It was bananas this year during Miami Art Week, and not just because of the art sale heard around the world. As we’ve all seen on Instagram by now, artist Maurizio Cattelan sold multiple bananas taped to the wall of Art Basel — a piece of art entitled “Comedian” — one of which New York City artist David Datuna ate. It was the most shocking display to hit the art world since the Banksy self-destructed.
I was thrilled to cover the art fair previews again this year, where many East End artists and galleries were represented.
On Tuesday, December 3, the first stop on my art tour was Scope Miami Beach, which returned to Ocean Drive for its 19th show. The fair included 134 contemporary exhibitors. Monika Olko Gallery of Sag Harbor was represented, as was the White Room Gallery in Bridgehampton. Another highlight was Mister E’s project “Arbitrage.” Known for incorporating hundred-dollar bills into his art, the artist offers “an examination of value and the dissection of the complex relationship between art and money,” according to Scope’s website.
Later was Art Miami and Context Art Miami, two large fairs that are held next to each other under giant tents. In its 30th edition, Art Miami is a modern and contemporary art fair market globally recognized as a primary destination for some of the most important works from the 20th and 21st centuries. The show included the Mark Borghi Gallery of Bridgehampton.
Launched in 2012, Context, the sister fair to Art Miami, is dedicated to the development and reinforcement of emerging and mid-career artists.
The next stop was a VIP reception to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Wynwood Walls. Goldman Properties and Wynwood Walls kicked off Miami Art Week with the unveiling of its new installations. The sprawling space was conceived by the late Tony Goldman, while looking to transform the warehouse district of Wynwood. “Wynwood’s large stock of warehouse buildings, all with no windows, would be my giant canvases to bring to them the greatest street art ever seen in one place,” he’s quoted on the Wynwood Walls website. Artists unveiled in the latest exhibit include Faile, Buff Monster, Futura, Martha Cooper, and more. If you’re in Miami, it’s definitely worth a visit. Stop by Joey’s Italian Cafe for a bite when you get there.
One of the best amenities that our hotel offered was the use of bikes. We took them to see “Order of Importance,” a site-specific installation on Miami Beach by Argentinean conceptual artist Leandro Erlich curated by Ximena Caminos. Erlich’s playful and surreal installation for Miami Beach recast the 21st Century traffic jam as 66 life-sized sculptures of cars and trucks queued at an imaginary standstill on the oceanfront at Lincoln Road.
“Climate change and its consequences are no longer a matter of perspective or opinion. The climate crisis has become an objective problem that requires immediate solutions. As an artist, I am in a constant struggle to make people aware of this reality, in particular, the idea that we cannot shrink away from our responsibilities to protect the planet,” said Erlich.
It wouldn’t be a trip to Miami without a stop at my favorite Italian restaurant, Dolce. In front of the restaurant was a sculpture by Domingo Zapata. The artist’s sculptures could be spotted throughout the city and fairs.
I then walked over to Aqua, a short distance away. Aqua is an art fair that takes place in an Art Deco hotel. The fair provides a unique environment — a classic South Beach hotel with spacious exhibition rooms that open onto a breezy, intimate courtyard.
I later stopped by Artcade at Cadillac Hotel & Beach Club for retro arcade games and live designs of limited-edition tote bags by fashion designer Amanda Perna. We played games like Tetris and Chess. Drinks by Absolut Elyx, served within a bag of popcorn, just added to the fun experience.
I ended the art tour with a stop at Pulse Art Fair on Thursday, December 5, where I viewed many exhibits including one by Roman Fine Art of East Hampton. Pulse is another dynamic art fair that describes itself as the “calm in the palms.”
“We are dedicated to creating an experience that will stimulate all five of your senses and have you lingering for hours,” stated fair director Cristina Salmastrelli.