Friday, December 9, 2011

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Art Basel Miami Beach - 10th Anniversary and Counting!


The 10th Edition of Art Basel Miami Beach meant a whole lot more than marking the extraordinary fact that a decade has passed and ABMB has grown to be the most important art fair in the world, in one of the most exciting settings for contemporary art.



Blah, Blah, Blah by Mel Bochner. 

 I come every year and find the fair and the surrounding events to be the perfect and sometimes contradictory mix of culture, fantasy, discovery, glam and bling. But what is really the most important accomplishment of these past ten years is what Art Basel has done for Miami as a city, community and now, as an international art center. It has developed into a truly unparalleled conglomerate of new hotels, shops, restaurants, galleries and artist studios that are pulsating and vibrating year-round.

The most famous German couple in the contemporary art world: Eva & Adele

The main fair was nothing short of spectacular. I loved the early vernissage and the opportunity to see and buy art before the best pieces were snatched by frantic collectors who, like many of my clients, have turned art into their most prized investment-- emotionally and financially sound assets that they appreciate and love to live with.

Jonathan Meese's Revolution

Conceptual art was a strong theme that I saw in many of the ABMB exhibiting galleries and some of the ancillary shows like the one at the Cisneros Fontanals Foundation (CIFO) and de la Cruz family’s private collection. Generally, I like and understand conceptual art because I love to fill up blank spaces with my own ideas or even make up interpretations in my mind. However, as someone driven by aesthetic, beauty, colors, symbols and graphics, particularly given the nature of what I do, extreme conceptual art is not my thing.


An entire collection! Photomontage by Martha Rossler


For the first time ABMB offered Art Video, a new section comprised of different features, including artistic short films and videos outside the convention center projected on a giant screen designed by Frank Ghery. The section also featured small pods inside the fair where attendees could sit and wear headphones and experience amazing videos, among which there were collaborations with Gagosian Gallery, White Cube and the Whitney Museum. I think this is a great way for ABMB to introduce video art to the public and also help new collectors get their feet wet (it is not the easiest to collect).


Tracey Emin's Neon from her latest series

In the party realm, I must say that this year's soirees went above and beyond the expected. My favorite parties were the Art.sy one under an oceanside tent at SoHo Beach House and The Hole Gallery party at the Delano gardens, with the Salem band concert and performance taking place on a stage by the pool (and inside too!). Jeff Deitch threw a MOCA Beach Party at the Raleigh, while Cartier honored Beatriz Milhazes and ArtNexus had its traditional fête, also at SoHo Beach House, complete with a fashion show by the pool. There were so many others; it will be impossible for me to recap them here.


The tent at SoHo Beach House for the Art.sy party

Michelle Grey from SoHo House and I at the Art.sy event. (Picture courtesy of Billy Farrel Agency)

ABMB has really changed the contemporary art landscape and the way that many people and collectors experience and buy art. I'm looking forward to the next 10 years and to see art transform people's lives and homes in a positive and impactful way.


In the meantime, here is a list of my standouts:

ABMB

• Works on canvas by Cuban artist Jose Bedia at Snitzer

• Large-scale and never-before released Keith Haring works on paper at Gladstone Gallery

• Tracey Emin new neon series at Lehmann Maupin

• William Kentridge paper panels at Marian Goodman

• Arturo Herrera collages at Sikkema Jenkins

• Martha Rossler's Photomontage at Mitchell-Innes & Nash

• Simon Evans mixed media works at James Cohan

• Elmgreen & Dragset installation at Emmanuel Perrotin

• Jonathan Meese's large-scale canvas at Contemporary Fine Arts (Berlin)



Pulse

• Mark Fox's mixed media and collages at Larisa Goldston
• Andrew Schoultz's gold leaf flags at Marx & Zavattero



NADA

• Jan Albers's acrylic panels at Van Horn

• Eddy Martinez's canvases at The Hole

• Barb Choit's "I Heart My Attitude Collection" store at the Dumbo Arts Center

• Adam McEwen rabbit sculpture at Cumulus Studios