You don't have to visit a tarot card reader to divine what Miami's top dealers are planning for the contemporary art fire sale called Art Basel Miami Beach.
Instead, stop by some of the local galleries dealing their aces, court cards, and show ponies during the November version of the Second Saturday culture crawl. You might discover how they stack a deck. You might also stop by New Times' Foodstock event, with bands performing and trucks serving plenty of chow.
Beginning at 6 p.m. this Saturday, scores of new exhibits will open across Wynwood and the Design District, where you can catch some of the best gallery shows of the year before they are buried in the Basel onslaught, which starts December 1. Here are our tips for this month's edition of the high-stakes event.
Sex, Drugs & Profanity
At his eponymous, candy-striped space, Robert Fontaine has cobbled together the works of more than a dozen artists who have strip-mined the margins of pop culture with mixed-media and photographic representations of chemical abuse, erotic fetishism, and vulgarity.
The show features some top names, including Nan Goldin and Damien Hirst, along with Miami's Philip Ross Munro (and) Moscow's Oleg Dou, who was almost electrocuted as a toddler. Among works on view you'll find Tina La Porta's All the Pills in My House, a tiny mixed-media opus of sundry candy-colored prescription drugs floating against a milky background and appearing much like the contents of a pill popper's pumped stomach. Robert Fontaine Gallery (175 NW 23rd St., Miami), Call 305-397-8530 or visit robertfontainegallery.com.
Recently back from Berlin, Anthony Spinello is smashing a champagne bottle on his new Design District space with solos by Agustina Woodgate, Santiago Rubino, and Typoe. Spinello and his artists have holed up in an abandoned branch of a Christian family social services center, where the exhibits explore the often turbulent, conflicted dynamics of childhood, learning, loss, and nostalgia.
In "Black Sunday," Typoe references Disneyland's 1955 opening when the mouse park imploded. Woodgate's "If These Walls Could Talk" takes a stab at elementary school education, unmooring metaphorical students from familiar places. Rubino weighs in with "Eyes of the Stars," in which doe-eyed children appear in his beautiful graphite drawings as if transported beyond the schoolhouse by idyllic reveries. Spinello Projects (150 NE 42nd St., Miami) Call 786-271-4223 or visit spinelloprojects.com.
In a marked departure from their recent work, Miami collective Guerra de la Paz are showing several large photographs of bits of clothing snared on barbed wire topping fences across South Florida's grittiest urban locales. Fragments of rain and wind buffeted fabric become allegories for people suffering under oppressive regimes. As the sun decays and bleaches the remnants, one is reminded of tortured flesh.
The arresting exhibit is anchored by an imposing installation titled Unidentified-2011, referencing concentration camps, mass graves, and genocide. At a time of vast political and economical unrest, ecological turmoil, and sweeping global change, the work reminds of the cost of ignoring history. Praxis International Art (2219 NW Second Ave., Miami). Call 305-573-2900 or visit praxis-art.com.
A member of Cuba's vaunted "Volumen I", Juan Manuel Fors rose to prominence after the group's now legendary groundbreaking show on the island in 1981. At his Pan American solo--that also marks his Miami debut, the artist's enigmatic puzzle-like, large circular pieces evoke a sense of nostalgia and of peering through the misty veil of memory through a kaleidoscopic lens.
His wall engulfing, fragmented photo works appear not unlike starbursts that explode the frame-by-frame logic of the narrative while implying time capsule's through which the spectator can read imprints of his life experiences and those people that have impacted Fors. Pan American Art Projects (2450 NW 2nd Avenue, Miami) Call 305-573-2400 or visit panamericanart.com.
Don't Get High On Your Own Supply
If patchwork pomo is your cup of tea then don't miss this cheekily titled group offering that contrary to referencing drug culture splits the seams with artists who stitch together a diversity of vision from disparate materials. The exhibit includes works by Daniel Gordon, Adler Guerrier, Quisqueya Henriquez, Susan Lee-Chun, Robert Melee, Vik Muniz and Shinique Smith among others.
The show's press communiqué announces that Smith and Melee "explore the vast nature of thingness, demonstrating the ironic procreativity of reduce-reuse-recycle in the environment of art" while the rest of the talent "push daisies through substance and porosity, content and permeability". In a nutshell, David Castillo's new exhibit "celebrates and critiques the social history of technologies and artistic processes flashing like mirrors into the sun", dude can you save us some of that Kool Aid please? David Castillo Gallery (2234 NW 2nd Avenue, Miami) Call 305-573-8110 or visit davidcastillogallery.com.
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Thoughts, Meditations, Acts
Xawery Wolski's high wire conceptual experimentations with terracotta, bronze, steel, seeds and natural fibers have transformed the Diana Lowenstein into a wonderland of installations that evoke thoughts of the Invasion of the Body Snatchers or mutated honeycomb soap bubbles floating through the space.
The Polish artist employs incongruent materials to create suspended masses of organic-shaped globes infused with complex spiritual symbolism and a sense of inherent energy. Diana Lowenstein Fine Arts (2043 North Miami Avenue, Miami) Call 305-576-1804 or visit dlfinearts.com.