The thing one notices immediately about the Miami art fairs as opposed to NY's (OK, besides the 80 degree weather) is that Miami has alot more shows spread out over a much wider area (as in nearly $30 cab rides from the east side shows to the west side shows). Nevertheless, we made said cab ride over to the west for the Art Miami, Context and Miami Projects previews.
The large tent structures make for a lighter, airier feel as one peruses the works. There were no major surprises at any of these shows but quite a bit of solid, quality work by blue chippers (Wayne Thiebaud painting for over 1 million $) to the unknowns, with plenty in between. Someone not unknown to me was Wayne White at Marty Walker Gallery from Dallas. White takes thrift store paintings and paints text over them, from a single word to phrases. Not simply kitsch, his rendering of the type is skilled and inviting. Another artist that I hadn't seen in awhile was Mark Newport. I first saw his work at in NY years ago and was attracted to it (via my geek side) because of his use of comic book covers. He takes a section and knits fabric through it, a style of work that was growing in popularity a few years ago and it's good to see Newport staying the course. The rep from Greg Kucera Gallery (Seattle) said Newport's work has been purchased by several museums as of late.
London graffitti artist Banksy had an ironic (intentionally?) piece of 4 tagged walls at the Context show -- behind velvet ropes!! Yeah yeah the statement says it is "OUT OF CONTEXT" and that the intent is to show the "debate about the ethics and importance of showing site -specific street art out of its original context" but does putting that in caps make putting a Banksy graffitti piece behind velvet ropes any less bizarre? teetering on the pretentious?
Two eerie pieces displayed together (don't have gallery info) were this painting by Zhang Peng of a birthday celebration gone terribly wrong featuring a young girl brandishing a knife, with goldfish and a birthday cake. Next to this was a life size mannequin (albeit with large head) of Fidel Castro in suspended animation inside a Coca-Cola refrigerator case.
Lyons Weir Gallery(NY) had thread portraits by Cayce Zevaglia, who I've written about before in this blog. The photos attempt to do some justice to these amazing pieces and her outstanding technique, patience, and artistry, but to fully grasp them you need to make an effort to see the work in person if possible.
This piece by Yigal Ozeri at Mike Weiss Gallery (NY), oil on paper, 90x60", had us all fooled. Pretty amazing stuff in the photorealism genre.