ARTICLE JENNY BAHN
Read What Happens in Miami Part 1
Read What Happens in Miami Part 2
See Miami Party in Pictures
The whirlwind that is Art Basel came to an end this Sunday, much to the relief of art buyers and partygoers everywhere. It was another gorgeous, grueling, sun-drenched week, filled with more parties than you could keep tabs on, dinners up and down Collins Ave. and, of course, some fantastic art. It is, after all, what we came for—promise.
PULSE, now in its eighth year, put on a solid show at the Ice Palace in the Midtown Arts District. A palpable buzz surrounded L.A. gallery Martha Otero, where viewers fell into Jen Stark’s Technicolor installation. Over at Rose Gallery, Wayne Lawrence’s portraits provoked. Sturdy and strong, they stood out as the emotional equivalent of full-frontals. Staley-Wise Gallery, one of the kings of the collision of art and fashion, displayed Ellen von Unwerth’s Bathing Beauties II, the1990s poolside vibes of which felt all too appropriate considering the context. Over at London’s Purdy Hicks Gallery, Ralph Fleck’s Feldstruck 19/VIII, felt fresh in its unabashed painterly quality amongst a host of slicker, glossier peers. Magazine queen Kate Moss was popping up everywhere at PULSE, with works like Chris Levine’s dynamic lenticular lightbox rendering of the supermodel, Kate’s Light.
Down the road, Miami Project offered a perfectly curated and concise collection of contemporary art. One of our favorite works came from the Joshua Liner Gallery, where the incessant noise coming from David Ellis’ Deconstructed Smith-Corona Electric II Typewriter could be heard nearly everywhere. Also at Liner was Brooklyn artist Eric Cahan, whose "Liquid Glass" prints evoked sky-scapes, shined-up automobiles, and Mark Rothko. Also at Liner was one of the most mind-bending pieces we saw all week, the work of Kris Kuksi, whose mixed media sculptures are unfathomably detailed.
Cathy Cunningham-Little’s Radiance installation worked miracles with glass and light, creating this-season-Givenchy-like patterns projected on the wall. For those with a craving for the shamelessly pretty, Kim Keever’s K2 Abstract 12d delivered. For more of the tried-and-true fare, Cirrus Gallery in Los Angeles had three works from John Baldessari’s "Cliché" series, each piece demonstrating the famed artist’s penchant for the graphic reappropriation of images, chewed up and spat back out more beautiful than before, with the trademark rye humor.
Art Basel (you know, the Art Basel) impressed with the regular blue chips—the Damien Hirsts, the Richard Princes, the Cindy Shermans—but there were lesser-known artists to be enjoyed, too. Exciting, strange things were happening at SCAI THE BATHHOUSE out of Japan, where works by Kohei Nawa, Haroon Miza, and Tatsuo Miyajima played gamely with new textures and mediums, all of which were as far from traditional as one can get.
Matthew Mark displayed Nan Goldin’s excellent Odalisque, proving her perennial worth as one of photography’s most poignant minds. Also at Marks was Katharina Fritsch’s Hahn / Cock, a matte statue so saturated with cobalt and neon green it looked to be made up entirely of pigment. Giving a much needed backbone to the typography trend were works by Allen Ginsberg’s The Ballad of the Skeletons, and The Great Speckled Bird, seen at Joni Weyl.
One of our favorite stops was Paul Stolper out of London, whose combination of works by Gavin Turk, Damien Hirst, Don Brown, and Peter Seville were expertly curated—maybe too expertly, as one was left wanting to take it home as shown. Elsewhere, Peter Kilchmann displayed two vibrant works by David Renggli, whose neon I’m Sorry sculpture reflected off of his I Love You painting, perfectly encapsulated the sleep-deprived, conflicted emotions of the week’s social and cultural schedule.
See you next year, Miami.