I don't know this for sure, but I seriously doubt that any of the 77,000 people who flocked to Art Basel Miami Beach or the many more that attended the hundreds of satellite events in Miami last week spent the whole time camping in a trailer in a former avocado orchard. At first, it seemed like a great idea. I'm working all year on the road after all, so why not rock up at a gathering of the art world's one percenters that I need to cover for work in our travel trailer? What fun! One friend even suggested that we could pass off our rather dowdy and extremely beige Keystone Bullet as a public art installation and give people tours.
This didn't take into account that the closest campground we could find in Miami was an hour's drive away from South Beach, even without the Art Basel traffic. Once we actually made it into the city, we had to sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the causeway over to South Beach, navigate gridlocked streets once we got there and then find a parking spot that was large enough for The Beast in all the mayhem. Thank goodness Shane offered to drive. Still, repeating that process at the end of each day meant a total of three or more hours of driving on top of eight or nine hours of running around various art fairs reporting, which meant the whole thing was pretty full on for both of us.
It was also weird to be staying in a campground surrounded by fruit farms in the same city, but in a different world to South Beach, with its VIP receptions, rope lines, slinky dresses and celebrity parties. The Beast looked pretty conspicuous and in dire need of a wash in the valet parking pick up line outside the main fair, wedged in among the gleaming BMWs and Ferarris. Again, thank goodness Shane was driving. We also found that trying to appear like people who are not actually permanently living in a field and emptying a trailer's sewer tank every few days is a bit of a challenge when that's actually what you are doing. At one point, we had to conduct an emergency change into evening clothes out of the back of The Beast in the underground parking deck at our friends Vic and Tom's place.
Thankfully, we both got to see some fantastic art last week (see photos and captions for some of the most talked about pieces) and have a lovely dinner with Vic and Tom one evening. Artists Tomas Vu and Rirkrit Tiravanija also had an installation at Untitled fair, held in a massive tent on the actual beach, which encouraged visitors to take surfboards with Pussy Riot-inspired designs out into the waves, so I made it onto the sand too, albeit very briefly. (Incidentally, although everyone who had a go a surfing deserves a high five (unlike me), the only person who actually managed to get up on a board was a lifeguard, who walked over to have a go and blew the competition out of the water, so to speak. I immediately thought that our surfing friend Riva should have been there!)
Thanksgiving, preparations for Miami and a lot of moves over the last few weeks mean that we have some gaps to fill in on this blog. Shane has posted about Charleston, South Carolina, but we were there just before our stay at Fort McCallister State Park in Georgia. Since then we've been to Savannah and Jekyll Island, Georgia, and Jacksonville, Florida, where we spent Thanksgiving with our amazing hosts Michele and Spencer and family. Before we arrived in Miami, we made a day trip to St Augustine and then stayed near Cape Canaveral, Florida. There we visited the Kennedy Space Center and had an equally inspirational time with our friend Sally's trailblaizing mother, who from her first job heading up the crew systems lab during the Apollo missions, spent an amazing career at NASA. So we are playing catch up. Watch this space for more!
Kathryn Tully and Shane Sesta are a married couple, one American and one Brit, who are spending a year traveling across America and writing about their discoveries. Sonny is their rescue cat and fried chicken aficionado.