In 2003 I went to Venice and saw a painting by a Brazilian artist named, Beatriz Milhazes. I was shocked by its unconventional beauty. I had never seen anything like it before. The composition seemed to capture what i had always thought of Brazil to be- a beautiful tropical paradise with rough uneasy edges.
Now, 11 years later, on my recent trip to Miami I attended the Milhazes retrospective at the Perez Museum. For me to see the work of an artist who I believed could get to this level was inspiring. Standing in a room surrounded by Milhazes’ work, I believe that it is just as powerful now as the first day I saw it.
Below are the images I took at the show. (Some paintings are followed by detailed images).
To read more of my take on Beatriz Milhazes’ work click here
Miami Project is usually one of my favorite art fairs during the Art Basel week in Miami. In the past the art has been fresh and exciting but also fun. While there were remnants of the usual inspiring art that lined the booth walls, the feel of the fair was quite different and was lacking a spark. Below are the pieces that I found most appealing.
Custom Mao (Star Wars Stormtrooper)
The Fail (Borox 5)
Andy Diaz Hope
Andy Diaz Hope and Laurel Roth
Allegory of the Prisoner’s Dilemma
(Though the allure of these images called to me from across the aisle, it wasn’t until after I had walked by did it occur to me that they were by the same artist. Love the evolution of his work).
31 Flavors Invading Japan / Today’s Special, 1980-1982
The Cloisters Last Supper/Eve and Giant Squid Hunters, 2012
Oil, gold leaf, and acrylic with gold leaf frame, 123 x 120 x 3 inches
The Cult of The Self #3,
The galleries that show at the Untitled art fair often lean towards avant-garde or abstract art. However this year the selections seemed to create one big cohesive show instead of lots of small individual ones. Of course there are always hits and misses but the images below are details of the ones I liked best.
Map of the Refractorian Solar System
Goldschmied & Chiari
Assortment of Face Jugs
Devin Troy Strother
Year after year the Pulse Art fair in Miami is one of the finest. This year the fair changed from it’s longtime location at the Ice Palace to be in North Miami Beach in a more efficiently organized tent. I’m not sure whether it was the distant sounds of waves lapping against the sand or the wide aisles but the fair was refreshing. There was a mix of street artists turned fine artists, new technology, and interesting textures and evolved techniques. The images below are some of my favs.
Side note: This sculpture was created with coffee lids collected from Starbucks.
Postcards from Nowhere: Waterskiing
Roy in Yellow Interior, 1991
Can’t See The Forest For The Trees
Michael Van Den Besselaar
The Robot Portraits Series
Borrowed Landscape (Tropics of Africa, Asia and the Amazon via Brooklyn II)
The Wavy Jane
Fell in love with the Before They Pass Away series (which documents tribal cultures around the world) almost a year ago and was delighted to see the photographs at Pulse.
ArtMiami is the most commercial of all the fairs. When I say this I mean that the art is usually the most relatable to the common man or woman. Usually the concepts of the pieces can be understood within a matter of seconds. While I believe any artist who creates should be considered and valued to some degree, I also get annoyed when collectors blindly follow what is trending and little emphasis is put on the work itself.
The following images are the gems I found amongst the mediocre.
Jae Yong Kim
Discovered this collective 4 years ago in Japan. They create their art by fusing and melting plastic toys into different shapes. Sometimes cutting the shapes to reveal what has been combined. The art produced does not contain any deep concepts but the execution and technique is pretty cool.
Every year I ask myself- Do I need to go to Art Basel itself? The art does not push any boundaries, it’s targeted to high-price buyers, and it’s exhausting- Why do I need to go? The truth is, whatever hat I am currently wearing (artist, art advisor, critic, or collector), I believe you need to understand the art world at every level. Not just what you are interested in but art/artists who have attained the attention of those who’s art controls the art market and those upcoming artists who are pursuing new concepts and materials.
It seems like a silly concept that someone who is buying art at a multi-million dollar level could influence art being sold on a lower level but the truth is in the taste level. Artists who’s work is deemed unfavorable to move up the art market totem pole, for whatever reason, can not accrue a higher price. Often gallerists from lower markets review what pieces are sold and why and if their art can not be sold then it can not be shown. This whole cycle seems to defeat the entire point of art itself but this is what happens when art and money mix.
This year I asked myself questions which determined what was for sale as I walked through Basel:
-Are people playing it safe?
-Are people buying work, which are in muted tones that cannot jolt the viewer on any level? Or are people buying brightly colored work that contains a lot of shock-value?
The truth as I see it was this year was very bland. There was not a significant amount of brightly colored or muted tone art. There were no highs or lows. The fair was very one note. However I always try to find the bright side of any art exhibit, so below is what I found and liked.
(This piece was woven silk)
Heart and Space
Perito Moreno #09
(These photographs were life-sized)
On Units and Universes
Dead Monkey – Sex, Money and Drugs
Side note: In 2003 I first saw Damien Hirst’s work in person. It was a pill wall like this. I wanted to document this piece to show how limited his progression has been.
Figure of Red Elephant and Green Whale
(This painting sold for 3mil)
Every year I attend the art week in Miami. What was once the Art Basel fair alone is now 20 some fairs all over the city. I try to not make myself completely overwhelmed and just attend 2 to 3 fairs a day. (Which as I just realized still seems like a lot).
I try to organize my art wandering into groups by location because there is nothing like running over town in Miami traffic. I also try to go to fairs when they open to beat the hoards of people.
Miami Project- On the smaller and breathe able side of the fairs. A good selection of galleries with great artists.
NE 1st Avenue @ NE 34th Street, Miami, FL 33137
Opening at 10am Wednesday thru Sunday (Closing times vary but is open until 6pm every day)
Art Miami- One of the mega fairs. Mix of fun and interesting art with art that is targeted towards decorating a beach house.
3101 NE 1st Avenue Miami, FL 33137
Wednesday thru Saturday 11am – 8pm, Sunday 11am – 6pm
Near South Beach
ArtBasel- The main event. Imagine a large convention center full of endless rows of galleries presenting what they believe is the best of the best. Recently Basel has been targeting high price buyers who fly in and out of the area in the same day. These people don’t f-around. They are there to buy. So for me, the art tends to be on the safe (aka boring) side. But it’s fun to see the chaos.
300 W 41st St #214, Miami Beach, FL 33140
Thursday 3pm to 8pm, Friday and Saturday 12 noon to 8pm, Sunday 12 noon to 6pm
Untitled- A relatively new fair to the game. The galleries that are encompassed within the tented walls tend to be on the Indy avant garde side of the gallery spectrum.
Ocean Drive and 12th Street
Wednesday 3pm to 7pm, Thursday thru Saturday 11am to 7pm, Sunday 11am – 4pm
North Miami Beach
Pulse Miami Beach- Another one of my favs. Similar to Miamiproject as far as art appeal. This year has moved to a new location up Collins avenue which hopefully helped it organizational issues from the past.
Indian Beach Park 4601 Collins Avenue Miami Beach, FL 33140
Thursday 1pm to 7pm, Friday & Saturday 10am to 7pm, Sunday 10am – 5pm
NADA- The independent art fair alliance often shows emerging artists whose ideas are not yet refined.
The Deauville Beach Resort 6701 Collins Ave Miami Beach, FL 33141
Thursday 2pm to 8pm, Friday & Saturday 11am to 8pm, Sunday 11am to 5pm