An Orbit of Satellite Fairs Make Miami Sparkle (Mostly)
As Miami Art Week winds down with the private jets leaving town and most of the top dealers themselves abandoning their booths to enjoy a little time in the sun, Saturday and Sunday make for ideal times to hit up some of the satellite fairs that aren't as widely known amongst the general public, while Art Basel itself is flooded with the masses.
When we covered Art Miami in yesterday's edition, we spoke about the fair's ability to bring together a wide variety of exhibitors who can offer works of name-brand artists on the secondary market to collectors who may not have the inclination- or budget- for the contemporary market darlings and seven figure blue-chip works offered at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
On the other end of the spectrum is a fair like Untitled whose wide aisles, bright lighting, and contained booths make for a perfect setting to discover the type of young artists and galleries who haven't yet caught the attention and wallets of the more established collectors who frequent Art Basel. Attracting both celebrities- Armie Hammer, Sela Ward, Major Lazer's Jillionaire and tennis star, Andy Murray who were all spotted at the beach-side tent throughout the week- and a young, cool, in-the-know collecting audience, Untitled has clearly hit its stride with a number of its galleries reporting strong sales on the first day of the fair, with many dealers reporting nearly sold-out inventories.
Of course, then there's NADA. The coolest of the cool, and the hippest fair which attracts the type of it-crowd you'd find frequenting the next underground hot spot on the Lower East Side or Bushwick. While somewhat claustrophobic at times, multiple dealers reported consistent sales even as the headwinds facing the types of galleries they run- younger, smaller, and more experimental- have been making it increasingly difficult to survive as a profitable business over the past twelve months. Nevertheless, the strength of the fair itself could be identified by the type of savvy, au courant, insiders The Canvas bumped into at Miami's Ice Palace Studios- Andrea Schwann, Adam Abdalla, PAMM curators, Jennifer Inacio and María Elena Ortiz, Martin Z. Eisenberg, and adviser, Todd Levin. For more insights on the selling activity itself, check out Julia Halperin and Tim Schneider'sreport for Artnet News.
Finally we come to Scope Miami Beach and Pulse Contemporary. The Canvas received significant flak when we wrote last year that after walking through Scope, we were so over street art that we weren't even going to cover the fair in 2018. However, it's hard to deny that the organizers of Scope have vastly improved both the environment of the fair itself- partnering with Porsche for a sleek collectors lounge- and the quality of the exhibitors and art itself. While still mainly showing the kind of Instagram art that the poseurs flock to (and that even The Canvas can't resist every now and then) it's clear that Scope has definitely found a niche for itself with a younger, millennial-focused class of collectors. And a lot of Russians. Oh so many Russians...
The Canvas's only real complaint with the satellite fairs we deemed worth attending this year was with Pulse. Cramped, incomprehensibly bifurcated into two separate beachside tents which break up the art viewing flow by requiring visitors to wait in line twice, situated next to a horrifically congested traffic intersection, and with too few press passes in supply for the second year in a row, the fair is undeniably poorly run. We're not even sure who the fair is trying to cater to, with most of the audience at its Thursday morning VIP preview seeming to be school children there on field trips. It's a shame- as some of the fair's exhibitors- Danziger Gallery, Joshua Liner Gallery, and Hosfelt Contemporary are some of The Canvas's favorites.
We'll be back tomorrow evening for our final edition of Art Basel Miami Beach featuring our takeaways from this past week, as well as the final sales announcements from the convention center. In the meantime, if you're looking for some meaningful reading on the plane ride back to New York, London, or Los Angeles, we invite you to subscribe to The Canvas Monthly by hitting the link below.
The Three Things People Are Talking About
1. In the kind of in-depth, well-written, human interest profile that we’ve come to expect from Nate Freeman, the senior reporter for Artsy sits down with Norman Braman, the mega-successful 86-year-old Miami car dealership owner who was instrumental in bringing Art Basel to Miami 17 years ago. Braman, who frequently made purchases for his private collection at Art Basel in Switzerland, had a vision for Miami’s future. So, at a time when Miami was still known for its ‘80s Miami Vice image and Versace’s death, and before many of the museums it is now known for were even open (PAMM, ICA, and the de la Cruz collection), he was able to convince the hesitant Swiss fair organizers to take a bet on Miami. Since then, Braman’s effort has established Miami’s place on the map as one of the major influencers in the contemporary art world.
2. The Miami-based David Castillo Gallery has graduated to Art BaselMiami’s main Galleries sector, and The Canvas is not surprised – the gallery has been making noise in Miami since 2005, even though it's only beginning to get the full recognition it deserves. On December 4th, the gallery wasprofiled by the New York Times, and just yesterday, The Art Newspaper featured David Castillo’s op-ed about the Miami art scene. The Canvas believes it is safe to say that the gallery’s standing in the international gallery community is now cemented. In a city that is ripe with dazzling private collections – think Craig Robins, the Rubell family, the de la Cruzes, and Martin Margulies – but suffers a dearth of top-tier galleries (save Fredric Snitzer), it’s gratifying to see a local gallery recognized for its strong programming and the vision of its founder.
3. As you’re surely aware by now (due to the saturation coverage in the press), Sotheby’s teamed up with Bono for an auction benefiting the latter’s Red Charity. The event was held at Gagosian and JeffreyDeitch’s "Pop Minimalism Minimalist Pop" exhibition in the Design District’s Moore building. The Canvas can attest to the fact that the philanthropic largess was only exceeded by the evening’s star quotient. Sotheby’s Oliver Barker, dashing as usual, expertly led the sale, gently coaxing the celebrity-filled crowd to part with their money by lowering the bidding increments to laughably small numbers. Still, the strategy paid off with the 35 lots on sale bringing in roughly $10.5 million. Additionally, artist auctions were set for Theaster Gates, Hank Willis Thomas, Jennifer Guidi, and Leo Villareal making the event a success all around. It was announced in advance that Bill and Melinda Gates would be matching the total for the evening. Celebrity attendees included Bono himself, the Gates’s, Naomi Campbell, Hans Ulrich Obrist, David Adjaye, and Derek Blasberg.
Six Must-See Booths In Art Basel's Nova & Positions Sectors
Upstream Gallery (Positions, Booth P8)
Bodega (Positions, Booth P7)
Roberts Projects (Nova, Booth N5)
Selma Feriani Gallery (Nova, Booth N20)
Thierry Goldberg Gallery (Positions, Booth P9)
Josh Liilley (Nova, Booth N24)
The Party Circuit
Sarah Bahbah Exhibition at Basement Miami (Spotted: Sarah Bahbah, Genesis, Aureta, Tori Walker, Caroline Vazzana, and Mery Racauchi)
Emmanuel Perrotin, Massimo de Carlo, & The Bass Museum of Art Celebrate Paola Pivi's "Art with a View" (Spotted: Paola Pivi, Emmanuel Perrotin, Peggy Leboeuf, Sarah Gavlak, Daniel Arsham, Ben Pundole, and Natalie Kelly)
Ebay X Expo Chicago Celebrate Miami Art Week (Spotted: Tony Karman, Sara Fitzmaurice, Carlos Rolón, and Laura Rocha)