Report from Miami

December 5, 2011 at 11:12 am (Uncategorized)

Hey! I’m back after four very long days and nights at the Miami fairs. I’m happy to be home, but I had a lot of fun.

The fairs have changed a lot since the frothy days of the mid-2000s. There was a lot less of the craziness that marked previous fairs; fewer pop-up shows, guerrilla art actions, beach parades, and general wackiness. The container show and its sidekick the PS1 radio station are no longer there, and are sorely missed. But the shows are still solid, sales were up for everyone, and that meant a lot of good moods all around.

A guy I met in Miami told me that blog readers like to read “short, punchy lists” and that if I’m going to blog, that’s how I ought to do it. Okay! So in the spirit of Miami, I thought I’d recap my trip that way:

Best work at the big fair: Galerie Berinson, Unica Zurn. How the hell were these Zurns (there’s only one on the site but there were two in the booth) not in the retrospective? They’re the best work by the artist I’ve ever seen, and I’m a big fan so that says a lot.

Best suddenly super-hot material: Clay. As in, ceramics. Really. There were loads of ceramics-based works to be seen everywhere – each fair I went to had several different artists all suddenly working in clay. Cool, but weird that it’s suddenly popular.

Best chance meeting: Bumping into Andrea Bowers and Olga Koumoundouros, who were participating in Art Basel’s Art Public, who set up camp over where the containers and PS1’s sound stage used to be, giving out food and talking social justice ala Occupy Wall Street. The “sculpture” changed every day; here’s a snapshot of Thursday:

It was funky and raw. They invited activists from different local groups involved in housing advocacy to come and give talks every evening. Very, very different from the usual Art Basel public project! A nice respite from selling selling selling. By the time of my last visit, it seemed that everyone involved was getting the flu or otherwise exhausted; I hope they got home ok.

Best open-to-everyone party: Mr. Brainwash. Can it be true?? One of the very few non-official, pop-up spaces I encountered. I wanted to hate it, but I didn’t. I swear, if you squint in this picture, you can see a dj above that big can of “spilled paint.”

Anyway, it was truly a party atmosphere, very little posturing, and it is what it is (or it was what it was, I guess).

Worst thing about the fairs: The evil black hole the shuttle busses kept falling into en route to Wynwood. Also, the lack of signage for the shuttles, and general absence of a schedule. Basically, the shuttles blew. You had to allow 2 hours+ to make what should have been a 15 minute drive. And remember, time is short and there’s a million things to see. Yeah, that was fun.

Worst invite-only party: Bass Museum of Art. I’m not suggesting that these events have to be super exclusive, but there’s a difference between that and cramming as many people as you can into a space and calling it a party. You couldn’t see the art, you couldn’t see other people, you couldn’t move or breathe. Really not a good idea.

And last, but definitely not least:

Best cheap vegan eats: La Sandwicheria. Miami Beach isn’t known for good cheap food, let alone good, cheap, vegan food. But MY GOD. The veggie sandwich at this place was KILLER. It was one of those sandwiches you look at when it arrives and think, “Holy crap, I can’t possibly eat all of that.” And then ten seconds later, it’s completely gone. Whoa,  I could go for one right now.



1 Comment

  1. Katie A. said,

    Gaah, awesome. Next year we’re going to get wild. Be ready!

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