By Cortnei Edwards, Junior
Art Basel is a memorable and inspirational week of each year, where people from all across the globe visit Miami. Tourists come from places such as Korea, Paris, and Germany trek through Miami to see vibrant murals, distinct sculptures, inspiring fashion, and complex paintings.
This past week, I was lucky enough to experience Art Basel. Working at the De La Cruz Collection, I monitored the art and informed viewers about the pieces and the artists. At times, it was stressful when a large cluster of people would flood the floor; although, my anxiety subsided when visitors would talk to me about the pieces I watched over and when they greeted me.
Three large sculptures by Thomas Houseago were very popular with visitors. Fusing 2D and 3D to form sculptures of heads, faces and a runner made Houseago’s work snatch the attention of viewers. Often, visitors would circle the works and let their jaws plunge to the floor as they were stunned by the combination of plaster and steel pipes along with sketches of an outline that created unique figures.
Fresh hot coffee and tea warmed the air and the spirits of everyone. People drifted from the ground floor to the third floor where there was a heart touching piece by Felix Gonzalez Torres in which small white candies were put against a column to represent Torres’ father. Visitors were allowed to pick up a candy as Torres wanted this piece to engage the audience.
The second floor was the most colorful and alluring floor of them all. It featured glossy paint cans and tables by Wade Guyton and Kelley Walker, and a sticky gum painting by Dan Colen. Colen also had some of his work featured on the first floor in its own room. One of his pieces was another painting that used crushed up flowers that were dipped in paint and thrown onto the canvas. Violet, mossy green (that was actually mold), and other bright hues covered this painting that was on a linen canvas. Visitors stood surprisingly close, but were fascinated with the creativity and beauty of the work. Another popular work of his took crushed glass backboards from basketball courts and rolled it into a circle. Shocked by the originality of his piece, people stood by it for 10- 20 minutes and took loads of pictures and carefully examined it.
The patrons, eclectically dressed, were also works of art. They entered with outfits of all sorts, varying from tea length silver skirts to an all black outfit with a shiny head and polished shoes. Their purses ranged from clutches the size of a penny to bags that you could fit the entire building.
Overall, Art Basel was an inspiring and refreshing experience. Viewing the impact that art has on people makes me realize how integral it is to our culture. Having the ability to occupy the same space as artists and art enthusiasts also made me realize that art truly does have value to the lives of many, which is something that is forgotten as when thought of as “just a hobby.” Art Basel proves that art should be taken seriously.