Best high art: an artistic display that was plane brilliant

Morgans Hotel Group used the sky as a canvas during Art Basel Miami Beach
Morgans Hotel Group used the sky as a canvas during Art Basel Miami Beach, emblazoning it with statements contributed by leading artists. Pictured is a declaration by Gary Simmons.
(Image credit: Carolyn Tate Angel)

December's Design Miami and Art Basel Miami Beach (opens in new tab) fairs are much favoured by daylight-deprived New Yorkers and North Europeans glad of an excuse to escape their winter gloom and enjoy some clear blue sky. Smart then of Morgans Hotel Group (opens in new tab), operator of local hotspots Delano, Mondrian South Beach and Shore Club, to take to the air and put their contribution to the five-day creative circus where everyone could see it.

Devised by the hotel group's 'cultural ambassador' Adam Shopkorn, Plane Text - which has scooped a Wallpaper* Design Award for 'Best High Art' - was an aerial exhibition of word banners from 15 of the world's highest profile artists. Ed Ruscha, Richard Prince (opens in new tab) and the estate of Sol LeWitt, among others, each contributed a phrase that was then flown across the Miami skyline.

From the personal, Gary Simmons (opens in new tab)' 'I Wish It Could Be Morning All Day Long'; to the provocative, Jack Pierson's 'We're Rich We Can Do What We Want'; to the rib-tickling, Richard Prince's 'My Brother Just Married A Two-Headed Lady. Is She Pretty You Ask? Well, Yes And No', the phrases were towed by planes organised by aerial advertising specialists Van Wagner (opens in new tab) over visitor-heavy areas, such as the Miami Design District, the Miami Convention Center home of both fairs, and along South Beach coast, to the delight of pedestrians, tourists and art lovers alike. 

The 15 word banners were towed across the sky by planes organised by aerial advertising specialists Van Wagner.

The 15 word banners were towed across the sky by planes organised by aerial advertising specialists Van Wagner.

(Image credit: Carolyn Tate Angel)

The process of attaching the banners to the plane is an aeronautic feat. Watch Sol LeWitt's words take to the air.

The process of attaching the banners to the plane is an aeronautic feat. Watch Sol LeWitt's words take to the air.

(Image credit: Bibi Cornejo Borthwick)

A pithy statement from Mel Bochner above the Miami Design District

A pithy statement from Mel Bochner above the Miami Design District. 

(Image credit: Carolyn Tate Angel)

Richard Prince's banner get its turn in the sky.

Richard Prince's banner get its turn in the sky.

(Image credit: Bibi Cornejo Borthwick)

Prince's rib-tickling offering stretched out across the sky.

Prince's rib-tickling offering stretched out across the sky.

(Image credit: Carolyn Tate Angel)

Wise words from Alexis Smith.

Wise words from Alexis Smith. 

(Image credit: Carolyn Tate Angel)

Martin Creed's banner, laid out on the airstrip.

Martin Creed's banner, laid out on the airstrip.

(Image credit: Carolyn Tate Angel)

Lawrence Weiner's airborne offering.

Lawrence Weiner's airborne offering.

(Image credit: Carolyn Tate Angel)

Lisa Anne Auerbach's banner.

Lisa Anne Auerbach's banner.

(Image credit: Carolyn Tate Angel)

'Ads imitate art. Art imitates life. Life imitates ads,' wrote Hank Willis Thomas.

'Ads imitate art. Art imitates life. Life imitates ads,' wrote Hank Willis Thomas.

(Image credit: Bibi Cornejo Borthwick)

Banners by (from left) Ed Ruscha and Jenny Holzer

Banners by (from left) Ed Ruscha and Jenny Holzer. 

(Image credit: Carolyn Tate Angel)

A question from Kay Rosen.

A question from Kay Rosen.

(Image credit: Carolyn Tate Angel)

Statements by (from left) Allen Ruppersberg and Jack Pierson.

Statements by (from left) Allen Ruppersberg and Jack Pierson.

(Image credit: Carolyn Tate Angel)

A loaded pledge by John Baldessari.

A loaded pledge by John Baldessari. 

(Image credit: Carolyn Tate Angel)

Pei-Ru Keh is the US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru has held various titles at Wallpaper* since she joined in 2007. She currently reports on design, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru has taken a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars and actively seeks out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.