Parking was more troublesome than normal.
A German Shepherd watchdog scared us away from the first spot we found. We didn’t see him until after we finished the parallel job, almost as if someone smoking a fat cigar and leaning back in his chair were watching us and decided to free his watchdog at the very last possible moment, just before we turned off the engine.
It seemed a little excessive, the German Shepherd watchdog, frothing and barking at the mouth, on the other side of a razor-sharp chain link fence, all within stone’s throw of international art galleries and an intoxicated nouveau riche crowd.
But these security measures are not so irrational. After all, just one block west and we suddenly drove into the violent aftermath of a shooting that would probably not make the nine o’clock news.
Firetruck, police cars, ambulance, road flares, and cops in vests boxed off the street at the scene of a crime on NW 3rd Ave and 23rd St.
Not exactly the best area, Wynood.
Lots of warehouses, deserted streets, shotgun houses,
and decadent art galleries. Go figure.
We did eventually find a spot far away from both the German Shepherd and the crime scene, and that’s where we parked and started hoofing it.
It’s Pre-Basel time in Miami, a time art-goers have mixed feelings about. What kind of exhibits will the galleries have right before the biggest event of the year?
Art Basel is where the galleries must shine if they are to maintain rank. So where does that put them today, on the Second Saturday that directly precedes The Big Show?
Some argue that tonight the galleries will exhibit their art that didn’t make the cut for Basel. The art tonight will be anti-climatic, full of final-round rejects.
Others maintain that tonight the galleries will do their best to give a taste of what is to come. Instead of final-round rejects, we’ll catch glimpses of Basel, or similar works by the selected Basel artists. Tonight the galleries will whet our appetites and move our asses up to the edge of our seats.
I don’t know which camp won out. I was simply there to gawk at art, drink, and move my legs.
In my stupor, I did happen to pick up on a burgeoning trend that we may see more of in Basel, namely, graphite on wood.
A handful of artists, whom I cannot name because I didn’t see their names anywhere conspicuous enough to catch my drifting attention,
are taking the initiative to construct their own frames not out of canvas but sheets of wood, which they then illustrate with graphite instead of paint.
From what I understand, it’s easier to use graphite than paint for rendering images of all sizes.
But, to be honest, I think my sudden intrigue had to do with something else.
Just like certain paintings are interesting on the brushstroke level,
these works were interesting on the
I looked at the artists’ tedious work and amused myself trying to understand how long it took to illustrate a 6′ x 6′ sheet of wood with an aquamarine jungle and giraffes, or a crowded bookshelf of Self-Help books, using only the sharpened tip of a pencil.
Graphite on wood, that will be the next hot trend in the upcoming Basel.
Upon further reflection, graphite on wood is perhaps too precise a prediction. I’ll go with something a little broader.
In the upcoming Art Basel 2009, the hot trend in art from around the world will be wooden canvases.
Could be encaustic on wood, oil on wood, graphite on wood, wood on wood, so long as the canvas is made out of wood.
Only if you feel like reading more:
I’ll take the liberty to recount what was for me a memorable work of art. You know, one of those pieces that grabs a part of you you never knew existed.
Picture walking through a fashionable, belligerent, plastic crowd of people speaking polyglut, that is to say, a garden pot of languages, when, from the corner of your eye, you catch the scent of something grandiose.
It’s the color of dark wood because that’s precisely what it is, dark wood.
Wood that has been treated, stained, and treated to varying degrees to achieve subtle shades of brown.
Wood that has been whittled into an uncanny semblance of life.
The canvas is not your traditional canvas, but a canvas of wood.
And on this canvas of wood is a portrait of a girl at profile.
She stands undaunted from the middle of her neck up to the sliver of air directly above the top of her head.
I can’t remember the girl’s face.
I can’t remember what she looked like or her medium. All I
remember is her hair whittled from the most delicate wood chips.
A head of hair that I could smell, whittled wood chips.
A head of hair that I could swim in, whittled wood chips.
A head of hair with wood-chip roots, wood-chip split ends.
A head of wood chip brown
A special thanks from TOE to the artists:
(in order of appearance)
Federico Uribe, Karla Mendez, Jorge Perianes