First Book Signing at Art Basel Miami Beach

Never once before this had I considered book signing or especially about art work. Often times I’d read about a book signing and just continue reading without pause. Never given it much thought actually. When the email from PAMM loaded in Gmail I glanced through it and, this time, actually grasped that there was an opportunity awaiting for me to actually participant and at the same time keep a physical representation of my efforts of that particular day and of the interest I had at that time and what I wanted out of the event. The embodiment of this effort was in a book and a few amputated lines of text written by someone whose hands produced work significant enough to be shown as part of her retrospective. Her first and mine as well. The signature was excellent. Felt completely fulfilled the moment she closed the book, turned it around, and nudged it towards me. A collection just beginning.

The less than hour drive south to PAMM wasn’t terrible except for having left one hour later than I had originally planned. Arrive at 9:45am I thought, but didn’t want to seem so eager walking into the museum for a yet to begin book signing. And so leaving for the drive at nearly 10am made me nervous that I would completely miss my opportunity to receive her signature. A fair amount of planning went into this day. Here’s a list.

  1. The 1 PTO day from work.
  2. The approximately 40 minute drive to PAMM. Counts for time and gas.
  3. The $10 flat parking fee at PAMM.
  4. The 1 hour wait in a standing-only line.
  5. The $60 art book purchase.
  6. The approximately 40 minute drive from PAMM. Counts for time and gas again.
  7. The output of these hard and soft costs are book itself.

People in the standing-only line were less chatty that I expected. “Is this the line of the book signing?” She asked with my back turned and assumed it was for me because I was the last person in the line. Maybe 5” 4′ with black rimmed glasses, shorts, t-shirt, tote bag, brownish long hair and a cast on her right foot. She had a gold iPhone too. Not the iPhone 6 though. Lives and works in New York as an art directory and the designer of the official Art Basel Miami Beach magazine cover art. Had never seen this official magazine until she mentioned it. They were in all the hotels and in the convention center. Didn’t matter where they were unless I also had one. So instead of Beatriz Milhazes signing her own newly released art book and the reason for the book signing, the New York art director was to ask Beatriz to sign her magazine art work. Pretty cool. Nice to meet you. No, no, no. You sign my art. Just let me take it out of my tote bag here.

Oh and the Brazilian bourgeois. If it wasn’t that they were all women except for the old man I would think more harshly of them. Nice looking women actually. One had a witch’s nose. The other a white dress, a long face, great legs and what I appeared to be a firm bunda from multiple angles and poses. The others are forgotten. Nonstop chatting the entire line. The old man leaves the line walks away and back in line. The representation of a yo-yo.

Standing in line I infrequently checked my phone. really observing the other line standers the perhaps non-obvious emerges. Mainly in how people are dressed. Some where clearly there for Art Basel and others perhaps locals were just in everyday wear and slightly on the shabby. At least I wore polo shirt. Would have been concerning had I wore a simple t-shirt. Yes, these are things never considered prior to the book signing experience.

So the line moved at a slow pace and I can only imagine was due to the nearly every person wanting a picture. Take my picture. Let me take your picture. Here’s my phone. Flash me. Oh, that one came out nice. Smile wide and show me your teeth so that I know you really appreciated it. The fake smile I gave you. Leaning over the table or worse going around the table. It’s not what you expect.

And what do you say? Flattery gets you everywhere. She said that. The art director. No, I didn’t say that loved here work. No, I didn’t critique or give advise. And certainly didn’t begin with a thought out analysis of her work and its influence or derivative work or impact on her work on the art world. “Hi. Glad to be here.” That’s it. Gave her my name and she began writing. For the hour long book signing stander by she wrote “with Joy.” But my reward was “with Joy and Rhythm.” Beatriz imperceptibly glanced at a cardboard sheet with many names written on it just before writing the word rhythm. The capital “R” is strange compared to the other letters. She gave me extra is what’ I’m saying. An extra word.