Well hello there! This is certainly an unexpected sight at Art Basel Miami Beach: a copy of Andrea Fraser’s book 2016: In Museums, Money and Politics sitting atop a pedestal. (Fraser’s critique-minded art is typically less than ideal as art-fair fodder.)
Fraser’s recently published volume, which takes a look at the political donations of museum-board members during the last U.S. presidential campaign, was on the stand of Berlin and Cologne gallery Nagel Draxler, and my first reaction was that something deeply conceptual must be afoot. Perhaps a canny young artist was presenting it as some form of readymade? Perhaps it signaled a subtle intervention in the fair by Fraser, a trap that would spring at any moment? Incorrect.
Nagel Draxler is selling copies of the book (which my colleague Alex Greenberger reviewed in these pages), and as of 4:30 p.m. it had five copies left, available at $100 a pop. (Which makes it, almost certainly, the cheapest piece on offer at a gallery booth at the fair.)
I am now imagining a curious art fan buying a copy of the book, being disturbed by the information contained therein, and then deciding to confront one of the wealthy and politically engaged collectors right here, in the aisles of the Miami Beach Convention Center. But that, alas, will likely have to wait until next year. With the third day of Basel coming to a close, most of the biggest fish have already left town.