A get-together at the Versace mansion
I’ve just returned from Miami, somewhat exhausted but amped up nonetheless from an incredible week of nonstop art viewing, and a little bit of partying for good measure.
Each year since 2002, when Art Basel first landed on Miami Beach, has seen unabated growth and an increasing number of concurrent fairs sprouting like mushrooms around it. The main fair itself is essential viewing for anyone with an eye on the art market today, while the “satellite” fairs around town are just as important to those who want to keep their finger on the pulse. With fairs in the double-digits now, and Miami’s fabulous private foundations and brand new museums offering intriguing exhibitions to capture the art fair traffic, FOMO (or fear of missing out) spreads through the city at epidemic proportions.
Begrudgingly accepting that one cannot possibly see it all, I did my best to see all I could. Beginning with last year’s sleeper hit fair of the season, Untitled, set right on the beach, I loved Eric Mistretta’s sexy pantyhose “paintings” and James Viscardi’s sensual, undulating compositions.
Eric Mistretta’s pantyhose works
James Viscardi’s Picasso-eque canvas
At the Art Basel Miami Beach preview on Wednesday, Karl Handel’s large scale charcoal drawings caught my eye, as did Uwe Kowski’s tactile abstract canvases, white-hot Brit David Ostrowski’s monumental and minimal abstractions, and Hank Willis Thomas’ thoughtful sculpture among so many others.
Large scale minimalist paintings by David Ostrowski
Over the causeway in Wynwood at Art Miami, I was captivated by the soft luminosity of Niamh Barry’s rose coloured light sculpture. Feet aching, I felt revived at what was the surprise highlight fair for me this year: The Miami Project. Its airy layout lent an immediate feeling of tranquility and I found outstanding emerging work at the international roster of galleries. Among the highlights were John Messinger’s photo installation While We Were Sleeping—both relaxing and unsettling all at once—and Kim Keever’s wildly coloured photographs of polluted fish tanks.
Irish artist Niamh Barry’s light sculpture of mirror polished bronze, opal glass, and LED’s
John Messinger’s While We Were Sleeping—photographs of his computer screensaver while the artist was asleep—composed of332 sheets of instant film
A Kim Keever photograph
Back by the beach at the Deauville Hotel, the NADA fair was a typically strong showing; Anibal Catalan’s mirrored sculptures seemed to have descended from outerspace, and Michael Manning’s digital paintings were a revelation to me.
At Aqua Art fair, which housed each of its participating galleries in the emptied rooms of the Aqua hotel, Miya Ando’s luminous resin works captured my imagination, as did Danielle Rante’s wall-sized paper installation.
Aluminum, chromed steel, and fluorescent light sculpture by Mexican artist Anibal Catalan
Miya Ando’s layered resin on aluminum
On my final morning in Miami, I captured a few hours of sun on a beach chair, blissfully arted-out but thoroughly inspired. With the ever-rotating art fair carousel adding new and exciting pitstops each year, I have almost two months to gear up for the next round in LA. More to come then!
Outside Untitled Art Fair at 12th and Ocean