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The egg or the chicken?

The egg or the chicken?

For the cover photo, my choice was the precise and beautiful photo of Juan Carlos Borjas, one of the three winners of the first prize of the «Alimentos de ida y vuelta» Photo Contest, at the International “Excelencias Gourmet” Seminar, with more than one hundred photos and participants from ten countries. I chose this photo because, in addition to its provocation in itself, it seemed appropriate for our headline.

 The question based on the popular proverb of “what was the first thing in the world” seems to suit the latest media storm of a banana stuck with masking tape that someone swallows at a contemporary art fair in Miami.  And I don't know why it reminds me so much of the debates in Arco Madrid about a half-full or half-empty glass of water, as one would appreciate, whose value exceeded twenty thousand Euros, of the Cuban Wilfredo Prieto.

 I especially remember the unparalleled argumentation of the artist amid the controversy in the Spanish press.  He claimed that the challenge "choked on the throat of the old art guard."  And then the irreverent creator declared to El País: «I could sell the glass in one euro if you prove me that the idea is conceptually flawed».

 The difference is that by then we made “Arte por Excelencias,” issue 23, and Prieto also published his work of a banana peel over a soap bar.  

Miami amazed me once again with its conceptual flexibility and adaptability to new trends, the use of cars, specially the Lamborginis, as stands to exhibit art while riding on the street: a BMW inside art Miami, or the vanguard designs of furniture and decorative objects of art dising. Restaurants, hotels and galleries, like Gary Nader's, a fair in itself, make this city the center of art of all Iberia America taking this event as one more pleasure for quality cultural tourism in this city, coinciding with the nomination of Miami as "2019 capital of the gastronomic culture."

Today we are at the doorsteps of the fiftieth edition.  I can attest, from our first issue and my meetings with editors, painters and critics, brewed in the heat of the Havana Biennial, that this is an issue related with the art-market relationship, which has been haunting us almost since the times when the first artists worked in a court or when Vincent Van Gogh's brother had to sell his works to survive his times.

Painter and critic Manuel López Oliva calls him, not wrongly, «The bananalization of art» in his instructive and long controversies by email.  And I quote him from the last one: «And it is not that we are against art being sold, but rather against a pseudo art that is manufactured with eyes set on the market and an only constructive-financial logic and a puerile or only speculative aesthetic».

 And in one of those emails from our master, whom we love in the Grupo Excelencias so much for his sense of belonging to our magazine, he says that «The banana is only the circumstantial event of a speculative act in which the artistic object is no longer necessary in order to sell.  The act of selling is what is sold.  It is a virtual market, because the taste or culture of the recipient does not even matter.  What matters is the financial result in that link between the producer, the merchant and the investor ».

 I open these pages with pleasure in search of different visions of the same subject: from Art Basel and the system of satellite fairs from which we have just returned last December, or the impact of the 16th Venice Biennale in various pavilions, to those who see sees the epicenter of international contemporary art in the blessed banana.

 I still believe in taking good care, above all, of the chickens.