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Art Fair LowDown
by Hannah Daly

#1 - ART BASEL MIAMI BEACH (Art Public Vernissage Nov. 30, 8-10pm)

On the verge of its tenth edition, Art Basel Miami Beach has arguably proven its self-proclaimed prophecy to be “the most prestigious art show in the Americas.”  The city of Art Deco hotels and man-made islands hosts the American counterpart of an art fair that is a very, very big deal. This year promises to carry on a tradition of a blinding amount of heavy-weight international art.

For 2011, Art Basel Miami Beach has teamed up with the Bass Museum to present Art Public, an outdoor show held in the fair's unofficial central promenade, Collins Park. Curated by LACMA’s Christine Y. Kim, the project will take the important step outside the convention center walls in an attempt, as Kim writes, “to compliment, frustrate, soothe, challenge and distract from the cacophony and activity of South Beach during the show.” Art Public includes the usual sculptural suspects: a transcendent marble Kapoor, an acrylic anatomical Hirst, a brightly colored and dripping Melee. In addition, the inaugural edition of the effort will present several performances and site-specific works. For the opening evening on November 30th from 8-10pm, New York-based Sanford Biggers will present Mixtape, a collaborative live performance fusing seemingly distant cultural forms like film noir and traditional Samoan dance.


Glenn Kaino, Levitating the Fair, (drawing - Art Basel Miami Beach 2011. Courtesy the artist and Honor Fraser Gallery, LA.


Perhaps the most intriguing performance, Los Angeles-based Glenn Kaino will stage Levitating The Fair, a durational work running the span of the fair. Kaino has called for hundreds of volunteers to attempt to move a twenty-foot squared platform, engaging questions of labor, collectivity and occupation of public space. Like Kaino’s past works, this newest incarnation conjures its own mysticism, choreographing a specific ritual. And if putting in a little muscle work to make performance art magic happen sounds like a good time, the artist is still looking for volunteers.


Collin Munn, 10:00, 2010; 00:00 project; Courtesy of the artist.


#2 - NADA (Public Opening Dec. 1, 2-8pm)

The hipster little sister who hangs out at The Deauville Beach Resort, New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) brings together youngish galleries that encourage youngish artists, and are, well, kind of hot. More Lower East Side and Brooklyn than Chelsea, NADA’s participants can be counted on to pull together booths bursting with edginess. Now in its eighth year, and second at the Art Deco resort location, participants include the Ridgewood-based artist-run space Regina Rex, post-Deitch Projects inheritor and kids about town from New York's The Hole, and the original alternative gallery, non-profit space White Columns.

This year NADA is going digital. Following the lead of Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, NADA has teamed up with dealer and collector platform Paddle8 to bring the entire fair online. The fair’s preview goes live on Paddle8 November 25th, and promises that members can “virtually explore and acquire artworks from the booths of participating exhibitors” through this project. Additional works will be for sale exclusively online.

Fountain Art Fair Warehouse; Courtesy of Fountain Art Fair.


#3 - FOUNTAIN ART FAIR (DJ Events Dec. 2&3, 7pm-12am)

If NADA is lil sis, Fountain Art Fair is the badass big brother who leaves a tag in his wake, probably plays in a band and never quite makes it home by curfew. As the self-appointed champions of the “avant garde,” Fountain’s exhibitors represent experimental spaces across the country and beyond.

Now in its sixth year, the renegade anti-art fair has become known not only for the works housed in the 25th Street warehouse, but an expansive outdoor street art show. This year’s installment will run 150 feet straight through the city and feature New York’s favorite street-crocheter Olek, Pratt grad and figurative paster Cake, San Francisco-based painter Chor Boogie, and twelve other contributing artists. Brooklyn’s performance-centered Grace Exhibition Space returns with a program of nightly evening events including a ritualistic work conjured by Brooklyn-based Quinn Dukes and often literally on-fire live performance of Erik Hokanson.

While the line-up is yet to be released, we can count on Fountain to follow up last year's performances, which featured New York hipster-rap outfit NinjaSonik and Los Angeles's noise duo No Age. With one evening sponsored by Artlog, and the other by the Miami New Times, it is hard to imagine that the surprise won’t be sweet.

Installation shot of Aqua; Courtesy of Aqua Art Miami.


#4 - AQUA ART MIAMI (Vernissage Nov. 30th, 8-11pm - VIP Pass)

Forget about a hotel party -- Aqua Art Miami epitomizes the hotel fair. Dripping with Art Deco ambiance and boasting the ultimate in pleasurable browsing, Aqua Art at the Aqua Hotel pushes the alternative use of space to the limits. Exhibitors transform individual rooms, in some moments reconfiguring the familiar elements of the space, in others, simply interjecting into the suites’ interior layouts, placing a painting on a bed, converting a coffee table into a pedestal, or a bathroom into a projection room. Site-specific installations swallow up the outdoor, palm tree filled courtyard. Specifically, Sante Fe’s Eileen Braziel Fine Arts presents a video and sculptural piece by artist Will Wilson. Wilson has constructed a Buckminster Fuller-inspired dome on which original video will be projected.

What began in Seattle as “an experimental project to bring West Coast galleries and artists to Miami” in 2005 has grown to include, in addition to Los Angeles- and San Francisco-based spaces, galleries from across the US and abroad. The fair purports a “West Coast vibe,” which must contribute to the emergence of the hotel’s hot tub as a locus of chilled out mid-fair hanging. Notably, this year’s exhibitors include Toronto based Narwhal, showcasing the glittering gemstone paintings of Carly Waito, and San Francisco’s Greg Lind Gallery presenting the cast reliefs of Sarah Botwick.

This year, Aqua has collaborated with MOCA North Miami, Miami Art Museum and The Wolfsonian Collection, among others, to offer free admission to museum members on the inaugural edition of Museum Day, December 1st. The move helps to open up what can easily become a closed circuit, inviting Miami locals to participate in the week's events just as much as temporary coastal imports. 

And of course, be sure to drop by Room 200 where the ArtSlant Prize exhibition, Land Locked, will be on view. Winning artists from ArtSlant's year-long open-call series will be exhibited: Jason Irwin, Holly Murkerson, Christine de la Garenne, Guy Nelson & Nathalie Chikhi.

~ Hannah Daly

(top image: Art Basel Miami Beach at Miami Convention Center, 2010. Courtesy of Art Basel Miami Beach.)


Posted by Hannah Daly on 11/28/11 | tags: art fair Fountain Art Fair Aqua Art Fair Art Basel Miami Beach

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