By: A&A Staff
It’s a sign of the season: As the cold weather sets in up north and the snowbirds head south, art invades Miami. This year Art Basel Miami Beach, the flagship event of December’s contemporary art week, is back for its eighth edition, along with—count them—17 satellite fairs and associated events. That’s a daunting number for any visitor who wants not to be overwhelmed, but is slightly down from the total of 22 events last year.
After a gala opening on Dec. 2, Art Basel runs Dec. 3–6 with over 250 galleries, representing 33 countries, participating. Sponsored by UBS bank, as in the past, it will take place at the Miami Convention Center, where some 40,000 visitors are anticipated. This year the space has been redesigned to make navigation easier and increase much-needed amenities, such as lounges and restaurants. The main section of the fair, known as Art Galleries, will include some 180 dealers selected by committee, about half of which are from outside the U.S. (Two will be from Africa.) Art Kabinett is a subsector of Art Galleries in which 28 of the dealers can present small, curated exhibitions within their booths. Another of the fair’s components is Art Nova, where only the very freshest art is on show: 64 dealers, some emerging and some more established, will exhibit new work by one to three of their artists. And as in the past, there will be Art Positions, except that instead of being housed in containers on the beach, this venue for cutting-edge work from 23 young galleries has moved indoors and will be housed within the main complex, in the very center of the halls.
Not forgetting that talk is a key part of the contemporary art world, the fair will also boast Art Basel Conversations, a series of talks by artists, curators, critics, dealers and collectors on such topics as “Art Collections in Latin America” and “The Future of the Museum: The Portable Museum.” And as in previous years, prominent collectors such as the Rubell and De la Cruz families and Ella Cisneros will open their collections to the public.
If Art Basel is the incarnation of cutting-edge contemporary, Art Miami combines contemporary with classic modern and postwar art. It is also, at 20, the oldest art fair in Miami. This Dec. 2–6, in the midtown Miami arts district, the fair will host some 80 dealers from the U.S. and abroad. Among the modern-art dealers will be Edelman Arts of New York, with works by Stuart Davis, Willem de Kooning and Alberto Giacometti; Gary Snyder/Project Space of New York with stain paintings by the late Vivian Springford; and Vincent Vallarino of New York, who will share space with McCormick Gallery of Chicago to show Franz Kline, Theodore Stamos and other Abstract Expressionists. Scott White of San Diego will have a Picasso portrait of Dora Maar from 1944.
With his trademark eclecticism, New York dealer Barry Friedman will have paintings by Gottfried Helnwein, charcoal self-portraits by Ian Ingram and furniture designed by Wendell Castle and Ron Arad. Associated gallery Friedman Benda will have Forever Bicycles, a sculptural work by the Chinese contemporary artist and political dissident Ai Weiwei that is made up of dismembered pieces of the two-wheeled vehicles. Eli Klein Fine Arts of New York will also show Chinese contemporary art—in fact, nothing but. Artists on view will include Yang Qian, Yang Mian and Zhang Dali. And also carrying the banner of eclecticism, Douglas Dawson of Chicago will show ethnographic material like ancient Bactrian stone artifacts and Pre-Columbian ceramics from Mexico in this modern and contemporary venue.
Works on paper and photography will be prominently featured at Art Miami, as well. Pace Prints of New York will have woodcuts and screen prints by Chuck Close, Jim Dine and Qi Zhilong. Hasted Hunt Kraeutler of New York will have photographs by Edward Burtynsky, Andreas Gefeller and Erwin Olaf, and Barry Friedman will have large-scale photographs of sumptuous, sometimes decaying residential interiors in Havana and Venice.
The Red Dot fair, founded and owned by New York dealer George Billis, will return to the Wynwood art district with some 40 dealers of contemporary art (Red Dot also has a fair in New York in March). Its mission is to focus on emerging and mid-career artists, though it features the works of some very well-established artists, as well. This year’s edition features a site-specific installation by Polish artist Izabella Kay called Passionate Curiosity About Blue. Taking a page from Yves Klein’s book, Kay is showing 248 paintings that meditate on the color blue and “communicate the importance of monochromatic experience.”
Of course the Miami experience, far from monochromatic, does not end there. There’s Photo Miami, dedicated to photography; Aqua Art Miami, emphasizing West Coast galleries; Design Miami; Sculpt Miami, dedicated to sculpture; INK Miami, for works on paper; the Scope and Pulse fairs, both dedicated to the latest in contemporary; and even Graffiti Gone Global, an exhibition of international street art. The possibilities are endless.