MIAMI — The first week of every December, artists, gallerists, critics, collectors, and art aficionados from across the globe make the pilgrimage to Miami Beach, Florida for Miami Art Week, an annual showcase of modern and contemporary art. This year Miami Art Week was held December 2 through 8.
Art Basel Miami, the North American edition of the international art fair Art Basel is one of the more commonly known fairs associated with Miami Art Week. Having been around for 18 years now, Art Basel Miami Beach exhibits mostly established, high profile, contemporary artists, and designers, and charges rates that are out of reach for emerging artists.
For those not in the main show, however, there are satellite fairs and pop-ups all around the city during the week, giving emerging galleries and artists a chance to exhibit their work.
This year, a number of Brooklyn artists and art organizations had the opportunity to present at both Art Basel Miami and surrounding fairs. From street art to interactive performance, the artists and organizations listed below are some of many fair participants who showed off Booklyn’s diverse, innovative art scene.
SILHO² + Brooklyn Beer Garden
Like Brooklyn, the Wynwood district of Miami is known for its street art scene. Brooklyn Beer Garden set up an installation and pop-up beer garden in a Wynwood garage, resembling their home base in Bushwick, where they served brews native to Brooklyn and hosted a group show of 31 artists titled SILHO².
“We want to expose the artists we work with and the local Brooklyn brands we sell to the market of creatives making their mark on the world,” Gabriele Murello, owner of Brooklyn Beer Garden told Bklyner. “The street art scene is a very small world. The street art scene in Miami has its locals just like New York does, but familiar faces from all over the world pop up throughout Basel.”
Small canvases were displayed in the courtyard with a personal profile giving a more personal feel to the presentation. Emerging names in street art, like Marco Santini, Bianca Romero, and Dirt Cobain, were some of the exhibiting artists at the pop-up beer garden in Miami. Dirt Cobain, mostly known for his pill bottle pieces, also created a custom mural for the Miami pop-up. Santini did a number of live painting sessions throughout the week, including one at the Pancreatic Cancer Center Miami, which was then donated to a patient and long-time friend.
“I had the honor of painting a purple One Love heart with custom words to raise awareness for Pancreatic Cancer while sharing some statistics (over 55,000 people are diagnosed in the US each year accounting for 3% of all cancers),” Santini wrote in an Instagram post. “To create art that makes anyone feel is powerful and I’m always grateful for these positive interactions.”
SHIM Art Network for Aqua Art Fair
“Aqua originated as an artist-run fair in 2004 with the intention to support and provide exposure to artists and galleries situated in the West Coast, within the robust market of the East Coast, and more especially take advantage of the art pilgrimage to Miami Beach in the winter,” Nicole Crisonino, Director of Aqua Art Miami told Bklyner.
Crisonino described Aqua as a place for collectors, curators, and art lovers to “to discover fresh talent and acquire new works while exchanging cultural ideas and forming meaningful connections.”
“For the 15th anniversary [of Aqua] we were committed to return to the essence of Aqua by working with galleries, artist collectives and more established artists studios to really highlight the progressive developments in how the art market validates buying confidence for the emerging. It is no longer controlled by the gallery/collector relationship but has rather has opened up to accept different relationships between art and audience,” Crisonino explained.
The SHIM art network has a similar drive as Aqua to showcase young talent and focuses on making space for artists and performers who aren’t usually given the same clout as those represented by big galleries.
“Every year SHIM purchase spaces at art fairs that are either overlooked or unwanted; such as balconies or patios that frame the fairs, and then pairs them with artists with smart and unique practices,” SHIM director Peter Hopkins told Bklyner over email.
On a balcony near the hotel’s bar, Deming Harriman, a Brooklyn-based artist who makes her own tarot cards, gave readings to visitors using her own deck. Harriman’s oeuvre is mystical, using mixed media to create mystical pieces that often draw from symbolism, fairy tales, and archetypes.
“She read for over 50 people in two days. The line waiting for her stretched up to an hour. This was a beautiful new moment in the art world where art is not just exhibited at fairs, but instead created at it,” Hopkins explained.
SHIM also hosted a performance at the Aqua fair targeting plastic pollution by French performance artist Alexandra MAS and her partner, Marco Tassini of Italy. In the performance, Mas emerged from the ocean in a costume made from plastic waste and made her way across the beach to the fair.
“It seemed to freeze time. Viewers watched in stunned silence,” Hopkins said.
This year, Brooklyn-based furniture designer and sculptor, Fernando Mastrangelo was able to interact with collectors in a way different from most artists. Rather than selling his work out of a gallery’s booth, Mastrangelo had the opportunity to design Art Basel Miami Beach’s VIP Collector’s Lounge, which he titled La Vallée.
The exhibit, in collaboration with Swiss watch house Audemars Piguet, takes inspiration from the Swiss Mountains where the brand is based. Mastrangelo used mineral-like stone to craft furniture, walls, and displays that look like they were taken straight from the piece of a mountain.
The installation was inspired by time, but not only because of the products being displayed; cases decorated with sapphire, glass, iron, and colored gradient backdrops comment on the beauty of the evolution of nature over time.
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