by JOHNNY MISHEFF
on DECEMBER 5, 2010 – 1:05 PM
The art market’s back, and it’s raging. A very different crowd descends on Miami for the weekend part of Art Basel, one that’s more interested in buying art than browsing and partying. Our first stop was to the New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) on 67th and Collins, where the young and hip galleries of the world come together for one very mandatory stop on any Art Basel itinerary. We caught up with Leslie Fritz of Renwick Gallery who had good news to report: “I haven’t been able to leave the booth at all because there’s just been constant traffic coming through here,” she explained. Her booth boasts a fantastic trio of artist’s work. On view are Valerie Snobeck, Jason Loebs and Talia Chetrit, whose exquisite photographs are being snatched up by collectors like candy.
Next up, we took a walk over to the Journal Gallery booth to see the whimsical, naive drawing collaboration between filmmaker Harmony Korine and Bill Saylor, a fixture of the Marfa, Texas scene. Their collective drawings have a sort of naive, art-therapy feel to them, mostly scribbled onto printer paper using oil pastel crayons and watercolors. Meanwhile Korine’s been very busy making art off-film of late, having recently shown yet more collaborative work with Rita Ackermann at the Swiss Institute in New York.
Wandering around these fairs can be dizzying and overwhelming — the amount of art on display is staggering and it’s a daunting task to see everything. So we asked a couple of pals to point out some highlights; more than a few people pointed us over to the booth of Museum 52, where the work of both Mariah Robertson and Sarah Braman had both sold out, and for good reason. Some might have seen Mariah Robertson’s massive and impressive photograph installation at this year’s Greater New York show at PS1. Braman’s sculptures have a very 70s deconstructed furniture look to them and include actual 70s era furniture and multi-colored plexiglass cubes; it’s no surprise the work sold so quickly.
The best tip we received required a trip out of the main fair area and up to the 6th floor where Grayson Revoir rigged his hotel room into a rogue booth and set to work on creating a site-specific work of art during his stay in Miami. Known for his obsession with wood working, Revoir built a large picnic table from materials he picked up at the local Home Depot. He asked some friends to help carve initials and phrases into its surface, including artists Lucien Smith, Michael Stipe and Thomas Dozol, the latter of whom took a power saw to the table to create a rather sizable impression. We won’t get into details about noise complaints or the issue of getting it back to New York, where Revoir hopes to sell the piece.
After our tour of NADA, we went out to the beach behind the Deauville Beach Resort where the good people of DIS Magazine were shooting a very denim photo shoot. (They’re having a love affair with the material, as evidenced on their site.) Models were decked out in denim from head to toe building human pyramids and staging trust exercises.
The hottest ticket of the night was Playboy‘s dinner party at the Standard, organized by Neville Wakefield with help from Rassa Montaser, Lucy McIntyre and Brooke Geahan. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the theme was “The Nude as Muse,” and to help get that point across, Wakefield enlisted a fantastic group of artists to turn nude models into living works of art. The decision to get Vanessa Beecroft involved was a natural one, and she didn’t disappoint. Greeting the guests were not one, but eighteen of her models standing or lounging in the shallow end of the Standard pool. Scott Campbell, Terence Koh and Lola Schnabel were among the other participants. Schnabel’s piece was hauntingly gorgeous, her nude model lay in a bathtub, hair whisked
across her face completely covering it with a film being projected out of an old projector on the model’s bare chest. Glenn O’Brien provided comic relief with a pre-dinner speech in which he remarked about the role of the curator of Playboy magazine, currently the job of Aaron Baker. “The Playboy curator used to be the guy who shaved the models,” he deadpanned. My how things have changed.
Tomorrow, we’ll bring reports from the main fair, so check back for more!