As the dust settles on another year of Basel, the P81 team will bring you our thoughts and reflections throughout the week. Join the conversation and tell us what you thought of Art Basel 2011 at Facebook.com/Product81
Basel brought many things to the people of Miami – access to a world of art in a very short window of time, internationally renowned names, and the temporary transformation of a city. However, there were very few opportunities for people to be in a position other than that of merely the audience, the patron or the observer.
Last Saturday, we unintentionally broke this rule and invited people in Wynwood to create some art of their own.
It all started with an early morning surprise. As we kicked away the mounds of trash blocking our entrance from the previous night’s Basel festivities, we noticed that our door had been tagged. A tag is the quick, stylized signature of a graffiti writer. As much as we admire and appreciate the street art that goes up around Wynwood, a messy tag on our door was different. Call us hypocrites if you like, but we were upset. It had never happened before.
While the Basel early-birds began trickling into our space, we realized that we couldn’t leave the door that way. Armed with our own paint and markers, project Tag Beautification commenced. Before long, people walking by asked if they could try, so we ran across the street to a pop-up art supply stand and bought a load of markers. Our theory became that if everyone could tag our door, than nobody is really tagging it. It quickly became layer upon layer of colors and scribbles. Everyone from children to giggling grandparents left their mark on the door.
Throughout Saturday, we hosted an event in our space called the Ista Culture Seminar where one of the discussion topics was about local graffiti. At one point, an audience member commented that writing on a wall is an almost primal urge. You can think of ancient cave drawings, but really just give a small child a marker and a blank wall to see what happens.
Overnight, our door became something completely unique: a beautiful, community-created work of art.