Friday, December 08, 2006

Welcome to the machine

Given my life as a curator, rather than collector or critic, my intent in coming to Art Basel Miami Beach had been to engage in the discourse of the event, rather than wallow in celebrity, parties and gross revenues. How silly of me.

There is no discourse in Miami. There is only money. While I’m not often prone to admit it, Robert Hughes was right about one thing. As he told The Guardian earlier this year, "The present commercialisation of the art world, at its top end, is a cultural obscenity.” Nothing could better describe these past few days, time spent in such vapid pursuits they're hardly worth reporting. The few programmed events that had promised more, such as the Conversation series, were either cancelled (Jacques Herzog was a no-show) or simply banal (a discussion this morning on what else – collecting).

So if you didn’t make it to Miami, don’t fret. My advice: from now till summer, put aside $10 a day (less if you live in Europe) and head to Kassel for Documenta 12, the last holdout on the art circuit where 'dis-course' doesn't refer to a pudgy-fingered New Yorker pointing to what he wants off the luncheon menu.

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