Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Meet Lincoln Basel, MVB's Resident Art Critic
Lincoln Basel has returned from Boston for the annual Art Basel Miami Beach art fair running December 7-10th. The following interview with our resident art critic was conducted by staff writer Max "Gumsandals" Cohen in the lobby of the Delano Hotel.
MVB: Welcome back to Miami Beach, Lincoln.
LB: What a smart outfit, Max Cohen. I just love those retro Hawaiian shirts you wear. Is that Rayon? I don't think cotton is up to capturing those neon colors.
MVB: It's a polyester blend of something or other.
LB: And the sandals, with you they're never out of fashion.
MVB: Thanks. So what do you think about this year's fair?
LB: Well, as you know, my favorite artist Verticus Erectus won't be exhibiting this year because he got involved with this cockamamied blog and that is a real shame.
MVB: But there will still be thousands of artists from around the world to pick and choose from.
LB: That is true, Max Cohen, but for me the joy is in the discovery of the undiscovered artist-- like Verticus Erectus on that back alley wall in your "arts district."
MVB: Wynwood. Would you mind telling us how that happened?
LB: It would be my pleasure, Max Cohen. I remember it like it was just yesterday. I had grown bored with the Euro trash and their feeble attempt at overpriced art in the "official" fair and decided to catch a shuttle out to your-- I shudder to say-- "arts district;" a very gruesome place-- especially at night-- of non-descript warehouses and empty streets that at any other time of the year would instill fear in the bravest of men. And I must say, I had second thoughts about getting off the shuttle when I saw the place, but I'm always up for an adventure and decided to take the plunge. I know I must have stuck out like a sore thumb. Everyone was wearing black except for me. I, of course, chose to dress to the nines in my custom tailored white tuxedo. Although I must admit I admired the area's laid back approach to art what with "art lovers" crowding the sidewalks and drinking bottled domestic beer, unfortunately, nothing caught my eye until I stepped around a rowdy bunch of art connoisseurs and happened to glance down a back alley. A small group had gathered around something glowing on the dark wall. Neon it was and I am such a sucker for things that glow and glitter that I had to see it. It was a special moment, Mr. Max Cohen. The crowd must have seen me coming because they parted on cue-- I swear this is true-- with the absolutely heavenly sounds of a harp. I felt I had stepped into the Twilight Zone it felt so surreal. As it turned out, it wasn't as surreal as I had thought. There really was a harpist there in a long formal gown, sitting on an upended trash can next to the painting. And a man. He was urinating on the wall on the opposite side of the painting. I couldn't tell if this was some sort of performance piece or what. The smell was atrocious. As it turned out, it was the artist himself, Verticus Erectus, relieving himself in front of everyone without a care in the world.
MVB: He has an enlarged prostate.
LB: So I soon discovered. At the time, however, the crowd mistook his actions for something more meaningful than that. When someone began to applaud, I guess no one wanted to look bad by missing the "deeper meaning" and soon everyone was applauding. Until he turned around, that is. He was so enraged he didn't wait to put his privates away and hosed the crowd with what I can only guess was a bloated bladder full of beer.
MVB: Ugh. Did he get you too?
LB: He surely did, Mr. Max Cohen. All over my nice new tux. I was stunned. Horrified. I couldn't move. And such a Mr. Dirtymouth. I've never heard such filthy language.
MVB: What did you do?
LB: Well, my first thought was to smack him across the head with the harp but some art lovers beat me to the punch, so to speak, by pummeling him to a bloody pulp. I must say, I was sickened by what I saw and had to step back as the crowd-- women included-- kicked the living bejesus out of him. And you know what he did, Mr. Max Cohen?
MVB: No, what did he do?
LB: He yelled at the harpist to keep on playing.
MVB: You're shitting me.
LB: No I am not, Mr. Max Cohen, Mr. Dirtymouth. And you know what?
LB: She did.
MVB: Fvcking A!
LB: Is everyone at this blog a Mr. Dirtymouth?
MVB: Sorry, Lincoln, please go on.
LB: Anyway, when I turned my head away I saw the painting. It looked to be hovering in front of the wall. I was transfixed. The juxtaposition of the heavenly music with the brutal bashing of Mr. Verticus Erectus and his floating painting on the dark alley wall was too much for yours truly. It actually brought me to tears. When I couldn't stand it any longer, I pulled out my Walther PPK and fired it once in the air.
MVB: You fired a gun?
LB: Not just any gun, Mr. Dirtymouth Max Cohen. It's James Bond's weapon of choice.
MVB: Don't you think that was a little drastic?
LB: Not for art. I haven't had a piece of art reach out and touch me like that since 1969 when I stumbled onto Adam Turtle's work in Coconut Grove when I was a pot smoking hippie. Anyway, the startled crowd stopped beating up Verticus Erectus and, after gathering their composure, began applauding me as if I were part of the "performance." And then they started applauding themselves because it occurred to them that they too were part of the performance. Before you knew it, they were helping Verticus Erectus up and brushing him off and thanking him for the "experience." It was then that I realized I was witnessing pure bloody genius at work. Here was an artist who had covered all the bases. He had left nothing to chance and was brave enough to risk his own life for his art. Oh, yeah, and the use of neon is always a plus.
LB: Unless you were there, Mr. Dirtymouth Max Cohen, unless you were there.