POST BY KAREN ARCHEY
Barbara Kruger, Untitled (I Shop Therefore I Am), 1987
Barbara Kruger’s infamous image unironically graced the front page of The Art Newspaper’s daily ArtBasel sales report for June 12-14. One would assume the article using Kruger’s image—which skeptically investigates consumer culture—would share its critical sentiment rather than blindly glorify the private lives of collectors. The last two issues of The Art Newspaper’s Basel Edition feature Lindsay Pollock extolling celebrity appearances in a high school creative writing class-esque fashion. Our (least) favorite excerpts below:
Art Basel’s 40th edition continued to defy the worldwide financial slump yesterday, after the NetJets crowd had flitted off, leaving trails of cigar smoke, empty magnums of Cheval Blanc and throngs of prosperous European art lovers behind. Brad Pitt, Naomi Campbell, Roman Abramovich, and music producer Pharrell Williams were among the celebrities who showed up…
…The fair got off to a strong start as collectors poured into the boxy industrial convention hall promptly at 11am. A chic, mostly European crowd, wearing the latest in tans courtesy of the Venice Biennale, dashed for the stands.
…As opening day progressed, with bursts of sunshine alternating with light showers, collectors, dealers and the rest of the opening day crowd chomped veal bratwurst dipped in mustard, puffed on cigarettes and traipsed around art-jammed stands.
Can Pollock get any more sensationalistic? This brand of writing perpetuates false ideals that plague the art world, notably its obsession with monetary wealth and fame. Art Basel should be considered a mixed bag or ambivalent experience: Switzerland might be nice, but it’s no Gumdrop Mountain. Visit her Twitter feed and you’ll be barraged with “quips” about Jeff Koons, the writer’s current (and not surprising) obsession. Needless to say, AFC has yet to participate in much Cheval Blanc chugging or NetJet-jetting. We have, however, gotten caught in the rain and stayed a couple nights in a camper (van) parked down by the river (the Rhein).