Art Basel Miami: Wynwood Satellite Fairs And Events Review

Art Basel Miami

Art Basel Miami week centres around the main fair held each year in the Miami Convention Centre. It is a celebration of international artistic trends as well as a global art market trade fair where you can actually purchase museum quality work by 20th and 21st century artists. It is easy to spot the current tastes and emerging trends by placing so much quality art in one place. Besides the central Art Basel Miami fair there are now 20 satellite fairs offering everything from Street Art to Abstract Expressionism on a grand scale.

Thursday was a gruelling day (on my feet at least) as we made our way down to the Wynwood section of Miami for Pulse, a fair that takes place here and in New York during Frieze week. It is a good-looking fair in a great a building and a spacious floor plan that enhances the artworks.  There is a strong display of photographic content concentrating on single portrait images. This is also evident in much of the photo-realist paintings which also displayed a penchant for referencing historical portraiture from the 17th and 18th centuries. Of particular note was Jessica Drenk’s shell sculpture made from pencils on Adah Rose’s stand from Kensington, Maryland and Pius Fox’s omega workshop style abstract paintings from Patrick Heide Contemporary Art, London.  Art Catlin is also present to promote former Art Catlin Prize nominees such as painter Stevan Allan in an international space supported by Catlin Group Ltd.

Miami Project is a smaller fair promoting emerging galleries from around the world.  Of particular note is the Steven Zevitas Gallery from Boston showcasing the abstract work of Chuck Webster and the paintings of plasticine monsters by Peter Opheim which have a distinct Japanese flavour.

We than visited Art Miami, a massive tented fair with several galleries easily good enough to be exhibiting at the main Art Basel Miami fair.  At every turn there are commercially sound big name artists like Warhol, Lichtenstein, Calder, Motherwell and Frankenthaler.  In the middle of the fair is a Banksy still on the brick wall from where it was ‘hacked off’ fresh from his New York residency last October. Is this gallery art with any real value now that it has been removed from its original context? We will see at the end of the fair.

Not that we weren’t tired and hot after walking around in 28 degree weather with a blazing sun but we continued to the newly opened Perez Museum to see the inaugural exhibition, a retrospective of Ai Weiwei. The spectacular Herzog de Meuron (Tate Modern) designed Perez Museum overlooks the Biscayne bay and is the first  US museum to bear an Hispanic name.

We finally finished up at Art Britannia, in the Design District, an exhibition of emerging British art that ArtLyst is supporting as media partner. We were personally shown around by the show’s curator Ben Austin but we were a bit early for a gin and tonic and cucumber sandwich which were on offer for the British Trade Board’s sponsored opening yesterday evening. Of particular note are the rough and textured nudes by Guy Rusha and James Capper’s claw in motion.

Photo: © PC Robinson Artlyst 2013

Art Britannia On Vine see video below