We started the day touring new condo projects (my other love) but hurried to Midtown Miami to hit the satellite fairs, quite possibly the best part of Basel in Miami. It’s so amazingly great that Art Miami and Scope are across the street with NADA in-between! It’s such a treat to have this convenience when you’ve been running blocks and blocks to make it to the other satellite fairs on the beach.
We started off with Art Miami where there was a huge line to get in, but thanks to the MoMA Junior Associates, I was able to skip the line and walk right in. This might have been the best collection of new artists for me as a lot of the work in the booths was artists I had not seen before. First up was Cyrille Andrea’s pure white sculptural piece. What appealed to me was the scale of the piece, larger than life sculptures of a man and four large birds or ducks. I am not sure what the piece was aiming for, but it’s placement in the booth and its scale was impressive. Patricia Piccinini’s sculptures were not only here but also were highlighted in a booth at Pulse. The work at Art Miami was tilted “Litter”. It was a sculpture of three little human animals. The beings had the characteristics of human babies but with some distortions and hair covering their back took on a more animalistic feel. Carmic as it may be, the hair was made from human hair however its use in this work transformed otherwise looking human babies to an animal being.
I am not sure what grabbed me in Bryan El Castillo’s oil and mixed media painting, but the woman with her eyes white out and her fed-up expression with a cigarette seemed brilliant. An angel or maybe devil coming down to judge us all. Also angelic were the photographs by Tim White-Sobeski who had two photographs of shirtless boys in what appears to be a suburban backyard. Its unclear exactly what’s going on in the home, but this boy is clearly standing in defiance yet his youth still holds him in that yard. Other highlights included a recent work by Julian Schnabel from 2007 – a self-portrait no less – as well as an early photo of Keith Haring body painting Grace Jones. Clay Ketter’s deceptive photograph of a golf-side suburban community titled “Spider Woods” only took shape a day later when I saw the photograph below.
Edelman Arts was giving you something of a theme with several artists finding inspiration from Saint Sebastian who turns out is commonly depicted tied to a post and shot with arrows. I loved the shape, shadows and light in Cynthia Karaella’s photograph San Sebastian from the Humanity Series. However, it was Christopher Winter’s acrylic painting “Alpha Centauri St. Sebastian” that pulled us into the booth and kept us wanting more.
We moved from Art Miami over to Scope to check their line-up, another fair that never seems to disappoint. The hands-down highlight was “Battle Stations” by Jorge Santos. It’s titles like this that remind me how much I love when an artists gives you more info, more insight with the title than just “Untitled #456”. Of course I love this acrylic and oil painting as all the skinny, white, hair-less boys basically look ready to get fucked. Sorry, there is just no other way to say what this work portraits and I loved it. The boat and scenery reminded me of a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean. The piece was $38,000 and while amazingly crafted and conceived, it was well beyond our price ceiling.
Finally, our last stop was Pulse where we did see great works, but didn’t’ really stop to get much more info on the works. I loved Outer Deruytter’s photographs including the implied hustler in front of what appears to be an adult store on Eighth Avenue, maybe circa 1987. The highlight however was Tad Beck’s dual-video and diptych that took our heart and still has us stuffing pennies into our piggy bank. The work, allegedly about being in boarding school, took two male models and completely emasculated them. By writing graphic things on their bodies to throwing what looking like cooking flour on them, all while they were in underwear and tied up. It all took on a very simple and understated (or in hindsight maybe overstated) analysis of how our sexual proclivities are formed and quite possibly while some things just turn us on. There was nothing overtly sexual about the piece, a lot of it was left up to the viewer where you took the piece. And further more, there was nothing homosexual about the piece, except every piece was homosexual. It’s a very comparable work to Brian Finke’s Frat Boys series where you hear the artist’s ideas about male identification and surprisingly it goes somewhere very homophobic. A lot more to digest on this topic.
We did make it to the late party at Fountain Saturday night. The fair was better than ever. It was in the same space but the circulation was totally different and it took me more than a few minutes to get my bearings. Of course, that could be do to the four cocktails, two glasses of wine and two beers I had before we got to Fountain – this is Miami after all. Aaron Reichert had not only a great portrait of Abe Lincoln but also a fun, pop photograph/collage piece that we assume was titled Rainbow Hustler. Not only was his model spot-on, but the items attached to the canvas were relevant and hysterical. Jef Campion’s scuplutral and interactive piece was playful and inventive. The piece was titled “Original Cunt Sin” , these words were plastered in neon lights over a small table and two square barrels. The viewer was asked to “Confess their sins” on a piece of paper and to “take an apple”. One of the barrels was filled with paper scraps filled with sins while the other barrel was half-full with green apples. We ended the night with a performance piece outside of Fountain in the yard. The work was political, offensive and culturally relevant – touching on subjects of military, police and You Tube.
(blurred for appropriateness)
Overall, our Miami story is defined by never having enough time. We decided to take it easy this time and actually spend Sunday pool-side, but if we make it back for 2012 – it needs to be much tighter and more focused.