Miami was surprisingly good this year with NADA and Art Basel presenting work that was smart, progressive and more sophisticated than in the past. Art ‘Basil’ also came with a large side of vodka, from the NADA parties at Sand Bar (a sandy dive bar I renamed 'The Ashtray') to Ry Rocklen’s Absolut Art Bar project. This top ten presents the work that rose above the accumulated hangovers at Art 'Bah-sell'.
Charles Atlas at Vilma Gold
Vilma Gold’s solo presentation of Charles Atlas (above) was so good it should go straight into an institution. The five screen film piece at the heart of the orange walled stand, Martha, Martha, Martha, Martha, Martha, was an edited piece of dance footage from Leigh Bowery to Martha Graham to 50s musicals and burlesque dancers. The highlight of the fair.
Jose Luis Vargas at Roberto Paradise
Finding artists like Vargas is the reason to go to art fairs. San Juan space Roberto Paradise isn’t on the regular art map. Their stand at NADA included the work of the fascinating Jose Luis Vargas, who livesin the mountains of Puerto Rico and works on top of Haitian street painters canvases.
With a sell out stand at COPE CYBULSKI in the projects section of NADA, Ben Sansbury wowed all with his take on modernism, history and geometry. These wall relief sculptures point to big things ahead for a true original.
Ry Rocklen’s Night Court
The LA artist created a bar with Absolut, complete with furniture, chess sets, ping pong tables and a DJ booth made from thousands of sports trophy parts. Rocklen’s beach side popped when Ariel Pink and Mykki Blanco played.
Represented by Parra Romero at the Positions section of Art Basel, Brussels based artist Oriol Vilanova created one the ultimate Miami installation out of postcards of sunsets. Simple and terribly seductive.
Tetsumi Kudo at Galerie 1900-2000
Represented by Andrea Rosen and on display at Art Basel at Galerie 1900-2000, Japanese artist Tetsumi Kudo (born 1935) is the best erotic, surrealist sculptor you’ve probably never heard of.
Dazed favourite Gates got his own alcove installation at Chicago gallery Kavi Gupta – a piece made from his signature, politically motivated fusion of found wood, furniture and throwaway materials.
It doesn't get more Miami than this – an exhibition of car artworks sponsored by Ferrari on the top floor of the Herzog and de Meuron car park in South Beach. Curated by Venus Over Manhattan, the work was actually brilliant with pieces by Keith Haring, Bruce High Quality, Kenny Scharf and Cesar.
Love Focused Like A Laser by Matthew Stone and The Hole
The warm-up rehearsal for Matthew Stone’s operatic art performance with his new NYC collective by the pool of The Shore Club hotel for The Hole NYC was a raw but ambitious insertion into the week. Especially for the live singing of the awesome Kelala.
The walls were turquoise which stood out like the Miami sea itself. Against one wall was a long line of Domanovic’s sculptural robotic hands, each in different forms and holding objects. The bronze apple was cyber juicy.
To get the full effect of the Miami art experience, listen to this SummertimeMiamiMix by Dazed favourite Pandora's Juxebox: