—-Cesar A. Cruz
Arthur and I have always loved art, and we are eclectic in our taste. I suppose if I was forced to chose, Impressionism would be my favorite, but each style is captivating in its own way. It fascinates me when five people look at the same painting, and everyone sees something totally different in it. As in most things in life, who we are interprets what we see, and this can lead to some very lively discussions around a museum offering.
Our taste in art can certainly change through the years, too. I never liked the pre-renaissance and renaissance section of any museum. I found them unbearably stuffy until I walked through the Uffizi Museum in Florence, Italy with a guide who truly loved his job. He made the paintings come alive and showed us what the artists were trying to convey behind the obvious fat cherubs and religious figures. While I wouldn’t chose to hang one in my home, my appreciation for Botticelli and his ilk has grown by leaps and bounds.
Then there is the abstract art of Jackson Pollack. I am still trying to get there with his designs. Don’t get me wrong, his method was fascinating. He would lay a canvas down and splash household paint onto the horizontal surface. This allowed him to view and painting from all angles. Maybe it was his color choices, but his work always looks like my counter after I attempt to polish my own fingernails with leftover polish. On the other hand, some people can stare at his work for hours.
That is the beauty of art. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, which brings me to Miami earlier this month. For art lovers, Miami is a dream city. The Art Deco style of South Beach, with its abundance of colors and architecture is an experience waiting to be explored. Meanwhile, the city of Miami offers so many little artistic enclaves where buildings act as canvases and artists express themselves for a waiting public.
Miami also attracts exhibitions several times a year, with the biggest event of all...Art Basel. For those who are unfamiliar, Art Basel presents in three locations throughout every year...Hong Kong, China, Basel, Switzerland, and Miami, Florida. According to their literature:
“In our American show, leading galleries from North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa show significant work from the masters of modern and contemporary art, as well as the new generation of emerging stars. Paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs, films, and editioned works of the highest quality are on display in the main exhibition hall.”
While Art Basel goes on each year in Miami, another well thought of exhibition of art takes place. Art Miami is populated with the works of amazing artists whose pieces are shown in various locations throughout the area. According to their literature:
“Art Miami maintains a preeminent position in America's modern and contemporary art fair market and is globally recognized as a primary destination for the acquisition of the most important works from the 20th and 21st centuries.”
We look forward to our art adventure in Miami each December and find new artists to follow each year. Unfortunately, we were unable to attend this year, but it apparently kept its reputation of presenting the extraordinary. As much as I believe that there is value in all art, I am wondering if Marizio Cattelan's "Comedian" is perhaps “The Emperor’s New Clothing” of the Art world. This artist, who often aims for a bit of shock value, sold several editions of this piece at Art Basel. “Comedian” is simply a ripe banana duct taped to the wall. Going price...$120,000. Yikes! The fact that the banana (purchased from a grocer in Miami) needs to be replaced every few days did not seem to deter the buyers.
Before you scoff and turn away, think about it. True art is meant to evoke our thoughts and conversation. Whether it is hanging in a museum in Paris or being sold on the street corner in Manhattan, if we are reflecting on its value as an art piece, than it is an art piece. Subversive street artist Banksy, whose art pieces are valued at tens of thousands of dollars set up a stand in NYC with many of his pieces. He priced them all at $60.00 and sat an anonymous gentleman next to the stand to sell his wares. No one realized that they were passing by original Banksy’s, and by the end of the day only three had sold. These same pieces in a museum would have been extolled as amazing art pieces.
Banksy’s pieces and Cattelan’s banana are as controversial in their way as Serrano’s Piss Christ was years ago. These pieces stimulated conversation. They angered some people and made others laugh. They were on display for our enjoyment and there to make us think. What better examples of art...something to be appreciated for its beauty or emotional power. Yep...for me Van Gogh delivers beauty and Cattelan delivers emotional power, and there is room enough in my world for both.
Words deliver emotional power too, and The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton will do just that for you. This is a perfect gift for the young women in your life.
As always a complete review of this book follows my blog.