What does one do on a rainy Sunday in Florida?. This week we went to Palm Beach3 which is a gathering of all sorts of art dealers in painting, sculpture, photography and decorative arts. The event is held annually in the Palm Beach Convention Center which is appropriate for this sort of thing. The following week this building will be occupied by luxury car dealers selling Lamborghinis, and Rolls Royces — the same toys for the same boys. This is Palm Beach, the land of the pretentious, the impostor, the exhibitionist, and super rich. Its quite a mix. The convention center is the closest they will ever come to a mall.
Question: Whats it cost?
Answer: $35,000 (very glibly)
Response: Oh Fabulous!
No one here would ever dare to be shocked by the outrageous price of dreck.
This event brings in art dealers from around the world. Like a moth drawn to light, they descend on this convention center to peddle their wares to the rich and powerful who are united, only in their total lack of good taste. (If you don’t believe me, just take a walk down Worth Avenue in Palm Beach and look at the schlock being peddled as art. My favorite is the life-sized bronze sculpture of Picasso sitting in a rocking chair— $120,000. Not BY Picasso, OF Picasso. It was done by some whore with a goatee.) There seems to be some uniform for art dealers. The men are dressed in black suits with black shirts, black ties and rimless glasses. The female dealers also have a “uniform” but it is more subtle. diamonds, white dresses and breast implants seem to be the fashion of the moment.
The public is just as contrived, at least most of them. They are dressed in the same”uniforms” as the dealers. This is to ensure that they recognize each so the sellers don’t have to waste their time answering stupid questions from amateurs.
I know I am just ranting now but lets be honest. Its not all bad. Amongst the life-sized nude sculptures of porn-stars. over sized photographs of washed-out views from grandmother’s kitchen, paintings of voluptuous semi-clad women staring vacantly into the distance, over sized photographs of blurred footprints, life-sized sculptures of push pins, $64,000 lighting fixtures, wall-sized portraits of screaming children with blood dripping from their empty eye sockets, and endless prints of Botero and Vazarelly, there was actually some good stuff to be seen. You just had to wade your way through all the shit to get there.
For me, however the main attraction was the crowd and the never-ending cacophony of color, shapes and styles was far superior to what was hanging on the walls.
The photo on top is of a jewellery dealer from Ottawa, Sharon was looking at a bracelet and this was the only contact we had with any of the dealers. (Most of them just ignore the audience as they peck away at their MacBooks and pretend to be very busy. The only thing that will get their attention would be a whiff of Chanel which is a secret sign that the person wearing it is stinking rich and worthy of their attention.)
But I digress. Anyhow this woman was showing Sharon a bracelet and I asked to take her picture. She said yes. By the way, she didn’t really belong here since her stuff was reasonably priced and she actually spoke to people.