Hernan Bas comments on fashion, celebrity and Miami but what this has to do with his new paintings is anybody’s guess:
What was Basel like for you this year?
It was pretty laid back. Everyone was so freaked out about how the economy was going to destroy the world, and the art world in particular, and everyone was on their best behavior in a weird way. As much as you can never be ostentatious in Miami, people were trying not to be. The over-over-over-the-top parties were just over-the-top. That was the big difference this year. It’s always weird for me, because I’ve become the unofficial dignitary of the town. Basel turns into a lot of interviews and all my friends thinking I can get them every drug in the planet. I’m always like, “I’m not a drug dealer, by the way.” I may want to skip Basel this year and go skiing, even though I’ve never been skiing in my life.
The art world and the pop world really commingle at gatherings like Basel. Any good recent celebrity encounters?
I’m not a big celebrity gawker, but I went to the Waverly Inn a few nights ago. I knew it was a celebrity hotspot, but I expected to see David Schwimmer at a table. Diane Von Furstenberg was there, and Russell Simmons was there. And as we were getting up to leave, I bent down to pick up my boyfriend’s sweater from the floor, and I bumped into someone directly in my ass. I turned around, and it was fucking Madonna. I bumped into Madonna’s ass—of all people to back into. That’s pretty high up on the tier of celebrity sightings. I love that she’s dating someone named Jesus. Jesus, Madonna.
Does your interest in fashion filter into the work?
I like to pay attention to the level of how fashion works and how it makes you look at an image. I feel like the bagpipe player is kind of sexy in a fashion way. And I like the way that you can be someone like Juergen Teller and make weird ass fashion photos, but there’s something about them that makes them marketable, even though it’s off and weird.