George Clinton’s funky colour conundrum
The funkmaster himself, George Clinton, could be seen having fun at Art Basel in Miami Beach, taking a plethora of selfies at Jeffrey Deitch’s stand, where he is showing two works, including the painting Evolutionary Directory: Which way do you want to be “what”? (around 2022). The Parliament-Funkadelic frontman told us of his love for the city, regaling The Art Newspaper with tales of fishing in the Miami marina in years past. The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner also discussed how, being colour blind, he learned to interpret the tones and hues of his paintings. “My kids mess about, though. If a paint can has ‘yellow’ written on it, they’ll change it to pink,” he says, which presumably makes for some very interesting works of art.
Cuban Breakfast sundae, anyone?
It was back to 1980s California for visitors attending a pop-up frozen yoghurt parlour conceived by artist Alex Israel, titled Snow Beach Frozen Treats. Special guests attended a lavish dinner to launch the work, backed by The Cultivist members’ club and Capital One bank. In a speech to the crowd, sunglass-wearing Israel took guests back to his childhood in Los Angeles, and his dad’s frozen yoghurt parlour, called The Big Chill. Israel’s delicious bespoke sundaes, such as Cuban Breakfast and California Dreamin’, were on tap for guests, including the DJ Diplo. Before dessert, they tucked into a dreamy meal prepared by renowned French chef Dominique Crenn, falling into a food reverie that distracted them from the chill wind blowing through the open-air venue (the snug complimentary Snow Beach sweatshirts also helped raise body temperatures).
UPDATE: This piece was amended to include references to "frozen yoghurt".
Exposing raw talent
Fairgoers wandering the fair’s aisles may be unaware that in a discreet corner of one stand are life-drawing models taking part in a radical initiative. Karen Finley’s installation Go Figure, at Freight+Volume’s stand, was due to go on display at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1998, but the museum cancelled the show shortly after Finley and three other artists lost their court case against the National Endowment of the Arts, which had withdrawn grants on the grounds of indecency. Fair visitors have been sketching the nude models, with some impressive results—an onlooker commented that one of the drawings was the equivalent of a random karaoke singer unexpectedly belting out a showstopping performance. “Somebody opens their mouth to sing and you’re like—wow, where did that come from?” she quipped.
She shoots, she scores!
The artist Cj Hendry has set a challenge that sport (and art) lovers will relish this week in Miami. The New York-based artist has unveiled HOOPS Tree in the Wynwood art district, an eye-busting public art piece standing 20ft tall and featuring 34 hoops. The work is already causing a stir among basketball fans, and Cj has upped the ante by offering $1m to anyone who can—before 9 December—sink a shot in all of the baskets. The competition is called the Hoooooops Series—“Hoops with so many zeroes ’cause there are six zeroes in a million,” the artist explains in an Instagram post. Cj herself is funding the prize, says a project spokesperson—will she be out of pocket by a million bucks by the end of the week?
Met trophies move to Miami
Hew Locke is having a moment. The Guyanese British artist recently created four sculptures—golden trophies inspired by colonial looting—for the façade niches on the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and now these works are having a second life in Art Basel in Miami Beach’s Meridians section. The Gilt commission “was designed in my head to have an afterlife; it works [here]”, he tells us. “It is potentially an edition piece. You have to plan these things when you do commissioned pieces,” he adds. This recognition comes after years of hard work. “I’m another one of those ones at the coalface for decades… that’s how it goes,” he adds. Meanwhile his acclaimed carnival-esque parade consisting of about 150 life-sized figures shown at London’s Tate Britain last year, The Procession, is in “deep storage; it’s literally in the dark.” Let’s hope it resurfaces soon.
All the fun of the fair
There is much fun to be had at the UBS Art Studio presentation at Art Basel in Miami Beach thanks to artist Anthony Akinbola’s Fantasy World work. This claw machine stuffed with enticing cuddly toys and other paraphernalia is taking fairgoers back to their childhood, reviving memories of funfairs (rather than art fairs). “I wanted to present something participatory,” says the showcase’s curator Larry Ossei-Mensah, who also co-founded the non-profit collective ARTNOIR. “It is an adrenaline rush; when you think you’ve won something, it slips through your fingers—just like life. You need patience and skill.” Indeed, visitors to the section kept trying to win on the machine but lost out—possibly also bringing to mind art deals that went to dust.