Putting Artists First at SATELLITE

by Paddy Johnson on December 5, 2015 · 1 comment Art Fair

Stupid Bar

Open Space’s “Stupid Bar”

As I write this no less than six terrible karaoke singers are belting out “I will Always Love You”. This song and many others has been drifting down the halls of Artist-Run thanks to Stupid Bar, which oddly enough, is one of two bar installations at the Ocean Terrace Hotel. (Full disclaimer: Art F City’s F.A.G. Bar is the other installation and is situated next door.) A four foot mop of hair crawls through the hotel’s halls several times a day, as does a guy wearing a lamp shade for a hat and a telephone for a scarf, often followed by a seven-foot drag queen named Lazanya Ontre.

That’s just a whiff of what’s happening at Artist-Run at SATELLITE, an exhibition and curatorial project by Tiger Strikes Asteroid that invites artists to transform rooms in a derelict hotel called the Ocean Terrace into installations. You can actually feel the creative energy seep through the space, and after a week of looking at art safely quarantined in frames and vitrines, that feels nothing short of a miracle. The only fair that comes close to producing this kind of energy is NADA, though Baltimore’s Artscape, the event we dubbed, “The Art Fair That Doesn’t Suck” may be a more accurate comparison. Many of the galleries that participated in that fair are in Artist-Run. (New Yorkers looking for a local reference point should refer to the Dependent.)

Now, as a participant, Art F City can’t claim objectivity about this exhibition. Any post I’d write would, by necessity be positive, which is why when we’ve participated in other fairs I’ve never written about them. I’m making an exception with this exhibition, though, because I believe that Artist-Run is important. Past opening up exhibition opportunities to spaces that couldn’t afford to show in Miami without the low participation fee, the exhibition seamlessly integrates the art on display with the installation format, thus providing an intimate experience of the creative practice. Projects like this are an essential to understanding art, and until this year, they were all but absent during the Miami fairs.

A few highlights below.

Stupid Bar

Open Space’s Stupid Bar

The marathon performance of drunk karaoke at Stupid Bar has been going strong since Tuesday. Yesterday, the team may have really tied one on—today has been a bit quieter—but we expect them to finish strong. While the performance tends to dominate the space, the bar fabrication is a masterwork. All the beer cans on the wall are hand painted, as are the knowingly obnoxious signs and the bar top has been intentionally designed to fall apart from time to time. Consider yourself warned.


Fjord, Installation view.

Philadelphia’s Fjord completely transformed their hotel room to look like the bottom of a swimming pool. This installation view shows the collaborative wallpaper silkscreen/dye by Natessa Amin and Anthony Bowers, as well as a projection by Anthony Bowers that reflects the image of a pool off the mylar and onto the ceiling.  It truly feels like the bottom of a pool.


Liam Holding at Fjord.

Liam Holding’s foam paintings at Fjord gently float in the hotel’s bathtub. I’m not sure how this would translate in a home, but I could certainly see them in a Miami pool. Hopefully someone picks these up if they haven’t already.


Ningun Solicitar’s Hotel

I couldn’t enter Ningun Solicitar’s space today because there was a private performance taking place, but they made an art hotel inside a hotel for their project. They worked hard to partner with likeminded collectives, though some sadly never materialized. I’m thinking specifically here of the F.A.G. Bar – Ningun Solitar goth brunch, which I still believe needs to happen.


Bb, Installation view of Brass in Pocket, Third Chorus

Bb’s checklist doubles as an installation guide, as a lot of the art on view exists in peep holes, on screws and in closets. Finding the work amounts to a treasure hunt, which is pretty fun.

Light socket

Bb Alex Goss, “Smile”

The happiest find: These smiling faces on screws by Alex Goss.

House of Gunt

House of Gunt, installation view.

Drag house/art collective, House of Gunt, made their Basel debut last year at The Planet Hollywood of Newer Genres at Zones Art Fair in Little Haiti. This year, they’re back and have launched a faux publication that each day focuses on a new theme. I’ve missed most of the musical performances, but I’m told today’s theme is “We Made It’. Other themes have included “Beauty” and “Arts and Culture”. They’ve definitely glammed-up Artist Run.

Platform Gallery

April Camlin at the Baltimore-based Platform Gallery

April Camlin spent four days hand painting this room, and boy did that effort ever pay off. Spending time in this room feels like being inside an op art computer; every line has a logical turning point and end point.


Penelope, Installation view.

April Childers’ hanging hat titled “Sometimes when you’re wearing a hat it feels like you’re wearing something on your head” looks almost magically suspended in the space during the day. The Queens based-gallery also has a Childers painting on view in the corner of the room called “Cat Butt”. Guess what that’s a picture of.

Tiger Strikes Asteroid

Tiger Strikes Asteroid (TSA), Philadelphia, installation view.

This luggage room offers a virtual cornucopia of treasures. Michael Anthony Farley has discussed the room in another write up, so I’ll leave the heavy lifting to him.

TSA Philly’s show is smart—touching on anxieties relating to the shipment of goods and people that accompany the mass migration of art and artists to Miami each year. It’s also good branding—TSA of course shares its acronym with the Transportation Security Agency, whose prying eyes who scan our baggage.

Unsurprisingly, TSA produced one of the more thoughtful exhibitions we’ve seen during the Miami fairs this week. As the curators of Artist-Run, the show that seems to ooze creative life, we wouldn’t expect anything less.

Speaking of Artist-Run, our hope is that this exhibition can be repeated again next year. It gives artists a voice, and somewhat counter-intuitively that’s most needed here in Miami, during the biggest art fair week in the country.

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