Art Basel’s “Favela Café” becomes a little too much like a favela than the art fair organizers had hoped
The installation “Favela Café” by the artist Tadashi Kawamata, shown at Art Basel was the site of clashes on Friday night after the police cracked down an illegal party at the request of the art fair organizers.
Kawamata’s installation consisted of 18 small wooden huts on the Messeplatz that intend to reflect the living conditions among the poor in Latin America. The huts main function was as a working café, offering Art Basel visitors a place to grab a cappuccino, or flat white in-between the tiring business of art viewing and buying.
I wonder if this is shameful incident is one of the first examples of an implosion within contemporary art, where it is no longer capable of including the effects of the situation that it produces, and where the obvious levels of ironies involved cannot simply be read as part of contemporary art.