Welcome to Miami! Now go home.
– It’s a paraphrase of the Christmas crabby New Yorker who relies on the tourists who pump money into Broadway and Times Square restaurants and FAO and who actually eat those hot dogs and pretzels on the street. In the case of Miami, Art Basel 2010 draws to a close now and one billion dollars are estimated to have been transacted. When you pair that figure with the estimated 2-3000 artists participating, it looks like the artists must have made out rather well, right?
Certainly there were more Street Artists than ever attending the events and transforming walls everywhere with their work and creativity – at least in the unofficially sanctioned areas. At the moment Miami is “The only city in the US where graffiti appreciates property value,” ironically says Mint and Serf, a Street Art collective visiting the tropical city from frigid New York. In an odd twist on the “broken window theory” and urban blight, artists who are normally looking over their shoulder can actually wave to and talk with police who are driving by in some run-down areas where they are given free reign over large swaths of walls. At this sunny moment in time various agendas are intertwined and one wonders how long this golden age lasts.
Street Art photographer and observer Geoff Hargadon took in the breadth of the week on the street and attended a number of the events over the past weeks’ art orgies. He captured many jewels and quick moments with his camera and his 6th sense, which are below. As various larger pieces are unfinished right now, we’ll be going back in a few weeks for a year-end overview.
In addition to an intuitive eye about the art trends happening that impact the scene, Geoff gives a commentary about what else he’s thinking about: “Here is the other thing that’s a trend: property owners have their hands over all these walls for artists to takeover, and then suddenly they are leased out to restaurants, coffee shops, and other businesses. It’s hard to know who’s playing whom here – maybe it’s a happy co-existence – but when does the property owner step up to support these guys in other ways? (Unless, of course, it’s already happening.) Either way, artists are playing a big role in the development of these neighborhoods, and whether they know it or not, as the area gets more developed and gentrified, they will eventually run themselves out of town. Whether they are getting paid or not, they are creating their own extinction in Miami.”