Monday, November 29, 2021

Art Basel Week - The Arrival

3:30AM wakeup for a 4AM Lyft ride to Reagan National Airport is the start of the trek to Miami for the 2021 version of the planet's most important art event as the Art Basel Miami week re-starts after a long 2020 pause from the Covidian monster released upon the world by the Communist Party ruling and abusing the long-suffering people of China.

After an eventless flight, another Lyfter takes me to Miami Beach, the car is driven by Daniel, a recent (three years) Cuban gentleman who relates to me his tortuous escape history from the other place where Communism brutalizes its people. Three years ago he won a "lottery" to visit Nicaragua, as soon as he arrived there he "escaped" to neighboring Honduras, from there to Guatemala and onto Mexico.  He relates the horror stories of Mexico and dealing with the corrupt Mexican police.  Eventually, he flies to the United States, is granted refugee asylum and three years later, busting his ass with two jobs, is loving life as a free man in the US.

Welcome to Miami.

Mike Janis, the hardworking director of WGS Contemporary, is waiting for me at our AirBnB almost across the street from the SCOPE Art Fair. Somehow Mike (who drove my van from DC to Miami packed to the gills with art) managed to unload all work to the gallery booth - no small feat considering that part of the trek involves a trip across the sand!

Mike has already installed mixed media glass work by Tim Tate as well as his collaborations with Tony Porto. The work in the booth has been curated by Janis to showcase the theme of Superheroes, and it will also hang work by Mexico's great Dulce Pinzon, England's Simon Monk and yours truly.

Tim Tate, Tony Porto and Mike Janis art in Booth H21 at Scope Art Fair Miami Beach 2021

The entrance to SCOPE has been decorated in a graffiti manner... cough... cough.

SCOPE Art Miami Beach 2021

We begin hanging the remaining work, and one wall goes up quickly.

Campello, Pinzon and Monk wall at SCOPE Art Miami Beach 2021

We get kicked out around 4PM and then head out to find vittles and end up in Janis' fave restaurant hang-out at Naked Taco, where a fabulous waitress brings out fabulous Mexican food and also takes our photo.

Artists Mike Janis and Lenny Campello at Naked Taco Miami Beach 2021

After dinner we head back to our apartment. My daughter Elise calls from Gig Harbor and we chat and she can't believe that we're heading back to the roost at 7PM... and we're in Miami Beach.

Parked in front of our rented condo is a gigantic black Esplanade SUV with enormous tires, dark, tinted windows... and a handicapped parking sticker hanging from the rear view mirror... only in Miami Beach does such a sight seem normal.