After roaming dozens of art fairs' hundreds of rows, the whole Basel experience started to feel a little, well, manic. And it also started to feel a little alienating. The trade-show booth set-up only intensifies our estrangement from the art-world, a place where buying a Brillo-pad sculpture for 50,000 Euros is a viable idea. We're a little amazed that the haves and the have-nots didn't come to blows over the past five days, but maybe that's what all the car-burning was about over at Fountain.
So as much as we enjoy eying up good art, our time at each fair from Basel to Scope was charged with a certain class-tinged uneasiness -- that is, until we entered Seven Miami. Not only was this mini-fair filled with some of the coolest art of the week - particularly their video art - that bitter taste of classism was notably absent.
Seven Miami, housed in a raw warehouse space on North Miami Avenue and 22nd Street, is the collaboration of seven galleries: London's Hales Gallery and New York's BravinLee programs, Postmasters, Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, P•P•O•W, Pierogi Gallery, and Winkleman. These are art dealers who felt stymied by the larger art fairs' ten-page contracts full of guidelines and restrictions about how they could exhibit their art.
Instead, they wanted to let the artists' visions dictate how the art was shown, and encourage a dialogue between side-by-side exhibits. And as it turns out, abandoning the booth set-up did more than free up the artist and the art. It positioned both posh art buyer and broke art lover on a level playing field. We found that we could pause and enjoy the glowing visions without that constant nagging awareness of our empty bank accounts.
Here are some highlights from Seven Miami:
Sebastiaan Bremer's Large Schoener Goetterfunken XVI
Leslie Thornton's Binocular Series
Sam Van Aken's "Oh My God"
Kelly Heaton's Portrait of the Fashionista
Patrick Jacobs's Fairy Ring Fungus #2
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David Herbert's Monarch