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In one sense, it’s a very good time to be an artist. There’s a lot of money out there, collector and corporate, to fund new work. Companies are using art to get publicity for their business ventures; the overwhelming memory of Art Basel 07 is one of corporate logos, hard-sell pitches and luxury branding.
Talk about positioning: Thirtysomething Sheikh Majed Al Sabah went shopping at the upstart Pulse art fair and two days later announced a huge Dubai real-estate development, Villa Moda, that includes an art gallery. The sheikh, a luxury retailer and artist himself, released a statement that the Dubai complex would be “a new concept in retail therapy.”
By week’s end, what was legit and what wasn’t had blurred beyond recognition. One of the better artworks in the city was Grammy-winning musician Henri Scars Struck’s lush, complex 24-hour “sound installation,” which played crickets and campfires at midnight and East European cafés at dinnertime. Where was it? In the elevator of the Le Meridien hotel. Says the artist: “I wanted to surprise people.” Penthouse, please. —Alexandra PeersArt Basel Miami: Brought to You by These Sponsors