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The VICE Guide to Miami Art Fairs - Danny Mcdonald

Danny McDonald says he isn't going to Miami this year for the fair. I think he is. I think he's going and I also happen to think he's going to have the time of his life. He'll be at every party, completely off his tits on drugs, and when he's not at...

Danny McDonald says he isn’t going to Miami this year for the fair. I think he is. I think he’s going and I also happen to think he’s going to have the time of his life. He’ll be at every party, completely off his tits on drugs, and when he’s not at parties he’ll be on the beach… provided he gets a couple of liters of SPF Infinity to cover that lily-white epidermis of his.

Vice: So, you going to Miami?


Danny McDonald:

Not necessarily.

Why not?

I’ve managed to avoid ever going to Art Basel. This year my gallery actually has a container there and they got a big hotel room so I was invited to go… but I’m not sure if I’m gonna go.

Why wouldn’t you go?

Well, art fairs represent the opposite of everything that interests me about art, and Miami Basel is probably the most egregious example of that.

What’s specifically wrong with it?

The spectacle and celebration surrounding the commercial enterprise of art fairs, you know? An art fair is basically a trade show, and to me that’s bogus.


It’s not that great things don’t happen…

What’s good, then?

Well, one of the positive things about the art world is that it’s a community, and at a fair the community gets to come together on an international basis.


But I guess I just associate it with cocaine and trying to stay up all night.

Don’t you like parties?

I’m not that into parties, you know? My friend Kembra Pfahler always says, “Why are you celebrating?” And I think it’s a really good question, not that I’m against people having a good time, but, like, what is it that you’re celebrating?

The beach?

That’s maybe another reason why I’m not going, I’m not such a beach person, I sunburn easily.

That’s the real reason, isn’t it? You just don’t wanna fry.

Yeah, it’s my Scottish ancestry. My skin’s, like, blue.

Forced To Sell Artwork From Personal Collection In Order To Offset Living Expenses (The Wicked Witch Of The West), 2008, mixed media, courtesy of Broadway 1602.


You want me to go for you? Shave my head and get some glasses?

Yeah, you could do that.

What’s one reason you can think of that would make you go?

Well, the main draw for me is my friends have this band called My Barbarian and they’re doing a big project there. I would love to see that. They’re amazing.

So you’ll probably go.

No, I don’t think so.

What do you have against art fairs?

They suck. I don’t like what they did to art. The works that succeed in that kind of environment, where you’re bombarded by all these things competing against each other, are the most spectacular and the flashiest and the shiniest. A lot of thoughtful work doesn’t get seen in that context, which has become the only context for art sales. And even though I do have a personal interest in things going well economically, I’m sort of looking forward to things getting corrected…

You mean with the financial crisis?

Yeah, I think that may open opportunities for work that wouldn’t ordinarily be seen, and it’ll force art dealers and galleries to try something different.

You’re probably gonna go to the fair though, right?

Maybe, I don’t know.

I’ll see you there.

I don’t think so.