Miami brought its A-game to Art Week. The weather was Chamber-of-Commerce-approved gorgeous. Developers and real estate agents had an easy side-sell as South Florida glistened and glittered on its very best behavior.
Assuming you didn’t ossify in your vehicle sitting on a causeway leading to or from Miami to Miami Beach, now fully rehydrated and feet revived with a lavender Epsom salt bath, it's time for a little artful reflection.
Marc Spiegler (Art Basel Global Director) and company went home smiling under their soothing airplane eye masks and safety cootie masks.
Art Basel is reporting “vigorous sales across all sectors of the market and throughout the duration of the show.” The main Art Basel Fair itself had an “overall attendance of 60,000 throughout its VIP and public days.” That does not reflect the rest of the fairs, museums, parties, galleries, outdoor venues and special events. Art Basel Miami Beach secured its standing as the “singular cultural event in the Americas.” Out of a total of 193 countries in the world, Miami hosted collectors and institutions from 72 countries.
“A huge win for Miami and the metaverse this week,” gushed Marc Glimcher, President and CEO, Pace Gallery, New York, Palo Alto, Palm Beach, Hong Kong, Seoul, Geneva, London.
“It felt like a shift in gear, even more energy than the previous fair pre-pandemic,” according to Thaddaeus Ropac, Founder, Thaddaeus Ropac, London, Paris, Salzburg, Seoul.
“The linchpin of a booming Miami art scene and a larger cultural economy, " opined Ted Loos, of the New York Times.
“Visitors arrived in the mood to buy…” reported Melanie Gerlis of the Financial Times.
If you missed most or all of the talks and discussions, Art Basel informs us that “all panel discussions were also live-streamed on Facebook.
Recordings will be available at artbasel.com/miamibeach/conversations shortly.” Pour a glass of wine, put your feet up and absorb at leisure. Perhaps the upcoming edition of ‘OVR:2021’ (Online Viewing Rooms) is more your style. Works made this year will run February 9 through 12, 2022. www.artbasel.com/ovr
Couldn’t make the Art Miami show? You have a second chance with the similar Palm Beach Modern + Contemporary Art Fair. Also presented by Art Miami, PBM&C will relocate to the Palm Beach County Convention Center, with an exclusive VIP Preview benefiting the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens on Thursday, March 24 through Sunday, March 27. www.artpbfair.com
SCOPE fair, located on the sand at 8th Street, Miami Beach, appropriately housed a South Beach visual vibe in its exhibition choices. Nothing quiet or sedate about these choices.
The iconic 1921 era Moore Building located in the Design District showed off its elegant bones with the stunning three-story “Shattered Glass” exhibition put on by Jeffrey Deitch.
Many artists used the week to launch private openings or public outdoor space installations: Carlos Betancourt, collaborating with Alberto LaTorre hung hundreds of tin charms, (“Milagros!”) over Espanola Way, symbols of devotion, hope, and healing drawn from an Iberian folk custom.
Mira Lehr celebrated her new book by SKIRA Editore, “Arc of Nature, the Complete Monograph.” If you are not familiar with Lehr’s work, this is a wonderful example of a long and successful career. Ecologically and aesthically plugged in, Lehr has produced a plethora of works in her 87 years, co-founding one of the first co-ops for women artists, Continuum in 1961 Miami.
Artist Mary Ellen Scherl gave a showing of her powerful project “Defending Democracy: Portraits of U.S. Military Women on Canvas and Film.”
“Three days before the suicide bombing at the Kabul airport that killed thirteen Service Members including two female Marines, I woke up worrying about one of the women featured in my Defending Democracy paintings.” Scherl shared, ultimately writing a heartfelt poem, a lament put to music. All in attendance at last weeks’ opening listened raptly to the military women speak of their experiences. Sobering.
It was impossible to go through Miami Art Week without experiencing myriad emotions, new ideas, people and problems both solved and unsolvable…this is what we’ve been missing.
If you live on Miami Beach, you might be interested to know that under the the city’s Legacy Purchase Program, we are now the proud owners of works by emerging artist Farah Al Qasim from the Helena Anrather Gallery, NYC. Two photographs and a wallpaper, (“Plant Market/Stray Flowers in Swimming Pool/Still Life with Sample Text and Pina Coladas”) will be installed inside the Miami Beach Convention Center.
Just one more thing: the outfits. Athleisure wear and other bad habits involving elastic waistbands were nowhere in sight.
People gloriously preened and accessorized, then accessorized some more, leaving every shred of casual attire to a distant memory. We haven’t lost it, Mabel!
Gotta run…it’s time to address those pesky sugarplums dancing in my head. The major end-o’-year holiday season is up on deck, ready or not.