Fair Enough: Finish of Art Basel Miami Beach 2022

Art Basel: Conversations, Tezos


Art Basel: Conversations, Tezos

Irene Sperber, Art Critic at Large

“Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” Lewis Carroll

SCOPE Art Fair: David Holler,


SCOPE Art Fair: David Holler, "Nefertiti," New Apostle Gallery.

Miami Art Week is like being spun in a clothes dryer for a week until suddenly the action winds down, the little round door opens and out you plop; a bit dizzy but ready for what’s next with a new head of ideas and direction.

Ridiculous traffic yanked us out of our cars and cute shoes and into bouncy sneakers by mid week. I knew when it was time to go home when my eyes stopped blinking, stuck open in a glassy blank stare.

The Art Basel end-of-fair report slated this year as “marked by buoyant sales, strong attendance from international collectors and institutions, and standout presentations from the Americas and beyond.”

I read emerging artists did well, though things were slower above the $5 million mark.

Art Basel has started a Gift-Giving Campaign with a lead gift to the STEAM + program, “whose mission is to bring active artists into the seven public schools of the city of Miami Beach.” and “engages 5,000 children and teenagers every year.”

(Learn more about the program by visiting:

I hoovered my way through a second “go” of Art Basel to scoop up any remains, along with several other venues. There was no shortage of visitors to the Art Basel and Design Miami, that I can attest to.

SCOPE Art Fair, Lucy Sparrow,


SCOPE Art Fair, Lucy Sparrow, "McDonalds"

In Art Basel’s Conversations room, I learned a tad more about Generative Art and how to interpret the Tezo’s3 exhibit titled “Performance in Code: Deciphering Value in Generative Art.” Many of the conversations are still online to enjoy at your leisure as you deal with whatever tedious household chore you neglected this week.

I’m a sucker for pithy remarks, pausing in front of conceptual artist Xu Zhen’s metal and mirrored stainless steel piece called “Inspiration! I’m Just Not Feelin’ It Yet” at New York based James Cohen Gallery. Xu confronts sociopolitical taboos in China, and is considered a leading figure among China’s younger generation of artists.

LEFT: Art Miami, WCC Art: Banksy,


LEFT: Art Miami, WCC Art: Banksy, "Turn Right or Get Shot" WCC Art, RIGHT: SCOPE Art Fair, Japan Promotion: Sugako Hamazaki, "Butterfly Effect"

Saturday was Miami at its best. SCOPE beckoned from its perfect position on the beach. The ocean outside the tent was the exact right color, the waves dialed into a movie set size and shape in a show off-y final weekend of blissful temperatures. A porch off the length of the tent made it easy to wander out, sit and take a moment to reflect on what we’ve seen and where we are. As much as I know my city, I was impressed with the visuals… a perfection it may not always exhibit.

Making a beeline to “Butterfly Effect,” artist Sugako Hamazaki was showing at the Japanese Promotion Gallery at SCOPE. A calligrapher and painter, Hamazaki grew up on a Japanese island and has gazed deeply into the importance of nature. Having a fixation with the moon, she uses the sphere in many of her paintings, often reflecting on the Sea of Itsukushima in Hiroshima. Hamazaki uses gold “foil” in her work, foil that was created over 70 years ago as part of a post-war reconstruction Project of Hiroshima. Her gorgeous calligraphy embellishes the work.

Art Miami, Adelson Galleries: Federico Uribe,


Art Miami, Adelson Galleries: Federico Uribe, "Vioilinists"

SCOPE also had a sense of humor with the full-room sized felt installation of a MacDonald’s restaurant by British artist Lucy Sparrow. Children were enthralled with smiley-faced French fries, complete with posted “menu” on prices for the felt morsels. (Fries in a box: $200). Her attention to detail is spot on.

I did some reading on what I was supposed to think regarding this years outing. ARTnews told lots of stories of people pooh-poohing going to the glitzy Miami Beach affair (“Are you still doing that?”), only to fly down anyway at zero hour (add smirk here). I dare you to miss zipping out to Stiltsville on a boat during a brief storm to catch an exclusive show in one of the quirky old Biscayne Bay houses left marinating in the shallow waters. Dare you to miss it. Apparently, no one dares miss out at the end of the day. The oft-used but misquoted Samuel Clemens:  “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated” applies here.

Forbes underlined the bottom line: “Because at the end of the day, Art Basel Miami Beach is about sales.” Everyone agrees wallets were open this week. Naturally Forbes focused on a very popular exhibit from the Perrotin Gallery... Brooklyn art collective MSCHF, won the crowd with a functional ATM machine displaying the users bank balance to the crowd. There was a lot of snickering when I walked by as someone’s bank account registered $0.00 The winner?: DJ Diplo has $3 million in his account. You might want to redirect your progeny’s plans that you’ve been carefully monitoring, moving from a bespoke suit to something more eye-catching and character styling. Success looks a bit different in 2022.

Art Basel,  James Cohen Gallery: Xu Zhen,


Art Basel, James Cohen Gallery: Xu Zhen, "Inspiration! I'm Just Not Feelin' It Yet!"

I’m not mentioning hundreds of worthwhile exhibits, shows, fairs and events due to the shortage of time, energy, and ability to traverse the cities of Miami and Miami Beach in a few days. It’s time to embrace the holiday season and perfect your oat milk eggnog recipe. Another hurdle awaits.

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