Art Basel is Decadent and Depraved, The Bitter Southerner
Happens every year. Like clockwork. The world’s richest art aficionados come to Art Basel in Miami Beach. We wanted to send an outsider down there — somebody who could mix it up with the Swells in the name of truth and entertainment. The great Kentuckian Hunter S. Thompson is 12 years dead now, but we found a guy almost as crazy — and still alive. We figured we could trust him — but only if his sidekick, Stanwyck, tagged along. This is their story. They found decadence aplenty. Oddly enough, they found some Art That Matters, too.
Written Under Duress by Rob Rushin for The Bitter Southerner
I was on the second floor when I noticed a room — belonging to The Southern Contemporary Gallery of Charleston — papered with the exact same toile that had graced our dear old Gran’s living room way back when. Charming renderings of the Old South in delicate shades of grey and ochre. Who could resist this touch of Southern charm
Notice the landscapes of Civil War battlefields, mixed-media collages, portraits of battle re-enactors — one white, one African-American. Closer inspection reveals the charming wallpaper vignettes to be, well, more bitter than charming. The scenes depict the cycle of slavery — acquisition, sale, discipline, domestication, and revolt — that underlies the prosaic memories of the Lost Cause, the “white-washed, romanticized re-branding of plantations in the American South,” as their creator, Charleston artist Colin Quashie, puts it. Duality, baby. This ain’t your grandma’s toile. Bitter Charlestonians are encouraged to visit The Southern and pick up a few rolls of Quashie’s wallpaper for your next renovation. Do it for your Gran.