Sunday, November 28, 2010

Art feature: Art world converges on Art Basel 'party'

Shade Compositions‭ (‬2009‭) ‬by Rashaad Newsome.‭
(Courtesy‭ ‬Frederic Snitzer Gallery,‭ ‬Miami‭)‬

By Jenifer M.‭ ‬Vogt

Beginning Thursday,‭ ‬the contemporary art world will be in Miami Beach and its environs for the second largest art fair in the world:‭ ‬Art Basel Miami Beach.

This includes artists,‭ ‬art critics,‭ ‬private dealers,‭ ‬advisers,‭ ‬galleries,‭ ‬curators,‭ ‬collectors,‭ ‬celebrities‭ – ‬and yes,‭ ‬mere lovers of art.‭ ‬The known,‭ ‬the not-so-known,‭ ‬the conservative and the bizarre‭ — ‬all will preen,‭ ‬posture and push their way through the heavy crowds to view artworks from both emerging and well-established artists for the first time.‭ ‬Millions of dollars will change hands as people vie for work by the next big star or biggest art-world phenomenon.

Frederic Snitzer,‭ ‬owner of the Frederic Snitzer Gallery in Miami and also a member of the Art Basel Selection Committee,‭ ‬puts it this way:

‭“‬There is an enormous amount of competition for a limited amount of material,‭” ‬he said.

This competition takes place on multiple levels.‭ ‬Galleries compete to woo the top collectors.‭ ‬Avid collectors compete to acquire the best work.‭ “‬People practically kill to get into the early previews,‭” ‬Snitzer said.

‭“‬Art Basel‭” ‬itself is one fair,‭ ‬but it has also become an umbrella phrase for the‭ ‬20‭ ‬or so satellite,‭ ‬smaller fairs that take place simultaneously each December.‭ ‬They run the gamut from innovative to kitschy and appeal to a diverse audience.‭ ‬But most repeat attendees agree that there are three significant satellite fairs not to miss if you’re a trend watcher.‭

These are the New Art Dealer’s Alliance‭ (‬NADA‭) ‬Art Fair,‭ ‬Scope Miami and Pulse‭ ‬Miami‭ (‬This is not to say that the others aren’t good.‭ ‬The Miami Beach Visitor’s Bureau has a list of all the fairs:‭ ‬‭_‬09.asp‭)‬.‭

Art Basel Miami Beach is housed at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Here’s a look at the main fair and these three satellites:

Art Basel Miami Beach

The first stop is the Miami Beach Convention Center for Art Basel Miami Beach,‭ ‬which is the sister show of world’s largest art fair,‭ ‬Art Basel Switzerland,‭ ‬now in its‭ ‬42nd year.‭ ‬Art Basel Miami‭ ‬Beach‭ ‬features more than‭ ‬250‭ ‬leading galleries from North America,‭ ‬Europe,‭ ‬Latin America,‭ ‬Asia and Africa,‭ ‬showing works by more than‭ ‬2,000‭ ‬artists of the‭ ‬20th and‭ ‬21st centuries.‭ ‬The show‭ ‬comprises‭ ‬the world’s most prestigious galleries and will set the stage for the art world for the following year.‭

Wendy Blazier,‭ ‬chief‭ ‬curator of The Boca Raton Museum of Art,‭ ‬attends each year to remain aware of trends and emerging artists.

‭“‬Art Basel is the most important art fair in North America,‭” ‬Blazier said.‭ “‬It allows the average person,‭ ‬as well as the most erudite scholar,‭ ‬access to galleries from around the world without having to travel.‭ ‬In five hours or so,‭ ‬you can see every major gallery in the world.‭”

In order to navigate Art Basel,‭ ‬one should be aware that there are different components.‭ ‬Art Galleries is the main sector and features‭ ‬180‭ ‬galleries that were selected during the highly competitive selection process.‭ ‬The‭ ‬Art Kabinett program is where these galleries present small,‭ ‬curated exhibitions.‭ ‬In the‭ ‬Art Nova sector,‭ ‬50‭ ‬emerging and established galleries from‭ ‬17‭ ‬countries are presenting new works by either two or three artists.‭

Art Positions creates a platform for a single major project from one artist,‭ ‬allowing curators,‭ ‬critics and collectors to discover ambitious new talents.‭ ‬Art Public features projects by internationally renowned artists installed in the outdoor public spaces.‭

Apart from the exhibits there are numerous public art lectures and salon-type events.‭ ‬There’s even a nightlife component beautifully situated at an oceanfront pavilion built just for this occasion.‭ ‬But don’t worry if it’s all starting to seem a bit overwhelming.‭ ‬There are plenty visual aids throughout the show,‭ ‬and they even have a helpful‭ ‬iPhone/Blackberry app:‭ ‬

Having curators‭ ‬such as Blazier in attendance contributes to the life cycle of the art,‭ ‬which,‭ ‬hopefully,‭ ‬will end up in museum exhibits,‭ ‬creating‭ ‬prestige and‭ ‬enhancing value.‭ ‬Galleries spend an enormous amount of money to participate in these fairs to reach diverse art world constituents in one location.‭ ‬It’s worth it,‭ ‬Snitzer said.

‭“‬The art market now doesn’t reflect the rest of the economy.‭ ‬As the recent auctions indicated,‭ ‬it is very strong,‭”‬ he said.

One might assume that a fair as prestigious as‭ ‬Art‭ ‬Basel Miami Beach would be far beyond the price range for novice or newer collectors,‭ ‬but‭ ‬think again.

‭“‬The number one mistake that people make is to believe that the fair is not somehow accessible to them.‭ ‬They may go to the satellite shows to collect,‭ ‬but they’d be surprised that there is a great range of prices.‭” ‬Snitzer said.‭

Snitzer’s gallery will‭ ‬exhibit new work by Rashaad Newsome,‭ ‬a video artist who was recently featured in the Whitney Biennial with a piece in which Newsome orchestrates a group of women using a Nintendo‭ ‬Wii.‭

The‭ ‬New Art Dealers Alliance‭ (‬NADA‭) ‬Art Fair
gathers at the Deauville Beach Resort on Miami Beach.
‭ (‬Photo by Dakota Fine‭)‬

New Art Dealers Alliance‭ (‬NADA‭) ‬Art Fair

Now in its eighth year,‭ ‬the New Art Dealers Alliance‭ (‬NADA‭) ‬Art Fair is recognized as a significant showcase for emerging galleries.‭ ‬The fair is free and open to the public,‭ ‬reflecting this not-for-profit‭’‬s mission to make contemporary art more accessible to the general public.‭ ‬The fair will feature‭ ‬89‭ ‬galleries from around the world,‭ ‬as well as performances,‭ ‬lectures,‭ ‬and events,‭ ‬and draws attention to innovative contemporary art from rising stars.‭

This year NADA will unveil a new initiative‭ — ‬NADA Projects‭ ‬— developed to augment the fair’s gallery presentations with innovative and idiosyncratic projects.‭ ‬These more economically sized booths will allow young galleries and non-profits to participate.‭

The prices for NADA artists can range from a few hundred dollars to‭ ‬$100,000.‭ ‬This fair is often noted as a launching pad for future participation in‭ ‬Art Basel.‭

Pandora‭ ‬(2010‭)‬,‭ ‬by Enrique Gomez de Molina‭.
(‬Courtesy Spinello Gallery,‭ ‬Miami‭)

Scope‭ ‬Art Show

Scope Art Show,‭ ‬now in its‭ ‬10th year,‭ ‬has made its mark by showcasing the most bizarre and innovative emergent art from around the world and returns this year to its‭ ‬2008‭ ‬midtown Miami location‭ — ‬an‭ ‬80,000-square-foot pavilion centrally located in the heart of the Wynwood Gallery Arts District.

Scope will present‭ ‬85‭ ‬international galleries,‭ ‬upholding its tradition of solo
and thematic group shows presented alongside museum-quality programming,‭ ‬collector tours,‭ ‬screenings,‭ ‬and special events.‭ ‬Scope‭ ‬is often viewed as the leading creative R+D arena‭ ‬for a wider audience of tastemakers who make art their business.‭

“Scope is a very good fit for the artists I’m showing,‭” ‬said Anthony Spinello,‭ ‬owner of the Spinello Gallery in Miami.‭ “‬It’s known for being cutting-edge and experimental.‭ ‬Scope features both emerging and mid-career artists while Basel is more blue-chip.‭ ‬Scope introduces new artists with potential‭ – ‬diamonds in the rough.‭”

Spinello is optimistic about both the sales and the quality of the work.‭ “‬I think this will be the best year.‭ ‬Sales have been very positive and expected to continue to be so.‭ ‬The work I’m exhibiting is the best I’ve exhibited,‭” ‬he said.

Spinello‭’‬s gallery will exhibit new work by‭ ‬Cuban artist Enrique Gomez de Molina,‭ ‬who creates hybrid creatures‭ ‬that are‭ ‬meant to be both fascinating and humorous.‭

Dripping Fireworks‭ (‬2009‭)‬,‭ ‬by Sarah Anne Johnson,‭
‬featured at Pulse Contemporary Art Fair.‭
(‬Courtesy of the artist and Julie Saul Gallery,‭ ‬New York‭)‬.‭

Pulse‭ ‬Contemporary‭ ‬Art Fair

‬While Art Basel is perceived as‭ ‬blue chip and NADA and Scope as directly on the cutting edge,‭ ‬Cornell DeWitt,‭ ‬the new executive director of the Pulse Contemporary‭ ‬Art Fair,‭ ‬sees that fair’s niche as resting somewhere in‭ ‬between.‭

“Pulse does the best job,‭ ‬hands down,‭ ‬with bridging the gap in between Basel and the satellite fairs,‭” ‬DeWitt said.‭ ‬“While Basel has the most established artists and the satellite fairs have younger,‭ ‬newer artists,‭ ‬Pulse has the younger galleries and new artists,‭ ‬as well as very established galleries and artists.‭”

DeWitt (pictured at right in a photo by Adam Golfer) also anticipates positive sales and predicts this to be a breakout year.

‭“‬One trend I’ve noticed is that,‭ ‬after a couple of years where people were concerned about the art market,‭ ‬this year people are excited,‭” ‬he said.‭ “‬Galleries are not being as cautious.‭ ‬They’re ready to give it all they’ve got.‭”

DeWitt has renewed Pulse’s commitment to Miami.‭ “‬We don’t want‭ ‬to be seen as carpetbaggers.‭ ‬I’ve made it a priority to involve Miami.‭ ‬We have the largest number of Miami galleries and artists.‭ ‬We’ve involved the Miami community,‭ ‬such as a partnership with the New World Symphony.‭”

Basel’s presence,‭ ‬as well as the presence of the satellite fairs,‭ ‬solidifies Miami’s reputation as a key global location for making,‭ ‬buying,‭ ‬selling and viewing art.‭ ‬But Miami is unique because,‭ ‬while other fairs have an air of snobbery and elitism,‭ ‬Miami is known as the place where people can view incredible art‭ ‬and let their hair down.

DeWitt,‭ ‬who relocated from New York,‭ ‬enjoys the different vibe in Miami and Miami Beach.

‭“‬No other fair scene‭ – ‬not London,‭ ‬New York,‭ ‬Basel‭ – ‬has the same energy and excitement.‭ ‬Miami is a blast and I love it.‭”

Blazier agrees:‭ ‬“The world is coming to our doorstep for an art party.‭”

Jenifer Mangione Vogt is a marketing communications professional and resident of Boca Raton.‭ ‬She’s been enamored with painting for most of her life.‭ ‬She studied art history and received her B.A.‭ ‬from Purchase College.

Art Basel Miami Beach takes place from Dec.‭ ‬2-5‭ ‬at the Miami Beach Convention Center.‭ ‬Hours are‭ ‬Thursday through Saturday,‭ ‬noon to‭ ‬8‭ ‬p.m.‭; ‬Sunday,‭ ‬noon until‭ ‬6‭ ‬p.m.‭ ‬Admission is‭ ‬$36‭ ‬for a one-day ticket,‭ ‬$60‭ ‬for a two-day ticket,‭ ‬$75‭ ‬for a permanent pass,‭ ‬and‭ ‬$20‭ ‬for an evening ticket‭ (‬valid from‭ ‬4‭ ‬p.m.‭)‬.‭ ‬A reduced one-day ticket‭ (‬students with ID,‭ ‬senior citizens aged‭ ‬62‭ ‬and above,‭ ‬groups of‭ ‬10‭ ‬or more‭) ‬is‭ ‬$22.‭ ‬Free admission for children under‭ ‬16‭ ‬accompanied by an adult.‭ ‬For more information,‭ ‬visit

New Art Dealers Alliance‭ (‬NADA‭) ‬Art Fair takes place Dec.‭ ‬2-5‭ ‬at the Deauville Beach Resort,‭ ‬Miami Beach.‭ ‬Hours are Thursday,‭ ‬2‭ ‬p.m.‭ ‬to‭ ‬8‭ ‬p.m.‭; ‬Friday and Saturday,‭ ‬11‭ ‬a.m.‭ ‬to‭ ‬8‭ ‬p.m.‭;‬ Sunday,‭ ‬11‭ ‬a.m.‭ ‬to‭ ‬6‭ ‬p.m.‭ ‬Admission is free and open to‭ ‬the public.‭ ‬Call‭ ‬212-594-0883,‭ ‬or visit

Scope Miami takes place‭ ‬from Dec.‭ ‬1-5‭ ‬in an‭ ‬80,000-square-foot pavilion at‭ ‬3055‭ ‬N.‭ ‬Miami Ave.‭ (‬at the corner of NW‭ ‬36th St.‭) ‬in the heart of the Wynwood Gallery Arts District,‭ ‬Miami.‭ ‬Hours are Wednesday through Saturday,‭ ‬11‭ ‬a.m.‭ ‬to‭ ‬7‭ ‬p.m.‭; ‬Sunday,‭ ‬11‭ ‬a.m.‭ ‬to‭ ‬6‭ ‬p.m.‭ ‬Admission is‭ ‬$20.‭ ‬For more information,‭ ‬visit‭ ‬

Pulse‭ ‬Contemporary‭ ‬Art Fair takes place‭ ‬Dec.‭ ‬2-5‭ ‬at The Ice Palace,‭ ‬1400‭ ‬N.‭ ‬Miami Ave.‭ (‬at NW‭ ‬14th St.‭)‬,‭ ‬Miami.‭ ‬Hours:‭ ‬Thursday,‭ ‬1‭ ‬p.m.‭ ‬to‭ ‬7‭ ‬p.m.‭; ‬Friday and Saturday,‭ ‬11‭ ‬a.m.‭ ‬to‭ ‬7‭ ‬p.m.‭; ‬Sunday,‭ ‬11‭ ‬a.m.‭ ‬to‭ ‬5‭ ‬p.m.‭ ‬ Admission is‭ ‬$15‭ ‬or‭ ‬$10‭ ‬for students,‭ ‬seniors and groups.‭ ‬For more information,‭ ‬visit‭ ‬

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