Art Basel Miami 2016 remained the show-stopping spectacle of this year’s Miami Art Week. But the international showcase is far from the only game in town. From open air exhibits to one-on-one chats with artists, this year’s schedule offered a slew of alternative art fairs packed with not-to-miss experiences.
Red Dot/ Spectrum Art Fair
Best for: Intimate talks with artists
Pegged as Miami Art Week’s go-to place for non-billionaires to buy established and emerging talents, the Red Dot Miami and Spectrum Miami art shows offer close contact with the artists themselves. The fair hosted “meet the artist” sessions throughout the long weekend, featuring artists like Souren Mousavi, an Iranian-born, British-based artist currently working in Miami, adding to local art scene’s technicolor landscape with her poetic, organic watercolors and graphic artworks inspired by Persian classical poet, Rumi. Other artists repping SoFlo include Fort Lauderdale-based artist, Tim Yankonsky, known for his tongue-in-cheek wall sculptures made from vintage measuring tape, and budding Miami-bred talent, Morel Doucet, who’s already making a mark with his coral series exploring the intersection between racial identity and coral reef erosion. But perhaps the most poignant exhibit goes to the Arte Collective’s “Hecho en Cuba” exhibit. Curated by Yubal Marquez Fleites, the capsule showed confident contemporary Cuban artists like JL Gutierrez, their work able to travel to Miami, beyond the artists’ current restrictions..
Best for: Photobombing hot contemporary art
For this year’s Art Miami/Context duo fair, consider Art Miami as the posher twin, featuring many titans of Modern and contemporary art, but on a much more managable scale compared to the sprawling Art Basel. Think the spectacular cut-out works of Henri Mastisse, 60’s Pop Art superstars like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, 80’s street art iconoclasts such as Keith Haring and Jean Michel Basquiat, as well as their 21st-century counterparts like Jeff Koons and the ever popular Banksy. There was a fair share of the cutting edge, however, with video sculptures by Marck and the paper accordion Grecian busts of Li Hongbo.
As the slightly more daring sibling, Context went unexpected for many of their shows. Their stunning exhibition of the Galleries Association of Korea honored a generation of influential Korean contemporary artists, equally inspired by classical art traditions and K-Pop culture. Of note – the intricate mixed media works of Ran Hwang, the glittering landscapes of Jong-Sook Kim, whimsical wall sculptures by Ik-Joong Kang, and the irreverent East-meets-West mashup of classic paintings by Kwak Seung-Yong. Around the café, the show also installed their Sound Positions exhibit, featuring a collection of sound artists curated by Christoph Cox. Highlights include the eerie call-and-response harmonies of “Emul’s Lament” by Blevin Blectum, and the very human sounds of the self-descriptive “Licking Ears” by Mattin.
Art Basel Public in Collins Park
Best for: Instagram-worthy selfies in the park
There’s no other way to end the Miami Art Week season than a stroll through Collins Park in Miami Beach, thanks to the sculpture park show, “Ground Control,” curated by Nicholas Baume and installed for Art Basel Public Art Series on the Bass Museum of Contemporary Art grounds. Scattered among Miami Beach’s palm trees, these assorted works collected from around the world are ready-made for social media snapping, empowering visitors to both engage and see themselves in the artworks’ spectacle.
Viewers can feel this in the gleaming mirrored silhouette of “Invisible Man,” by Glenn Kaino, who aimed to create a memorial to the marginalized communities so often ignored by social monuments. The neon-hued boulders of Ugo Rondinone’s “Miami Mountain,” now a permanent part of the Bass museum collection, is an ode to South Florida’s technicolor optimism, standing against the Miami sky like scoops of ice cream.