Thursday, December 01, 2022

Art Basel Miami Beach week - Thursday report

Decent crowds again, although mostly "strolling" through the fair -- not a lot of interested buyers, heavy Florida rains at times, and rather windy by the water.

Press coverage has been good - although rather "recycling" ideas from more than a decade ago, when know-it-alls where predicting the demise of the art fair model. The Art Newspaper calls it "the event that has become most synonymous with art-world excess", which is somewhat true, but showcases the art medias well-known antipathy towards the commodification of art.

Valentina Di Liscia from Hyperallergic title tells you all that you need to know about her outdated angle: Why Is There No Spanish at Art Basel Miami?  But she does opine about "art that is mostly drab and uninspiring" and gossips about a rush for "Anna Weyant (who happens to be dating the influential art dealer Larry Gagosian)." She also notes that Latino Miamians are "the most common ethnic group living below the poverty line in the city" in discussing fair ticket prices, but does not tell you that more that half of the wealthiest 1%centers in Miami are also Latinos.

She does nail it with this observation though:

"... an installation by the Brooklyn art collective MSCHF epitomized the worst of art fair gimmick: an ATM retrofitted with a screen that displays users’ account balances when they swipe their debit cards. It was presumably conceived as commentary on wealth disparity, but instead comes off as pretentious and reductive. I’m sorry, but we don’t need an art installation to know that some people have $2M in their checking account and others have $4.50."

I've heard from multiple collectors, including those who bring other collectors from their home states, that the big miss (again) this year is the Untitled art fair, which has been described to me as "too much fiber" and also as "heavy handed curatorial hand."

Artsy's Ayanna Dozier opines on the 10 best booths there... five gets you ten that all of those selections have Artsy accounts. She starts her article like this... cough, cough...

The beachfront setting lent soft, cool lighting to the 11th edition of Untitled Art, Miami Beach, and gave way to an impressive showcase of art. At the VIP preview on November 28th, the breezy atmosphere was matched by a vibrant audience dressed in vivid tones that perfectly complemented the bright white tent and the dazzling works on view. While droves of out-of-towners descended upon the fair, Miami locals were present, too, acquiring works on view while wearing chic beachwear like hot pink shorts and sheer glitter dresses.

Maximilíano Durón from ARTnews has seven different booths as his top choices for the same fair, including a nice look at my good friend Amber Robles-Gordon:

Building on two previous bodies of work, both created since the pandemic, With Every Fibre of My Being (2022) by Amber Robles-Gordon presents a visual summary of the ongoing research that the artist has conducted into her identities as an Afro-Latina of Puerto Rican heritage and as a U.S. citizen living in the District of Columbia. The work, installed in a U shape, is made up of dozens of textiles, many of which are stretched over differently sized hoops used in embroidery and needlepoint. There are prints, florals, sheer fabrics, and fragments of the American flag. In other places are small texts that read “Keep Abortion Legal,” “Make Womanhood Legal,” and “Keep Democracy Legal.”  

Five of the seven are Hispanic/Latinos/Latin(x)/Latinas, etc., which tells me something about the Durónmeister's approach... cough, cough... 

Finally, Anja Maltav at Miami's iconic Brickell Magazine, and thus the local set of eyes honors me with a selection for their top choices:

Among his most popular productions is his “Cuba Series,” an ongoing collection of art pieces started in the early 1970s. Some were completed before he started formal art training, and the bulk of the work was executed as art school assignments between 1977-81 at the University of Washington School of Art.