Art Basel and my wallet
08 December, 2011
Art Basel and my wallet

Mancho  Ekliani

Let’s get this straight from the beginning. I did NOT go to Miami to schmooze with the Art Basel dealers and wheelers, nor did I go to scout out the next great artist or next big celebrity at the Art Miami fare. As far as I am concerned great art belongs to the dead; Renoir, Picasso and Pirosmani.

I went to Miami in order to go to the beach. Now I know, I know, I live in Los Angeles the

beach Mecca, but unlike the beach bunnies I work all day, and when I do have time to go to the shore, it is pointless because the water is always freezing. They should rename the Pacific Ocean to the ‘Swim if you dare’ Ocean.

For this reason alone, when my friend, Khatia Esartia, got an assignment to cover Art Basel for GJ, I thought, why not go as well. I did tell her that under no circumstances would I be attending any art shows. I fully intended to spend three days swimming in the Atlantic, getting a tan and drinking Mojitos. While Khatia went of to ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ at her precious art, I lay sun tanning on my towel in South Beach looking up quite happily into the clear blue sky. If you ask me, white clouds in the perfectly blue sky are more beautiful than any art that can be shown in a four wall gallery. Three hours later I got hungry. I had to go back to the hotel to get my wallet, but my wallet was gone. Instead on my pillow I found a ticket to the Art Basel exhibition. That evil twit of a friend had stolen my wallet and was blackmailing me into an art show. Of all the horrible things to do, how dare she?!

I ran over to the show to have a ‘word’ with my so called friend. I was ready to use my fists if needed, but there were so many people there, I quickly realised it wasn’t going to be easy finding her. I was about to yell at whoever was trying to walk on the backs of my feet when I noticed a waiter. A waiter? Was there food?! I found out that there were lounges left and right and back and forth filled with people buying and eating food. I had to find Khatia and get my wallet back. And while I walked  rapidly through numerous galleries looking for her,  I couldn’t help it if I noticed a Picasso or a Matisse hanging on the walls.

I am not a completely nincompoop, I can appreciate the genius of great artists like Picasso, but as far as other stuff, I just don’t see the appeal. So I walked faster through galleries where nothing  caught my eye. (That’s how I determine if something is worth my time, if it catches my eye in a millisecond. I apply this method to potential husbands as well. So far, husbandless.) I was about to turn back when I saw It- a painting so beautiful and so generous I had to stop and stare. It had nothing that I normally look for; it had no visible form, no story to see, no detail, it was a complete abstract something,  but I could not look away. Maybe it was the hunger, or the two drinks I had finagled on my walks through galleries, but this giant blue painting took my breath away. I had simply fallen in love with ‘Blue Reach’, by Helen Frankenthaler. And then I saw the price of 1.5 million dollars and my love turned into anger against Khatia, who had led me into this trap in the first place. Make me fall in love and then make it impossible for me to have, I’ll show her. I was fuming all the way to the exit when I spotted that evil ‘word not suited for print’ in the VIP Lounge. She was holding a sandwich and laughing with someone. She was eating and laughing while I was out here facing my mortality and my pauper status, well! Not for long if I have anything to say about it. I was just about to walk into the lounge when she spotted me, dropped her food and ran. Nice try, but I run faster. I was about to give chase and end her, but the security guards got in my way. Something about not having a VIP badge. Never mind, I told them I’ll wait outside. She will have to come out sooner or later and then, well, I am either going to go to jail, or become a famous artist. Either way this art show is about to get interesting.

'To be continued'

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