When I took on the assignment to cover Art Basel Miami 2010, I was not prepared for thirteen degree weather, but I wasn't deterred- simply detoured- as I realized we had made a stopover in Milwaukee. I managed to re-board the plane seconds before it took off by sneaking into the pet hold. After a surprisingly edible in-flight kibble plate and some light barking with a young Jack Russell terrier (also attending Red Dot) named Spot, we finally arrived in the-city-that-never-sleeps- around... alone...sober: sunny Miami. A brisk round of walkies and a few gin and vodkas really hit the spot and sharpening my sensibilities for the task at hand, though just making Spot bark too much, I set out to perform my duties as AleatoricArt's resident writer and transient critic at large. And as usual, there was much to criticize, so with tongue in cheek, I decided to make this article a Holiday Roast... Sense of humor required.
Among the most dreadful pieces on exhibit was a collaborative called "Exorcism", a 48"x48" mixed-mediocre-on-something flat by Randy Naborikawa/David Seiler. Apparently after the work was finished the Dystopian duo felt it needed a little pizazz and resorted to neon. Still reeling from the caustic color choices and egregious misuse of materials, I then moved on to a sexy diversion with pubic haired lesbian mannequins playing cat's cradle in the bathroom offered by an artist who's reputation exceeds him. Next, my inebriated senses were accosted by Gilbert and George, Rorschaching themselves on flags and spirographics, Tomas Saraceno's spectacular "Flying Green House", a bulbous arboreal-borne behemoth that would have given Buckminster Fuller vertigo, and the Yeti-sized Helvetica Bold Compressed headlines in Barbara Kruger's jingoist-style, "The Globe Shrinks" overstated the opulent expansiveness of her exhibit space.
Dasha Shishkin's pencil drawing, "Urge in an Icebox" was lukewarmly disturbing but unfinished, in its defense; Yael Bartana's "Entartete Kunst Lebt" (Degenerate Art Lives) portended the return of good old-fashioned fascism (presumably to replace the current modern variety) and Fernanda Fragateiro's MR10 Double Chair was to hospital furniture design what the llama is to Dr. Dolittle, and symbolized the futility of health care in America. I don't know if anyone else got that but me. A FedEx mailer collage by Nikolas Gambaroff entitled "My New Office" was almost as stupid as the people milling around discussing the socio-political pertinence of this federally unexpressive work. Willem deKoonig had regressed even further with his zygote-like scribblings, and Roy Lichtenstein had gone Picasso via Dali, but the expressions on the faces of his dot-pattern subjects revealed his uneasiness about this daring deviation.
Johanna Unzueta's ”Deep in the Pool" was apparently the result of a melding of Blue Man Group and Super Mario Brothers, while Judi Werthein simply exploited a defenseless Mariachi band to produce "La Tierra de los Libres." Andrea Bowers, "Educate, Agitate, Organize," added colorful backlighting to jingoism (a popular theme this year), but should have hired a proof reader before calling the fabricators. While John Chamberlain's crumpled, Darth Vaderesque "Piquanteagle" signified the dark side of the LA freeway, two people using a crosswalk was enough art for Carlos Cruz- Diez in "Color Aditivo". Jorge Méndez Blake's "There is no Easy Way from the Earth to the Stars" would never fly, but was only in the rough sketch stages of development and undoubtedly will be shot down by NASA. Meanwhile, a fragmented parabolic parking mirror should have acted as negative-reinforcing self-canceling visual oxymoron to Marco Maggi, when he made "Global Myopia."
On the bright side, the Movement of Aleatoric Modern Artists made a splash at the Red Dot tent, and sold it, along with a few other choice collaborations between serendipity and the formidable talents of Ted Lincoln, Andrew Schrock, Nicola Parente, Allan Rodewald and more. Schrock's hydroform sculptures- huge bloated explodus-interruptus metal fabrications- were the stars of the exhibit... the artist brought a trailer to the show but didn't need it on the way home. Rodewald was also a big draw, with his tricky wrinkle paintings, and the surreal photography of J. Miller made for a lot of head-scratching. Lincoln, with his Cheshire Cat grin and immaculately executed art made everyone jealous as usual, and one of the movements most unsung contributors, Ray Cabarga, was absent by popular demand.