12.30.2009

Fair and Fair Alike: Miami 2009. The Wrap-up Awards!

This post ends my coverage of Fair and Fair Alike: Miami 2009
. Reused, Recycled, Repurposed, and Just Plain Crafty
.

So how do you wrap up 22 posts about 11 fairs--plus a private collection and a guerrilla event-- representing some 1000 galleries and well over 10,000 artists? With an Awards post, of course. Here are my 20 picks:

1. Oddest Premise for an Artwork: The Picasso Sandwich


Tibi Tibi Neuspiel's toast of cast and painted wax, Narwhal Art Projects, Toronto; at Aqua
It's worth noting that "Picasso sandwich" for the Spanish painter would likely have been him pressed between his wife and his mistress
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2. Most Outrageous Premise for a Miami Art Event: Art Burn
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The Wynwood guerilla grill-a-thon presided over by El Celso in the parking lot of Las Tias resale store. There were marshmallows to toast, but given the black smoke coming from some of those art materials, uh, none for me, thanks. And, really, what's more fun than warming yourself by the fire when it's 85 degrees? I think we were all surprised that the varnished frames didn't blow up and that the fire department didn't show up. A good time was had by all. Really.
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3. Oddest Juxtaposition of Art and Venue: NADA
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Those chandeliers in the ballroom of the Deauville Hotel are too imposing for irony, too chichi for elegance--a style of decor my late Italian-American father would have called "neo-greaseball." .
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4. Most All-over Coverage of an Allotted Exhibition Space
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Minimalism be damned.
A tie between the booth at Claudie Groeflin Gallerie at NADA, above, and the booth at Fountain, below
Extra points for the Groeflin Gallerie staff shown here for ignoring everyone who entered their booth
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5. The Tony Manero Award for Best Use of a Disco Shirt Pattern
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And I mean that sincerely. I dig this painting by Geoffrey Todd Smith, at Western Exhibitions, Chicago. Bonus points for the way the carpet matches, um, the drapes.
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6. Best-Ever Use of Castoffs
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Portia Munson's green vitrine at PPOW, Pulse.
Beats a shark in a tank any day
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With special mention to:
Ulla von Brandenberg, left; at Pilar Corrias, London; and Cordy Ryman, DCKT, New York

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And hosannas to the international master, El Anatsui, below, at Jack Shainman Gallery, New York; at ABMB
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7. Creepiest Painting
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And it's a tie!
Alison Schulnick at Mark Moore Gallery, Santa Monica, left; and artist unknown, at Charlie Smith Gallery, London; both at Pulse
But, hey, you be the judge. Which do you think deserves top honors?
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8. Creepiest Coincidence
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Above, Maria Jose Arjona, Affirmations, at Galerie Anita Beckers; Pulse
It hurt just to look at her. The artist was standing on six glasses, each half filled with water and goldfish. Someone reported that she had been standing on blocks of ice with screws embedded in them, and that as the ice melted the screws dug into the soles of her feet. Now that's positively Opus Dei--and would certainly have made her the clear winner in Marina Abramovic Endurance category
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Below, Maurizio Cattelan, La Rivoluzione Siamo Noi (We Are the Revolution), at the Rubell Collection show, Beg, Borrow and Steal.
That's the diminutive artist hanging by his jacket. Well, it's not actually him. But you knew that
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9. Best Coincidence
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Holey, golden and undulating: There's probably an S&M act for that description, but I'm referring to the works here; both at NADA
.Above, Ricardo Rendon's perforated felt sculpture at Mitterand + Sanz, Zurich
Below, Hilary Berseth's engineered beehive at Eleven Rivington, New York
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10. The Artwork Most Likely to Induce Seizure
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Don't scroll too fast: Your retinas could detach!
Detail above of the painting by Philip Taaffe, at the Rubell's Beg, Borrow and Steal
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Full view, below
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Special mention to Garth Weiser, Flying J, left, also at the Rubell Collection; and Caetano de Almeida, Distrito 4, Madrid










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11. The Barilla-Buitoni Award for Most Unexpected Use of a Pasta Accessory
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Haim Steinbach, Untitled, gallery unknown, at ABMB
(Hey, I have a red one, too. But my untitled is bigger than his untitled.)
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12. Most Gruesomely Creepy
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. There's no blood, and the artist is a master with the use of wax, but this is one creepily cadaverous object, views above and below

Berlinde de Brucyker, at Galleria Continua, San Gimignano

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13. Most Poignantly Unironic
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. Unless the batteries on my bullshit detector are dead, this was a touching and honest sentiment in a booth that was otherwise full of amusing illuminated puns and one-liners, at the Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles; NADA
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14. Best Unintentional Review of a Show by an Artwork in It
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.Adam McEwen at the Rubell Collection's, Beg, Borrow and Steal
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Well, I was not not very disappointed,
but I wasn't bowled over by the show, whose theme was appropriated and reused materials.
The concept was spot on, though, as the current that ran through all the fairs, and I've included images of some of the works in several posts, including here. I do appeciate the generosity of Mera and Don Rubell, who opened their doors to the public (for free)
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15. The I'll-Have-15,000-Cups-and-a-Very-Large-Pot-of-Hot-Water-Please Award
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. One of the works I did love at the Rubell collection was Ai Wei Wei's minimalist block...of tea
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16. Best Reason for Going to Verge














Young artist Zach Storm was in residence, drawing his first-time impressions of the fair, at the Judi Rotenberg Gallery, Boston. "In residence" means he was not only working there; he was sleeping there at night
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17. The Build-Me-Up-Tear-Me-Down Award
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Build me up: Maximo Gonzalez, at Galeria Valle Orti, Valencia, Spain; at Pulse .
Tear me down: Twenty Twenty, Miami; at NADA
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Are these really award-worthy installations? Not really, but their odd symmetry deserves visual mention

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18. The OMG Award for the Most Fabulously Obsessive Use of an X-Acto
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.I. Love. It.
Jill Sylvia's handcut ledger paper, at Eleanor Harwood Gallery, San Francisco; at Aqua
I'm guessing Ponzi schemer Madoff might have considered something similar for his own books
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Detail below
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19. Joan Mitchell Memorial Plaque for the Best Use of Paint to Cover Graffiti on an Exterior Urban Wall
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How fabulous is this? I photographed it just off of N. Miami Avenue as I was walking from Scope to Artburn
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20. Most Likely to Have Been Thrown Out By the Janitors
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An unheard-of four-way tie! All at ABMB
If Joseph Beuys's Fettecke, five pounds of butter applied to a wall, could have been thrown out by an overzealous janitor in 1980s Dusseldorf, it's entirely possible that these trasheriffic pieces could have met the same fate
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Above, Pablo Cabrita Reis, Door as Table as Door, vise and found door; at Galerie Nelson-Freeman, Paris

Below, Ruben Ochoa palettes, at Susanne Vielmetter, Los Angeles

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.Wait: There's more!
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Above, Rivane Neuschwander, Involuntary Sculptures, a mixed-media collection of objects made by diffrent people during conversations; at Stephen Friedman Gallery, London
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Below, Ryan Gander,
Remnants of Theo and Piet's fall from 1924, through the Avery Coonley playhouse window, during the struggle brought on by an argument over the dynamic aspect of the diagonal line, into this white room, 2009, at Lisson Gallery, London
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Apparently the work crumbled under the weight of its title
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That's it from Fair and Fair Alike: Miami 2009. And now I'm going to take the rest of the year off.

37 comments:

Rob said...

One more award:
Best Art Fair Review(s)- Joanne Mattera. Fantastic work. Thanks for your thorough, intelligent, and tireless reviews. You did an amazing job, I was exhausted for you just reading them. And best of all, I could see the best of the shows while staying in frigid VT, not having to deal with the hassle of buying sunscreen.

Lady Xoc said...

The "Joan Mitchell Prize" winner is sublime and I actually love that trasheriffic door & vise! But the heap of pallets just looks like my backyard.

Thanks again Joanne. Happy New Year to you and yours.

Chris Rywalt said...

I second Rob. A heroic effort. It's too bad it doesn't look as if the art was up to it.

Joanne Mattera said...

Thanks, All!

Chris, you're seeing the fair through my eyes. A different set of eyes, or 10, would give you entirely different view/s of the fair. Perhaps you would respond more positively to the art in one of those other selections. You're a tough man to please!

Stephanie Sachs said...

Aloha and Thank you Joanne. I hope you put a donation button on your blog soon. Your work means more to me than a subscription to Art Forum.

Bea said...

Take the rest of the decade off Joanne, this was great coverage! Thanks!

Chris Rywalt said...

I am, as you kindly put it, tough to please. I trust your eyes on the fairs, especially since it looks like you came the closest any human could to seeing everything. Where you got the energy simply to walk as far as you did I cannot imagine. Do you run triathlons when you're not doing art fairs?

I'm sure there was decent stuff here and there. Other reports include a few gems amidst the waste. It'd be hard to throw that much art in one place and have it all be bad, right? Law of averages.

But a pile of shipping pallets, that's pretty bad.

lookinaroundbob said...

WOW! My feet hurt just clicking through all of the posts--Great work--much appreciated.

Diana said...

I second Rob and Stephanie. I have enjoyed the coverage and appreciate the work you put in to it. Thanks!

Pam Farrell said...

BRAVA!!!!

tackad said...

On behalf of all humanity (or at least all Americans) I would like to Thank You for your wonderful, insightful and tongue-in-cheek coverage of ABMB.
Each year I scour the blogesphere in the futile hope that someone will actually keep the rest of us in mind.
You did a tremendous job and it's muchly appreciated.
Take your well deserved rest.
Happy Holydays and wishing you a wonderful New Year.

Joanne Mattera said...

Re the shipping pallets: Yes, they're pretty out there. But I see the fairs as a snapshot of what's going on in galleries around the world. So I'm less interested in whether I like a particular work or not, more interested in how or of it fits into a larger picture of what's going on now.

The trees were a huge surprise, for instance. When dozens of galleries turn up with branches, trunks and roots, that's interesting. (And you should see how many I left out.)

The neo Arte Povera trend, of which the pallets would surely be a part, was huge. It's the stream of repurposed, recycled, remade that I find interesting, more than the individual drops.

Re the walking: You'd think I'd lose a few pounds, but no. However I sleep better in Miami than anywhere else.

zackofalltrades said...

@ chris: JM's right - I saw about a dozen fairs and collections the same week, and came away with a different but overlapping set of images, even tho JM and I tend towards the same taste in many cases (geometric, minimal) - someone mainly interested in, say, figurative art (main fair, aisle A+B) or photography (pulse) would likely have a completely different experience of the fairs. there's so much at the fairs that it really becomes what you make of it.

I'm going with "artist unknown, at Charlie Smith Gallery" (I've seen those paintings before, and didn't like them then, either) over the "Alison Schulnick at Mark Moore Gallery" as the creepiest painting, because while this was a pretty disappointing Schulnick (some of her stuff is pretty great, IMHO, like the bear at pulse NYC last year), her work generally feels like there's some there, there - the other's work comes off for me as blandly calculating, just more of the 'giant robot / juxtapose' product

JM: thanks for ALL the images, and the work that went into them - I'm already looking forward to next year (with better planning !!!)

Elena De La Ville said...

Just wonderful, Joanne..
You are amazing. Thanks for your hard work.
Please: do NOT take the next decade off!!!

Oriane Stender said...

Great work, Joanne! I have 2 minor spelling corrections of artists' names:
Maximo Gonzalez and El Anatsui and I only know this because I know them. (Well, I don't know Anatsui personally; just his work, which I love.)

Anonymous said...

With regard to the last award, would anyone mourn the loss of any of those items if they were thrown out?

Furthermore, who in the hell buys that crap...you can't tell me someone was trying to sell that BS. Sure I get it, it's a readymade or an installation but realistically it's also a joke on anyone who spends enough time trying to "get it".

Sadly, some curator out there thinks those ridiculous gestures qualify as art, so I won't argue that point, but that was some pretty bad "art".

Chris Rywalt said...

"Involuntary Sculptures" definitely looks like it should be thrown out. It's unhygienic.

Joanne Mattera said...

Thanks Oriane. They're typos. I'm correcting them now.

Hylla said...

Go. To. Sleep.

Nancy Natale said...

You are great, Joanne. And at the very least you deserve a serious award for the Most Humorous Art Fair Awards. Thank you for all this work on your readers' behalf and best wishes for a happy, fun-filled, healthy, prosperous and a bit less work-oriented 2010. I second the motion for a donate button or at least a subscription fee.

Tamar said...

This has been a thoroughly enjoyable series--glimpses of the ridiculous, sublime, noxious, mindless, elegant, clever. Thank you, thank you for your tireless work--and for keeping me smiling.

rappel said...

much appreciated this series, Joanne, and your ability to organize so much material is inspiring.

c-mon said...

oooh. trasherrific. may have to steal that word...

wonderful round-up!

Joanne Mattera said...

C,
Take it and consider it a returned favor: I stole the "eriffic" suffix from you. ;-)

Chris Rywalt said...

You should have a donation button, Joanne. If Paddy can raise nearly four grand, surely you could manage to get a decent amount. Maybe not as much as she does because I don't see you begging your audience for $25 minimum, but you could maybe cover your coffee (or tea, if you prefer) expenses for the year.

david john said...

thanks joannne. some def treasures in there too... like the way you mix the bad in with the good.

happy new year, and hope 2010 is better that 2009!

Anonymous said...

who are these neanderthals who are giving paddy all this money? I mean besides creative capital.

Chris Rywalt said...

I can't imagine who would give Paddy money. She's been around a while, so she has a large audience, and I guess there's going to be some percentage of them who LOVE YOU. No matter what.

I've had experience with a snowball effect. Not in the art world, or art blogging, unfortunately, but I had a little online game I'd made which for some reason got some publicity. I never really promoted it. Maybe I sent a message or two saying "Check this out!" to a few people. I certainly didn't work at it. The Web was smaller back then, too. Anyway, it caught on, then snowballed. It's been over ten years and it still gets 700 to a thousand pageviews a day. Why? I have no idea. But it's bringing in $50 a month in ad revenue (down a lot from its heyday before the tech bubble popped. The first one).

My point is not so much to brag -- as I said, I didn't do much so I don't consider it an accomplishment, really -- but to show by example that some things, for some reason, just catch on. They're not necessarily the best or even very good, but they reach a certain size after which they just don't get smaller.

I'm guessing if the snowball is big enough, there's bound to be some percentage of that snowball with money they don't mind throwing away. If that snowball is large, it could be a good amount of money.

Personally if some bunch of people gave me four grand I'd do a little dance of joy. I'd post the dance of joy to YouTube, in fact.

Joanne Mattera said...

Thanks, all, for the encouragement and support. It really does mean a lot.

I have been thinking about putting in a Pay Pal Donation button, which I see as a non-aggressive way to seek financial support. I suspect it would bring in a little cashola during the Miami Fairs posts and on Marketing Mondays. I may yet.

The allotted space on this blog is filling up, and this month I need to think about what I do with it: take it to WordPress or Typepad, for instance, or some other blog format in which I can receive more technical help. I am committed to continuing it.

I have not sent out emails asking or begging for money, nor will I. I will not take ads. I'm not applying for grants. And I certainly will not run sponsored posts, which are, in fact advertisements. My painting (and this past year, academic affiliations) have supported me, and before that I had a day job as a senior editor in publishing, so I know a thing or two about real journalism.

If I'm gonna give money to anyone who asks me to support a blog, it has to have really good writing, and a strong sense of journalistic responsibility. I haven't given any money yet. (Ed's blog, and Sharon's Two Coats of Paint fit the bill, but they're not asking.)That said, I applaud Paddy's entrepreneural spirit; I'm just not supporting it.

I'm with Thomas Hollingworth, who said during the blog panel in Miami: "It's a blog, not a job."

Meanwhile, keep the comments coming. For now, they're pay enough.

Joanne Mattera said...

P.S. Chris, I wish I could come up with $4000 for you, just to see you do a dance of joy on You Tube.

Chris Rywalt said...

For you I'd consider doing it for less.

Liz Hager said...

Joanne,
A truly delectifying post!!!

Numbers 1, 4 & 10 brought generous tears to my eyes (of laughter or fright, I could not tell). Does the line from "Untitled" apply here? To wit: "Some personal statements should be kept personal."

And a big thanks for calling out El Anatsui, to my mind, one of the most interesting and under-covered artists at work today. Hosannas indeed.

Much appreciate this yeoman's job on what must be the dirtiest job in the world—-making sense of Miami!

PS Come over to WordPress! We could use some help getting them to recognize the "ART" blog as a category beyond the the likes of "My daily painting."

Shelly said...

Thank you! I always enjoy your blog. I would also be willing to donate some cash.

Joyce Owens said...

Some see things as they are and ask "WHY?"; Joanne, you answered the "why not" part by doing what you did in Miami and sharing your experiences with us! I'm chiming in with my thanks for your due diligence! I also laughed from my belly and appreciate seeing current trends through your eyes; recycling, war and other current issues that artists address are not pretty!

Scott said...

Hi Joanne -- thanks for the shout-out regarding Geoffrey Todd Smith's work! Apparently I was the only one dismayed by the carpet (as you said, "the carpet matches, um, the drapes.") -- I found it too distracting, but it remarked upon repeatedly how his paintings did indeed match the drapes. Cheers!
-Scott Speh, Western Exhibitions

joannemattera@comcast.net said...

Yeah, that carpet was something else. I'm not sure why, but hotel carpets are the most garish. Maybe because they distract one from stains? Anyway, Geoffrey's paintings totally dominated the space. Love them.

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