Fair Play: Art Basel Miami Beach

The posts so far:

Smoke and mirrors at Neugerreimschneider, Berlin

"The elephant is like a pillar," said the first blind man who touched its leg.
"No, it is like a rope," said the second blind man who touched the tail.
"No! It is like a thick branch of a tree," said the third blind man who touched the trunk of the elephant.
"It is like a big hand fan," said the fourth blind man who touched the ear.
"It is like a huge wall," said the fifth blind man who touched the belly.
"You are all wrong," said the sixth man who touched the tusk. "It is like a solid pipe."

In its 10th incarnation this year, Art Basel Miami Beach is one big-ass elephant.

As an artist I have a very different take on the event from a collector; I’m less concerned with what things cost or the status of the artists than showing as much as possible of what I saw. As a curator I organize images thematically to help make sense of the immensity of it all. As a blogger I can take my time; deadlines are my own so I can look longer and show more. And of course my view of things is very different from any other blogger’s. This post is the elephant as I saw it.

Full view: Pae White tapestry, Olafur Eliason bicycle sculpture

You are here

The layout of ABMB doesn't look that big or complicated in a neat map but, trust me, it's not easy to negotiate because most of those neat little white blocks contain often maze-like walls to provide additional hanging space. The big diamond in the center contains a restaurant and space for video viewing. The coral squares in the upper left comprise Art Positions, solo presentations in tiny booths by emerging galleries of emerging artists (these galleries used to be in the containers in Collins Park at the beach, but no more). The light blue squares in the upper right comprise Art Nova, emerging galleries with small curated shows. The yellow squares dotting the layout indicate that the booth contains an Art Kabinett, a section dedicted to a solo exhibition. In actuality, it all flows together even if you sometimes don't have the slightest idea where you are. The exhibition section of the fair-is several football fields in size--and bear in mind that there's a whole other unseen section to store the crates all of this work arrived in.

I’m starting off with installations I loved: Louise Bourgeois at the Fondation Beyeler, Lygia Clark and Hannah Wilke in beautifully curated small exhibitions at Alison Jacques, atmosphere at Franklin Parrasch, and a few others.  Next come the installation shots to give you a sense of the immensity and theatricality of the venue. We end at the Art Positions and Art Nova sections, which focus on emerging talent.

At Fondation Beyeler, Basel: Louise Bourgeois, Cell (Twelve Oval Mirrors)
Closer view into the installation, below

A view from the installation looking outward

At Galerie Karsten Greve, St. Moritz: More Louise
Above and below: Different views of the polished aluminum sculpture

Detail below of the totem

At Alison Jacques Gallery, London: Two dramatically curated shows

Above and below: Lygia Clark. The geometric work on paper above offers a better view than what's visible in the overexposed rectangle below

Above and below: As the gallery did last year, it offered a look at the work of the late Hannah Wilke, a seminal--or should I say, ovular--figure in the Seventies

Franklin Parrasch Gallery, New York: The most exquisitely atmospheric show at the fair
Above, left wall: Ron Cooper, Joe Goode, Ed Ruscha
Below: Peter Alexander sculpture, Craig Kauffman on back wall

At Ameringer/McEnery/Yohe, New York: Helen Frankenthaler's Blue Reach, probably the most cinematic work at the fair. (Price: $1,500,000. I know this only because the price was posted on the information label; most galleries don't post prices)

At Cecilia de Torres, New York: The artist was not identified but the installation was fabulous, a cloud of metal rods suspended in air

Below: When I peeked underneath, I saw a whole different view of the work

Apropos of metal rods
At Adler & Conkwright, New York: Jesus Rafael Soto sculpture

Apropos of clouds
At Luciana Brito Galeria, Sao Paolo: Leandro Erlich, La Vitrina Cloud Collection

Detail below: Each "cloud" presented in layers so that it becomes as much object as image

Back on terra firma
At Galerie Lelong, New York: An installation of work by the late Ana Mendieta
Untitled (Gunpowder Silueta), 1980, photograph
Anima, 1982, 12 black rock crystals laid in soil and grass

At unidentified gallery: Jimmie Durham

At Lehman Maupin, New York: Erwin Wurm sculpture
(Want to pronounce his name correctly? Air-vin Voorm, and roll the r's)

At Lisson Gallery, London:  It wouldn't be an art fair without an Anish Kapoor

Above: Work by Alighero e Boeti refracted in the Kapoor sculpture
Below: a regular view of the work

At Karsten Greve, St. Moritz: Joel Shapiro sculpture and work on paper

I love the way the geometry of Shapiro's work relates to this installation
At Galerie Jocelyn Woolf, Paris: Franz Erhard Walther, Drei Wandsockel. (Wandsockel is defined as "part of the wall in a staircase"; there are three of them)

Installation at Stuart Shave Modern Art, London

At Galerie Lelong, New York: Sean Scully

Installation view: Edward Tyler Nahem, New York
Calder sculpture, Stella on back wall, Joan Mitchell partially visibly at right

From individual works and specific installations that I found interesting, we move to larger, more general installation views to give you a sense of the venue and the range of what was shown. The big galleries, like Edward Tyler Nahem, above, claim enormous space. If this were a trailer park, Nahem would have not just a double wide but an encampment of vehicles. By way of comparison, the smallest booths in Art Nova are about the side of a bedroom (and since we're comparing, there were some really small booths at NADA, about the size of a broom closet).

Loretta Howard Gallery, New York
Installation focusing on the time of Max's Kansas City in Seventies New York. (This was the subject of a recent exhibition at the gallery as well)

At Greene Naftali, New York: Installation by Guyton/Walker
(I'll have more images to show you in an upcoming post on leaning paintings)

Installation view: Casey Kaplan, New York, in the foreground

At Andrehn-Schiptjenko, Stockholm
Paintings are by Martin Jacobson; I don't know who made the installation, shown in closeup below

View into the fair from the booth of Gisela Capitain, Paris: Heimo Zobernig painting on the right 

As you can see from the installation views, the personality of each gallery is different. Perhaps this is why one gallery is selected for the fair while another is not? I don't know. While some 260 galleries are allowed into the fair by a selection committee comprised of 12 dealers from the U.S., Europe and Latin America, many more galleries are turned down than accepted.

Installation view of A Gentil Carioca, Rio De Janiero
That's the crocheted sculpture of Maria Nepomuceno in the forecround
(With my limited Portuguese, I can tell you that a gentil carioca translates to the people of Rio)

Installation view of David Zwirner Gallery, New York: Yukata Sono sculptures of woven rattan
Sometimes the galleries set up their booths to take advantage of the space outside the wall, an arrangement that works only with a corner position, but it can be visually effective. Do I love this installation? No, but it shows you another view of the fair

Do I love this installation? Yes
At Greenberg VanDoren, New York: The entire large booth given was over to the paintings and sculptures of Alan Shields
Second view below

At Galerie Eigen + Art, Berlin and Leipzig: Olaf Nicolai sculpture

At Galerie Thomas Schulte, Berlin: Installation view with Inigo Manglano-Ovalle, Black Jack

At Anton Kern, New York: Installation views above and below
My formalist sensibilities can't relate to this work, but since it was the funkiest installation in the venue I wanted you to see it

Correction: I liked the Jim Lambie sculptures, shown on the outside wall, very much. They are constructed of layered and folded metal

At Bortolami, New York: An Art Kabinett featuring the work of Morgan Fisher, back wall, and Daniel Buren

Installation views, above and below at Leslie Feely Fine Art, New York
Above: Jules Olitsky and Kenneth Noland. The tape was a janitorial addition

Below: Another Noland, with another view into the fair

Corner view at Almine Rech, Paris: Franz West sculpture, Alex Israel paintings

Inside and outside views of  Mary Boone Gallery, New York

Above: Peter Halley, Nick Cave, Jacob Hashimoto
Below: Barbara Kruger (see more in Fair Play: Occupy Miami? )

Installation views at Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York
 Keith Haring on the outside wall, with a glimpse of a Mike Kelly installation within

Below: the Kelly installation. It appears that many hundreds of stuffed animals were killed in the creation of this work

Installation at Loretta Howard Gallery, New York: Lynda Benglis

You saw a wide-angle view of Howard's installation earlier in the post. Here we zero in on Benglis. And I'm not focusing on the infamous dildo photo but rather the one below it, showing her pouring latex in the making of a floor sculpture. (See that work in her solo at The New Museum)

Below: Photo of her pouring latex into a floor sculpture

Installation at Alfonso Artiaco, Napoli: Perino and Vele sculpture
Truth to tell, I don't always get the conceptual point of some of this work, though there's no mistaking the physical point here: nails, hundreds of them

At Kimmerlich  Gallery, New York, in the Art Positions section: Alexandra Bircken sculptures
Yes, they're reminiscent of the wrapped and wound sculptures of the late Judith Scott, but these seem more coolly considered and the installation is just right)

View of the Art Positions section

At Anita Schwartz Galeria, Rio de Janiero, in Art Positions: Otavio Schipper installation

At Galleria Raffaella Cortese, Milano: Video by William E. Jones
I don't normally sit to watch videos, but this was so non-narrative and painterly that I was entranced

Two installation views in the Art Nova section, identifiable by the blue signs

View in another direction. Painting in foreground by Michael Bauch at Lullin and Ferrari, Zurich

Installation view of  Hauser & Wirth booth in the main fair: Paul McCarthy, Bashful.
Do I like it? What do you think? But I'm sure a millionaire collector snapped it up for the Los Angeles home or the Park Avenue pied a terre. Or maybe I'll bump into it in one of the big private collections that opens its doors each year in Miami 

Next post: A Visit to Aqua Art

If you feel that my reports from New York and elsewhere around the country, including the Miami art fairs, bring the art world to you, or that Marketing Mondays offers professional information of the sort you never got in art school, please support this blog. I am a painter with a full-time studio practice; every post represents a significant expenditure of time, travel, photo editing and writing. A one-time annual donation of $20 (though any amount is welcome) will help support my effort. See the Donate button on the sidebar. Thank you.


Elena De La Ville said...

Amazing 'reportage'... your writing is clear, your images are very good, sharp, and to the point. Kudos, Ms Mattera....!! very well done!...
(I was there and did not see half of what you saw!)
Outstanding post!

Ruth H said...

I had more fun viewing your photos than walking the fair! Next time I'd like to silently follow you!

Eliz Bisbing said...

Looks exciting!

Anonymous said...

so weird how we can have overlapping tastes but photo totally different things - we both photoed the larry zox (in the max's kansas city photo), the heimo zobernig, the lygia clark and the mike kelley. great post, nice to see some things I totally missed (like the pae white tapestry, how could I have missed something that BIG?)

Nancy Natale said...

Great post, Joanne! Your organization makes it so much easier to understand. Some favorites: the Frankenthaler Blue Reach - gorgeous, the amazing metal rods at Cecilia de Torres, the cloud collection, the big black painting on the left at Stuart Shave Modern Art, Sean Scully and Jacob Hashimoto. It must be an overwhelming experience to see all this work - and this is just one of the fairs. I don't know how you do it but I certainly appreciate it!

Anonymous said...

Amazing. Thank you so much Joanne Mattera. Inspirational tour.

Marsha Hewitt said...

Joanne, thank you so much for this wonderful post. It is almost like being there. I was especially moved by Louise Bourgeois's mirror installation. It reminded me of her powerful Steilneset memorial in Norway's Artic circle that commemorates the deaths of 91 people, mostly women, during the witchcraft persecution of the 17th century. Louise did not get the recognition that she deserved during her lifetime. She was a force of nature.

Christine said...

Really enjoyed and was intrigued by how the "cloud of rods" at the Cecilia de Torres gallery looked organic when viewed head on and so formalized from underneath. Would like to see a Jacob Hashimoto piece in person. Thanks Joanne.

Anonymous said...

You did quite a job. Great report that brought the show to me when I couldn't be there. Thank you, your report was clean and right to the point. Michael