Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

Arts and Entertainment

Sorry, Miami, L.A.'s 'Art Basil' Is Better Than 'Art Basel'

LAist relies on your reader support.
Your tax-deductible gift today powers our reporters and keeps us independent. We rely on you, our reader, not paywalls to stay funded because we believe important news and information should be freely accessible to all.

Art Basel is the yearly event in which arty celebs and celeb artists convene upon Miami Beach to look at art, buy art, and most importantly, hit da club. But honestly? The scene at Art Basel seems kinda lame (and, this year, apparently pretty shady!) Luckily, Los Angeles has it's own tongue-in-cheek version of the art festival; this one is called "Art Basil," and it is better.

The L.A. Times has a great story on the mini-festival, organized by local artist and (pesto enthusiast?) John Kilduff. Held in Van Nuys over the course of four days (from December 3rd to the 6th (you've still got Sunday to check it out), Kilduff told the Times he doesn't like the impetus placed on commercialism at art fairs, like the one in Miami. "It's very hard to walk into one of those," he said. "They feel toxic."

So Kildruff, a performance artist known for his Let's Paint series, came up with the idea for "Art Basil," somewhat haphazardly. "I did a doodle of a basil plant and called it 'Art Basil,'" he told the Times. "People started liking it, so I felt like I had to follow through."

Support for LAist comes from

Art Basil consists of 50 miniature booths, separated by plastic foam board Kildruff acquired at Home Depot, that display the works of artists from Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Milwaukee, and even Duluth, Minnesota. For artists who wished to exhibit at Basil, Kildruff charged $50 per booth—booths at the Miami festival are in the $50,000 - $60,000 range, by the way. And there's some cool looking stuff, there too. One piece, "Where's Jason?" by L.A. artist Heather Lowe explores the Greek myth of Jason and the Golden Fleece.


You can check out more of the installations at Art Basil over on Kilduff's Instagram. If you can't make it out to Van Nuys in the next day (which is by appointment only; email mrletspaint@gmail.com for more info), you can watch a live stream of what's happening here.

Support for LAist comes from

Also, here's some bounty found during a search for Art Basil photos: either Sly has found a super deep cut at Art Basil, or he's made a spelling error (and he's far from the only one).