As dealers, artists and insiders continue to arrive en masse to South Florida, the first days of Miami Art Week have kicked into full gear, with a first round of openings and events setting the pace for the week before Art Basel Miami Beach opens to the public tomorrow. With both first looks at several fairs and a number of premiere openings, Tuesday night’s proceedings were a first look at the hectic week ahead.
With ever-growing competition each night, the week’s events seem to be stretching earlier and earlier each year towards Sunday. The first major parties of the week, in fact, opened that evening, as the newly complete Faena Forum and Faena Arts Center opened their doors for the first in a series of performance-centered events celebrating the project. Chief among them was a parade down Collins Ave, featuring processional performance pieces like Los Carpinteros’ iconic backwards dancers and musicians. More events are planned for the week as well, offering interested parties ample opportunity to explore the new spaces, already nominated the “Faena Arts District.”
Ed Ruscha, Desire (2013)at the Desire Show, ©Ed Ruscha. Photo by Benjamin Lee Ritchie Handler. Courtesy Gagosian.
On Tuesday, however, the fairs began their opening previews, signaling something of an unofficial starting point. Untitled’s preview, held on Tuesday afternoon, was well-attended, as collectors got a jump on the week’s numerous fairs, while exploring Untitled’s spacious home on Ocean Drive. The fair seems to have hit a high note this year, with an increasingly strong lineup of galleries and artists, as well a more focused interest in converging threads across various booths, the fair brought a strong, and well-illustrated perspective on modern art production. Look for a full recap on the fair later this week.
As the afternoon wound towards the evening, Miami’s Design District, on the other side of Biscayne Bay, launched into its annual round of Tuesday night openings. Jeffrey Deitch’s renewed curatorial project with Larry Gagosian took center stage, as the pair’s show ‘Desire’ opened at the picturesque Moore Building. Curated in collaboration with Diana Widmaier-Picasso, the show was something of a figurative tour de force, winding through a broad range of visual threads and meditations on the body throughout the Moore building’s four floors. Shocked faces and wide eyes could be seen across each gallery, as as series of challenging, and often frank approaches to sexuality confronted the viewer throughout. Jeff Koons’s centerpiece sculpture from his Made in Heaven series was perhaps the most prominent, commanding attention on the ground floor for its sculptural depiction of Koons engaging in sex with his then wife, Ilona Staller, but there was no shortage of competitors, chief among them a series of live nude models arranged on the second floor by Urs Fischer and Georg Herold. Lounging among a series of roughshod clay sculptures, the model’s figures and calm expressions brought a sense of immediacy to the show program, one that energized many of the works around them, including a series of William Copley paintings, and a humorously erotic series of panels by Tom of Finland nearby.
Pablo Picasso, Femme Dans Un Rocking-Chair (1956) at the Desire Show, ©2016 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy Gagosian.
Next door, the ICA Miami was opening its final exhibition at the Moore Building before it moves next year to a brand new space several blocks away. Spread across several floors of former office space, the work of Thomas Bayrle served an often comical counterpoint to the dramatic imagery of “Desire,” often parodying the act of figuration in an age of mass consumption and media saturation. Bayrle’s forms, couched in a studied sense of the historical, twisted this same iconography through distended and abstracted symbols of the human body: cars, music, and other tools arranged in illusory patterns and undulating forms that pushed the sense of the human figure and human emotion towards the mechanical and the capitalistic, as masterful in their referential ability and conceptual potency as they were in their gestural execution. Considering the two shows in tandem, passage between the ICA and Desire offered a strangely compelling exploration of the image and body, form and function, as we move further into the 21st Century.
Breaking from the endless progression of openings and events, revelers branched off towards their chosen parties and dinners for the night. White Cube was hosting its annual event at the Soho Beach House, while the Miami Beach EDITION kicked off its week of parties in its BASEMENT nightclub, featuring a lush installation by the Haas Brothers, as well as specially designed bowling balls for the hotel’s bowling alley, curated by Night Gallery and Cultural Counsel.
Expect more as the week progresses, as Art Basel Miami Beach opens on Wednesday.
— D. Creahan