Miami Art Fairs: Today, we are all VIP

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 John Pyper’s Today, we are all VIP’s.

Julie Mehretu- Bayreuth All photos courtesy John Pyper

It seems most other art journals had an exceedingly different experience than I did in Miami. I don’t have photos of “famous” art people or authentic celebrities to report back with. It may have been my fault, as I didn’t care about going to an island, the various strippers-as-art events, or being tightly packed into small spaces with ivy-league frat boys on the prowl and calling that dancing.

There is a huge outpouring of money to entertain the numerous “+1’s as VIP’s” at these fairs. There were interesting art works all over town but people who wanted to find Will Smith’s “Dominican women with cinnamon tans” had an equal number of options.

Somehow I knew that I’d find that out when I got back. I heard too many people talking about everyone rather than everything. Focusing on who rather than the what seems like an issue that will always be part of art sales. The economics of shame: buying the right thing from the right artist at the right gallery in the right fair, so that everyone sees you doing it. The things surrounding the art should be a secondary issue though, so let’s get back to the art:

Julie Mehretu “Bayreuth” An delicately lined painting of the architectural elements found in the famous opera house. A vivid  explosion from the mundane to the fantastic. Having a real world reference to compare this work to allows for a grounded understanding of how wild her mind really is.

Robert Watts- Addendum to Pop, 1964

Robert Watts “Addendum to Pop, 1964″ 60 patent documents including the word pop in them. This is from the same era as “American Supermarket.” It rings with the comedic spirit of fluxus that I love from this era. It is so obvious how the pop artists were light years past the Greenbergian Abstract Expresionists understanding of what was possible in art.

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer- Pulse Index, 2010

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer “Pulse Index, 2010″ Quite the opposite of Watts, but still an archive. A 220x microscope captures your pulse and fingerprint. The 500+ fingerprints recede back into smaller and smaller displays on the monitor like a landscape of individuals who took the time to interact with this installation.

Gregory Euclide- Take it with you. At least my camera's view of it.

Gregory Euclide “Take it with you” Blown out 3-d landscape dioramas. Though everything on the wall was excellent, what enthralled me was that they left one in a crate and you could use your camera to see inside via a small hole. It was like a reverse pin-hole camera that could only be found through technology. This type of playful presentation is one example of how landscape is emerging as a significant subject at the nexus of optics, technology, and subjectivity.

Nic Rad- Taking my Talents to South Beach (Good Night, Cleveland, We Love You)

Nic Rad “Taking my Talents to South Beach (Good Night, Cleveland, We Love You)” This performance at #rank, part of Seven, conflated the Miami Heat’s big three with Jeff Koons’ “Three Ball Total Equilibrium.” Rad voiced the personalities of the three balls in Koon’s sculpture, each expressing something different about the art fair system, being a basketball, talent, potential, and team chemistry. One of the more memorable moments is one basketball explaining the difference between value and money and this quote: “I remember the time that I was proud to be a ready-made.”

*Just for full disclosure: I spoke about criticism during the critic’s round-table at #rank and exhibited a little of my own work.