the back. I went for a pee and when I opened the bathroom door a couple were coming out of the one stall — ooops, I guess the cocaine days are not over down here just yet.