Fair Play: A Blogger's Tour of Art Miami

The posts so far:

This was the Facebook announcement for our Bloggers' Guide to Art Miami. We weren't sure exactly who would show up, but as the group (below) assembled, we turned out to be an assortment and combination of artists, collectors, bloggers, dealers, and Franklin's Einspruch's lovely parents.

Some of the group that assembled

Every year Sharon Butler and I—informally known as Art Bloggers @—organize a blogger event at one of the art fairs. It's a good opportunity to bring  together friends old and new who are interested in art and art blogging.  In 2009 We organized a well-attended blogger panel at Art Miami. This year we were invited back. Our idea this time was to take the group into the fair itself, a walk-and-talk, so a Bloggers’  Guide to Art Miami was conceived.

When a personal relocation redirected Sharon’s attention, our good friend Franklin Einspruch—artist, blogger and art critic—stepped in. We made a good team, Franklin and I. We reconnoitered the fair on Thursday in advance of our tour the following day. Over lunch we mapped out a plan, and when our group showed up 40 strong the next day, we took to the aisles.

What follows is a bit of what took place.

Titian, Saint Sebastian, 1530, Edelman Arts, New York City

"Titian! This, I wasn't expecting at an art fair!" said Franklin. "The execution is superlative, the painting is in excellent condition, and the serene look on the saint's face as he regards the arrows embedded in his flesh is quite a testament to faith."

You expect to see Picassos and Matisses at this fair, but a Titian was a first for this or any Miami art fair. This one, from the private collection of the dealer, was the centerpiece of an exhibition that explored the male figure and the biblical/art historical theme.
Above and below
Contemporary interpretations flank the master: Christopher Winters above; Michael Murphy below

Louise Nevelson, Scott White Contemporary, San Diego

We stopped in front of this  Nevelson, Mirror Shadow XXXIX, 1987. I had been seeing a number of big black objects at the various fairs (post coming), and Nevelson is the queen of big black objects. It was an opportunity to foreshadow a coming postthis was a bloggers' tour, after alland for us to view up close, unencumbered by guards, work that is normally seen in a museum. Indeed, one of the surprises for a first-time fairgoer has to be the number of museum-quality works on display.

Rana Rochat, David Lusk Gallery, Memphis

Several of artists in the group were specifically interested in encaustic, and as the author of The Art of Encaustic Painting, the first commercially published book on the topic, I was happy to oblige.

We stopped in front of this work by Rochat.  What strikes me is the transparency of the color and delicacy of the gesture, and the way Rochat develops the image above and below the surface, allowing you to float visually within and through the work. Encaustic is a difficult medium to master because the molten wax begins to harden the moment it leaves its heat source. Rochat, working large, maintains the medium's fluidity on a surface that's close to five feet wide.

Chris Antemann, Ferrin Gallery, Pittsfield. Mass.

Franklin directed the group to the Ferrin Gallery booth, where Chris Antemann's work was featured:  "I'm interested in these gender-bent riffs on Baroque French porcelain, executed with the merest hint of California Funk."

Antemann examines gender roles through the medium of porcelain,  specifically 18th century mises-en-scènes that embrace sexuality, androgeny and politics. (In a lovely bit of androgeny, Franklin referred to Chris as "he" and was quickly set right by Leslie Ferrin. Indeed, one of the nice things about the tour was the willingness of the dealers to get involved in the conversation.)

In keeping with our blogger theme, gallerist Leslie Ferrin  noted several cyber venues for additional information: the gallery's Facebook page, and Artberkshires, which posted about the fair 

Franklin Einspruch and Leslie Ferrin
Photo courtesy of group member JK Russ

Franklin talking about a Charles Hewitt woodblock print (with me looking on) at Jim Kempner Fine Art, New York City
Photo courtesy of group member JK Russ
"We ignored a Chuck Close serigraph to look at a delightful, warm Hewitt. I have failed to convince the woman in the hat about anything I'm saying," said Franklin.

At Modernism, Inc., San Francisco

Franklin is holding forth about Georges Valmier, the center piece on the top row of the left-hand wall: "Part of the fun of fair-going is finding neglected but worthy figures in art history."

 Jasmina Danowski at Spanierman Modern, New York City

Franklin admiring the right half of a diptych. "Danowski makes her own inks and works with acrylic resins and other unusual mediums on paper to make lovely floral abstractions."

The group waxed and waned as we made our way from stop to stop. Here it was quite large (waxy?) as we made our way over to the our next stop, the Bridgette Mayer Gallery booth, below
Kenneth Noland, Blue Painted Blue, 1959,  Bridgette Mayer Gallery, Philadelphia
Pat Steir painting to the left of the Noland, Eileen Neff to the right 
Photo courtesy of Bridgette Mayer Gallery

Gallery owner Bridgette Mayer talked about how and why she selected these works for the booth. "We built the installation around the Kenneth Noland painting, which is the centerpiece," she said. Working with the Noland, a Pat Steir (visible above and below to the left of the Noland), a Sam Francis (not shown) and a Jim Dine (far left, below), something of a landscape theme emerged within a larger context of curvilinear lines and the grid.  

From left: Dine, Charles Burwell, Steir, Noland
Photo courtesy of Bridgette Mayer Gallery

Charles Burwell, Large Overlay No 1, Black and Tan, 2011, acrylic on canvas, converses with Pat Steir's Gold and SIlver Moon Beam, 2006, oil on canvas

I particularly like the relationship of Burwell and Steir, with the subtle vertical rhythm of the works, each marked by a strong central division

View from inside the Bridgette Mayer booth. Foreground, Steve Tobin sculpture; Neil Anderson, Summer Evening, 2011; Jim Dine, Four Palettes, 1963

Panning to the other side of the Noland painting, with Steve Tobin sculpture and Paul Oberst grid construction. (See the Oberst work in the contect of The World Wide Web)
Photo courtesy of Bridgette Mayer Gallery

Bridgette Mayer talking to the assembled group

Below: the group
 Photo courtesy of group member Melanie Matthews

Nice touch: At the end of the tour we walked over to the cafe, where Art Miami had coffee and a table waiting for us

Around the table: Barry Fellman, director of the Center for Visual Communication, Miami, and Tim Tate, whose work I showed in the Aqua Art post
Between them in the distance: Dani Marti woven bungee-cord sculptures at Lausberg Contemporary, Toronto and Dussendorf

Swinging around: artist Kate Kretz to my right, and to her right, artist/blogger Jami Nix Rahn of Art South Florida 

Read JK Russ's blog report here.


M.A.H. said...

Great post, thanks.

Nancy Natale said...

Excellent tour! Wish I had been there. I think I would have been mesmerized by that Nevelson. Wonderful piece.

Anonymous said...

TITAN ??? dang.

Stephanie Clayton said...

Nevelson's works always stands out; there's nothing like it!
Great post, Joanne.

Jack said...

It may be a typo, but the date given for the St. Sebastian (1503) should be ca. 1530. There are at least four other St. Sebastians by Titian, including a very late one (1576) in the Hermitage which is much rougher than this one, almost expressionistic.

Joanne Mattera said...

Right you are, Jack. Thank you. It was a dyslexic moment (plus I'm a terrible typist). I fixed it.

K. R. said...

To the right of the Kenneth Noland at Bridgette Mayer Gallery is an important Eileen Neff work, titled ''The Field and the Plane'' from 2007.


Anonymous said...

I hope you will do this again next year. I want to come!