Archive for December, 2009

Back in Nyc Again Before Going to Florida again- Art Basel Miami Beach 2009- And then back in Nyc Again and the Decade Ends

December 19, 2009

Back in Nyc nights were filled by raucous celebrations and howling at Yankee victories as jubilant crowds hailed the coming back of a world championship to post  911 Gotham.

When the pinstripes won our bus company gray line did the double decker buses for the Canyon of Heroes parade, but, I was not an extra it was my day off and then not feeling that well I missed it entirely (besides seeing photos of it on yahoo and Facebook).  I resolved to go the new Yankee stadium at the next crack of the bat in spring and once upon a time on the night that Reggie Jackson hit three home runs in one game I was there with my now deceased father standing at one point right next to John Tesh when he was a local news reporter interviewing fans in the bleachers (I mentioned this game during the eulogy I’d never thought I’d give at my father’s funeral in Boynton Beach attended by myself my friend Deborah and two women I had never met before who were mostly quite lovely).

Though at the parade streams were teeming out of the church clock or so it would seem in a pop up book about a great team but “enchanted “was for another day and the next Broadway show I saw was David Mamet’s newest  drama “Race”.

Early one morn the gray line tour guide Marion Brash( who had achieved earlier notoriety as an actress  ( and she can be seen on a full episode of Ironside with Raymond Burr here @ had told me her opinion of the production and then later walking by the theater on West 47th street I saw some of the cast(James Spader and David Alan Grier)

James Spader at the Stage Door Greeted by an Adoring Fan

Later Spader’s Role was Taken Over by Eddie Izzard

come out of the  stage door after the matinée and so I bought a ticket for the same day’s evening performance.

I was a bit tired and thought the work a bit tired as if everything Mamet has to say about everything is to be held in such high esteem.  Didn’t Phillip Roth already  cover some of this ground in”the Human Stain”?  Brash had not lied the work of Kerry Washington in the role of the young lawyer who misleads the two main partners (Grier and Spader) because she is sure of the client  they are to defend’s guilt was demure. I chalked this up to her naiveté not her ineffectiveness in that the character was being played not the actress playing the audience or not being able to play the part.  However, in agreement with Brash, Richard Thomas, was just awful his performance had none of the airs of the billionaire accused of the crime.  The sequence of puns on the sequins of the dress which were much of the evidence in the rape allegations was Mamet’s best artistic flourish here though the repartee between Spader and Grier was quite well done and throwing in Washington it might have been a good play had the subject not been so tired.

I came way with a big feeling of who cares probably the lawyers who stood around after saying they were lawyers and how accurate or not it all was.  Maybe this is a problem that these functionaries need be THE definers of reality and have to have existence catered around there experience of it and of us.

Sooner or sooner I was back down to Florida to take in Miami Art Basel while my art press pass is still good. I was not especially planning to go but having skipped both the Venice Biennale and Miami Basel last year it was time to take another crack at the art high life.  I got a ticket on priceline after many tries at my time parameters and finally succeeded in finding flights, a car , and a room and so I was off.

I had to leave early and finally discovered the m60 bus which I decided to get in Morningside Heights by Columbia university.  So with the A train running local that time of night  got off at 116th only to find that the train let  out below Morningside Park then steps  of which I had to climb up in the cold and the dark.

I got to the bus stop along Broadway and after a short wait the bus arrived. The bus  quickly filled up with airport workers and some travelers (which included a group of young men projecting into the partying they would soon be engaging in).

I got to the airport after careful planning good and early and with the help of a very thoughtful Delta check in person found two exit row seats which surprise were obtained at no extra charge.  Physched by my early victory and with time to kill I enjoyed an oatmeal with all the toppings at a LaGuardia airport Starbucks.

I was connecting in Memphis and was soon there.  Then once there I flirted with the thought of having a southern down home meal at one of the airport joints and while looking at the pig freestanding statue in  a cooks hat standing sentry there.

BBQ Pig Chef at the Memphis Airport

and I passed.  There was an Elvis store in the terminal and soon I was aloft again.   There was couple next to me on this flight that were not properly upgraded as per their frequent flier status and they complained and thought the stewardess was not able to help them there she realized the attendant at the gate had been wrong and they were presented with a bottle of wine.

When I landed having brought only a carry-on this writer headed straight for the pre-arranged car rental.  The parking space for the alamo was blocked by a woman who refused to move her vehicle from where she did not belong and thus it took this blogger a little while longer to get the shuttle which he missed once,

Once aboard he met some New England Patriot fans down to watch their squad play Jimmy Buffet’s Dolphins and so arrived at the car rental where the check in agent couldn’t have been more blase as to only wanting to check in senoritas.

This driver got a full size car and when presented with the choice with the key stuck in a slot read by computer and not ignition which a push button start he opted to go ahead whereas the football fans switched four doors (I should have known better).

He found his way very easily to Miami Beach right onto the cruise ship causeway on a sunny day and only at the last-minute did he hit traffic.  The main public parking lot which last time he couldn’t find on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach (and he thought was knocked down) was full and so he paid the fifteen dollar flat rate.

So he was at Miami art Basel armed with a press pass an I phone and a rental car.  He headed right for the press check in, checked in, said hello  to the woman who always does the checking in

Check in time

, ran into Anthony Haden Guest

Anthony Haden-Guest Hard at Work at Art Basel Miami Beach

,stated to type, became witty,  drank too much coffee, and went down to the fair to begin scoping it out.

One of the first works that really caught this writer’s eye was Dennis Hopper’s embellished photographic portrait of Jaspar Johns

Jaspar Johns by Dennis Hopper

at the Tony Shafrazi booth .  The gallery person on the floor was going on about how many years they had represented Dennis and how good of friends he and Tony are (Hopper had done an event at Miami Basel a couple of years back which I had seen a beaming Teresa Valla racing towards) but beyond the chatter the work is most beautiful.

Running into the salon I decided to make that my focus rather than constant partying as I was driving alone (so excursion to the far off fairs in other sections of Miami would be off-limits to this fair goer perhaps not fair going fair goer but still going).

First at the educational room i caught Collier Schorr the artist known for sexualized portraits of youthful wrestlers talking about her new flower series.  She said something interesting about working in Germany to paraphrase that she liked working there because it was easy to take over because nobody really says anything.. which I thought hey we could say that about the bus company where I work but that turned out not to be true as I found it is possible to repel a political brute.

Time did what Miami time does I looked and looked at art and cannot really remember whether every piece was seen on day one or day two.  There was a bevy a works done on the theme of a departed Michael Jackson who has now been iconized ala Elizabeth Taylor by Andy Warhol and the gloved one now by the likes of David LaChappelle and Kehinde Wiley.  LaChappelle’s piece had Jackson as his namesake the archangel Michael slaying the Devil

The Archangel Michael by David LaChappelle

–while Kehinde Wiley’s piece at Jeffrey Deitch (which sold for around $180,000) has an armored Jackson after an equestrian portrait by Peter Paul Reubens Michael jackson by Kehinde Wiley (After Peter Paul Reubens)

Meanwhile as the day wound down I managed to find out where a party was at the penthouse at the Raleigh hotel, but, I got there too early and got tired of the scene nonsense and went to dinner at Tiramisu my favorite lincoln Road Italian food hot spot.  Well man for all seasonings I had Lobster Soup and swordfish salad washed down by a good Chianti waited a while and went back to my car.  Then like an idiot I decided to go back to the Raleigh turned around went to my car again which I had pulled out into the street and parked.  I did all i could do it wouldn’t start it kept saying brake (which I thought meant the emergency one) and the dashboard light s went on like a pinball machine and this driver gave up.

His phone was dead so he walked over to the Lincoln Road Starbucks to give it a charge. Then once charged (…and hopefully not) he called the car rental company and told them what had happened.  They left him on hold and what came on the call waiting Pinball Wizard by the Who and his mind went into a synasthaesic rock musical flourescent mode and the bumpers and the light all aglow in a neon pastel discharge.   He then as he waited by the car watched Elton John on the Red Piano in Vegas play Pinball Wizard with all the lights a flashing ring those buzzers and bells. eventually the roadside assistance came and he was given a new Lexus or Infiniti or whatever it was and made for the Ramada Marco Polo Beach Resort in North Miami Beach to call it a night.

After much ado about extra facility charges and getting my car parked I indeed called it a night.  In the morning I had breakfast in the cavernous room close to the beach and then returned upstairs to ready myself for the beach.  I took a nice dip into the ocean and did not realize until a lady asked me if I had been bitten by a jellyfish that there had been warning flags flown at the lifeguard station as indicated at the resorts pool exit to the beach.

I had been then after checked out and headed back to the convention center but after stopping at the bank and seeing lots of charges this fair goer headed back to the resort to question them.. The hundred dollar extra charge was pending and then released upon checkout and so then this car driver headed back fair bound again.  This writer wanted to stay to see the Ryan McGinley talk at the salon but time would only allow for James Rosenquist’s.  This time the municipal lot had space and this lecture going car replacement driving driver landed.

With a little time for looking around and visiting the press room the hour of the pop stars talk was at the hand.  In all these years I had never met are seen the North Dakotan native though this onetime frequent reviewer often mentioned him when writing on David Salle, Damien Loeb, or Jeff Koons and had attended his retrospective at the Fifth avenue Guggenheim flagship earlier in the soon to close decade.  This blogger got there earlier and took a bevy of I-phone photos of the amusing septuagenarian who told funny stories of being a billboard painter in his early pre Castelli gallery years

James Rosenquist at art Basel Miami Beach 2009


On this jaunt this traveler was also able to take a couple of photos of Frank Gehrys campus for the New World Symphony currently under construction just off Lincoln Road

Frank Gehrys Campus for the New World Symphony Going up!

So now it was off to the airport for a myriad of gate changes and delays but not without a sartorial moment when this delayed customer was able to say to a Port-of-Spain bound woman his bad one liner “its Sizzling down in Trinidad and Tabasco”.

But the flight had a mighty surprise when the pilot announced that we would probably be able to see a spectacular sight on the right side coming out of Titusville.  And indeed about a half an hour later he said that launch of the space shuttle I told you about is visible now.  And though I was seated in the aisle seat there was nobody between the well dressed Frenchman at the window and I and looking over there it was a bright orange flame rising against black the form of the shuttle clearly visible.  Need I say anymore so until next time.