Even a casual reader of this blog understands that MacGyver, responsible for all of our photographs, is an artist. He sees beauty and complexity in frost on windshields and lighting fixtures in restaurants, as well as paint on canvas. He has exposed me to a lot of art in the past 25 years.
Driving our tractor-trailer unit more than 800,000 miles around North America has rewarded us with a surprisingly art-filled lifestyle. Our favorite artist is Mother Nature. She paints never-ending, constantly-changing landscapes that continue to thrill us, and chill us, every day.
Mother Nature has artist helpers. There’s a surprising amount of highway art, both official and unofficial, coast-to-coast. One of my favorite is on US 287 in Texas, between Dallas and Amarillo, a 1970s green Cadillac convertible filled with female passengers (mannequins), hair blowing in the wind, surveying the highway scene from a small knoll.
On the east side of I-5 in Northern California, about mile marker 740, is a dragon made of rusted tractor parts. On I-70 east of Indianapolis, Indiana a wood rowboat sits on stilts in a small lake. On I-95 in North Dakota, east of Dickinson, is Geese in Flight. The largest scrap metal sculpture in the world shimmers in the sunlight.
There are roadside farm equipment museums across the Plains. One of my favorite pieces is a giant orange fiberglass Moose in Black River Falls, Wisconsin on I-94 at exit 106. If you don’t agree that the moose, peeking through the surrounding green foliage is art, then you might not see that trucking is art. Big, expensive art.
While MacGyver’s preferred medium is black and white film, many artists at Miami’s 2014 Art Basel used truck parts as an artistic muse and medium.
Art Basel is a must-visit because it allows the public to stand a nose distance away and inspect artwork. Walking through hundreds of exhibitions conceived by artists from Mumbai to Munich to Montreal, we found the work of the well-known, such as Ai WeiWei, and the newer contemporary artists, transforming using every day objects dabs of paint and miles of string to give viewers a new and different perspective.
Ai Weiwei’s perfect acrylic cube was on display at last year’s Art Basel. We were also introduced to the work of Karel Funk. The Winnipeg, Manitoba artist who turned his Manhattan subway experience, a stranger’s hot breath on one’s neck during rush hour into his much-heralded hyper-realistic portraits.
“I wanted to convey that moment when you’re forced to look intimately at the back of a stranger’s head, but I didn’t want there to be any emotional connections,” Funk told W Magazine in an interview. His paintings include minute details, individual hairs of fur on a parka, with microscopic clarity.
Around another corner, we were stopped in our tracks by the work of New York artist Gedi Sibony.
“That looks like a piece of a dry box trailer,” I whispered to MacGyver, stunned to see something so familiar in an unexpected setting, and clean. Aluminum trailer doors are another canvas for Sibony’s creations.
“Is this a piece of trailer,” I asked the gallery rep. “Yes it is,” he said. Offering up the astounding price of $80,000 if I want to hang it in my home. I told him that a top-of-the-line, outfitted, van trailer costs about $60,000. Our Stepdeck trailer, new, with Conestoga tarp and ramps cost about $64,000.
In addition to the trailer doors, artists relied on tires and headlights and load securing devices to present their messages.
Miami’s Art Basel this year is December 3 to 6 at the Convention Center off Lincoln Road.
There is no truck parking, unless the curators deem your rig art.
Gallery: Art Basil Miami