It is that time of year again, in which thousands of wealthy people, celebrities, poseurs, trustafarian and scenesters descend upon the city of Miami for the international contemporary art expo known as Art Basel. Whether they are indulging in decadence for purposes of an elevated aesthetic, or maybe, just maybe due to a genuine appreciation of creative expression, the weekend has been scoffed at by critics over the years due to its excessive draw of party monsters and corporate sharks alike. Underrepresented artists (i.e. most of them) blast Art Basel as creating a false-pretense of how an artform should be perceived, all the while literally robbing the community of its authentic value all in favor of the dollars of some rich fucks (who don’t give a shit about art). Plus, it costs tens-to-hundreds of thousands of dollars in registration fees to even have your work showcased!
Leave it to a truly creative mind to come up with the starving artists’ alternative to Art Basel. John Kilduff is a Los Angeles-based artist who has defied the constraints of conventional craftsmanship through his humorous, off-the-wall interpretations of what one considers “art.” When I was a teenager, my friends and I used to prank call John’s public access television show Let’s Paint TV, a live program that featured Kilduff painting while running on a treadmill and blending mixed drinks. It was like watching a drunk version of The Joy of Painting, on speed. The absurd spectacle, a work of performance art in its own right, has since landed Kilduff’s schtick on programs such as The Tyra Banks Show, America’s Got Talent, and even the red carpet during Vh1’s 2006 Big Awards.
Let’s Paint TV
If you search for the hashtag #ArtBasil online, you will surprised to see how many stupid people commonly confuse a town in Switzerland (where the exposition began in 1970) with Ocimum basilicum, the common culinary herb. John Kilduff recognized the opportunity for witty, punsploitation in 2015 when he launched Art Basil, the very first satirical art show dedicated to the beloved and tasty leafy-green plant. Happening simultaneously with its Miami counterpart, Kilduff has opened his backyard in Van Nuys up to a worldwide community of artists. Each tiny gallery costs just $50 to participate and guarantees the use of a 12”x12” booth in Kilduff’s herb garden. Because the event is micro-sized, there is a lot of opportunity for creativity and conceptualization, including exhibits with tiny paintings, photos printed from the internet, bizarre installations, and very small sculptures.
This year’s Art Basil is currently underway and can be streamed throughout the weekend. If you live in Los Angeles, you can arrange to see the galleries for yourself, but please be advised that much of the city is currently on fire.
Below is a list of this year’s participants along with photos from previous galleries at Art Basil:
Regionals Hauptfest - Berlin, Germany / Vienna, Austria
Catherine Dallaire - Ontario, Canada
Douglas Alvarez Gallery - Los Angeles, CA
JT Steiny Gallery - Los Angeles, CA
Garbage Jungle - Los Angeles, CA
Kristine Augustyn Gallery - Los Angeles, CA
Alex Schaefer Gallery - Los Angeles, CA
Kate Carvellas Gallery - Pasadena, CA
Museum of Meaning - Los Angeles, CA
AFK Studios - Westbury, NY
Illuminoidal Arts - Long Beach, CA
Jeffrey Vallance Gallery - Canoga Park, CA
Victoria Reynolds - Canoga Park, CA
Zeina Baltagi Gallery - Los Angeles, CA
Teri Berman Gallery - Los Angeles, CA
Peter Hess Gallery - Los Angeles, CA
Words"R"Us - Altadena, CA
BG Gallery - Santa Monica, CA
Decorative Mediocre Gallery - Oakland, CA
Where She Lies Gallery - Los Angeles, CA
Rain Lucien Matheke - North Hills, CA
Stevie Love Studio - Los Angeles, CA
Bryon Rush Gallery - Riverside, CA
A.Stone Originals - Los Angeles, CA
New Jörg - Vienna, Austria
More after the jump…