Art Letter


143 Images of Art in Miami
It's hard to believe how much art was on view in Miami this past weekend.  22 art fairs, scads of private collections and gallery receptions. A three day trip filled with at least three weeks of content. I took pictures so you could see and I could remember some of what was on view.

The first stop was the granddaddy of the Miami shows; Art Basel Miami Beach with over 250 galleries and as much collagen and taut skin as you'd never want to see.  I refer you to Charles Saatchi's scathing article about the obstreperous, hyperbolic prices and dealers who he says completely lack connoisseurship and and have no concept of what constitutes a good work of art.  There's good art, but - with limited exceptions - the cooler, richer and holier than thou attitude pervades.  [The first testimonial's first sentence in this morning's ABMB missive is from Iwan Wirth, of Hauser & Wirth, Zurich said; We are thrilled with the response and the continued confidence in investing at a museum-quality level. Well, at least he's honest about it.]

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L1050765.JPGI'd heard mixed things about Art Miami before I got there.  Maybe that lowered my expectations and rendered a more positive response.  Regardless, there were exhibitors here who would not want to be in the aforementioned show.  The Art Miami difference I found here was the sense that the dealers cared about the art first and sales second.

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The Pulse Fair started off difficultly.  What I'd heard was that the city had cut through a power line and wasn't going to fix it quick, which left half the lights off indiscriminately. Fortunately, the show organizers were prepared with auxiliary power. The art - and the attitude - was so good that I didn't sense people were freaking out.  A good, solid fun show, which, with Art Miami, was one of my two favorite fairs. 

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Scope was highly uneven with more good art that I expected.  With all these art fairs selecting (competing for) some 1000+ galleries it's guaranteed that some shows aren't going to be as strong as they want.  Each fair's identify evolves as the show's art is installed. And context is important too.  Raw plywood floors don't improve 6 digit art and it's perennially difficult for galleries to know how to best present themselves. 

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I found NADA's space(s) challenging, divided into 3 separated meeting spaces on the ground floor of a hotel with severely wrinkled carpeting.  At least the art was better than the venue.

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Though I know some people found something redeeming in Red Dot, I found the art so bad and the installations so unfortunate that I couldn't take any pictures. And Verge was so poorly promoted and attended that the exhibitors had checked out; either physically or at least emotionally.

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Seven galleries from New York commandeered a large warehouse and presented some of the best and most enticing art I found anywhere; especially Monica Cook's remarkable stop motion video of puppets she's created. .

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Above and beyond the 22 art fairs and gallery presentations all over the city, were morning receptions at several private collections (museums).  I love visiting Marty Margulies' collection.  I've done business with him and he is a passionate, artloving gentleman.

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The Rubell's are huge collectors, with a ferocious appetite for unusual and provocative art, some of which I like and a lot of which leaves me feeling like I want to wash.

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L1050858.JPGThe Cisneros have a beautiful collection and don't allow photography, while the de la Cruz's have a powerful, divergent and in depth collection where the collectors were on hand to lead tours.  That kind of enthusiasm is palpable. 

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We've made it to the end.  It's wonderful to view other people's pictures of the same events I attended.  One could easily have an entire different set of images.  Art is subjective - as is my response.  I hope you enjoyed my review, but it's only that; my take on what I saw.

On another note, the power of art in revitalizing a city is beautiful to see.  These shows and presentations have transformed Miami into an art mecca, a place where folks from three continents are buying second homes and coming several times a year.  The museums are expanding and augmenting their programming. Miami has come alive. Great catalyst. 

Thank you for making it this far.

Best regards,
Paul Klein