Puzzled. That’s a good word to describe my state of being for my first Art Basel Miami Beach (ABMB). One of the primary things I learned is that art fairs can be fun — when you’re standing on the right side of the velvet rope and you have all the right RSVPs and a prepared partinerary printed out.
I’m finding it a little hard to feel upset at the Banksy “exhibition” that was on display in Art Miami and its sister fair Context this past week. Others have found reasons to boycott the affair, and Marc and Sara Schiller, two street art aficionados I respect, wrote on Wooster Collective that they are calling out the Miami Art Fair for letting all this happen: “Knowing that Banksy has condemned the show, they could have easily rejected the exhibition and not legitimized the stolen artwork. But they didn’t. And this tells you a lot about what their motivations are.”
Despite the best efforts of art critics and reporters, it remains inadvisable to talk about any art fair as an exhibition, or a precisely curated experience. They’re more like avalanches of information from which viewers can filter out their own message, in the manner of an aesthetic Ouija board. However, if there is one fair in Miami that most resembles an exhibition, it’s SEVEN, which collects a group of (you guessed it) seven independent-minded New York galleries.
Thank you to everyone who joined us for a lovely cocktail party on the beach last Friday in Miami Beach. Hosted by Artspace and Hyperallergic, the party at the Untitled Art Fair welcomed over 300 people who enjoyed a drink in the bar and an opportunity to explore the art fair and wander onto the outside deck overlooking the beach.
MIAMI — There are many stories about the origins of art: ancient Greek historian Pliny suggested art was born when a Corinthian maiden traced the outline of her lover’s shadow on a wall, while an Asian legend tells of a young man who could not paint the Buddha because of his enlightened glow, and so was forced to paint his reflection in a pool of water. What these two stories share is the emphasis on the rendering of people as a foundational element of art. Fast-forward many millenia, when the story of high-priced contemporary art is vastly different from those origin stories, and walking through the latest incarnation of Art Basel Miami Beach, I was struck by the marginalization of the human form in the blue-chip work on display. What happened?
I never get to see what I want to see …
MIAMI — The first artworks I enjoyed when I walked into the Miami Project, one of two newcomers to Art Basel Miami Beach fair week this year, were paintings by Monique Prieto at ACME. Then I discovered photographs by Lee Materazzi. After that, there was Daniela Comani’s wonderful installation “Beau De Jour,” and it was around that time that it hit me: so much of the work I was loving at the fair was by women.
MIAMI — Sometimes, the art world likes to slum it — hit up a yet-to-be-gentrified artist-studio neighborhood and forget about the world of the white cube. Miami, with its glitz, art-deco hotels, and penchant for plastic surgery, is quite a bit less gritty than New York City, but on Thursday night, artist Jonathan Horowitz brought a little bit of kitschy, lowbrow culture into a hotel party more notable for its glossy veneer and shiny clientele than any measure of local reality.
This week, as you know, Hyperallergic is in Miami for the annual art fairs. But this year, and for the first time, Hyperallergic is hosting a party and sponsoring an event during the major art week.
MIAMI — NADA art fair has a reputation in Miami: it’s thought of by a lot of people as one of the best, most interesting art fairs in town. It upholds its claim to newer and more cutting-edge work on its website: “Each December in Miami, NADA runs a renowned art fair to vigorously pursue our goals of exploring new or underexposed art that is not typical of the ‘art establishment.’”
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.
MIAMI — I suspect most visitors don’t know it, but just across the street from the convention center where Art Basel Miami Beach conducts its massive operation, there’s a very different type of artwork on view. A small sign at Convention Center Drive and 19th Street signals the way, pointing you away from the fair, west past a parking lot and to the corner of 19th and Meridian. There, another small sign announces your arrival in the right place: “Holocaust Memorial.”