MIAMI BEACH — One of the things I find hardest about art fairs — particularly those held in convention centers and large exhibition halls — is their aesthetic. Bright, clinical white everywhere, with temporary walls set at perfect right angles and the gridwork of pipes and rafters floating high above. It’s hygienic enough to make you swoon over even the most banal abstraction.
MIAMI BEACH — At Art Basel Miami Beach, the city’s biggest contemporary art trade show, the accoutrements of galleries are as significant as the works on display because they contribute to the frame through which we see these wares.
MIAMI BEACH — Among the many compelling booths in Art Basel Miami Beach’s new art historical sector “Survey” is a selection of early assemblage works and “shooting paintings” by Niki de Saint Phalle that are gloomy, gooey, violent, and unrecognizable from the colorful whimsy for which she later became known.
MIAMI BEACH — Unsurprisingly, the best expression of the cognitive dissonance I’m once again feeling — living simultaneously in the real world and the art world, which feel so frustratingly far apart — comes in the form of a tweet.
MIAMI BEACH — A little over a dozen pilots from the NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP), a union representing the interests of some 2,500 pilots working for the NetJets fractional jet ownership company, are picketing the Art Basel Miami Beach fair.
MIAMI BEACH — The Untitled art fair may take place in a stark white tent with a hot pink slice cut into it, but the work inside is every color of the rainbow. In fact, “rainbow” is the most common palette at the fair this year: every other booth seems to feature at least one work in which yellow shifts to red, purple, blue, green, and back.
With the mercury dropping in the art world power centers of old, it’s time for the annual migration to Miami for Art Basel Miami Beach, its ever-expanding roster of satellite fairs and pop-up exhibitions, and the impossible schedule of parties and performances all week long (December 1–7, 2014).