Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
~ William Butler Yeats, “The Second Coming”
When William Butler Yeats wrote these words, surely Art Basel Miami Beach is what he had in mind. In this recurring race to the bottom, where rich people go to prove just how many things they would rather throw money at than equity, justice, the environment, or baseline humanity, a clear winner is already rising. Top prize in this anarchy of excess, veiled in a thin cover of culture, must surely go to a December 4 event summoned into this world by Rock the Bells and Cheetos, taking place on the Seafair Mega Yacht.
Enter Yacht the Basel, starring Lefty Out There: “The Art of the Cheetle” — if these words are not a hellish incantation that calls out whichever horseman of the apocalypse is currently waiting in the wings, what else are they? They also mean that one of those du jour street-artist-turned-muralists who like to cover everything in a repeating motif has now “upped” the ante by rendering his signature squiggles in Cheeto dust. Because taping a goddamn banana to a wall was not enough, no, the art world needed to do something even more stupid involving food. At sea!
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What can be said about this situation? The facts are these: the Seafair is a 220-foot, four-story megayacht docked at Bayfront Park in downtown Miami. There are six bars, Cheetos-inspired activations, the Art of the Cheetle gallery, onboard activities, and “much much more,” according to a press release. But equally as true, the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned.
Far be it for me to tell anyone what to do with their time in life, or their ill-gotten and excessive wealth. I am no saint, and prone to my own frivolities — and anything I say would fall on the deaf ears of those full of passionate intensity. I congratulate Lefty Out There on a successful spectacle, and hope the work sells, because probably everything he owns is now covered in a fine orange powder and needing replacement. I assume the preservatives in Cheetos have a better shelf life than a banana taped to a wall. I wish everyone in attendance a great Art Basel Miami, and look forward to hearing what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born.