Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Denise and Rose do Art Basel Miami Beach

Art Basel Miami Beach, 2010. Fourteen satellite fairs. Not even the Swiss can beat this, because they don't have the satellite fairs, some of which are better than Miami Basel, anyway. So, nya nya.
There is nobody better to attend an event like this than someone you went to art school with...someone who gave all the nude models and professors their nicknames (and because of that I barely remember their real names!) Rose and I spent a couple of days trying to hit as much as we could. We started off at the tent fairs, which were clustered together:
1. Art Miami- (21 years running, and the anchor of the fair) excellent emergent and progressive fair.
2. Scope art fair-not quite the level of Art Miami, but still some good stuff.
3. Art Asia-in the same tent as Scope, but disapointing to the point of OMG this is embarrasing-why is this hobbyist lady and her sub-Bob Ross landscapes here, and why is she hustling Rose?
4. Red Dot fair. Seriously, who came up with this name?? (when a gallery sells a piece, they put a red dot next to it) This is like backwoods country singers that name themselve Johnny Paycheck or Eddy Money. I ran into work there from two artists I exhibit with at different galleries, and thankfully thier work stood up well, but 80% of what was in that fair was substandard, or grossly commercial, or decor-centric.

(Disclaimer: Rose and I have been taking indulgent pictures of each other for 35 years, and I have included many for that sense of "You are There". I have observed restraint by not posting the craziest ones, so don't complain.)

The earliest fair opened at 11 AM. These people must all be nocturnal. Where is the press pass lady? Pressing the sign didn't work.

We decided to play with the outside sculpture while we waited. I only brought sandles. Stoopid. A cold front had just moved in, and everyone else was wearing cute boots.

Recess time for Rose.


Detail of very cool piece that was in the window of Red Dot. It's all rolled up pieces of paper.
Rose never paid to get in (whoops). Well-they didn't stop us! I think it was because I had a press pass around my neck and Rose was caboosing my train.
Art Miami

This Alex Guofeng Cao image is made up to thousands of tiny photos of the face of Botticelli's Venus.

Rose mimicking the whole image. The gallery (China Square Gallery, NY) had brought a bunch of these huge works down-each with it's own magnifying glass next to it.

Rose loved this Tad Lauritzen Wright painting in the David Lusk (Memphis) space. (She works in the plant and landscape business). That was the only Tennessee gallery at the event. Almost everybody is either NY, Berlin, NY, London-But of course the artists they represent come from all over the world. I had a few people look at me like I had either a 3rd eye or a maybe a flask of moonshine on me when they found out I'm from Tennessee. Those art capital people are so provincial. They need to get out more.

Hung Lui, who uses vintage photos from both her family and random second hand stores in China as source material, has made a huge style leap from painterly, drippy paintings to resin-covered. She paints on 2 thick layers-you can see the shadows from the over-brushing. It's a good evolution for her, I think.

More shiny transparent stuff. I think they are images trapped in acrylic resin that are fused beind the frame glass.

Cool little puppet people from Lesley Dill. We saw quite a bit of her work around, but the most continuously visible person in all the fairs was Barbara Kruger, and after that Cindy Sherman. Yes-both female. About time that male domination thing died.

Had some fun discussing stuff with a big Shen Shao skeleton.

Rose did perfomance art with a Li Hungbo expandable wood sculpture. Faaaabulous.

I get down with some nekkid guys. Darn-who did these....I think it was Russian. I like. Of course, they were cut outs. And nekkid guys.

Mike and Doug Starn photography...lots of overlapped prints on paper with varnish. The tactile quality was gorgeous.

Cool mosaic-made of......................

Ta da!

Damn-who did these-they are blobby sculture with video of distorted speaking faces projected on them. The voices are distorted, too. Blobby, creepy and hilarious. I want one.

When we moved the car so it wouldn't get towed we drove by this. Crocheted. it went along with an entire crocheted room inside Scope. The car was funny-the rest was lame. I think it would have been more effective if she'd TP'ed everything. has a competition every year amongst their site users for the small space they rent out in Scope. There are 3 top winners who work is on the walls, and 20 semi-finalists who are on a computer slide show (Robmat Butler, UTK/ MFA recipient was a slide show winner last year). SO-the above diptych was a winner but all I could think of was that this person needed to kiss Alison Oakes ass because her Repulsively beautiful series is far better than this.
See if you agree.

They Still Call me Dick-Neck. (I like)

It was Super Hero Time! (Hug that bear for me honey...squeeze him-fabulous!)

The guys came on next and seemed a bit self-consious, maybe because they didn't have enough space. I think they were afraid they'd crash into someone.

Shepard Fairey wall
Primary Flight, the street art fair, was everywhere, and there was a massive effort in the Wynwood District where Pulse is held. It went even a step further with new restaurant, Wynwood Kitchen and Bar. The entire inside is mostly Fairey-land (Shepard Fairey) from floor to ceiling, BUT outside I saw everyone from Clare Rojas to.....

Stelios Faitakis


Rose performs with Ryan McGinniss

Not sure who did this one.

Not sure about this one, either, but I pulled its finger

The inside of Wynwood Kitcher and Bar. Limited menu, but what they make is good. The inside work appeared to be wallpapered on, not direct murals. I could see lots of surface creases. The staff was really nice, and it was just the 1st week open. Usually servers are freaked out at this time.

We Arrive At Art Basel
Now, you'd think that the best and most amazing work anywhere would be here. Not true. Basel is good at attracting lots of the hype-hyped. Invisible work with massive artist statements that include extensive evidence of thesaurus usage. Conceptual work that is supposed to be sooo wink wink clever but that reeks of art school assignments to anyone who has ever been inside a studio. Stuff that makes Rose and me roll our eyes, and go-oh, no, not that shit again, but if a gallery can make it seem "important" to someone with rolls of cash that wants to trade art like stock, WTF? Why not?

OK. The outboard motor is on the wall. (5 x-tra points for painting it white) The alligator-esque tire treads are on the floor. "If want a grade from me, you better do a good job defending this, sculpture, freshman!" At least he was working with actual ideas.
Yes, It is Snarky Time!

Very clean, yes, but the credit goes to the person who initially designed the kayak and paddles, not to the murderer who desecrated them-I could have run a bunch of rivers with that boat, you monster!

Uh, huh....ok...They paid how much for this space for THIS? Yes, very nice drips with the tiny spray nozzle, but drippage is getting so old, don't you know. This gallery was from Barcelona. Is 'Featherfucker" Spanish slang? Or does it say something worse?
To be fair, I'll show you what was in the rest of the image.

Yup. And, no, the empty rectangles DON"T mean someone bought something and took it away with them. They are emptly rectangles. I wanted to slap someone. BUT

I suddenly saw this man and he made me want to do the happy dance. (His wife is somewhere-she was dressed identically.)

This Mickalene Thomas also made me happy. Glitter and rhinestones and color. Low art materials, high art references, who cares. It's cool.

Then we got lunch and it was x-tra happy time. Check out the presentation on the tuna rolls.

More cool work. Nyoman Mosriadi. "Tragedy". The word is carved into his chest.

And this. I'm not sure who did it-Anthony James? We had too much fun looking at the lights and how they worked with the infinity mirrors to check. It was the size of a phone booth so we could both fit and swing a camera.

Nick Cage. They are all covered with buttons like the suits the Pearlies wear. I'd love to see what's used as armature underneath.

Detail...someone's had fun in the dollar store, and what they do with it kicks ass:

Mondongo. I don't think it is one person-but a collaborative group from Argentina. It is also the name of a soup.

Not sure. I like maps-and OCD motivated work. you can spend an hour just exploring this.

Robert Longo!!!!!!! Men in Cities series!!!! I'd only seen one of these drawngs before and it wasn't as good as this one. I was surprised to see it because this work is decades old. Last time I saw his work at ABMB it was his recent big sleeping heads.

This Was It.....100" x 300" of Kehinde Wiley. WOW. Diego Valasquez would piss in his pants if he saw this.(And if you think I have a bias towards figurative art-you're right, because a large area of my own practice is just that. Humans).

OK-Now I think we are at Pulse. Pulse is a fantastic fair, but I didn't take a lot of pictures because I was too focused. And talking-we ran into people I know. And I wasted lots of time hunting down coffee.

I love text. But only when it's done well, actually witty and not some crap spray paint on the wall with drippies.

Devorah Sperber. Pipe cleaner piece. You don't get more brilliant than what she does with thread spools, beads, ect. I want to see her Transporter and Beaming-In series someday in person. They are beaded curtains, done in sequence, showing the Star Treck crew dissolving.

Superman. Like a flock of birds. Shiny bar varnish on top. Nice.

The last fair we went to was PooL, which is held in the 1st 2 floors of hotel rooms in The Carlton.
All the fairs are juried to get in, but this one is affordable and accessible for independant curators and groups of artists. They have to be unaffiliated with any gallery.
My friend Adrienne Outlaw was there with Sher Fick and five other artists-most connected with Nashville, the rest from elsewhere. Very cool conceptual installation dealing with biomedical ethics. When you look through Outlaw's wall mounted breast pieces, you see either videos playing or strange objects. Fick had altered perscription bottles.
Though the fair is 5 days long, we got burned out after 2 and I spent the rest of the time at parties. Eating. Talking. And spending quality time with Vito, Rose's dog, making sure that the killer attack otter that has been running loose in Florida wasn't in their canal.