Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Art Basel MB week: Day Oneish (Preview Day)

The day starts with last minute adjustments to the booth and artists' names and work title tags go up. By 3:30 the staff is kicking everyone out for a couple of hours in order for the cleaning crew to vacuum Red Dot's new black carpet before the grand opening preview at 6PM.

By 4:00PM I'm in my hotel in Hollywood showering and putting on the uniform for tonight's festivities. Little Junes is sitting on a makeshift high chair in the hotel eating Cheerios and wondering why dad is running around the room all in a hurry.

By 5:00PM we're out the door and driving the 15 miles to Wynwood. Miami traffic gets in the way and the drive turns into an hour and so I barely make it to the fair in time for the opening.

The cleaning crew is still working and by the time the order is given to stop vacuuming, as the doors will open to the invited VIPs and press, our booth is the only one that hasn't been cleaned and the brand new black carpet is littered with tons of white debris.

The floor looks so speckled with withe dots and paint and tape chunks that it almost looks like an installation worth of a booth at Scope (the story of what happened at Scope on check-in that will come later... it's a good one).

MFA owner and director Sheila Giolitti is justifiably upset and is searching for a broom to sweep the floor as she's told that no more vacuuming is to be done because of the fire marshall is on the premises.


The crowd starts pouring in, and before all the good food gets scarfed up, I grab a couple of good plates of decent finger food and a couple of generously poured tequila mixers. There is a lot of free booze being poured away.

As usual, the elegant paintings of Russian painter Alexey Terenin get a lot of attention, as does Joey Manlapaz's hyper-realistic paintings. Also grabbing some good discussion are Judith Peck's series inspired by John Rawls' Veil of Ignorance thought experiments. The press is all over John Roth's sensuous sculptures and a lot of photographs of them are taken.

An interior designer grabs a lot of attention and time from gallery owner Sheila Giolitti. She's grabbing artwork from all over the place and discussing it in terms of this and that... she does this for almost an hour before disappearing on a trek to the bathroom.

My Che Guevara video piece is getting a lot of attention - mostly from people of Cuban ancestry familiar with Che's brutal excesses. An old man with tired blue eyes tells me in Spanish that I must take the drawing down or he will. I spend some time explaining the video piece to him and he apologizes and compliments me on the work. This happens several times during the night as I spend a lot of time explaining the entrapment of a video drawing that requires a lot of intellectual capital to fully understand. This piece has already been successful beyond my wildest estimations; I am almost afraid that someone will punch me out at some point during this art fair, seeing exactly what they want to see, rather what they would see with a little guidance.

Around 8:00PM I sell my largest drawing, the first sale of the night for MFA. It's from the series of pieces on Eve. It goes to a Miami Beach collector. Almost at the same time MFA sells a gorgeous Michael Fitts trompe l'oeil of Twinkies. As usual, the two sales come almost at the same time.

Someone comes in from Scope next door, complaining that they have plywood floors; we have a brand new black carpet, and our booth's carpet looks like a litter field. Interesting what people will complain about. Someone else adds that Scope is empty of people. An hour earlier I had heard that it was packed. You go figure.

One more sale later and the night is over; somehow the interior designer is back and has Giolitti back under her domain, even outside the fair. I'm exhausted and my wife picks me up and drives me back to Hollywood. Preview day is over.

Opportunity for Photographers

Deadline: December 17, 2010

Call for entries for the Fifth Annual Photography Exhibition at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop. Entries must be received by December 17, 2010. The Capitol Hill Arts Workshop is seeking submissions of any and all photographic processes, black and white or color, traditional or alternative, material or digital, time-based, performance based, any work exploring the act of photography. The exhibition will open on January 8, 2011 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. and will run through February 4, 2011. Cash awards will be announced at the opening.

The juror for the exhibition is Bruce McKaig, local artist and art educator. Bruce McKaig chairs the Photography Department at CHAW and teaches at Georgetown University and the Smithsonian Associates. He has exhibited nationally and internationally for over thirty years and every once in a while reviews a DMV show in this blog. For more information about his work, please visit his website here.

HOW: Submit the following:
➢ Three to five jpegs on a CD
➢ Image inventory list specifying title, size, medium, date and price (or insurance value)
➢ Contact info including a mailing address, phone number and email
➢ An entry fee of $25.00 for up to five images, payable to CHAW

WHERE: Please hand deliver or mail these materials to:

545 7th Street SE
Washington DC 20003