Art Fairs, The Coachella of Tourism
I travel for art. You might even say I’m an art week junkie. These fairs are like what Coachella is to music. On view, truck loads of art and design are brought in from all over the world to one place to exhibit work. I’ve clocked in four art fairs this past year, checking off Zona Maco in Mexico City, Salone in Milan, Frieze in London, and now my 6th Art Basel Miami. And to clarify, I don’t work in the arts. I’m more of an outsider insider, someone with a strong interest but technically not working in the industry. Yes, the performances, events, collector dinners are all exciting (and glamorous) with tons of dopamine hits but why I really go is to people watch. The fairs are social anthropological lessons and I’m the student. The sense of discovery and cultural immersion nurtures my curiosity and I’m a bit addicted. Each fair is different. Miami Basel for example, tends to be more a social setting, less about seeing the art and more a place to be seen. The crowd flies in predominantly from major cities like NYC, London, Paris, and HK. Majority of us hungry for summer and eager to wear open-toed shoes again. Or just drink rose in the sun for the sake of art.
I’m standing in the newly minted Miami Beach Convention Center, staring at a Rauschenberg and wondering how I found myself at the VIP previews among the JLos and Larry Gagosians. I have a slight tightness in my chest. Sometimes I get social anxiety, which none of my friends would believe, since I have the textbook extrovert personality, but it’s true. Every year I avoid this goliath of a show and hit the satellite exhibits but this time I was joining my “established” artist friend and figured his insights would be in the very least, entertaining.