A London bus…Miami Bound!
A mobile, interactive art project is taking place in Miami this week, tinting the fancy atmosphere of art fairs with the distinctive Red of an historical London vehicle. A 1967 double decker bus has just arrived in the United States, to make art interplay with life, and history with the present. It will be travelling all next year. From Miami, it will head to Artistic Noise, an arts program for youth in the justice system in Boston and New York, and from there all the way to the Burning Man in Nevada.
During the art fairs week in Miami it will invite guests to ride along in style from the creatively inspired Wynwood Walls to South Beach. En route, they will be offered audacious interventions in public art, performances and poetic sound installations, creating a fully encompassing form of surrealism in motion. From December the 4th to the 9th there will be five runs a day, between 12 pm and 8 pm. Lying somewhere between a public art experience and a crazy, moving art fair, the iconic London bus called Doogle will greet its guests with cocktails in the transformed interns of a bar downstairs, while offering performances in the roof top lounge.
The project, created and directed PS Project Space, in collaboration with the owner/driver Joe Phillips, and sponsored by Select Fair, will make the bus a moving booth for the immersive film of artist Ryan Uzilevsky, presenting as well the works of Emily Chatton and C Finley, the sound interventions of Roots QC and some pieces of Paul Seftel, director of PS Project Space. Truly, nobody knows who will be the next passenger, so curators want the public to be aware that other artists and performers will be announced daily.
Funny and irreverent, this project made me think about the monumental format of fairs/biennials that has developed in the past years. Shall we think of public art as a potential challenge for the art system in general, something that can make it more intense as an event as opposed to bigger as an apparatus? Well, maybe.
Today, each fairs’ tint hosts thousand of satellite mini-fairs or related events that, honestly, look like an advertising of the fair itself more than a unique occasion to see and buy art, while sharing experiences with professionals about art. Not set apart from bureaucratized working lives and the standardized fare of mass culture, contemporary art starts to be thought as the mirror in which face our own anxiety of possess, and celebrate the contemporary liturgy of exchange. All this reminds of Charles Saatchi’s recent assault on dealers and collectors as vulgar and self-regarding, or of American art critic Dave Hickey’s announcement of retirement because, as he contends in the pages of The Art Newspaper, <<Today, art is made for a bunch of extremely rich people for whom the critic acts as “intellectual head waiter”>>.
More than this, thousands of artists are still tackling the issues of the social role of art, working on alternative strategies for making art and showing that is possible to create something countercultural and liberating but still valuable, both within the system and the market. Doogle the Bus project goes in this direction, showing that it is possible to see, buy and experience art, without necessarily being forced to fit within the fairs format and formality, but in the funny levity of a ride in artists’ company.
Vanessa Saraceno is a freelance journalist based in London. She holds a BA in Philosophy and an MA in Art History and Heritage Management from IULM University of Milan. Over the past three years, she has worked with several art institutions and galleries in various communications roles. She also writes and runs an art blog: http://www.arthuntermag.comview all articles from this author