Miami, Day 2 - Through the Looking-glass

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Day 2 in Miami. The temperature now creeping into the 70s! (Life is tough.)

For my second day in Miami I decided to go against traffic and visit NADA (The New Art Dealer's Association) and SCOPE and hold off on Miami Basel until today. The buzz around town is that business is, not surprisingly, pretty slow. So in the cyclical nature of things, one wonders whether this is the beginning of the end of the art fair cycle. As far as I'm concerned, it wouldn't be such a bad thing to get people back in the habit of going to galleries where they can see work in greater depth and pay it more than a nanosecond's attention.

The NADA pavilion is definitely the prettiest space in town. You enter past a row of hammocks, there's usually live music playing, and then you enter the domain of the youngest, hippest, most art-schooly dealers from around the world. It's totally mixed media and photography is quite prevalent, but, boy, does most of the photography seem meaningless. If one takes Malcolm Gladwell's maxim that one of the keys to success is 10,000 hours of practice at one's craft, many of the photographers exhibited seem like they've been working at it for about 10 days.

Case in point - as you walk in this is the first artwork that greets you. An installation of photographs by Cheryl Dunn. Is the meaning in the missing picture in the grid?

But my prize for the most meaningless, banal, unimpressive photograph goes to this picture by Adrian Sauer. Can anyone tell me what's interesting about this picture?

Only marginally better were these pictures by Becky Beasley. But I get it - no content is the new content!

In case I'm sounding like a curmudgeon, you must trust me that I'm only showing the more interesting stuff. This picture titled "Blank" by Catrin Andersson.

Better is this by Peter Sutherland.

However, I don't really get these are large photographs of patches by Alan Kane.

Janice Guy, who was recently featured in the Met's “Photography on Photography: Reflections on the Medium since 1960” show. It's doubtful that many people would know this is from a series of self-portraits taken in the late 70s.

I thought this was a funny and well executed idea. Ian Burns took one of those tacky light-boxes you see of flowing waterfalls and inserted a cut out to make it a view of Olafur Eliasson’s "New York City Waterfalls". (I wish Eliasson’s falls had been this sumptuous!)

Last thing seen as I was leaving NADA, a "new" picture by Melanie Schiff. I say "new" because it looks very much like an out-take from pictures I commented on last year, but I remain a big fan of Schiff's (in spite of the very mixed comments her work received when I wrote about it recently.) Click here.

Next stop was SCOPE which I'm pleased to say was unusually well-organized (they're not always) and full of good things. First up as you walk in, a line of mostly new pictures by Matthew Porter from his flying car series.

Another booth features work literally in progress by Russell Young who's been unapologetically working in the Warhol idiom for many years. The point is (I think) that large silkscreens of iconic public figures never fail to engage.

For those interested in lenticular technology, this single piece by Bae Joonsung which I shot from three different angles was technically quite impressive.

And finally, Anna Wintour should be pleased to hear that the word VOGUE was very much in the house. Top, by Fred Herzog. Bottom, by Mickey Smith.

That's the Day 2 report. Next up the big guns of the Miami Basel fair.


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