FAIR FACTOR: Aqua Wynwood

Approaching the entry to Aqua Wynwood

The booth setup at Aqua Wynwood: not fancy, but an international roster with interesting work

If the increase in size of the Scope fair is one measure of how the Miami fairs have grown in a short time, the addition of a second Aqua venue is certainly another. In reports last year and the year before, I've expressed my pleasure with Aqua and given props to its founders Jaq Chartier and Dirk Park and several of their colleagues—artists all—who started the Aqua Hotel fair in 2005 to give Pacific Northwest galleries more opportunity to be part of the Miami art scene. Since then, Aqua has become not only more national but international and it has this new big sister location in Wynwood, the topic of this post.

Aqua Wynwood is located in the same area as Scope, Pulse, the Rubell and Margulies Collections and Art Miami. It’s housed in a one-story warehouse building that’s fitted cheek by jowl with booths. While not as plush as the bigger fairs—there are no rugs on the floor, and the booths are more bare bones—it’s crammed with edgy and interesting art.

"What did you buy today?" one woman asked me as we were waiting on line in the courtyard to purchase beverages. "Lunch," I replied. "And you?" She listed names and fairs, dimensions and colors. There was a new house just outside Philadelphia to furnish, plus the Miami apartment, and a modest business placing artwork in the homes of friends. One of the things I like about the art fairs here is how close to the mechanism we get—collectors chatting with artists and curators, artists with collectors and critics, as the giant Miami flywheel keeps all the individual cogs turning.

This fair has some of my favorite galleries—Boston’s OH&T Gallery, Atlanta’s Solomon Projects, San Francisco’s Patricia Sweetow, Philadelphia’s Gallery Joe, London’s Patrick Heide. Here’s some of what interested me:

Patricia Sweetow Gallery, San Francisco: David Huffman, top, and Marcus Linnenbrink

OHT Gallery, Boston: Jennifer Riley, Do You Remember Mt. Etna, 2007, oil on canvas; and small framed works by Carl Ostendarp, top, and Clare Grill

Foley Gallery, New York: Michelle Hinebrook, Enveloped, 2007, enamel on wood

At Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland: Joe Thurston, two relief paintings on panel, with a detail below (I think the surface is carved into, because it resembles a woodblook)

Patrick Heide Gallery, London: paintings by Minjung Kim and grid of smaller work by Isabel Albrecht

At Carl Berg Gallery, Los Angeles: Richard Wilson's reductive geometry Fine and Dandy, 2007, acrylic on canvas

At Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco and New York: Nicole Phungrasamee Fein's subtle watercolor grids on paper, and Russell Crotty's globe and suite of four drawings

A closeup of Fein's watercolors, below

At Solomon Projects, Atlanta: Douglas Weathersby surrounded by his installation in a large corner of the Solomon Projects booth

I don't normally get too involved with installations such as this at Solomon Projects. The videos show interior spaces being hosed and washed, and there's the corner of an office recreated in photographs with a young, casually dressed man sitting in front of a desk that's half actual desktop and half the photographic representation of it. As I chatted with Nancy Solomon and Alexandra Sachs, I learned that Douglas Weathersby, the man seated in the installation, was the artist. And the art--the sudsy, moppy videos and the desk filled with invoices and work orders--was a recreation of the environmental cleaning business he has created to support himself. So in one of those moebius strips in which art and life fold in and on themselves, Weathersby's art is created from his work, which is what supports his art.