There’s nothing like an art fair to bring out the bitchy in an art critic and … well … this is my list from last week in Miami.

Creepiest Art Work

Thanks Laura Lima, I didn’t know glory holes came arm sized.

Laura Lima’s “Sinistro (Blombo)” (2009) [video above] at Galeria Luisa Strina wins this award arms down. I mean, a human arm sticking out of a glory hole and writing on a chalkboard isn’t exactly settling. In case you wondered, it also erases.

Most Ridiculous Inclusion in Art Basel Miami

A view of Sylvester Stallones hideous paintings at ___

A view of Sylvester Stallone’s hideous paintings at Galerie Gmurzynska, photo courtesy ArtFagCity

Sylvester Stallone at Gmurzynska Gallery was a joke. With cheesy titles like “Childless” and “Trapped Ideals,” I thought it was rather embarrassing for the gallery to hang these amateurish works near works by Botero, Wesselman, Indiana and others who actually demonstrate some artistic skill. I’m glad to see that Rocky has an appreciation of the visual arts but he should stop hurting our eyes and keep his very “personal” work at home.

According to LA TimesCulture Monster blog:

HRH Princess Michael of Kent, a consultant to the gallery, says two of Stallone’s paintings, priced at $40,000 to $50,000, were already sold to Las Vegas’ Wynn for his Bellagio hotel …

Parenting Award

“Daddy, is Mickey flying?”

Many people I have shown this photo to have assured me that the child is too young to understand that the sculpture portrays a dead Mickey. I don’t suggest the parent should’ve shielded the child’s eyes from the work but did he have to come back a second time and park the stroller in front of the mouse corpse?

Best Knock-off

James Turrell lite?

Someone attended one too many James Turrell shows or something … we’re going to do the artist a favor and not publish his or her name, though we will tell you it was at Pulse.

Best Fair Name

Off the beaten path and with a great name

Art Whino knocks the ball out of the park in this category.

If your name is Art Whino then you’re begging for people not to take you seriously. Sure there was a bar selling beer and wine (naturally) inside, sure there was some overly tattoo-influenced art, and there was even a water element that looked like it had a former life in a cheesy hotel lobby, but this little fair had guts and a great name. So … hats off to them.

Capitalization on Death Award

Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of MJ at Deitch.

This honor goes hands down to Kehinde Wiley’s commissioned portrait of the King of Pop as an European emperor that was on display at Deitch’s Art Basel booth.

Sure, the late 20th century’s equivalent of Sarah Bernhardt passed away and almost crashed Twitter, but Wiley’s justification for the work makes me feel dirty inside:

“Michael was an extraordinarily talented person with a team who could realise his ideas as much as his performances, and I think that his idea of collaborating with me was something that he really wanted to see through … I felt a responsibility to him to get it done.” via Art Newspaper

I’m speechless … does anyone buy his bullshit?

Best Art Fair Outfit

Pattern-mania at the BHQF exhibit

I spotted this guy at the Bruce High Quality Foundation exhibition at the W Hotel … and let’s just say. I also noticed afterwards that the same guy was in another pic I snapped at the Gagosian booth but this time in a more subdued outfit.

It’s refreshing to see men taking fashion chances and hell, if you can’t pull out your colorful and patterned shirts for an art fair in Miami than where are you ever going to wear them?

If he keeps this up he may soon transform into the new Eva and Adelle, though he may have to up his game but I have faith he can. I see a star in the making!

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.

9 replies on “The Very Unofficial Miami Art Fair Awards”

  1. If wino is the usual spelling for a drunk, then whino, according to, also means someone who whines constantly. Now it’s an even BETTER art fair title!

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