Bright, Shiny Objects: Seeing Yourself (Everywhere) at Art Basel

Photo: Carl Swanson

If there is a patron saint of what Art Basel Miami Beach both aspires to be and can’t help but fall into, it might be Jeff Koons, whose art is so delighted with its relationship to the market, this deliberately optimistic Pop universe of digestible wealth. I was thinking about this while looking at a Koons mirror at the Gagosian booth and then remembering the other pieces I’d already seen around the hall that reflect the viewer (The visitor? The shopper? The admirer? The self-admirer? The compulsive art-selfie-taker?). Many of his pieces allow you to look back at yourself in their polished sheen; he’s said that “when you walk by, the object is affirmed and you become affirmed, the viewer.”

On everything—from the mirrors his plastic flowers were planted on back in the ‘70s, through the Celebration series (Balloon Dogs, etc.), to the reflective Gazing Ball series from last year — you see what you want in his work partly because you so often can (literally) see yourself in it. Which may be why mirror work always seems at home at fairs — though maybe never more than this year. And so, here is a slideshow of reflective pieces (who’s the fairest collector of them all?) from Art Basel.

Seeing Yourself (Everywhere) at Art Basel