In December I attended what I like to call the Olympics of the contemporary art world -- Art Basel Miami Beach. For the first time in a decade, I was a spectator and not an exhibitor. In three fully packed days and four equally stuffed nights, I attended eight art fairs, two museum opening events, reconnected with great friends and colleagues, got rained on, saw 80s heartthrob Christian Slater at Interview
Magazine's bash for the inaugural opening of the new Institute of Contemporary Art, and was visually assaulted by some very bad clothes. All this and more while looking seriously for, and at, artworks for several different private clients. My head was foggy at times, but I was inspired by the bounty of art and thrilled to see many of my colleagues, friends, and clients in booths and aisles, on the streets, and at events throughout those very long Miami Basel days and nights.
With exhaustive surveys and critiques about Miami Basel 2014 already published, and because I am on to the next HMxAA adventure, I am offering up just a tiny slice of what I experienced in highlight reel form...
The Untitled art fair was a very bright highlight, literally -- the lighting was so aggressive that I thought I might just get a tan. Regardless, it was a very pretty fair, and the opening was packed and featured a plethora of colorful abstraction and installations. My friend Carrie Secrist from Chicago was exhibiting powerful works by Andrew Holmquist (reflected in the selfie to left) and had the misfortune of being across the aisle from Phillip K. Smith's massive mirror installation that became a selfie plague. I am guilty.
SF based painter James Sterling Pitt's work at Boston's Steven Zevitas Gallery was a standout, as was Monique Meloche's sobering yet triumphant installation by Ebony G. Patterson.
ABMB was Basel. Clean, tight and impossibly large. Usual suspects abounded, and I fell in love with Richard Forster's monumental and breathtaking pencil on paper seascapes at Ingleby Gallery from Edinburgh, Scotland. His work is ridiculously good, rigorous and poetic.
Attending one of several parties at the new Perez Art Museum was spectacular. The building itself designed by Herzog & de Meuron was made not only for viewing art, but to engage with it on a very intimate level while maintaining a sense of glitzy grandeur. The collective energy
was infectious. The party included fire (of course), several DJs, Flyboard performances in Biscayne Bay, a large exhibition of paintings by Beatriz Milhazes, a bold and emphatic floor to ceiling wall work by Gary Simmons, and Mark Handforth's blisteringly beautiful Western Sun installation.
The crowd was euphoric and I had a blast talking with strangers about the works on view and the museum itself. At every corner I was giddy with excitement about what the museum had on view and the spaces inside and out of the museum were absolutely transformative.
Pulse Miami had a wonderful collection of galleries. Highlights include the Jennifer Dalton installation at New York's Winkelman Gallery, Ramiro Gomez at Los Angeles's Charlie James Gallery (disclaimer: HMxAA acquired a piece) and New York's Mixed Greens, showing a selection of paintings by Naomi Reis and sculptures by Susan Giles.
NADA was larger than I recalled from its 'daintier' days, and filled with mostly really good art. Thomas Duncan Gallery from Los Angeles exhibited densely processed paintings by Daniel Payavis, whose work still haunts me. Another welcome discovery for me was the Romanian painter Marius Bercea at Francois Ghebaly Gallery, also from Los Angeles. I fell in love with the mood and luscious compositions of his paintings and wished I could have snatched one up. I hope to revisit his work for the right client. For me, it is as if Peter Doig, Matisse, Stevie Nicks, and a 70s hippie made a painting. I admit it, my California roots inform me wherever I go.
Closing out the week was a second visit to Miami Project in Wynwood which featured another dizzying array of great works at the booths of Mark Moore, Eleanor Harwood, Margaret Thatcher Projects, Walter Maciel, Staley-Wise, and many others. Heading out to catch a taxi to the airport for my flight home, I hoped to catch a glimpse of Arcade Fire who were rumored to be on their way to view the wall-to-wall drawing installation by one of my favorite authors, Bay Area do-gooder Dave Eggers, at Electric Works' booth. Sadly they never showed and it reminded me of the silly trail of great expectations and inevitable disappointments that define the art world and art fair going & presenting in particular. No matter, I am lucky to be a part of this crazy train and certainly love what I do.
Till later...be sure you love what you look at.