I recently returned from Art Basel Miami and the impossible task of covering the mother ship of all shows plus 18 associated fairs, 51 exhibitions, 27 special events, and 44 art spaces. I tried my best to sample all spectrums of the art world from the contemporary artists with rock star status to those making a name for themselves mid-career and emerging artists. For one week each year, Miami Beach becomes the center of the universe in the art world with Art Basel as the big international draw.
The range of 20th and 21st century artworks blows the mind and stirs the soul. It’s a fabulous place to people watch in this mashup of celebrities, eccentrics, art collectors, art dealers and design cognoscenti. It’s also easy to suffer from sensory overload after walking through miles of neutral white exhibit space. Art is a very personal experience—what speaks to me can be quite the opposite of what speaks to you. Personally, I’m drawn to works that find beauty in the overlooked and discarded. In our throwaway culture, artists who repurpose the things we no longer want or need always intrigue me. Dare I say that in the U.S. there is an endless supply of refuse ripe for creative repurposing. Regardless of whether you view these works as social commentary, there is something very provocative about them—the ability to see beauty in the mundane and the sheer self-discipline and attention to detail to create them. Here’s a look at some of my favorite artists at Art Basel Miami doing amazing work with ordinary objects.
Designer Benjamin Rollins Caldwell caught Lady Gaga’s attention with his Binary Chair made of computer parts that later became an icon of Lady Gaga’s ArtPop album campaign.
Known as the RE-INVENTOR, Caldwell’s studio is a storehouse of old computers that he reincarnates into furniture. It all started when Caldwell came across of 11 pallets of old computers and thought what a shame to see all this refuse end up in a landfill. Instead, where others saw trash, Caldwell saw color, texture and structure that became the basis of his Binary Collection.
Just three weeks after creating an installation for Lady Gaga’s artRave party where Caldwell created an entire room from computer parts—the walls, flooring, furniture and rugs— the designer brought his Binary Collection to Design Miami. Industry Gallery out of Washington D.C presented the works of Benjamin Rollins Caldwell at Design Miami.
The living room suite features a Binary Sofa made of computer towers, a collage of motherboards and seat cushions made from computer ribbon cable.
A side chair is made of interwoven Ethernet cable and a collage of motherboards.