The reputation of Miami Art Week — the early December event currently comprising some 20 fairs and countless attendant happenings — is of an endless party during which celebrity glamour casts a spectacular tinsel over the typically reserved arterati.
For its part, the art world is happy to fuel the crossover fire: the week’s stalwart anchor, Art Basel Miami Beach, surprised VIPs last year with a performance by Miley Cyrus, arranged by none other than dealer Jeffrey Dietch, at an after-opening celebration at the Raleigh Hotel.
But while those on the guest list were content to post iPhone vids of the notorious twerker as their takeaway trophies, the more focused luxuriated in expanding their art collections, returning attention to the true business at hand — one that racks up billions of dollars, according to previous years’ reports.
In recent editions, it’s become increasingly de rigueur to eschew the velvet rope. ‘You can have a great time in Miami without going to any parties,’ says Galerie Lelong partner Mary Sabbatino. ‘I try to swim every morning before the fair, which gives me energy for the whole day and part of the night.’
Zilia Sánchez, Soy Isla [I am an Island], circa 1970. Acrylic and ink on stretched canvas. 50.2 x 88.9 x 35.6 cm. Copyright of the Artist, Courtesy of Galerie Lelong
In addition to tending her booth — which includes a presentation of shaped canvases by Puerto Rico-based, Cuban-born Zilia Sanchez, 1990s work by Petah Coyne, and new pieces by Alfredo Jaar and Jaume Plensa — Sabbatino, like many serious visitors, is committed to walking fair aisles, seeing exhibitions, and visiting client collections. A heavy load, to be sure, which requires a little thought.
Alfredo Jaar, Be Afraid of the Enormity of the Possible, 2015. Neon. 120.7 x 182.9 cm. Edition of 2 with 3 AP. Copyright of the Artist, Courtesy of Galerie Lelong
Map out a plan
The key to taming Miami’s frenzy is to jettison all FOMO anxiety (that’s ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ for those not yet fluent in textspeak). It’s impossible to do everything, so personal taste can be a good way to discern a path. ‘Doing your research on the hows and whys of the venues you want to visit is the best way to make sure you make the most out of your time during such a busy week,’ says Nancy Wilhelms, executive director of Aspen’s Anderson Ranch Arts Center.
Matt Sheridan Smith, Pattern portrait (katie/widow), 2015. Acrylic gel medium transfer, paper, linen. 84 x 120 in. Courtesy the artist and Hannah Hoffman Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff Mclane
Shinto Ohtake, OPIUM POPPY 13 / Street Memory 1, 2011. Oil, acrylic, felt pen, dye, pencil, printed matter, film, vinyl, sequin, plaster, staple, hemp cloth, cotton yarn, cast-coated paper, wrapping paper and thin paper in custom frame. 45.5 x 36.5 cm. ©Shinto Ohtake. Courtesy of Take Ninagawa, Tokyo
‘Designed to be more experimental, Nova is always a highlight for me,’ says newly appointed ABMB Americas director Noah Horowitz. ‘This year, I am especially looking forward to seeing the presentations by first time exhibitors Hannah Hoffman Gallery and Essex Street as well as those challenging the traditional booth format with large-scale installations and performances, such as Take Ninagawa from Tokyo, Galeria Leme from Sao Paulo, and Freedman Fitzpatrick from Los Angeles.’
In addition to Nova, the main event’s 267 stands (1901 Convention Center Drive) also include the Survey sector of historical works and the curated offerings of Positions. ‘With a focus on single artist shows, Positions really allows visitors to both discover new talent and explore in depth the latest work by artists that they may already be familiar with,’ says Horowitz.
B. Ingrid Olson, Shell and covering object, 2015. Inkjet print and UV printed mat board in aluminum frame. 22 x 15 in. Courtesy the artist and Simone Subal Gallery, New York. New work by B. Ingrid Olson will be on show at Positions.
Sean Paul, SP006_5_65x35_2014, 2014. Ultraviolet-curable ink and acrylic on canvas. 65 x 35 inches (165 x 89 cm). Courtesy the artist and Thomas Duncan Gallery. On show at Positions
‘I am an extreme planner, so I like to put together a spreadsheet of events so I can see everything laid out,’ says Herrick, Feinstein art law specialist Mari-Claudia Jiménez. ‘After that, lots of caffeine, comfortable shoes — including a pair of emergency flip flops in my purse — and a car to take me to those farther afield events are key.”
Up the shore
Although the lion’s share of fairs and events are in South Beach, the dusty glitz of the north end of main Miami Beach drag, Collins Avenue (site of the old Playboy Club), remains a hipster draw.
To launch Parallel, a practice of art and design collabortion led by architect John Keenen and curators Terry Riley and Joachim Pissarro, LAX — MIA: Light + Space will be on view at the Richard Meier-designed Surf Club pavilion (9011 Collins Avenue) until 12 December. ‘We could scarcely have imagined a richer or more lyrical dialogue between art and architecture than that between LA Light and Space artists and the supremely light and luminous architectural shell produced here by Richard Meier,’ says Pissarro, who assembled the show.
Formerly ensconced uptown in the Deauville Beach Resort (which will now host Miami Project at 6701 Collins Avenue), NADA, the preeminent showcase for the avant garde, has moved a bit closer to the action, taking residence at the iconic Morris Lapidus-designed Fountainebleau (4441 Collins Avenue).
The fair kicks off with NADAWAVE, a two-night series of performances, including a screening of Casey Jane Ellison Personal Trimmer Internal Promo on 3 December 3 at 8:45pm (4299 Collins Avenue). ‘I never miss NADA,’ says Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art associate curator Kate Kraczon.
Over the bridge
‘But the one non-negotiable event for me is the Ryan McNamara and Dev Hynes performance at the Perez Art Museum (3 December, 9 pm, 1103 Biscayne Boulevard),’ Kraczon continues.
On view at the downtown museum are works by Canadian photographer Jeff Wall — of particular interest to Gregory Burke, executive director of the Remai Modern museum, which will open in Saskatoon, Canada, in 2017, who is curious to see fellow countrymen on view: ‘One of the most exciting aspects of Miami is that so many of the artists, curators, and cultural-organization representatives that we will partner with are also in town.’
Also in the neighbourhood is the Cisneros Fontanalas Art Foundation (1018 North Miami Avenue), which has open hours to the public during art week. Other museum-worthy private collections with open doors include those of the Margulies (591 NW 27th Street) and Rubell (95 NW 29th Street) families in the Wynwood gallery district. (‘No trip to Miami is complete without a visit to the Wynwood Walls,’ says Jiménez, of the impressive showcase for street art and graffiti.) The de la Cruz Collection (23 NE 41st Street) can be found in the ever-elevating Design District, which now boasts Hermès, Louis Vuitton, and Fendi flagship stores.
The Design District is also home to the nascent Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (4040 NE 2nd Avenue), which recently broke ground to build a 20,000-square-foot permanent structure, designed by Aranguren & Gallegos Arquitectos, and 15,000-square-foot sculpture garden, slated to open in 2017.
‘Our new building will feature flexible gallery spaces that respond to the needs of the diversity of exhibitions, site-specific installations, and performances,’ says director Ellen Salpeter. ‘Miami is now a top global destination for the arts, and ICA Miami is dedicated to providing an international platform for the most experimental and innovative artists working today.’ A solo exhibition by video and performance artist Alex Bag will be on view during art week.
On the beach
Fans of works on paper can follow International Fine Print Dealers Association executive director Michele Senecal’s lead through town. ‘My organising scheme is to get to Art Basel Miami Beach on the first day after INK Miami’s preview breakfast (1850 Collins Avenue) and then on to our dealers exhibiting in Art Miami (3101 NE 1st Avenue, Wynwood), Untitled (Ocean Drive and 12th Street), and Pulse (4601 Collins Avenue). This year, all the exhibitors in Art Basel’s Editions section are IFPDA members so I know I’ll spend a good deal of time there.’
The giant tent at Untitled, which takes place on the beach in Miami Beach, 2-6 December 2015
‘We’ll have a new bronze by Ursula von Rydingsvard, which leads me to Public,’ says Lelong’s Sabbatino of ABMB’s wildly popular exhibition of large-scale works in Collins Park, on view until February. ‘I’m excited to see the collection of outdoor art works, which is curated by Nicholas Baume of New York City’s Public Art Fund.’
Kris Martin, Altar, 2014. Courtesy the artist and Sies + Hoke
This is the fifth year Art Basel and the Bass Museum of Art (2100 Collins Avenue) have partnered to produce the sector. James Capper’s Mountaineer Prototype, 2015, an interactive sculpture comprised of a control panel, power pack, and four telescopic legs, will be positioned in front of the museum. Capper will engage viewers with an evening performance on 3 December (7-9 pm), and afternoon performances on 3-6 December (2-3 pm).
James Capper, Mountaineer Prototype, 2015. Courtesy the artist and Paul Kasmin Gallery
‘I love the art fair, really,’ Mary Sabbatino continues. ‘The audience is always stimulating and each year the galleries show better and better works which heightens the conversation and the experience.
‘I also love Miami as a city: its cultural diversity, its architecture, its light and water, its energy. I look forward to everything but installing artwork in 90-degree heat and knowing the team has to pack up Sunday night into the wee hours.’ The good news is that once the work is done, a late-night party will mostly likely still be raging.
Public Sector at Art Basel Miami Beach, 2014 © Kris Connor/Getty Images
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