Sun. Apr 21st, 2024
Michiko Kurisu, “No Great Distant Day (Rays of Delray)” (2023), 100 color laser printouts measuring 8 x 11 inches and brochure box with stake measuring 47 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches (image courtesy AIM Biennial)

It’s officially that wonderful time of the year again, when my inbox becomes a magnetic field for such strange delights as a “Vaseline® exclusive pop-up gallery” and an event improbably described as an “IKEA immersive experience.” Amid the political turmoil and humanitarian crises around the world, not to mention the increasingly oppressive atmosphere of Ron DeSantis’s Florida, is joy still possible during Miami Art Week? Was it ever possible? Pack your mosquito repellent, because we’re about to find out.

In all seriousness, Miami’s arts scene is vibrating with energy, thriving despite the worsening scourge of climate change and a housing affordability crisis. This guide will help you navigate some of the city’s myriad visual arts offerings in the next few days, including but certainly not limited to the week’s fairs. Hopefully, it will also inspire you to delve much deeper and make your own discoveries in this wholly unique, ever-flourishing arts landscape.


Fairs

Anastasia Samoylova, “Pink Pool, Palmdale” (2023), from the Floridas project, pigment print, 40 x 50 inches (image courtesy the artist)

Art Basel Miami Beach

The daddy of Miami art fairs is back this year with a whopping 277 exhibitors notably including two dozen newcomers, such as Cairo’s Gypsum Gallery and the experimental exhibition space Llano from Mexico City. Anastasia Samoylova, a local artist whose work explores climate change and the environment, will be showing photographs from her Floridas and FloodZone series with Berlin’s Wentrup Gallery, like “Pink Pool, Palmdale” (2023), which depicts an alligator lurking in a shallow pool. If that image doesn’t encapsulate the vibe of the next seven days, I don’t know what does.

You can also expect a new and improved layout, allegedly, featuring “enhanced rest areas” where exhausted art advisors can plop down in despair when their third deal of the day falls through, or where we mortals can savor the mythical art-fair sandwich, which remains one of the most expensive and least satisfying food items known to humankind.

Art Basel Miami Beach (artbasel.com)
1901 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach
December 8–10, 11am–6pm
$75 day pass, $58 reduced day pass for students, residents, and seniors


Untitled

What’s Miami Art Week without that gritty, uncomfortable feeling of sand in your shoes? Head to Untitled Art Fair, whose pavilion sits right on the beach along the kitschy but lovable Ocean Drive, to check this one off your list. The 2023 edition is the show’s largest to date, with over 160 exhibitors, and focused on “gender equality in the arts,” a well-meaning objective even though we all know the politics of diversity and representation in the art world are immensely more complex than that. Tropical Station: A Common Habitat, an installation by artists Ana Teresa Barboza and Rafael Freyre presented by Nunu Fine Art, recreates an experimental housing prototype built of bamboo, mud, and sand while calling attention to the endangered species of Peru’s northern coastal region.

Untitled Art Fair (untitledartfairs.com)
Ocean Drive and 12th Street
November 29–December 3 (11am–7pm)
$55 day pass, $40 for students and $30 for Miami Beach residents with valid ID


Shona McAndrew, “Amanita” (2023), acrylic on canvas, 56 x 48 inches (photo by Neighboring States, courtesy the artist and CHART)

New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA)

This fair is the perfect place to see works by rising artists before they are offered at Art Basel for double the price exactly one year later. Ice Palace Studios, where NADA has held its Miami show since the beachside Deauville Hotel fell into disrepair, is admittedly not the most inspiring of venues, but the layout is much more manageable than that of the bigger shows — and you can still see presentations by 150 galleries and nonprofits from over 50 cities. Check out LA-based artist Lyric Shen’s ink-painted ceramic works, thoughtfully curated with pieces by Tomás Díaz Cedeño, Nina Hartmann, and Emma Kohlmann around the topic of images and ancestry in Silke Lindner’s presentation, titled In Summer’s Teeth.

NADA Miami (newartdealers.org)
Ice Palace Studios, 1400 North Miami Avenue
December 5 (4pm–7pm), December 6–December 8 (11am–7pm), December 9 (11am–6pm)
$55 day pass, $35 reduced day pass for students and seniors


Prizm

With the alarmingly prescient theme of “civilizations are not civil,” this year’s edition of the Miami fair dedicated to artists from Africa and its diaspora will be curated around the idea that present-day societies are the product of “not-so-civil acts,” including the crimes of violent and oppressive regimes. Galleries and artists from Barbados to Kenya will present varied programming, including a panel on performance art as cultural currency moderated by artist Alexis Alleyne-Caputo with Chovitta Ariza, Sian Morson, Stéphanie Melyon Reinette, and Tony Seepersad.

Prizm (prizm.art)
Omni Building, 1501 Biscayne Boulevard
December 6–December 10 (10am–6pm)
$15 day pass


Art Miami

Though the selection is a bit uneven and the fair generally lacks focus, Art Miami has one obvious thing going for it: variety. The show is a potpourri of styles and periods that casts an extremely wide net, making it a great place to see everything from Latin American modern masterpieces to AI-generated paintings. For those who can’t stand the snobbish air of Art Basel and prefer a casual vibe, this long-running annual fair might just be the ticket.

Art Miami (artmiami.com)
One Herald Plaza, Northeast 14th Street and Biscayne Bay
December 6–December 9 (11am–7pm), December 10 (11am–6pm)
$60 day pass, $40 reduced day pass for students and seniors


Eric Ginsburg (concept Kaitlin Martin), “Birthday Nick” (2023), acrylic on canvas, 16 x 16 inches and “Rainbow Nick” (2023), acrylic on canvas, 20 x 20 inches (images courtesy Eric Ginsburg)

Fridge

Marking its tenth anniversary, the art show that describes itself as “the little fair that could” will take over the historic Courtyard Miami Coconut Grove hotel with a distinct emphasis on the LGBTQ+ community. Fridge Art Fair arrived in Miami from New York’s Lower East Side in December 2013 and is known for its refreshingly offbeat, inclusive approach to contemporary art. In this year’s edition, expect a marching band, a postcard creation project, free popsicles, and founder Eric Ginsburg’s “Doggie Woggie Celebrity Wall of Fame.”

Fridge Art Fair (fridgeartfair.com)
Courtyard Miami Coconut Grove, 2649 S Bayshore Drive
December 7–8 (1pm–9pm), December 9 (12pm–9pm), December 10 (12pm–7pm)
Admission is free; pre-registration recommended

Ink Miami

Art on paper shines at Ink Miami, situated in Miami Beach’s historical Art Deco District. Running for 16 years now, the show brings together drawings, prints, watercolors, and other works in the medium that’s anything but flimsy. Exhibitors this year include Wisconsin’s Tandem Press, New York’s Susan Teller Gallery, the LA-based Mixografia studio, and many more. The best part: Unlike most fairs happening this week, it’s completely free and open to the public.

Ink Miami (inkartfair.com)
Suites of Dorchester, 1850 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach
December 6 (9am–7pm), December 7–December 9 (10am–7pm), December 10 (10am–3pm)
Free with advance registration, here


Exhibitions and More

AIM Biennial

For those who dread art fairs and prefer to experience art outside of market-driven and institutional confines, the AIM Biennial comes through with over 56 site-specific installations across South Florida and beyond. Many of these artworks can be found in public spaces such as parks and street corners, in line with founder william cordova’s vision for an exhibition that transcends traditional arts ecosystems. Across selected locations in downtown Delray Beach, for instance, you can find artist Michiko Kurisu’s flyer-style works that juxtapose 1920s archival photos of the small town with recent images, exposing real-estate overdevelopment in the region and questioning idealized notions of beachside escapism.

AIM Biennial (aimbiennial.org)
Various locations, see website
Through January 14


Gabino Castelán: The Dream of Ometecuhtli

Gabino Castelán, “Learning From the Worker, Dancer, and Gaspar Yanga” (2019), acrylic markers, faux gold/silver leaf, collage, colored pencil on paper mounted on wood panel, 11 x 14 x 1 3/4 inches (image courtesy Mahara Martinez)

One of the most stunning shows on view in Miami right now is this solo exhibition of collage works by Gabino A. Castelán in the collaborative space run by Mahara+Co Gallery and ArtSpace 305. Born in Puebla, Mexico, Castelán infuses his pictorial language with personal memories and ancient forms of knowledge, drawing especially from Mesoamerican traditions and from the Nahuatl idea of nepantla, or the in-between. Inspired by the possibilities of this liminal threshold, the artist probes the concept of labor and its sometimes dissonant dynamics, at once challenging and celebrating the evolution of work across time.

Mahara+Co and ArtSpace 305 (gallery.mahara-co.com)
230 NW 71st Street, Unit H
Through January 13


An Archive Is a Space for Gathering

The Brooklyn-based Flower Shop Collective will present an exhibition and programming series at the artist-led Tunnel Projects, housed in a basement parking lot in Little Havana. Running this Wednesday through Sunday, the initiative was conceived as a way to center and engage with the local community rather than the transactional nature of Miami Art Week fairs and gallery shows. All are welcome to Archive Is a Space for Gathering for a poetry night, music performances, curatorial tours in English and Spanish, and more.

Tunnel Project (tunnelprojects.com); exhibition details here
338 SW 12th Avenue
December 6–10


Bobby Cruz, “Versailles” (2023) 59 x 67 inches, acrylic on canvas (images courtesy Good to Know.FYI)

Caribbean Dreams

I can hardly contain my excitement about this group show hosted at none other than Versailles, the iconic Cuban restaurant on Calle 8 in Little Havana. Organized by the curatorial collective Good To Know.FYI, the exhibition is imagined as a tribute to the magic and mystery of the Caribbean and its diaspora — from Joiri Minaya’s video piece “Labadee” (2017), which documents a cruise in Haiti and the tensions between tourism in the Caribbean and the lives of its inhabitants, to works like Bobby Cruz’s “Versailles” (2023), directly referencing the historic restaurant and gathering place for exiled Cubans in Miami that remains a place of communion for the city’s diverse communities.

Versailles (versaillesrestaurant.com); exhibition details here
3555 Southwest 8th Street
December 7–13; reception December 6 open to the public with advance registration via link above


Bettina Rheims: Everything All At Once

On view at the Wilzig Erotic Art Museum, a little-known gem in Miami Beach, are works from French artist Bettina Rheims’s Modern Lovers and Espionnes series, taken in London and Paris in the late 1980s and early ’90s. Reflecting on gender, androgyny, and bodily autonomy against the backdrop of the AIDS epidemic, the photographs’ display here is particularly timely as LGBTQIA+ rights come under attack in the state of Florida. While you’re there, I encourage you to peruse the museum’s vast collection devoted to human sexuality, from Frank Follmer’s “Naughty Disney” comics to explicit folk art.

Wilzig Erotic Art Museum (weammuseum.com)
1205 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach
December 4–April 29


Frédéric Bruly Bouabré: The Revealer

Installation view of Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, The Revealer (photo courtesy @404artollection)

The late Ivorian artist Frédéric Bruly Bouabré left an outsized legacy — and a major body of work — when he passed away in 2014 at the age of 90. This exhibition, organized in collaboration with the General Consulate of the Ivory Coast, features more than 120 ballpoint pen and pencil drawings on cardboard paper that were part of a larger cycle known as World Knowledge. In each of these works, Bouabré devotedly documented snippets of his universe, from the traditions of his people, the Bété, to observations of his immediate surroundings as a government clerk and the spiritual vision that prompted him to adopt the name Cheik Nadro, “the revealer,” in 1948. The artist is also known for inventing the Alphabet Bété, a unique writing system made of pictograms based on motifs and objects from the Bété culture.

ArtLife Gallery (artlife.com)
307 NE 61st Street
Through December 10; reservations required, here

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