Friday, December 06, 2013

Miami report

Although as usual I'm always stuck at whatever art fair that I'm doing, and seldom have the chance to explore other art fairs, DMVers in Miami for the fairs, as well as fellow dealers are always reporting to me.

I'm at Context Art Miami, which so far has been doing very well for us. We have DMV artists Ric Garcia and Audrey Wilson (and my own brilliant work, of course). Wilson, who will have her first solo show coming up in DC soon (more on that later) has been especially doing well, both in sales and commissions, as well as curatorial attention. The key here is that DC collectors need to buy Audrey Wilson now, as soon as she has that first solo show.

Also at Context are DMV artists Tim Tate, showing with California's Seager Gray Gallery and Mark Jenkins, showing with LA's Fabien Castanier Gallery.

Context is easily the best art fair that I have ever been to - the level of artwork is right up there with the top of the art fairs food chain. There is powerful diversity at Context - both in artwork as well as geographic distribution of the galleries. It's clear to me that this art fair made a powerful debut last year and now has made an even more powerful statement in its second year.

Scope had a great opening night on Monday with strong sales on their previews, but just like Untitled, they are now facing the same challenges as Untitled because Ocean drive in Miami Beach is down to one lane because of constructions. Also the hike between the two was tough (either across the beach or all the way back to Ocean Drive). Scope's VIPs had free rides from Fiats, which was a good coup as they could get rides around; I hear that the Fiat Pop was a delightful car.

DC's Project 4 is showing at Scope. Also at Scope you can find DMV artist JT Kirkland with New York's Blank Space. I am also told that Miami's Emerson Dorsch Gallery in Untitled has an arresting video program that is that highlight of that fair. Victoria Fu's "Belle Captive II" video has been getting rave reviews from some key video collectors that reported to me.

Some think that "Aqua is struggling," in part because "the young, quirky galleries have mostly been replaced by established galleries and replaced by Art Miami galleries," said to me one collector. There is also some sort of "art project" sign hanging near the entrance to Aqua that is causing some consternation to some galleries, as the sign (which again, is an art project) delivers the "impression that Aqua is where one goes to get cheap art for the office." On the other hand, Norfolk's Mayer Fine Art Gallery is reporting booming sales (she's also exhibiting DC's Victoria Gaitan's gorgeous photography). DC's Morton Fine Arts is also showing at Aqua, and some DMV artists, such as Eric Finzi and Barbara Januszkiewicz, are also there with other galleries.

Texas collector Ardis Bartle noted that "Aqua traditionally brought in an University or college art program and the emerging artists out of that program, and as a collector I would always buy one those pieces, and it gave the University (last year it was Atlanta University) a chance to shine."

"This year," she noted, "they curated two emerging artists who looked like the rest of the show: it was somewhat banal." She added: "Bring back the Universities."

Art Basel apparently has added a lot of new, upcoming artists from all over the world, that there seems to be a new wave of newer artists (Claire Morgan's name was mentioned to me) in addition to all the multimillion dollar blue chip artists.

I went to the grand opening of the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) last night, which could now possibly be the most spectacular museum architectural design on the planet -- the video by Yael Bartana that they were playing on the screen at the opening was breathtakingly beautiful and full of raw power.

PAMM's grand opening was packed to the gills - I mean thousands and thousands of people! Everyone and anyone who is someone in the arts world seemed to be there, as well as thousands of people who had previously probably never set foot in a museum... cough, cough...

I'm a little worried about the PAMM's ability to stand a strong hurricane though... there are a lot of wood floors! I wish them the best of luck - it is a spectacular museum at an even more spectacular location.

At Pulse I hear that "it was too crowded! They need to do something about the bathrooms!" Being too crowded if a good thing most of the time. I hear that Sabrina Gschwandtner's quilts of 16mm film are the true find of Pulse - at least two major collectors passed that info to me.

Art Miami across the way from Context is also very impressive - DC's Connersmith is there (they are also at Context).

Ardis Bartle noted that the Zoom In video halls were impressive, but "it's too hot inside those tents during the day to stay in there long!" Good advice from a very intense collector!

More later!