Tuesday, 30 June 2009

The month of June - Part 2 - Art Basel

ART BASEL is everything that everyone says it is - it is even more.

Arnold Chan, my mentor, is an amazing man and the best lighting designer in the world, he makes everyone glow and look GORGEOUS, I mean both animated things and inanimated objects, he lit the Walker Museum and also the British Museum, Andre Balazs' hotels and Alan Yau's restaurants to name but a few! He had arrived the day before and had seen a lot already with his clients who were their in packs, of course, they are the biggest collectors in the world.
Design Miami at Basel was fantastic! Umbra Medda did a divine job, so well done - my faves were Libertiny's egg, Baas' clock project, a designer called Max Lamb at Paul Johnson's and Nacho Carbonell.

Max Lamb's Scrap Chair - so light I could lift with one hand

Nacho Carbonell - Designer of the Future

Tomas Libertiny egg specially for Design Miami/Basel
(I also loved his BIC cabinet)
The old school were also represented, Jeanneret, Perriand and Prouve .. . Seomi Gallery from Korea were there - I remember PJ from Art HK last year, what beautiful work they had.
Then there was the main fair, it was more that what I expected, 5 years at Miami Basel did not prepare me for Art Basel, it was huge, so much blue chip and so so much great work, beautiful work. . .my faves

An awesome Gursky - so appropriate for the times

Liza Lou - DOPE!

I could not take my eyes off this Buren - kept coming back to it

Baertling - I saw the pics on the Judd's Cinnati Foundation website but in real life has so much impact

If I could have bought anything though, it would have been the John Kesseler at Deitch. Subtle, melancholic and beautiful. Then the Swoon of course, bummed that I missed her installation in Venice . . .

John Kesseler


Ashley Bickerton - like his technique and his imagination . . .

thought that was kinda funny - yes, Larry Gagosian is human as well!

Arnold and I then did the walk through together, I like to do it row by row thus it takes me ages, together we just did the highlights . . .and yes, we did spot Brad Pitt. The man, I must say has great taste and humour, he bought the mini capsule hotel from Atelier Lievshout and according to PJ wanted to buy these AMAZING ceramic bowls from Seomi (though Arnold's client bought the whole set before thus none left for Brad).

Mini Capsule Hotel

Arnold was given a pimped out GMC station wagon by Netjets, with rugs inside and a female driver! how dope and random!

Arnold laughing about station wagon!

Later, we went to meet the Campana brothers at the Kunsthalle, what a restaurant, a huge traditional hall, all movement and bustle, like a very very grand Brasserie Lipp and to my surprise one where you can still smoke! Weird! The Brazilian brothers and Jeff are always a joy to see. I was bummed that I would not be staying for their retrospective at the Vitra Museum. Hamish and I met them in Miami when they gave us a ride back to South Beach from a warehouse in Wynwood where Uribe had his exhibition. They are awesome, talented and funny - we end up talking about rice and beans (I love!), design, traditional knowledge, Thailand and also a bit about Bali, where Hammie lives. Their work I love and I know has opened many doors for others, they are visionairies, Hammie, I know was very inspired by what they have done.
We then went with Alia who works with Micheal of the Albion to Das Shift, the Design Miami party on a boat, hosted by . . .umm, Andre! so yes, I have seen this man in Bkk, Paris, Venice and now Basel in the last 30 days! Lovely to see Tolga at the door - he is a sweetheart who I used to give so much grief in Paris. It was a rockin party . . . the band We Have Band played a great set! Greg then played music perfect for the art/design contingency, not gonna name drop and say who was boogieing the night away but to give you an idea, Pharrell got on stage and did an impromptu set after a lot a lot of persuasion, I caught it on video as I was right there and in fact part of the "u gotta sing u gotta sing contingent" . . but ended up erasing it all, oops. That was FUN - and the lady with the sparkly dress who was bouncing next to Pharrell behind the booth was classic as well, it was so wrong that it was funny - did not get a pic of that!

Greg, Emmanuel, and Pharrell

The next day was my last in Basel and my priority was to get to the Beyeler Foundation - it made my trip - it was incredible, to see the Giacommettis in full force like that made my heart skip a beat - the way it was put together was thoughtful and just right. Props to Sam Keller! The exhibition next door with the masks and modern art also rocked my world, of course it did when my next collection at nsha was going to be called Astronauts in Africa. The juxtaposition was amazing - so eloquent. Go get the book if you did not get a chance to see it! The very kind man at the entrance gave me a press pack, he is a Thai artist who has been living in Basel for 30 odd years and loves to be near the art.

Next was Art Unlimited, my advice from my very knowledgeable friend Cecilia was spot on, I could not miss it and it was worth every minute although my attempt to queue to see Van de Boeck failed - too long.

My faves were Nara, Andrea Wekua, Day-Jackson and the light installation by Mccall.

Anthony McCall

Yoshitomo Nara

Matthew Day-Jackson

I questioned once the idea of minimalism vs maximalism, particularly in clothing, I ended up painting some cotton and sewing it into a dress . . . it worked - the lines did not change, the structure remained pure.
Ruby Sterling questions the idea of whether spraypaint can pollute a form, a stack as clean as this, he answered my question - the form remains the same, the ornamant, the paint is not only decoration but defines the form. Contradiction that works.
Ruby Sterling

I also loved the Polke Cloud paintings with the meteor in the middle of the room but no photo could do that any justice so I left it . . .stunning.

Bumped into Max Lamb in the hall and we got chatting, turns out that he worked for Ou Bhaholyodhin, a Thai designer, what a small world. Ou is friendly with my good friend Harry, as a Thai, one is always very pleased to hear about another Thai. Max's work is awesome, I wish him the best of luck.
He helped me to find Banks Violette . . .
Banks Violette

I then got my things together, did the Design bit one last time and prepared to leave for Paris. A bit bummed as Dee Poon was arriving but phone drama meant that I was not able to get in touch with her! Would have loved to stay to go to Campana opening or to the Il Tempo Postino play! oh well, things happen for a reason . . . .
Leaving Basel @ train station with weird Swiss Hemp Tea

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