Miamimania

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Calvin Klein, Tamara Mellon, Donna Karan, Laudomina Pucci, Vivienne Tam, Kenzo, David LaChapelle, Doug Aitken, Jack Pierson, John Currin, Kehinde Wiley, Terence Koh, Dennis Hopper, David Byrne, Keanu Reeves, Steve Martin, Russell Simmons, Lou Reed, Jerry Speyer, Eli Broad, Steve Cohen, Peter Brant, Beth Rudin DeWoody, Aby Rosen, Larry Gagosian, Mary Boone, Andrea Rosen, Barbara Gladstone, Lisa Phillips, Tom Krens, Michael Govan.

What do these people have in common? They’re all going to Miami, of course.

“In ten days,” as fellow Salon writer Steve Kaplan wrote in our recent thread on why people collect, “this culture (or sub culture) will descend in all its sound and fury upon Miami. The attendant rituals of conspicuous consumption, of snubbing and embracing, of preening and prowling, of “perilous journeys across the seas separating the small islands”, might even give the Trobrianders pause. And one can only imagine what an observer with the sensitive antennae of a Malinowski or a Levi-Strauss would make of it all, trudging down Collins Avenue, notebook in hand.”

So, why are YOU going? What are you expecting to get out of Art Basel Miami Beach? What are you excited about? What are you dreading? What are your must-go exhibits, special events, parties? What’s your strategy for making it through the fair and how will you make sense of it all? Please send your thoughts and best advice.

3 thoughts on “Miamimania

  1. Why am I going? That reminds me of the joke:

    Q: Why do New Yorkers wear so much black?
    A: Because they don’t make anything darker.

    Why am I going to Miami? Because they don’t organize anything more insanely profitable. There’s nothing else like it. Although an increasing number of old-school collectors are now avoiding the chaos (and an increasing number of dealers say they wish they could), the idea of sitting at home, knowing the potential in sales, contacts, and opportunities for our artists I’d be missing, would drive me around the bend. Things happen in Miami, and they happen fast: sales, new exhibitions, new partnerships. It’s intoxicating and exhausting.

    Or at least it has been. Who knows this year?

    As for the must-attend events, there are simply too many to count, and last year, as was bound to happen, the smaller, more intimate events became the new places to be. The huge blow-out parties and harder-to-get ticket events were often disappointing because they didn’t (couldn’t actually) top the previous years’ excitement.

    There’s only one bit of advice that makes any sense given the scale of the event this year: pace yourself.

  2. In addition to trudging down Collins Avenue, notebook in hand, I plan to enjoy the launch of a new book, Miami Contemporary Artists, a mini-event on its own, with a full schedule of book signings, talks, and a two venue exhibition of work made in Miami over the last twenty years. With one of Gavin Perry’s kaleidoscopic paintings on the cover and a foreword by celebrated critic Elisa Turner, it is a valentine to the local scene, showing art made both in and out of the spotlight. Art Basel might be in town for a week, but these are the people who keep it real all year round. Three Miami artists — Adler Guerrier, Bert Rodriguez and William Cordova — are in the 2008 Whitney Biennial, and many others enjoy international recognition. So the launch of this book at Art Basel puts new spin on the phrase “think globally, act locally.”

    The openings of Peter Coffin and Tatiana Trouvé at Emmanuel Perrotin in Wynwood are also of interest. Perrotin took the unusual step of expanding from Paris to Miami, not NY, and his gamble paid off. Memorable exhibitions at this space include Wim Delvoye, Sophie Calle, Elmgreen + Dragset, and Leondro Ehrlich, and he also managed to incorporate local energy into his Paris schedule. Plus the garden adjacent to his double decker Miami Modern space (a former refrigeration business) has hosted some great dinner parties. Chez Perrotin is two blocks from the Rubell Family Collection, which will feature a retrospective of local hero Hernan Bas. It is also down the street from The Yard at Casa Lin, an outdoor exhibition space adjacent to the bungalow of collector Lin Lougheed, which this year will host a show curated by artist Mette Tommerup, including work by Daniel Arsham, Bhakti Baxter, Robert Chambers, Naomi Fisher, Samantha Salzinger and Wendy Wisher, among others.

    In related developments, Yvon Lambert will open a large “temporary” gallery across the street from the Rubells. Here the names are more international: Douglas Gordon, Jenny Holzer, Christian Marclay, Lawrence Weiner. Will Lambert follow Perrotin into a permanent Miami commitment? Time will tell. And for the last two years, the New York galleries Ronald Feldman and Pierogi have opted to exhibit in a vacant office building in Wynwood rather than participate in one of the fairs. It gives them lots of space to fully air their stables and for special projects. This year, it’s fairly close to the Pulse fair, which has left its tent and moved indoors, to the Soho Studios. In Miami. What’s in a name?

    Over twenty fairs open opposite Art Basel this year. ArtMiami, normally scheduled for January, has decided to enter the fray, in a large tent just a block from the galleries of Kevin Bruk and Fred Snitzer. Scope, in a tent pitched in a local baseball field, has generally offered fresh, unmediated experience, where just about anything goes. There will be museum openings at MOCA (Jorge Pardo), at MOCA Goldman (Enoc Perez), at the Bass and Wolfsonian. A show of emerging French art at the Moore Space. The Art Positions containers on the beach, and rumors of an Iggy Pop concert. Private collections will open their doors: in warehouses (the indefatigable Marty Margulies), in homes (Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz), in penthouses (Ruth and Richard Shack, Milton Ferrell).

    As I was writing this post, a new e-mail arrived every few minutes, announcing participation in a fair, or a gallery opening, or a book party at the Raleigh ballroom, or a show of contemporary Chinese art in the Design District. But among all this non stop activity, there are two places you will not find me this year: Dilido Island and the Miami Art Museum.

    So András, it might not be Klein, Karan, La Chapelle, Hirst or Pucci, but have I dropped enough names?

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