Art Basel’ in Miami Beach
Glitz, Glamour and “Art-Baseling-it” on South Beach
By: Nancy Esteves
AS Hipsters and celebrities flocked to Miami’s artsy Midtown, Wynwood neighborhood and the 13th annual Art Basel Miami Beach and Miami Art Week events, — bad or good art, it really didn’t matter; they went for the people watching and the champagne and lavish parties. Some art goers were actually a work of art themselves. A bit of “death of art” but not for me, I still appreciated that amazing works,,,,.
In addition to a week-long schedule of art shows and pop up shops, musical performances highlight Art Basel Miami Beach – including a set by Miley Cyrus Wednesday night at the Raleigh Hotel. It was a usual quite the star-studded affair—celebrities, artists, gallerists, millionaire collectors and curators rivaling for works of art and lavish private party invites. Local and international media tirelessly camped out at the fair in hopes of spotting the hottest pop stars for a photo opportunity or interview.
This year there was a new Survey sector, which brought 13 art-historical projects to the fair, including many rare works never before exhibited in an art fair context; and Art Basel’s staging with Performa of Ryan McNamara’s ‘MEƎM 4 Miami: A Story Ballet About the Internet’ at the Miami Grand Theater. Solid sales were reported across all levels of the market and throughout the run of the show. Featuring 267 leading international galleries from 31 countries, the show – whose Lead Partner is UBS – attracted an attendance of 73,000 over five days. Attendees included representatives of over 160 museum and institution groups from across the world – and a surging number of new private collectors from the Americas, Europe and Asia.
Mana Miami: Monumental show of giant-sized artworks in the colossal former warehouse they own in the heart of Wynwood. Heavy on ’80s generation artists such as Julian Schnabel, Francesco Clemente and David Salle
▪ Shen Wei performance: Shen Wei’s paintings in Black, White & Grey seem full of movement, an effect that is magnified in the hypnotic dance he has created for his troupe Shen Wei Dance Arts. The 12 dancers swirl slowly through the Freedom Tower exhibit like a gracefully morphing organism, their movements echoing the paintings to draw their energy right off the wall..
▪ Galerie Gmurzynska, Art Basel Miami Beach: The booth brings together 20th century masterworks by Joan Miro, Kazimir Malevich, Wifredo Lam, Cy Twombly, Francis Bacon and others in a “school room.” A specially made film by Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin incorporates an original video of the Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo in which a Miro painting is used in the set
Eugene LeMay’s “Nights in Beirut” at Mana Miami. | Jordan Levin
▪ Damien Hirst’s Love Remembered: Difficult to photograph, but spectacular to see, Damien Hirst’s massive mirrored medical “cabinet” of painstakingly placed pills adds another verse to the artist’s running commentary on the dark side of life’s meaning — or lack thereof.
▪ Justin Beal and Justin Willenbring: If you missed their “Exhaustion” exhibition at Locust Projects earlier this year, you can catch a condensed version of the show at the Design District nonprofit’s booth at NADA at the Deauville Hotel. The exhibit combines graphic design and sculpture to create sensual yet playful works that walk a narrow line between art and design objects.
▪ Nick Cave’s Hustle Coat: Chicago-based artist Nick Cave is best known for his otherwordly fabric sculptures known as Soundsuits. His newest body of work are “hustle coats,” such as the trench lined with jewels. Priced at $60,000, the Hustle Coat at the booth of Jack Shainman sold within the first minutes of the VIP Wednesday opening of Art Basel Miami
▪ Ephemera: Commissioned by champagne house Perrier-Jouët, this installation by mischer’traxler explores the relationship between man and nature. Most intriguing is a tabletop ‘garden’ that folds flat when people approach and “rises” as they move away to a “respectful” distance.
▪ Strandbeest: In their initial U.S. showing, Dutch artist Theo Jansen’s dinosaur-sized mechanical sculptures are drawing crowds on the sand behind Miami Beach’s W Hotel. The ungainly exoskeletal sculptures of PCV pipe and twist ties reveal a hidden grace as the wind propels them in a determined march along sugar sand. Demonstrations are offered twice daily, courtesy of Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet and the Peabody Essex Museum.
▪ Frederico Solmi’s video paintings: Solmi’s trio of video paintings are haunting and cynical. You may find yourself mezmerized by the moving caricatures, The Last President of the United States, The Next President of the United States, and The Wall Street Tycoon.
Beyond Basel week
▪ Art Public: In its fourth year, Public has become one of the highlights of Art Basel, as well it should. These outdoor and often interactive sculptures are free and open to the public, with artworks from some of the best sculptors the world over placed around the revamped Collins Park between the ocean and the Bass Museum. ▪ “One Way: Peter Marino”: With the help of curator Jerome Sans, style-setting architect and artist Peter Marino — perhaps best know for his edgy luxury retail concepts for brands including Chanel and Louis Vuitton — has brought together works from his personal art collection (including Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol and Richard Serra), commissioned specifically for the show from artists including Gregor Hildebrandt and Farhad Moshiri, and his own creations.
▪ Rubell Family Collection: To celebrate their 50th anniversary, Don and Mera Rubell have installed new art on the first floor of their Wynwood warehouse museum, including works by Lucy Dodd and Aaron Curry. Upstairs is a spectacular retrospective of key works from the collection, “To Have and To Hold,” including works by Cindy Sherman, Mark Handforth, Jeff Koons and Rashid Johnson. Don’t miss the Cady Nolan “Bud” installation.
▪ Art Store: After Miami’s iconic Pearl Paint closed earlier this year, Barry Fellman tracked down the displays and goods, which had gone to Texas, to create this installation designed to pay homage to the art community icon, which provided artists with their canvas, paint and brushes from 1933 to closing.
▪ Strandbeest: In their initial U.S. showing, Dutch artist Theo Jansen’s dinosaur-sized mechanical sculptures are drawing crowds on the sand behind Miami Beach’s W Hotel. The ungainly exoskeletal sculptures of PCV pipe and twist ties reveal a hidden grace as the wind propels them in a determined march along sugar sand.