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Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Brief History of Art Fairs

Mark Jenkins, Kicked Painting, ed. 2 of 5, 2017
Besides the medieval tourist traps that sold art replicas along trade routes as novelty items, most of the art sold and bought in the years since the stranglehold of the Academies of Europe, was transacted in the isolated realms of galleries. The galleries were created under the influence of the personality of the dealer who controlled your access to works by artists. They were the gatekeepers influencing who got bought and grooming prominent collections to eventually make it into museums. These were quiet studies affairs until a shift in the art world in the late 1970's. In 1978 Thomas Hoving director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art created the first "blockbuster", an exhibition of the Treasures of King Tut. He sparked the imagination of the public and hundreds of thousands of people started queuing up to enjoy art viewing as a form of entertainment. That same year an observant entrepreneur and a NYC police officer created the first trade fair venue where chain galleries and movie stars, publishers and art lovers could mingle together under one roof. Called Art Expo, and originally located near Central Park, it completely changed the way art business was handled. Thousands of dollars and hundreds of artworks transacted without much of a sales pitch. People were hungry for art and shopped like they were at the mall before Christmas. It was a significant move away from the brick and mortar gallery. Art Fairs around the world enticed dealers with their crowds and soon became launching pads for print publishers and a place for an artist (with significant financial investment) to make a career. Art shown at the fairs ranges from blue chips with stratospheric prices, to ephemeral immaterial concepts to boutique items such as artist sneakers and handbags. This year there was a distinct move to bring back the intimacy of the creation of art. More and more artists, like myself, were adding a performative element to the fairs. Sarah Hanson in the Art Newspaper writes that "This is the first time that artists have worked on the spot" and quoting a gallerist from Mexico city, " a commercial art fair seemed an interesting place to acknowledge and make visible the many systems in which we are all operating". Is it just the addition of a bit more theater?
Me at work in the Fair

Monday, December 11, 2017

Exposed @ Miami Art Basel Week

The business of art is really funny. It seems as though the more successful you are at selling, the less you are seen as a serious artist.
It's an old paradigm that the true artist is in it for the process, for the connection to the more spiritual message, and would never stoop to the crassness of market transactions. But I digress... I am still digesting Miami Basel Art Week. It was lovely to experience the fairs and see all the artworks and catch up with old friends. I did this year a little different though. This year I went for exposure. #Lifeisart #Miamiartcommunity #Spectrumartfair #Miamiartist #paintingperformance #workinprogress
I set up an easel in a crowded corner of a crowded art tent. Paintings and sculptures hung and spun around me as I attempted to paint a night-highway scene from a photograph I had taken the night before. Working in the middle of crowds, I often lost track of the time, and "surfaced" feeling as if suddenly caught in my nightgown in someones living room, during a raucous party. Making conversation seemed an effort, so I mostly laughed and asked questions. Adults seemed to have glazed over eyes. The children were the ones who stayed focused the longest.

They had good questions and I became a teacher (again).

Here are some shots of the progression of the painting:

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Art Fusion

Miami prepares for Art Basel and it starts tonight with lots of "hoopla"! It is a time of circus-like parties, tents, bubbly drinks and old friends wanting to sleep on the couch. Every evening there are two or three enticing invitations and still we must ignore all the brunches, lunches and performances that happen while we are at our day job. To be an artist in Miami and stay home is either an act of defiance or delusional (I have done both)... but it is impossible to ignore the opportunities that all this art and all these art lovers bring into our town for one week. There is so much to see, to listen to, to feel and experience. It's an art fusion happening. The air literally flickers with idea sparks.
 Even the buildings along south beach swish and sway to the music.
 Lights at dusk dress a champagne landscape. Miami never looked better!
detail from one of my embroidered paintings
Our ears are on the pulse, and we hope to be inspired. The trick is to not go broke and to get as many free or discounted passes as possible. On Saturday as part of [Art Fusion] from 1-5pm I will be Live Painting in booth 101 in the Spectrum fair, near midtown. If you need a pass, shoot me an email (

Monday, December 4, 2017

Painted Parking meter

Because I love pushing pigment over anything, I am thrilled to have been invited to spray paint a Miami Dade Authority owned parking meter in Wynwood, the funky and vivacious arts district of Miami! The theme was "Perseverance" and I took inspiration from Hurricane Irma and the embroidery I did through out the ordeal last September.

The event was sponsored and organized by BEEFREE MEDIA. I was so happy to do my first total spray paint project. It was cool to put the fears and worries that were so pervasive when Hurricane Irma was looming across all of Florida, into an image of love and protection, and onto a machine that measures out Time into small increments. 
Look for the meter on North Miami Avenue and near 28th Street. Seven other artists were also invited to paint meters.#mpacommunity #delvs102 #mutavision #courtneyeinhorn #lardzan #hermesberrio #arts_elidea
by Hermes Barrio who taught me somethings about spray caps!

Elidea working on her international collage of "perseverance" symbols

Enthusiasm reigned

delvos102 and her message about saving the Oceans

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Hurricane art

Michael at work

embroidery in process

the clean up

portrait of a chainsaw

Respect the nature

Friday, September 15, 2017

Aftermath in Miami

#hurricaneirma #cleanup
riverfront property

celebratory toast

us in a little rowboat

says it all...

lawn debris...

Thursday, September 14, 2017

refugee from weather

Shelves empty of cans and water before storm

plants all moved safely indoors, windows taped

eating after power goes out

my car!!!!

living for two days in the dark