artworldArt Fairs
Sunday, November 27th, 2011

Checkbooks on the Ready: Art Basel Miami 2011

Art Basel Miami and related fairs and events, Miami, Florida, November 30 to December 4, 2011

Art has found its place in the sun.  This week sees the tenth edition of Art Basel Miami, previewing Wednesday,  with a host of other fairs and art events also taking over the Art Deco Miami Beach neighborhood, the Design District, Wynwood and Downtown Miami.  artcritical will be covering the fairs day by day with highlights and personal reports from our regular correspondents and guests.

Art Basel Miami is the US sister event of Art Basel, the Swiss fair that has taken place on the Rhine since 1970.  The Miami iteration, launched in 2002,  quickly eclipsed the preexisting Art Miami and usurped Chicago, the nation’s previous front running expo.  Some say it has even overtaken its Swiss parent in terms of size, if not earnings.

Douglas Florian, Cruel Laughter, (III-377), 2007. Gouache on paper with collage, 10.5 x 10.5 inches.  Courtesy of BravinLee programs: On view at Seven, Miami, November 29 - December 4, 2011
Douglas Florian, Cruel Laughter, (III-377), 2007. Gouache on paper with collage, 10.5 x 10.5 inches. Courtesy of BravinLee programs: On view at Seven, Miami, November 29 – December 4, 2011

But Miami is not just for 1%’ers, as our title cheekily implies.  With 40,000 visitors expected through this coming weekend Miami can make credible boasts to be the art Olympics.  Besides Art Basel Miami and the persistent – actually reinvigorated – original Art Miami there are over a dozen satellite (or should that be parasite?) fairs, whether informal, pop up fairs in hotels along Collins Avenue or substantial rivals like NADA, the New Art Dealers Association event, striking out at the Deauville Beach Resort in North Beach, where Rachel Uffner’s stand includes the work of Sara Greenberger Rafferty, or Pulse, in the Ice Palace, where Morgan Lehman features Sharon Louden.  And there are specialist fairs devoted to Asian art, photography, and design.

For all the offshoots and tolerated rivals  (in fact they are encouraged, as Art Basel even lays on free buses) Art Basel does remain the main event.  Aisle upon aisle of blue chip historic shows  (L&M Arts, for instance, with Andy Warhol drawings of the 1950s and ‘60s or Robert Miller with Louise Bourgeois) are cheek by jowl with the latest novelties, or simply fine offerings by mid-career artists like Alexander Ross, on display at David Nolan New York or Nabil Nahas at Sperone Westwater.

For the second year a group of (mostly) New York galleries will present Seven, antidote to the booth after booth overload of the biggies, in which the eponymous seven integrate their artists in a unified display.  Douglas Florian, for instance, is represented at Seven by BravinLee programs.

And this year more than others there are signs of concerted efforts to integrate all this frenzied commercial activity with museum and non-profit cultural centers across the city, offering hopefully more focused and thoughtful displays.  The Bass Museum of Art, for instance, offers a solo exhibition of Austrian sculptor Erwin Wurm while the reviving Miami Art Museum is showcasing Faith Ringgold paintings of the 1960s.

And many local galleries enter the fray  with curated group exhibitions.  Carol Jazzar Contemporary Art at 158 NW 91st Street presents a ten-person international line up, curated  by Omar Lopez-Chahoud, and including New York artists Franklin Evans and artcritical contributing editor Greg Lindquist.  The show is titled “you are here forever…” But as artists, collectors, dealers and casual perusers of art fair craziness must all realize, we are actually here for a weekend.


Sharon Louden, Eventing, 2011. Oil on stretched paper on panel, 20 x 28 x 1.5 inches. Courtesy of Morgan Lehman Gallery. On view at Pulse Miami,?December 1 - 4, 2011?
Sharon Louden
Nabil Nahas, Cockatoo, 2000. Acrylic on canvas, 46 x 46 inches. Courtesy of Sperone Westwater.  On view at Art Basel Miami, December 1 to 4, 2011
Nabil Nahas
Alexander Ross, Untitled, 2011. Oil on paper mounted to board, 24 x 19 inches. Courtesy of David Nolan New York. On view at Art Basel Miami,?December 1 - 4, 2011?
Alexander Ross
Erwin Wurm, Little Big Earth House, 2003/2005.  Bronze, silver-plated, 20 x 34 x 25 cm.  Courtesy of Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris; Xavier Hufkens, Brussels; and Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York.
Erwin Wurm
Louise Bourgeois, SPIDER I, 1995. Bronze, dark and polished patina, wall piece, ed. 1/6, 50 x 46 x 12.25 inches. Courtesy of Robert Miller Gallery. Photo: Allan Finkelman, © Louise Bourgeois Trust. On view at Art Basel Miami,?December 1 - 4, 2011?
Louise Bourgeois