All the Pieces One Artist Loved at Art Basel in Miami
Dana Louise Kirkpatrick’s Basel hit list. Plus, what it was like to see her own work hanging.
If you don’t know Dana Louise Kirkpatrick’s name yet, you should. She’s collaborated with Sonia Kashuk on her Knock Out Beauty collection, and her works are collected by the likes of Cindy Crawford, Anthony Kiedis, and Flea. When she told us she was heading down to Miami for Art Basel, we asked her to record her favorite things while cruising around the fair.
“I flew to Miami to celebrate every artist on every wall. The place echoes with talent. [I was also] seeing Los Angeles friends, speaking with press, and advocating for the nine drawings I had on display. I was there to do the unsavory aspect of my job. [I spent the week] tripping through the big tent with fellow artist Bernie Taupin, giving Deb Mcleod (who fights the good fight) a hug, seeing Sonia Kashuk’s Warhol polaroids, and shooting the shit with Haitian cab drivers in gridlock traffic. They know the secret to life. You get exactly what you give—patience, kindness, and mercy are the only true currencies.”
“6 AM alarm… Half-dead with circles under my eyes, I pull on black high-waisted American Apparel zipper-ankle skinnies, a size XL paper-thin faded black 1984 Rolling Stones t-shirt, and throw a vintage military button-down on. I [go to the lobby Starbucks for a] Venti flat white—[I’m a] no-eye-contact zombie and straight back to room 2323.”
“My Rolling Stones vintage tee lives to see another day despite being dirty. [I also wear a] CHANEL leather logo cuff on loan, and Heaven on Main Street’s coveted face oil saves my skin again.”
“Art Basel. A man with a gun and padded black bulletproof vest stands guard over a massive Picasso. For real. The frame alone cost 50 grand. Sam Durant’s ‘End White Supremacy’ at Blum & Poe takes my breath away—the orange neon glow of hope. I want to buy it and send it to the White House. We keep walking the expensive maze—everyone is beautiful here. I find my indomitable friend Deborah McCleod (Director of GAGOSIAN Beverly Hills) there. She is busy and standing by Jeff Koon’s massive diamond ring. We stand still for a snap shot in front of Roy Lichtenstein’s painting, ‘Portrait of a Woman.’ Can’t put a price on iconic beauty, but Larry is asking 13.5 million.”
“This is my dear friend Michael Muller’s TASCHEN book. Michael and I trade philanthropic asks and have consistently supported one another for over a decade now. Anthony Kiedis introduced us. We just sort of see each other’s hearts and intense work ethics. The book is massively scaled and documents ten years of his inspired career.”
“Keith Haring (‘Untitled 1982’, Mark Borghi Fine Art)—this piece is all soul and perfectly expresses the current collective angst. Quite simply, it’s achingly beautiful and is quintessential Keith. It’s honest, brave, perfect.”
“Jean Michel Basquiat. This piece feels alive, despite the trappings of dollars and fame imposed on it. Take away the trend and hype of JMB and there is just soul here. It’s genius.”
“Artist and dear friend Bernie Taupin, this is one of his gorgeous assemblage works. He takes a blowtorch to the canvas. Rough burlap and twine wraps the scorched edges, incredible bits of bazooka wrappers and collage flank the stretcher bars. It’s intricate and complex—this one reminds me how love reshapes us. We’re never the same again.”
“This is my painting, ‘Pretty Pretty Spy Boy,’ 2016. This one’s got a back story that hasn’t ended yet, but on the work, I read Viktor Frankl. I thought of the refugees in Aleppo, passed the daily junkies in East L.A., walked into the studio, and made that. I feel too much sometimes and if I don’t work, I can’t breathe. It’s a prayer, I guess. I saw the cash-collecting ‘poor boxes’ in a huge empty church in Detroit. The black cat has the wings of peace in his mouth, but he isn’t all bad. The fish head soup references Viktor Frankl, a nod to hope maybe—if a prisoner in a concentration camp can find gratitude in a bowl of rancid fish head soup, maybe, just maybe, popular culture might consider reframing our collective relentless complaints and consumption.”