[Editor's note: Nashville-based artist Mary Addison Hackett has agreed to be Country Life's correspondent at this year's Art Basel and Art Miami, and she'll be supplying us with her notes and photos throughout the fairs' duration. This is her final entry — read the first, second and third entries here.]
There’s snow on the ground. I am back in Nashville. I gave up on trying to have saltwater dreads and washed the last particle of sand out of my hair. I am starting to distill the art world chaos of Miami into something useful that I will later forget. And this, too, is a good thing.
Depending on your tolerance and luck for hailing cabs, book early and stay on the beach within walking distance of free shuttles. The best of all worlds would be to stay in an amphibious van designed by Andrea Zittel, complete with facilities, wi-fi and a driver. I can dream.
Research. For the most part, the fairs are about sales, though the most interesting booths took care in curating a good show. There wasn’t a lot of difficult work, and in the context of a fair even the most rigorous art loses its edge. Basel is Basel. I loved it. Art Miami was easily the most collector-friendly fair — with booths from all ranks of the art world hierarchy — while across the street, Miami Projects felt solid, smaller and more elite. Untitled and Nada were also at the top of the heap. By this point, I’ve stopped looking at anything less than amazing. There were more than 20 fairs. I made seven. My eyes are tired. I am only human. Had I been in town the whole week, I would have ventured off-course to hob-nob my way into private collections. Next year.
Art world trends? Call me jaded. After four days, it all looks the same. That’s not a bad thing. It just is. If you need validation — and we all do — the fairs can be a good place to make comparisons as long as you know the lowdown. There were more than enough artworks with substance, but you need a good eye. As an artist, I conducted imaginary trades with about eight to 10 painters, a few of whom I discovered were going to be in next year’s biennial and a few more who should be. I saw a miniature Chamberlain, but it wasn’t his best. I passed.