Art Basel Miami Beach 2012

Post image for 10 Actually Fun Works to See at Art Basel Miami Beach

MIAMI — Entering into the cavernous mouth of an art fair, it’s pretty easy to know what to expect — some blue-chip art, some provocative booths, and a few rare modernist works sprinkled throughout the contemporary avalanche. Thankfully, there are usually a few pleasant surprises. Here are ten works I actually enjoyed seeing at Art Basel Miami Beach (ABMB) 2012.

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Post image for A Street Artist’s Remembrance of Cuba in a Pop-Up Coffee Shop

MIAMI — Street artist José Parlá, known for his energetic paintings of figures, animals, and abstractions that explode into swirls of twisting ribbon, has turned into a restaurateur. At The Standard spa and hotel in Miami Beach, he has helped transform a leftover hotel room into a fully-functioning, 24-hour-a-day replica of a Cuban coffee shop transplanted into our own Little Havana.

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Post image for Domesticity as Subversion at Miami Art Basel

MIAMI — This morning the mother of all Miami art fairs, Art Basel Miami Beach (ABMB), opened its doors for a press and VIP preview. Although it was pretty crowded for a preview day, the fair also felt calm and subdued. And the art matched the tone: much of what was on view seemed safe — tried and true artists whose work might amuse, arouse, or provoke, but not offend.

As I wandered around, though, I remembered that quiet isn’t necessarily a bad thing: it can create a space for humor or contemplation. And scattered throughout the fair I found a good number of artworks that embraced that space by way of domesticity.

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Post image for A Mother-Son “Nerd Bag” Sweatshop at Art Basel Miami Beach

MIAMI — Including your mother in an art fair installation might seem like an odd way to get back at your parents, but for Japanese artist Atsushi Kaga it makes perfect sense. At Dublin gallery mother’s tankstation’s Art Basel Miami Beach booth, part of the Art Positions solo-show section of the fair, Kaga and his mom are perched at sewing and gluing craft stations, painstakingly constructing a collection of quirky, handmade bags on sale to fairgoers for a mere $50.

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Post image for Artists Open the Floodgates of Philanthropy on Art Basel

As members of the art world head to the home of The Golden Girls to peruse, critique and/or roll their eyes at the displays of one of the most popular art fairs in the world, a noble bunch of New York artists intend to intervene the glorified shopping mall to mitigate the devastation Hurricane Sandy caused to New York’s creative community.

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