NADA’s Pool Party in Miami Beach inadvertently played host to the culture wars in miniature today. For part of the event’s programming, P. Scott Cunningham, the founder of the O, Miami Poetry Festival, was commissioned to create an installation with the help of artists Justin H. Long and Tim Stanley.
The piece, “The Winter King,” is a Hobie Cat 14 sailboat with a quote from Hart Crane painted on the sail. The boat was supposed to float in the deep end of the Deauville hotel’s pool all afternoon, and then be sunk at sundown in tribute to the Modernist poet. But that’s not how it went down.
Long and the others decided to also spray paint “Fuck the Pope,” on the side of the hull, an allusion to a prank pulled by Hunter S. Thompson in the 1972 America’s cup, when he attempted to vandalize Australia’s boat. Those in charge didn’t get the joke. Party planner Johnny Misheff asked that the artists duct tape over the imperative. They did, but after a few hours in the water, the tape fell away.
“As soon as the duct tape came off, this guy untied the boat and dragged it out, with me standing right next to it,” said Long, referring to the owner of the hotel. Pleas to allow the boat back in with an added radical, changing the text to “Fuck the Rope” were denied. As for those in charge, NADA denied responsibility, and the Deauville reminded us that it was a hotel. “We need to respect our guests’ beliefs,” said catering and event manager Conny Ragone. “There were a lot of kids at the pool.”
– Hunter Braithwaite