Art Basel Miami: the premiere beach party of the international art world.

267 galleries from 31 countries, along with 73,000 international visitors attended the 2014 edition of Art Basel in Miami Beach. Since its debut in 1970, Art Basel has become the Modern and contemporary artworld’s premier platform for bringing together artists and their patrons in a way that is both engaging and personal.. Paintings, sculptures, drawings, installations, photographs, films are displayed in the main exhibition hall, while ambitious artworks and performances become part of the landscape.

Modern and contemporary art of the highest quality, from classic forms to pieces by the most cutting edge experimentalists, are on display in a multi-sector format, making Art Basel a prized venue for both the artists and those who appreciate their work. With annual art shows sited on three continents – Europe, North America, and Asia – it is the only art show with such global reach.

 

The Genesis Project: a visionary drama in photography

Epic, awe-inspiring, moving and important: Sebastião Salgado’s photographs are revered by public and critics the world over. An economics PhD, he only took up photography in his 30s, but the discipline became an obsession. His years-long projects have captured the human side of a global story and also tell a deeply personal story that nearly killed him. His latest work, “Genesis,” comprises breathtaking images that document the world’s forgotten people and places and is the result of an epic eight-year expedition to rediscover the mountains, deserts and oceans, the animals and peoples that have so far escaped the imprint of modern society.

On over 30 trips – traveled on foot, by light aircraft, seagoing vessels, canoes, and even balloons, through extreme heat and cold and in sometimes dangerous conditions – Salgado created a collection of images showing us nature, animals, and indigenous peoples in such shocking and intense beauty it takes our breath away. In GENESIS, one discovers the animal species and volcanoes of the Galápagos; the penguins, sea lions, cormorants, and whales of the South Atlantic; Brazilian alligators and jaguars; and African lions, leopards, and elephants. Through Salgado’s lens, we travel over icebergs in the Antarctic, the volcanoes of Central Africa, the ravines of the Grand Canyon, and the glaciers of Alaska. We encounter the Stone Age Korowai people of West Papua, nomadic Dinka cattle farmers in Sudan, Nenets and their reindeer herds in the Arctic Circle, as well as the Mentawai jungle communities on islands west of Sumatra.

 

 

The city is an ever changing canvas; street art is meant to be ephemeral.

Worn away by the bustle of cities, eroded by rain or painted over by real estate developers, graffiti has evolved into art—making some famous such as the elusive English street artist, Banksy. However, the internet has brought the once maligned art form to a higher level of recognition and respect by preserving it. Google Street Art Project does just that.

What some call vandalism, others call street art. Where some see criminals, others see outlaw poets, heroes of free speech taking their work directly to the people, bypassing galleries and auction houses, and democratizing the relationship between art and the public. That outlaw freedom jumped time and space last week when the Google Street Art Project announced it was doubling its worldwide database by adding 5000 new images.

Launched in June 2014, the street art database features roughly 260 virtual exhibits from 34 countries where you can browse art or hear guided tours. More than 50 organizations partnered on the project, southern California contributors being Wende Museum in Culver City, Pasadena Museum of California Art and the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles.

 

Dream cars: an exhibition of visionary automobile designs.

“We dream of cars that will float and fly, or run on energy from a laser beam, or travel close to the ground without wheels. Such research may border on the fantastic, but so did the idea of a carriage going about the country without a horse.”  —The Ford Book of Styling, 1963

The automobile has evolved from curiosity to daily necessity. Its form has advanced from the horseless carriages of the early twentieth century to the sleek, highly functional objects we know today. The experimental, concept, or “dream car,” as it became known in the early 1950s, has long been a dynamic tool allowing designers to showcase and demonstrate forward-thinking automotive design ideas. Concept cars were not objects the public typically could purchase, but rather the testing ground for innovations that might find expression in automobiles produced decades later. This exhibition explores the innovative designs that sparked ideas of future possibility and progress. It examines the dream car through five themes: individual makers, the impact of styling, visionary designers, the design process, and the influence of automobile fairs.

Chosen from hundreds of concept cars produced between 1932 and the present day, the visions for these automobiles are exciting to behold. Like most concept cars, those on display were never intended for production. Imagine an egg-shaped electric car, an exterior surface made of flexible fabric, or a jet fighter rolling down the highway – all of these were among the ideas dreamed up by designers and are featured in these galleries. The “dream” represented by these cars was that of future possibilities and pushing the limits of imagination and design.

 

Flying saucers spotted in London show that communication and technology really are different.

Technology changes so rapidly that if you don’t focus on the message you’re behind before you start. For example Pepsi Max has surprised commuters with their “unbelievable” augmented reality installation at a bus shelter on New Oxford Street in London. The intervention locates a special real-time display on the exterior face of a billboard wall, which visualizes a realistic augmented live stream of exaggerated events from the inside.  Unsuspecting bus passengers are terrified by a glass screen showing the street scene overlaid with apolcalyptic scenes of mayhem and destruction. From a giant robot crashing through the road’s brickwork to a passerby being abducted by flying saucers, the interactive experience creates unusual scenarios on the street, engaging the public for a publicity stunt. But will it make people drink Pepsi?

esqA past issue of Esquire featured the latest digital technology to dazzle advertisers and consumers alike, “augmented reality.” Its cover displayed a code designed to interact with PC-connected video cameras. The “augmented reality” offering features video clips, a music track and even an interactive marketing section. You can visit www.esquire.com/the-side/augmented-reality and experience the fusing of print and interactive and judge for yourself whether this will save print as we know it.

I love this technology. It’s new and fun and geeky—and like the James Cameron film, “Avatar”, which changed the way films are made—it’s amazing. However, for some reason it makes me think of 19th Century author Victor Hugo who probably never used the word “technology” in his life. He wrote his massive tomes, such as “Les Miserables”, by hand many times before publication; but somehow he communicated with such insight and power and relevance that when he died more than two million people took to the streets of Paris in a spontaneous show of respect. We all will have to decide what the difference between technology and communication is for ourselves before all human ideas become lost in the digital ecosystem.