Art Basel
3:02 pm
Sat December 8, 2012

Art Basel In Miami Gets Us Thinking: Is It Art?

This guest post comes to us from Florencia Jimenez-Marcos.

Is it art?

Is This Art? Neon bench is part of a three-bench installation called 'Street Lamp' by Iván Navarro and Courtney Smith. One of the benches was damaged when an Art Basel visitor sat on it.
Is This Art? Neon bench is part of a three-bench installation called 'Street Lamp' by Iván Navarro and Courtney Smith. One of the benches was damaged when an Art Basel visitor sat on it.
Credit Florencia Jimenez-Marcos

There is no easy way to define "art." Any attempt at simplification risks making the writer sound uninformed at best. There are countless experts and publications who have created an industry debating what is true art, though the discourse these days seems to center more on economic rather than artistic value.

Perhaps as a backlash, I've heard buzz during Art Basel about another question: "What is not art?" What exactly falls into that category? Is it the piece in the hallowed Miami Beach Convention Center that is essentially two empty coat racks? The neon bench? How about a performance by an artist who "pops up," randomly screaming in public places? Or my favorite, the live tiger in a cage in the middle of the Hotel Victor's nightclub? Yes, live tiger.

As you navigate some of the murkier waters of the 20-plus fairs around town, I suggest you play this party game with your friends: Is It Art?

Two Coat Racks: Some were puzzled by this Art Basel exhibit at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
Two Coat Racks: Some were puzzled by this Art Basel exhibit at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
Credit Florencia Jimenez-Marcos

As far as I'm concerned, at least for one spectacular week when Art Basel is in Miami, the answer is always YES. Part of that comes from the nature of art itself, but I like to think there is also the influence of our Magic City. Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. We may have beer (or in this case, champagne) goggles, but we find beauty and art everywhere. They city has opened its arms and embraces Art in all its forms.

Now, if only the bouncers working the velvet ropes at the parties were so welcoming.

What's the most outrageous thing you've seen that is – or isn't – art?

--Florencia Jimenez-Marcos is an art enthusiast who lives in Miami