Miami Art Fairs: SEVEN

There is nothing that the art world loves more than four days of non-stop money spending and networking. The Miami art fairs are quick to come and go, but this week DailyServing will track some of the highs and lows of this year’s spectacle. DailyServing writers John Pyper, Benjamin Bellas and Rebekah Drysdale weigh in on the more noteworthy works exhibited this year.

We continue this week’s coverage with Benjamin Bellas’ review of the experimental projects at SEVEN.

William Lamson. Photo courtesy of the artist.

In the process of trekking from one designated fair to another during Art Basel Miami Beach weekend, one encounters a litany of individuals, vendors, and spaces trying to grab your attention from amongst the morass.  In the Wynwood District situated along the walking path, (for those who hadn’t the patience to wait for the shuttle from Scope to Pulse), was one such space that was the gem of all of Art Basel.

Since 2006, Pierogi Gallery, Hales Gallery and Ronald Feldman Fine Arts have presented a special exhibition during the art fair week in Miami.  This year BravinLee programs, Postmasters, P•P•O•W, and Winkleman galleries have joined the original three in a new 24,000-square-foot space in the Wynwood Art District. Entitled SEVEN, this expanded project looks beyond the art fair model to create an alternative platform for presenting and experiencing contemporary art.   Defined by large installations and collaborative curatorial projects, SEVEN has been conceived to provide an exhibition experience defined by the needs of each artist’s work.  The viewing experience is much more that of a biennial than the one we have grown accustomed to at the traditional art fair.

Amongst the numerous large scale video projections presented within the cavernous exhibition space was William Lamson’s A Line Describing the Sun. An exquisitely documented land art installation/performance whereby Lamson uses a mirror and Fresnel lens, mounted to a wheeled device, to harness the sun’s rays in order to melt the mud of a dry lake bed into glass-like arcing line.  The video, having recently been on exhibit at Pierogi’s Boiler space with a 23-foot scale model of the line created, lacks nothing without it’s sculptural counterpart.

David Herbert, Monarch, 2008. Chicken wire, spray foam, plaster bandages, chrome paint, plywood, hardware, colored paper, steel 8 x 8 x 12 feet. Photo courtesy of the artist.

On the other end of the spectrum, in terms of process and content, was David Herbert’s Monarch.  The work is doubly hilarious in it’s would be life size depiction of The Alien seemingly napping in an over-sized rocking chair while a monarch butterfly lands on its wrist, and in its impressive use of foundation level materials: chicken wire, spray foam, plaster bandages, chrome paint, plywood, hardware, colored paper, steel. Other standout works from a strong field of contenders included Kelly Heaton‘s The Fashionista, and Sam Van Aken‘s, Oh My God.

Asked why they were expanding the effort this year, Pierogi Gallery’s Joe Amrhein replied, “Why not? We are not challenging the ubiquitous tradition of the ‘Art Fair’ but think we can improve upon it, especially in Miami with its unique possibilities. If you feel that most people who visit the fairs really want something that allows for a different, more comprehensive interaction, it shouldn’t surprise you that artists and their dealers feel the same way.”  Now let’s just all hope that the fair organizers feel the same way.