MIA IN MIAMI: Art-y in the city where the heat is on

Posted by Mia Nielsen, December 09, 2015

"Light Spirit" - FriendsWithYou (2015) via www.friendswithyou.com

From Art Basel, Art on Paper + Art Miami to SCOPE, PULSE + NADA to UNTITLED, Drake's art curator Mia Nielsen takes us on a tour of her favourite + most memorable installations of Art Week in Miami.

Oh Miami, you beautiful, debauched, inspiring whirlwind. I’m back from Miami with a head spinning of new ideas, craving a return to that heady atmosphere and yearning for some kind of sensory deprivation chamber, in equal measure. While it’s all a fresh swirl in my mind, here’s a list in no particular order of all there was to love, lust after, and linger over at the Miami fairs.

Best Fair: Part 1

Ok, so full disclosure: I didn’t see everything (I don’t know how you can), but I did see Art Basel, Art on Paper, Art Miami, SCOPE, PULSE, NADA, and… UNTITLED. For the third year in a row it was my fave fair. UNTITLED packs a stellar group of international galleries into an airy tent. There is great diversity in the work and the light is lovely so everything looks wonderful. This year the lobby included a sculpture by Amanda Keeley that was used as a performance apparatus for dancers adding a dynamic quality to the space. This continued as dancers periodically performed in the aisles.

Also, props to the brilliant lounge styled by Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari of TOILETPAPER Magazine, my eyes joyfully bled over sushi and a glass of wine, the Miami ‘breakfast of champions’.

Insider tip: If you want to go to Miami Art Week, but secretly just want to lounge in the sun and play in the ocean, this is your ticket, it’s right on the beach! You can see this one fair and know you’ve pretty much seen all you needed to see.


"Cokaygne" - Chloe Sells via www.chloesells.com

Best Fair: Part 2
NADA moved to the Fontainebleau this year and put together another stellar show. So if you want to step up your game on that insider tip, take a walk up the beach and see this one too. Then you can certainly claim to have ‘done the fairs’ and speak knowingly about the great things you’ve seen. Here too was a fantastic group of galleries, featuring ambitious works in all media. NADA’s branding is brilliant. For the first time they charged an admission fee (standard procedure for everyone else) but the funds will go to a prize for next year which will certainly be interesting to see develop, the lobby area featured artist-designed items as well as museums selling great multiples to support their programming, so if you’re in Miami to do some shopping, you can certainly find some trinkets to treat yourself.


"Coexist New Netherlands" - Nynke Koster (2015) via www.flashform.org

Hard Core

For those who take an art safari seriously, definitely see the main Art Basel Miami Beach (ABMB), a true glimpse into the international art world, PULSE had some strong work this year too including a piece by Nam June Paik that I’m seriously smitten by.

The Best Thing I Saw, But Can’t Show You
Light Spirit. Celebrated LA-based collective FriendsWithYou* (originally from Miami dont-cha know) presented their first virtual reality piece last week and if you like what they do, you’ll love this. It was magical and intimate, like being inside one of their works, but with a little spirit guide to lead the way. In this age of social media I so wanted to post this experience, which was made even more poignant by the fact that it’s so private, something only one person can experience at a time, seen through goggles, the experience can’t be documented.


"Heart to Heart" - Manuel Ameztoy (2014) via www.faena.com

Random Trend

Bookshelves. Blame the internet, kindle or minimal interiors, but right now, the art world has a huge crush on the books and the shelves that house them. They were everywhere, in sculptures, paintings and photographs at every fair. Spines were organized by colour, titles arranged to create unique narratives, completely fabricated and carved into delicate structures.

The Best Development in South Beach

The Faena Hotel Group is taking South Beach by storm with a development over several blocks. The Opening Party was an incredible night to fête what is unboundedly the most lavish hotel I’ve ever seen, complete with installations on the beach, mosaics, murals and a couple Damien Hirst installations. Will be exciting to see how the Rem Koolhas-designed art centre is programmed for next year’s fair. Also, the lobby installation at their historic property Casa Clardiges by Manuel Ameztoy was truly inspiring.

An Artist List

There were so many inspiring works to see this week that if I even attempted to list them all, this blog post would be all that I could accomplish in a day (or maybe two). So instead, here’s a list of artists whose work I discovered at the fairs in Miami this week for your own researching pleasure.

Nynke Koster
Chloe Sells
Enoc Perez
Megan Stroech
Ana Cardoso
Karen Cytter
Ilja Karilampi
Zak Kitnick
Dave McDermott

*Drake Connection Alert! You may also remember FriendsWithYou from Drake's Nuit Blanche project for the City of Toronto's 10 for 10th Exhibition. Curated by both Che Kothari + our own Mia Nielsen, Light Cave rose up by Drake One Fifty, adding colour + a little love to the Financial District.


"The Catwalk" - Ilja Karilampi via www.karilampi.se

Posted in: Art