By CAMILA BARBEITO
Art Palm Beach Fair exhibited fresh and controversial work this year. A perfect example of this was Greg Haberny’s politically-charged exhibit; particularly his main piece, titled “Beautiful Disaster.” This work, a United States-shaped garbage dump composed of kid’s toys and random odds-and-ends, is large and obtrusive yet magnetic. People constantly surrounded it, each person waiting their turn to speak with the artist that created a piece that represented all that they were feeling, but just could not put into words. When asked about the symbolism of this sculpture, Haberny stated that he simply wanted to depict a “fat, bloated, over-indulgent” America while still showing the “glossy, beautiful” side of it as well. Even though this piece was originally part of an exhibition inspired by the Democratic National Convention held last election season, the crowd applauding it was made up of people of all political views, ages, races and ethnicities.
Haberny’s other pieces also caught the eyes of unlikely admirers, such as a seemingly-conservative senior citizen laughing with his wife over the “Giant Sex Change Coloring Book” hanging next to several other eccentric creations. Even more of his artworks satirized American healthcare, obesity, fast-food chains, credit card debt, and general hypocrisy. On another note, Wulf Treu also exhibited a few of his multi-faceted paintings, which not only feature the use of mixed-media, but mixed-time periods as well. Acclaimed by many as the new Basquiat, Treu ironically blended the late artist’s unique, grafitti-like style with Ancient Roman columns and sculptures, as well as his own witty, thought-provoking style, in several of his featured works. There is a sense of melancholy and desolation in each of the artist’s paintings, maybe due to his experiences in emigrating from his home country of Germany towards the United States in the midst of the Berlin Wall crisis. Treu is another artist that is never shy to explore controversial themes, evident in his inclusion of Basquiat’s style in his work; he explores human nature and emotions while simultaneously incorporating comical, pop-art elements as well. Brendan Dawes also made quite the impression on the fair’s VIP invitees with his Cinema Redux Series; a collection depicting the entire film strips of different movies of popular culture, such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Due to the fact that each of these works are practically indecipherable from afar, they were incredibly inviting and attracted an outrageous amount of people interested in taking a closer look. All in all, Art Palm Beach proved that although the event’s gratuitous champagne was not meant for all ages, a healthy dose of boldness always will be.