Installation by Jesus Rafael Soto: "EXTENSION Y MEDIA ESFERA", 1991

Installation by Jesus Rafael Soto: "EXTENSION Y MEDIA ESFERA", 1991

THE MIAMI REPORT: Day 7

Art Miami; CONTEXT; Lars Jan for Audemars Piguet

The last day. When everyone is checking out of their sleeping situations, making plans for one last show or fair before leaving town, galleries and dealers closing sales and collectors are haggling and making shipping arrangements. Lorrie, Amanda & Bella, Liz and I hugged and smiled and went our separate ways. Five grown women crammed into a tiny two bedroom apartment for four nights, and we enjoyed each other’s company so much.

After parting ways yesterday, I had a light itinerary ahead of me. It began with Art Miami and CONTEXT with my friend Ashley. These two fairs are produced by the same company (which also produces Aqua), and they are usually right next to each other. This was my first year visiting them.

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Oil paintings by Erik Thor Sandberg. Left to Right: “Finding Purchase” and “Short Supply”

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“Andy Warhol and Bianca Jagger at The Factory” by Harry Benson

Both fairs were very well-attended, and very much geared toward the art-as-decor consumer, for the most part. Like, I walked into the pavilions, and immediately I knew exactly who would be collecting most of the work there—corporations large and small for their office-building lobbies, hotel lobbies and hospital lobbies. Wall-art to break up walls and hallways in otherwise uninspiring environments. Universities. And, of course, wealthy people with homes to fill.

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“Me Too”, 2017 by Michele Pred. Neon on vintage purse.

Ain’t nothing wrong with that!

Last, but certainly not least, on my Miami list was the Audemars Piguet commission on the beach, in partnership with Art Basel Miami Beach. Plebeian me had never even heard of this luxury brand or exhibition, which is now in its third year. I only got hip to it because of a tip from Charlie James, owner and director of his eponymous gallery in Chinatown. He represents LA-based artist Lars Jan, who received this year’s commission. I now understand that it’s quite the honor, and the installation he produced is exquisite in conceptual detail and scale.

“Slow-Moving Luminaries” is a performative, kinetic installation that serves as commentary on the inevitable environmental disaster that awaits Miami and other coastal cities as a result of global climate change. It’s a journey and experience. You walk into the structure—reminiscent of a temple—surrounded on all sides by see-through material, like going through a maze. Through the material you see mechanical lifts slowly elevate and descend at different frequencies of oscillation.  You happen upon lush vegetation, and then upon mirrored reflections of illuminated photographs of disaster.

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And then you walk up a staircase, and all is revealed.

The experience was a bit of a revelation, so much so that I feel like I’ve done the art world equivalent of posting spoilers. I’ll hold back just a little bit on the over-explaining. I believe in energy and mystique, and after all, the structure of this installation was inspired by Zen Buddhist temples.

Our descent from the roof of the structure marked the official end of my annual Miami Art Week pilgrimage, and I didn’t even get a chance to throw on my bikini and hit the beach. I’m not fussed about it—there’s way too much to see and do here, and I’m not your superwoman. I feel safe saying, however, that my experience was kinda typical—daily art treks, free drinks, people-watching, Haitian and Cuban food, theoretical debates among colleagues, and justified feminist rants. Can’t wait for next year!