SPIN photographer Ian Witlen has been documenting the spectacle that is Art Basel Miami Beach for half a decade, but he still stumbled upon a performance this year that left him rattled. One afternoon during the international art fair, a woman paraded through a courtyard with a bowl of sugar, sat on the ground and dumped the sticky granules over her body. "She pulled out a diabetes kit for testing blood sugar and began piercing herself with the needles," Witlen says. "She was just letting the needles hang there."
Ah, kids. This year, for the first time, though, the musical offerings at the event threatened to eclipse the art. The 2011 fest featured a wild Black Lips gig that was followed by a memorable DJ set from LCD Soundsystem's Pat Mahoney and James Murphy, and performances from Yelle (pictured above), TV on the Radio's Kyp Malone, and Yelawolf. Enjoy a tour of the craziness through Witlen's lens here.
Over the course of her nearly decade-long career as Grouper, Liz Harris has become a master of all things overcast. Her ambient compositions and waterlogged ballads are like fogged-up windows — bleary enough to indicate the bleakness inside, but only its vaguest outlines. There’s suggestion of something heartbreaking, but its true shape remains occluded, unobtainable,… More »