Last week we had our spectacular annual art event, Art Basel, and, according to The Art Newspaper, the show was “stolen by text and slogans.” One of the biggest attractions was Danish artist Jeppe Hein’s huge framed neon slogan “All I Need Is Less” embedded in a two-way mirror. I did not take of photo of it because of a crowd jostling for a chance to snap pictures of themselves reflected as a background to the text – a perfect selfie! I do question the sincerity of Hein’s artistic expression, though, as three iterations of his masterpiece were sold in one day for upward of $45,000.00 each to private collectors. The piece was immediately replaced by another neon text “All You Are Is the Result of What You Have Thought” with a similar price tag and grabbed within six hours. That’s deep, Beautiful People, but perhaps not as profound as Doug Altken’s “DRAMA” in sunset colors, two of which sold for $225,000.00 each. Granted, we do have dramatic sunsets in South Florida which you can view on Key West or anywhere else on Florida Keys at dramatically reduced expense while enjoying a Margarita and some real Floridian music.
Please don’t get me wrong; I love modern art, including art that makes meaningful statements.
This ingenious pointillism in sculpture is a trademark of internationally renown artist Abiola Akintola. In addition to traditional materials, such as clay, wood, and metal, the Nigerian artist makes a crucial statement about environment by using discarded objects found on the streets. I was fortunate to meet “the Green Revolution Artist,” as Abiola is known and hear him speak passionately about people endangering marine life by polluting oceans with plastic.
Repurposed, recycled, and upcycled objects have been used by quite a few artists represented at the fair.
This adorable cat is made of salvaged wood pieces from pld broken Japanese boats. Yeti in the background, as well as many other yetis of different colors and sizes that didn’t make it into the picture, is an upcycled old fur coat with a wooden face. Unfortunately, I am unable to name either the artists or the gallery, as the young lady in charge of this exhibition has promised to e-mail information to me. When she does, I’ll update this post.
I was less than impressed by proliferation of artists repurposing and/or recycling (I fail to see the distinction) of famous personages. The “Wide Big Eyes” Salvatore Dali, part of the series by Michelle Vella, was one of the five Dali images by different artists.
“Un Salvador” by Maximiliano Bagnasco, as the artist himself assured me, speaking with a lovely Italian accent, expresses un tributo to the founder of modern art. I refrained from asking whether he has ever contemplated a tribute to Picasso or Modigliani, among others.
A more meaningful artistic statement by Laura Villareal, also created of recycled objects, engenders thoughts of embracing our world, our only home, and preserving it for future generations.
A deeply meaningful “On the Edge” by Korean artist Ki-Woong Park makes one realize how precarious our existence is, on the precipice of known and unknown catastrophes.
In my humble kitchen, I also try to repurpose and upcycle anything I can. I love veggie juices. Generally, I would throw in bits and pieces of everything I find in my vegetable bin, add a huge carrot or two, and press the button. Out the front of the juicer comes delicious fresh liquid lunch. Out the back – lots of taste, squeezed out to dry fiber. I am not sure whether to define it as repurposing or upcycling, but supplemented by leftovers of corn, beans, celery, parsley and dill stalks, diced tomatoes, and generally, everything else you find in your refrigerator or freezer and don’t see any use for, it’s a winner!
If you throw it all into a pot (I use Instant Pot), add some Soup Powder and salt and pepper, in about an hour you have a masterpiece of modern art. Sadly, it gets consumed before the next Art Basel!
- 1 – 2 large carrots, juiced or grated
- 1 small carrot diced
- 1/2 beet root, juiced or grated
- 2-3 kale leaves or handful of spinach, juiced
- 1 – 2 celery stalks, juiced
- 1/2 inch ginger, juiced
- Handful of corn
- Handful of sweet peas
- Handful of cut string beans
- 1 cup of red, pink, or pinto beans
- 1/2 large soft tomato, diced
- 1 tablespoon soup powder
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, dill, cilantro stalks
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Juice or grate vegetables, squeeze juice, put aside.
- Combine dry leftovers with diced vegetables, add the rest of ingredients, add 4 quarts of water.
- If using Instant Pot, cook on Manual setting for 30 minutes. In a regular pot, bring to boil, reduce, simmer for 30 minutes.