A Map and Itinerary For the Miami Fairs

by Paddy Johnson on November 23, 2010 · 2 comments Newswire

Art Basel Miami

Who’s going to Miami this year? I am. I’ll arrive next Tuesday, but as of yesterday I started my planning — Boyd Level released their yearly map of art fairs. I’m not exactly an uber planner, but I learned early on that if I don’t protect myself from viewing too much schlock, I get too depressed to spot the good stuff. Don’t let this happen to you. My edited list of fairs below, complete with AFC commentary.

Must See:
Art Basel Miami: The mother ship. Represents blue chip contemporary and secondary market dealers, with a tiny ring of emerging galleries.  Last year there were too many movie stars making art in the booths (read: Sylvester Stallone) but here’s hoping that trend  is not continued. James Franco — I only want to see you in the crowds.
NADA: Hands down, the best emerging art fair in Miami. It’s got its share of crap too, just less of it than the rest. Don’t miss it.
Ink: Unlike many of the medium-specific fairs I’ve seen over the years that suffer the drain of stronger galleries to larger fairs, Ink attracts the best print galleries in the country. It’s a fantastic show.
Seven: Pulse loses a couple of strong galleries to Seven, a small satellite fair with –you guessed it — seven exhibitors. They includePierogi, Hales Gallery, Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, BravinLee programs, Postmasters Gallery, P.P.O.W. and Winkleman.
Pulse/Aqua: Pulse usually trumps Aqua, but without galleries like P.P.O.W, Winkleman and Postmasters, this year is going to be a little tougher. Aqua tends to host a number of galleries that deal with illustration. Neither are my favorite fairs, but there’s usually something at each worth checking out.
Leave Until the End:

Scope: This fair has a reasonable artist commissions program, but has a hard time keeping their stronger exhibitors. It was better last year than in previous years, but still a far cry from their glory years in the early to mid 2000s.
Verge: Run by Michael Waterman, the same guy who did Bridge (the uncurated fair). Draw your own conclusions.
Red Dot: Lives up to the expression “You get what you pay for”.  There might be one or two unlucky galleries worth seeing in this fair, but not more than that.

Collections to See:
Usually a better bet than the fairs, quality-wise.
  • The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse – To many artists to name, but think Jonathan Meese, Brian Alfred and Chris Ofili.
  • The Rubell Family Collection – 'How Soon is Now' and 'Contemporary Art 1983—1991 from the Collection of Jason Rubell'
  • CIFO – ‘Inside Out, Photography After Form: Selections from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection’
Conversations to Hear:
Art Basel Conversations: The “intellectual” part of the fair
These conversations take place at 10 am, so I tend to miss them due to blogging. But if there is one I’ll try to catch, it’s Friday’s Museums in the Digital Age. Panelists include Maxwell L. Anderson, of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Lauren Cornell,  of Rhizome and The New Museum, Peter Reed, of MoMA, and András Szántó, author and consultant to arts and philanthropic organizations.
State of the art world got you down? William Powhida and Jen Dalton tell you why you’re right through a series of panels, artist projects and lectures that critique how uneven distribution of wealth effects the art world.  This will not be a feel good series. Note: I am on the critics round table Saturday at 12:00 pm with Christian Viveros-Faune,(Village Voice), Mark Rappolt (Art Review), Carolina Miranda (WNYC and c-monster), and Hrag Vartanian (Hyperallergic). Note: See Hyperallergic’s list of five #rank projects worth checking out.

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