Art, art and more art

Thursday we walked the halls of Art Basel.  Friday and Saturday, we visited quite a few of the other art shows available in Miami this week.

The first stop was a show call Sculpt, which seemed to be just what we would like most.  It turned out to be one small gallery feverishly getting ready to open the next day.  We wandered a bit, actually saw a couple of things we liked, and left, serendipitously getting the same Uber driver we had used the night before.

There are more than 20 shows happening this week, and the oldest and largest of these is Art Miami, which is celebrating 25 years this season.  Situated in the Wynwood district of Miami proper, it’s just two huge temporary buildings full of art galleries and artists exhibiting their goods. (I don’t know where these large canvas buildings come from–somewhere there is a company that rents them, erecting acre sized buildings for a few days and then removing them.  Must be a fascinating business.)

Across the street from Art Miami was Red Dot.  It was here that we found something to take home–Gail always swears that we aren’t going to buy anything, but the sees something like this:

Bronze sculpture with a silver patina.

Bronze sculpture with a silver patina.

Coincidences abound.  I had been actively looking for Bruce Lurie,  the gallerist who presented this work, as he presented the work of our friend Harry Siter last year and I wanted to talk to him.  Then it turned out that I had wandered into his gallery in Los Angeles last year and even written about it in the blog.  Cue “It’s a small world after all”.

These shows are all put on by different arts organizations, featuring different classifications of artist–new, emerging, modern, contemporary (not that I can discern a difference between modern and contemporary), established, classic, etc.  Overall, they struck me as distinctions without a difference.

After those two shows we got into an Uber (taxis being completely unavailable).  They stuck me for quadruple the regular fare in “surge pricing”, but that’s what happens when you’re the only game in town.

One solid hour later, I could still see the building we started from.  We had travelled perhaps 5 blocks north, over a block and then 5 blocks south.  That turned out to be the night of major “I can’t breathe” protests in Miami, and we were very, very close to them.

The ride to dinner took an hour and a half for the six miles, and cost about $100.  That’s life in the big city.

Saturday, we headed back to the same neighborhood, and more shows. That was after we had lunch on the terrace of our hotel, the Hilton Cabana.  The place was so gorgeous it looked like an ad for Corona beer:

I'm not a beach guy, but i could sit out here all day.

I’m not a beach guy, but i could sit out here all day.

The first  show of the day was Pinta, a show of Latin American artists.  Here, at least, you could see a difference in style–the extensive use of bright primary colors, the vivacity and vitality of the art are a clear variant from the more subtle and nuanced American and European work.

Then we crossed the street to another show.  More people, more art.  A gaudy Rolls Royce in front:

This seems like a terrible thing to do to a Rolls

This seems like a terrible thing to do to a Rolls

And yet more to come.  A block to the south we wandered into Artecho, a tiny show of interesting photography which was auctioning off the art for a charity to build homes for the homeless in third world countries.  There was one photo I liked enough to bid on, except that it was printed on very glossy paper and wouldn’t work in our house.  Of such small things are decisions made.

Artecho at least was free. The other shows all cost from $15 to $30 to enter.  We managed free entry to Red Dot by downloading an app from one of the sponsors–supposed to help you find and secure parking in the big city, but they don’t have it in San Francisco yet.  Must be the only app in the store that wasn’t written in the Silicon Valley or SoMA.

The last show we entered was called Spectrum.  There was a big crowd in front watching somebody complete a rather garish painting at the same time a woman was putting on her Cirque du Soleil makeup in a glass box.  No, I don’t know what that is supposed to mean.  There was a guy pushing people to get Uber on their phones and offering sunglasses to new signups.  He wouldn’t give me any because I had already signed up.  Bastard.

And that’s all the art we saw, but most certainly not all the art that was there.  We arrived on Thursday because that’s when Art Basel opens, but I now realize that many of the other shows open on Tuesday, so I would come at least one day earlier if we should do this again.  I also think we would stay on the Miami side, near the concentration of large shows, and not in Miami Beach where Art Basel (and some of the other shows) drive up the prices of the best local hotels to over $800/night.  Even 2 miles away where we stayed the Hilton was getting seriously premium prices, albeit nowhere near $800.

I’ll leave you with a gallery of people and interesting clothes–the joy of this week was as much people watching as it was art:


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