Latest update: February 21st, 2012
This week’s Art Basel Miami Beach is billed as the largest contemporary art fair in the hemisphere. Until recently, the prognosis for a successful event had been bleak. The worldwide financial crisis had all but devastated the arts. Now, Art Basel, and the art world in general, has reason to celebrate. It seems that prices are up and big spending has returned.
In early November, Sotheby’s auction house sold a work created by pop artist Andy Warhol. The print shows stacks of dollars. “200 One Dollar Bills” sold for $43.8 million. The art industry was back in business.
Memorabilia of the late singing star Michael Jackson also went on the auction block. A white glove that Jackson wore to perform his famous moonwalk was recently sold. Although the $420,000 transaction brought in a pittance in comparison to the Warhol sale, it was a sizeable amount for one unmatched glove.
A few days ago, a study came out that many households around the Unite States do not have adequate food. The report indicated that the need was greatest in homes that had young children. The reality of this fact is heartbreaking.
We seem to be in an economic best of times and worst of times. It is easy to criticize what seems to be excessive spending when others are going hungry. In reality, just the opposite is true. Big spending is just what our economy needs.
Art Basel is anticipated to bring 40,000 tourists and exhibitors to South Florida. They will need taxis, lodging and food. The highest form of charity is to give our fellow man a job, to provide the ability to earn a parnasah and no longer be dependent on the kindness of others.
This week’s visitors will eat in restaurants, stay in hotels and attend shows. They will buy souvenirs, shop boutiques and put money into the local economy. They will help participate in a real bailout of the South Florida economy.
Jews are admonished not to rely on miracles, however it seems that the local economy has been given a real miraculous boost.
About the Author: Shelley Benveniste is South Florida editor of The Jewish Press.
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