was a gluttonous amount of art on view in beautiful down town Miami Beach Fla. at the end
of last week for a solid four days. Along with the art on exhibit there were
close to a million viewers; beautiful people of all ages contributing to the
look of sophistication and style of this remarkable event; Art Basel Miami.
Between Art Basel, Art Miami, Pulse Miami and the many other
satellite fairs it was a weekend nothing less than utterly amazing. The scene
was extravagant and excessive but worth every effort in this; the “World Cup/ Main
Event” of the art world. It was very much a carnival happening and in that way
remarkably refreshing in all it’s luxuriant extremes.
I was able to meet and talk with gallerists, gallery girls
and artists among the art market’s high end sellers and shoppers. There were
great conversations with people from around the world and US cities. The
nations included Brazil, Bogota, China, South Africa and the UK. The US cities
included (of course) New York, Chicago, LA, San Antonio and DC. The grand host
city; Miami, is breathtakingly beautiful and the population is incredibly
welcoming. The blue water and skies, cruise ships and yachts mesmerize; while the
modern and art deco architecture complement each other in spectacular
and important works of painting, photography and sculpture including Helmut
Newton’s Sie Kommen, Jim Dine hearts,
Jeff Koon’s banalities, Chris Ofili’s dung art and Picasso’s cubism available
and on view in various galleries. All these works and thousands of others not
only on view; but, most importantly for sell.
There was also live performance art, video, mixed-medium,
design and decorative art, supplemented by the many stunningly elegant and high
fashion patrons. Yes; there were the "odd ball" one of a kind character
dressers too, which in honesty made for a thing remarkable. Refreshment comes
in the form of push cart girls selling the original champagne; Ruinart. It is actually the Ruinart that makes me
return to Basel. It is definitely one of the many unique extras that adds to the
experience. Attending Art Basel Miami
Beach, Design Miami, Pulse Miami Beach and a few other fairs combined for a
complete adventure in art fashion design and culture. It is as exhausting as it
is exhilarating and by the way; I’m ready for next year.
Robinson Crusoe Illustrated by N. C. Wyeth was what the
cover read. It was one of the classic and famously beloved volumes published by
Scribners in the early 20th century. The book was a solid hard-cover
edition that looked good and felt good to the hand. The illustrations were
compelling, lush, heroic things that as far as I remember discovering was truly
“love at first.” For all it’s worth this
encounter was something that has hooked me for life; the love of illustration,
books and most particularly the illustration work of the master; Newell Convers
Wyeth had illustrated Treasure Island, The Last of
the Mohicans, The Yearling and others in his time for Scribners. His
work was always colorful and exciting. When I found Robinson Crusoe in the
school library I had no idea how renowned N. C. Wyeth was. I just knew he was phenomenal
in what he was doing and I was always able to imagine and wonder, even becoming
lost in his detailed emotionally realistic visions. Wyeth towers among the best
and is still much an inspiration for me.
Wyeth would influence generation of young people including
his children, especially his son Andy who became equally famous in his own
right and then grandson Jamie who continues the family legacy. The Wyeths are
certainly America’s finest and most cherished family of the visual arts. They are
also great ambassadors of excellence and accomplishment.
In a rite of passage when our school closed due to integration
in 1966 we were allowed to take one book from the school library. Robinson
Crusoe Illustrated by N.C. Wyeth was my;
without hesitation, choice. I have it even now and as I hold it and peruse it, I
remain in awe as it makes me smile.