Last night’s party at the Fountain art fair started off great with a rum bar and tacos that you could garnish which freshly picked mint and cilantro, but soon before midnight it devolved into an art auction where descending bids allowed the buyer — and the audience — to decide if the won work should be burned. Sometime around midnight we decided it was time to leave and fast.
miami art fairs
The State of Art Basel Miami Beach
Lindsay Pollock has a report from this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach that gives us some insight into the state of the art market:
Sales echoed what the recent New York auctions had intimated: the uppermost tier of the art industry is chugging along.
Though I like this quote more:
“Last year, there was much more death and skull imagery,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve seen one skull this year. I like it better without the skulls.”
Fountain Celebrates 5 Years of Giving the Finger to Old Skool Art Fairs
If Seven art fair has been getting some buzz because of their “original” approach to bypassing the art fair system and creating their own art fair of sorts, then you should know that Fountain Art Fair was the originator of the out-of-the-box approach to the art fair.
Begun by three galleries, McCaig-Welles, Leo Kesting, and The Front Room, this year marks the 5th Anniversary and I asked two of the founders what they thought about Fountain now that’s its half a decade old.
Aqua Returns to Miami Beach
After a stint in what felt like rather cramped quarters in Wynwood last year, the Aqua art fair returned to Miami Beach in a more relaxed setting — that even had a water feature — but the whole affair did feel a little underwhelming. I’m not a big fan of looking at art in hotel rooms since their low ceilings make everything feel cramped but that’s not to say there wasn’t a lot of good things to see on both levels of the complex.
While Aqua is normally known to be heavy with West Coast names, there were galleries from all over in the mix, including — from what I could tell — quite a few from Canada. Here is a selection of what I saw.
Art Basel Miami in Pictures
There’s no point in giving you a “review” of the mothership of art fairs in Miami, Art Basel Miami Beach, so I thought a photo essay with some observations were more appropriate.
I admit that I got a little bored after three hours of wandering around. I found myself seeing the same thing and getting the same numbness I get during marathon holiday shopping trips or walks through ancient souks … there’s only so much merchandise you can see in one stop.
It was still refreshing to see some galleries display the prices of their wares freely, and examples of excellent abstraction by names mostly absent from the art history survey books, but I was most shocked to discover what must be the most awful Basquiat I have even seen in my life.
Kill Famous Artists at #Rank
We already warned you, so it should be no surprise that Paul Steen’s art world-ized open source video game based on Assault Cube, but injected with 150 of the “most important living artists” according to Artfacts.net, is awesome.
In his virtual world you can roam PS1 or the Istanbul Biennial or at a Jeff Wall show at the Kunstwerk in Berlin gunning down famous artist to win the game. This isn’t a kumbaya game, people. You need to kill to win.
But I have to admit that there’s nothing more fulfilling than reading “Damien Hirst fragged Jasper John.” Download the “Art Assault” modification here: paulsteen.se/aa.html And enjoy!
Miami’s Seven Art Fair Goes Indie
The buzz before Miami was that Seven Art Fair was going to be one to watch and that is certainly the case.
This indie fair of seven galleries with solid programs — and some art stars among them — have created a wonderful little side fair that has a well-organized area for video works (which is both inviting and well spaced), a space for the #Rank event (which we’ve mentioned before), rooms for work by various artists to talk to one another (some better than others), but most importantly an attempt to collide gallery stables to see what they could come up with together (most notably on one wall covered salon style with pieces from the whole constellation of “Seven” artists).
Did all the artists fit perfectly together? No, but this is an art fair and not a curated exhibition. It was good to see some galleries try something that felt interesting and less commercial than the run-of-the-mill art fairs.
Beyond Art Basel: Pulse, Art Miami, Nada, Rubell, Scope, Aqua, Fountain & Art Whino
Here is an extravaganza of slideshows from the big cross section of 7 art fairs and one private museum show I attended while in Miami and haven’t written about yet. Enjoy the journey into the dark corners of the Miami fairs.
Art Burn Report
If looking at art is fun, watching it burn is great. There’s something cathartic about attending an event dedicated to the destruction of art in the middle of the world’s largest art fair bacchanalia.