Friday, January 14, 2011

Miami Biennial 2012

I am told that Miami is planning to host a Biennial next year. More as I find out more...

Miami International Art Fair (Opening Day)

Today was the official opening to the public and the crowds were pretty steady throughout the day and quite heavy at night. I also noticed that the champagne went from $14 a glass to $10 a glass. I suspect the price reduction was due to lack of interest in the $14 price.

There was a little drama across from us as yesterday the union guys working the fair (installing booths, lights, etc.) broke an art piece that was hanging in the booth directly across from us. That gallery (according to the owner) has done 41 fairs (I saw them at Scope last December) and he was furious.

Furious because last year, at the first MIA fair, the same thing happened to the same artist! Two fairs in a row the work crew damages the same artist's artwork. And furious because (according to him), no one took responsibility for the art damage, and once again this year, "nobody seen nuthin'"

And so he starts tearing down his booth - he's leaving the fair. Hi drama in Mya-a-mah!

An hour or two passes and he starts putting work back on the walls. Clearly he received some sort of agreement. I don't know what it was and it is none of my business.

This fires up Sheila from MFA, because her big Alexey Terenin painting has been damaged and no one is owning up to it. She goes away to shake up some trees and comes back with yet another form and another report.

First sale of the day occurs in the early afternoon as we sell two Sandra Ramos' etchings. The fact that two huge Sandra Ramos' paintings were recently acquired by the Miami Art Museum helps to make the sale to one Florida based collector.

The second sale is also a double-hitter, as MFA sells two Tim Tate sculptures to a local Florida collector. At the same time a cute New Jersey artist with a very original haircut buys one of my etchings - my first sale of the fair.

Charlottesville's Michael Fitts' works always attracts a lot of attention and generate a lot of sales. A local couple falls in love with his spoon painting but say that they will think about it and come back.

Michael Fitts SpoonsA few hours pass (with more threats to me because of the Che Guevara video drawing) before a dual state couple (they live half the year in NYC and half the year in Boca Raton) buys the Fitts' spoon painting. A few minutes later, and about three hours after they first expressed interest in the work, the other couple returns to buy it. They are shocked to see that it has sold.

I tell them that Picasso once said that the "best time to buy art is when you see it." They give me a venomous look and walk away.

The evening is rounded out with a wealthy Argentinean couple (these guys are dual country - they live half the year in Miami Beach and half the year in Buenos Aires) expresses interest in both Terenin and Sheila Giolitti's work.

Sheila GiolittiFor 90 minutes they debate before deciding to walk away and think about it. They come back 30 minutes later and buy the Giolitti, which will hang in their Buenos Aires home.

It's now 9PM and the fair is over, and by 9:30PM, exhausted and hungry and tired I head to Little Havana (where I'm staying at my cousin's house). These long nights are exhausting and my feet are killing me and as I drive on Calle Ocho I realize that I've left my cell phone at the booth and can't call home to say good night.

I'm also starving and stop at a sidewalk cookout joint with some sidewalk chairs on Calle Ocho and order a huge steak, yellow rice and steamed veggies for $12. The guy cooks it in front of me while describing the freshness of the meat and how delicious the yellow rice is.

While I wait they give me some complimentary frituras de malanga. They are delicious and so is my dinner as I eat it outside in the night breeze of Little Havana, next to some Cuban social club where lots of cute old Cuban guys in their 70s and 80s and all wearing guayaberas are all hanging outside on the sidewalk discussing baseball, Obama and local politics. There is one old guy wearing a 1970s disco shirt (and who looks like a lot like Ibrahim Ferrer) and he is defending Obama, while all the others are trashing him. I finish my late dinner, smell the words of a fiery but nonetheless a civil debate among old friends, and then head home to write this post and go to sleep happy that life is good.