Basel Beat – and the finest in art that matters

Art Basel Miami and it’s satellite show relatives came to a strong close Sunday. The winners this year seem to be the return of astute collectors. In years past, throgs of ooglers filled the halls of the main convention center. This year there was a continuous pace of the more established. As the pre-eminent contemporary circuit in the arts today, established names from Tom Sachs (Relativity Telegram, 2009), Julian Opie, and their meaningful predecessors (yes Picasso, Lichtenstein, Warhol and Calder) were more than represented and collected.

New entrants to the main stream big tent had a warm media appeal. One such artist, Alex GuoFeng Coa, received Miami Herald exposure, despite the fact that his photographs are swiped from other photographers. Of course, swiped vs homage is what makes the art world tick – and GuoFeng Coa has won the media fascination by contrasting the main subject (Bruni or Michael Jackson for example) with an obvious but much smaller photograph of a connecting subject (His work’s titles give the story away i.e. Bruni vs Sarkosy 2009). Available in various sizes, Alex’s works offered recession proof value for the contemporary art he has borrowed. The works also give the media an outlet in the arts – Alex we can’t wait for Bubble Boy vs Bubble Boy’s Father or Tiger vs Woods, 2010. Just find a good snap shot created by someone of acclaim before you.

If there could be one show that should not return next year, it would need to be the mess created at the Art Viceroy and anything connected to it. The location should have been a dead give away – hosted in one of many “dark” towers hanging on from the real estate debacle in South Florida. Kudos to many of the artists who ventured there – yet the skill and talent seemed over priced and guest lists were a meaningless venture that a grand mother could have strolled in on.

The museum watch though seems to find select Asian artists still of interest. From Vietnam to the Rising Sun, Asia was a central obsession. Photographers, sculptors and painters are all on board with the digital revolution. Media arts is possibly going to be perfected by those who have had the most exposure to it’s technology – and who best than our manufacturing friends. Stay posted to which Asian artists seem to be America’s next darlings.