Where is the art world heading?

This will be the third year that we went down for a few days for some warmth and art to Miami during the frenetic week of Art Basel.  I read that the fairs attract over 82,000 visitors last year.  The restaurants are humming, the streets are packed, there are art events from one end of Miami to the other and the hotels are thrilled.  

This year felt very different than last year.  Perhaps it is the uncertainty of the Trump presidency and the signs pointing to a downturn in the economy but I did not feel as inspired this time as I have from years past. 

The main event felt staid.  The satellites didn’t grab me although I certainly saw the artists that were touted as big sellers to collectors and private museums.  Hands down the best thing we saw was the Margulies Collection.  We went late on Saturday before it closed so we were almost the only ones in the warehouse.  

More than a handful of huge Anselm Keifer that took my breath away as I walked into the rooms.

Although my favorite was an installation from the artist Cate Giordano.  A four-year performance piece telling the story of waiting tables in Queens with a husband and a boyfriend on the side.   She created this amazing restaurant, food included and other rooms including a living room.  There are also videos with characters (Giordano plays all of them) telling their story.  It is awesome.

I am looking forward to see what Frieze looks like in LA this February but my gut is that next year come December, we will take a hiatus in returning to Miami.  

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    Interesting that in this time of great change–and unrest–art has not become a voice piece of that. Think of Surrealists and Dadaist and others.Your post made me think of this and I can’t put my finger on the why of it though you are closer to this than I.Thoughts?

    1. Gotham Gal

      Perhaps we will see those works later. The big galleries are not showing many new and different pieces but just past works. The art world’s prices are being dictated from Zwirner and Gagosian. Is there value at that level? Much of the art world still operates on notebooks vs using CRM systems where they can actually monitor their businesses. It is if they are afraid of not being able to keep the doors open.

      1. awaldstein

        Well stated, thanks.

  2. jason wright

    I’m not seeking understanding of things both near and far by constantly looking at them through the Trump prism. The MSM presents a political pastiche that, crucially, we need to realise is created to serve its own interests. It appears to be the reality of the world in which we live, but it isn’t. It’s a form of what Ingmar Bergman called the ‘magic lantern’, flickerings of light and movement that seem authentic, but are not. It’s high art, but with a dark purpose. The MSM has lost the power to elect a POTUS to the internet. It is trying to save itself by demonstrating that it has the power to remove a POTUS. We are living through a new New Reformation of power and influence.

  3. LE

    I read this article last night (it is from August 2018) about a gallery that is closing in Old City Philly. The gallery (Roger Lapelle) was my customer in the 80’s. I actually had several galleries (some mentioned in the article) that were customers. Later in the same neighborhood I rented out a space to an art gallery which participated in what was known as ‘First Friday’ in Philadelphia. Was a really big event in the 90’s and early 00’s. It still happens today but is vastly less busy I am told. I sold the gallery years ago. It eventually closed after a 20 year run and success. Was a venue that also rented working space to artists (called ‘Artists House’)https://whyy.org/segments/s…Anyway from the article I have linked to it says this:“I’m astonished it stayed open this long,” he said. “Selling paintings has plummeted. Today, all people want to do is look at their smartphones.”Not sure if this is correct exageration however if you consider part of art is ‘entertainment’ (and I am sure that you do) then the fact is that there are many things that we have to entertain us today that we didn’t have back when we were growing up or even in the 90’s. As such many traditional things (even sports) don’t hold the same attraction that they used to hold. Sports I have heard is also on the decline (led tv’s and better production values have also accelerated that just a guess).I have 2 stepkids that are essentially glued to their smartphone and what it provides all the time. They have little interest in even shopping. They are smart and get good grades (and all that jazz). However no question that the smartphone is a babysitter 24×7. I am sure you remember growing up and not being able to watch tv all the time. Could you talk on the phone all the time? No. Most parents today don’t enforce that with kids and smarthphones because the ‘phone’ is not something you can as easily restrict (possible but takes effort).My stepkids do homework by facetime with their friends. The sad part (to me) is that they don’t need to do that but it’s more ‘fun’. Get the drift here? It’s fun. Hence the art world is competing with things that are more rewarding that didn’t exist years ago. Sure this doesn’t impact older people but will impact the art world going forward in some way.