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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Hanging with the 1% making the scene

vandalized paintings selling like hotcakes
Breathing in the rarefied air of Miami Basel art collectors, I have spent the last three days polishing my feet to smooth painful nubs and letting my eyeballs play freely across every texture, surface, and pointedly cunning perspective. This weekend was the annual event that breaks us down (as artists) and builds us up (as artists). Dozens of art fairs and ludicrous traffic jams take Miami by storm. Money reigns down on the restaurants. The masses jostle with the stars, and we all play the bourgeois among the peculiar and exceptional. It helped that I carried a wine glass with me...
paper mache vase with contemporary athletes
I nearly tripped over the riffs as people snapped selfies, endlessly, in front of puns and mirrored artworks. The quiet humor of a nearly packed up gallery such as the illusion, of Shen Shuamin at Klien Sun, might have been missed by those in a rush to post their photos. His installation titled "handle with care"  at the ArtMiami fair consisted of faux masterpieces "wrapped" in painted bubble wrap and leaning against the walls with packing tape.  At Pulse fair Patrick Hughes tricky "reverspective "painted moving buildings in the Flowers gallery had me almost give up drinking.
paper sculpture- I might do this at home!

another flat paper sculpture, for MG
Across all the fairs (only 1/4 of the fairs that were going on this weekend), I attended there was a predominance of clay sculpture, lenticular photography, pushpin installation, and images of bunnies, skulls (normal artist subject), and butterfly wings. Looking up the symbolism of bunnies perhaps the definition of  "abundance and vulnerability" rings true for all of us at this time.
embroidered hood of a deer's dreams by Chris Roberts Antieau (New Orleans)

There was a lot of embroidery. There was Carrie Seigh at Bernice Steinbaum. I loved the exquisite embroidery by Chris Roberts Antieau, at Red Truck Gallery from New Orleans in Scope Fair.
Deeply chilling sculpture by Mark Jenkins Three men dressed in red, white and blue with masks and bats
I found overall that the work that really resonated with me was work that had some sort of social impact, such as Swoon's work. Her prints and collage wall pieces at Scope were by-products of her work in Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Haiti. They are deeply personal depictions of people she has met that become symbols of transformation. The money from sales goes back to the communities and yet the art stays vibrant and unique, like the artist herself, (who had a public welcomed birthday party Saturday night in Wynwood with lots of dancing and fantastic hairdos). Also, I really appreciate the work of Miami artist Maggie Knox which I saw at her open studio in little Haiti. She hosts small residencies for women artists and likens her space to "an incubator for authenticity, femininity and creativity". I lusted after the prints of Marylin Rondon (author of children's book "Why does Mommy have Tattoos"). Bought two candles made by Isadora Shamash there for the next new moon.  At the uber boutique art fair Aqua I ran into Daria Sandburg of BoxArt Gallery in Pittsburgh, who was lugging a suitcase written with the words something like, "the load I carry" as part of her "baggage claim" performance. Daria asked me if I would like to hand over something, some baggage, that I could use help with lifting. When I thought about it and decided that I was okay, she offered me a wire mesh boat loaded with scraps of inked up ribbons, and invited me to add my wish, promising to help move the positive forward on it's journey. She also had for sale little wire mesh beds with chains and tiny books underneath them, or underneath the pillows... things that made you surprised and awakened your imagination. Her work carried the potential to be helpful in addition to being darn sweet looking.

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