Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Back Home Again (Miami Wrap Up)

Obviously, my schedule and goal of writing a daily report while down in Miami fell quite short. Exhaustion at the end of each day is my only excuse. So I hope to be able to give my thoughts and experiences here in a single post.

Art Basel Miami, while being the main event, this year the event grew nearly double in size with what was rumored as 24 satellite fairs. Crazy. I can not imagine being able to see them all with out a private driver. By the end of my stay I had gone to Art Basel Miami, Flow, Bridge, Art Now, NADA, Pulse, Scope, Red Dot, Art Positions (Technically a part of Art Basel), the Rubell Collection, Aqua and Aqua Wynwood. Each of these have a unique feel about them, be it the art exhibited, the flow of the spaces, or the presentation of the works.

My Favorites:

Art Basel Miami- The best place to some of my favorite galleries and artists works.

Aqua Hotel- The best of the hotel fairs again, simply the best layout and feel.

NADA- The best of the non hotel satellite fairs.

Rubell Collection- Simply a wonderful space to view art and a wonderful family collection.

Least Favorites:

Art Now- Nothing memorable about this fair and no perspective.

Lack of Seating at Art Basel Miami- This is an ongoing problem they have yet to deal with.

Lack of Signage for Shuttles- Shuttles between fairs is a great idea, only if you can find them.

No Cameras or Bags allowed in Art Basel Miami- Forced to check in my sling bag and camera before allowed to enter the art fair.

With so much to see in such a short period of time you begin to question the whole purpose of going to these events. In all honesty, exhibiting work in a booth or hotel room is far from ideal to nearly all artists and dealers. The cost of renting out a booth, crating, shipping all the art, travel costs, and hotels all add up to some unbelievable amounts. (Ed Winkleman wrote a nice piece about such costs here. On a side note, I did run into Ed in this booth and at the Red Dot Fair hotel but neglected to say hello.) For a gallery to head down there, with so much competition, it is certainly a gamble. Can you sell enough to break even? Better yet, a significant profit? Rumors have it that some galleries sell more work at these fairs than they do out of their permanent spaces. For other galleries, particularly the younger, up and coming spaces, it is all about exposure. The opportunity to be seen and noticed by artists, dealers, collectors, and arts professionals may be worth a financial loss, in hopes that the payoff will come in the near future.

While down in Miami I had the opportunity to meet up with a couple of artists and dealers I have been working with via phone and email for shows I am curating along with running into many people I met previously or met for the first time while down there. After all, much of what makes Miami exciting has to do with the social networking and fun you can have meeting other like minded peers. Some of the wonderful people I met up with, Sam Lee, Thomas Robertello, Adam Ekberg, David A. Parker, Susan Gescheidle, T.R. Ericsson, the artists representing Live Box Gallery, and Adrian Schiess' wonderful dealers at Galerie Nächst St. Stephan/Rosemarie Schwarzwälder who I met as they were chatting with Rebecca Uchill. It was there too, that I saw my first look at the IMA's new catalog for the Adrian Schiess exhibition. I am going to have pick one of those up for myself.

I had a wonderful time meeting with everyone and seeing so much art. Of course it is tiring but when presented with such an opportunity I recommend taking it. I for one surely do not get out of Indy as often as I would like to see this range of artists and art otherwise. Perhaps if you live in or frequently visit an arts mecca like New York, London, or Berlin you can get your fill of art of such a diverse range that fairs are obsolete. But, if you are more like me, I highly recommend giving Miami a chance.

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