The Miami Project Preview: Jemima Kirke, Obama, and Seven More Things Not to Miss

Jemima Kirke by her artwork at The Miami Project
Jemima Kirke by her artwork at The Miami Project
Photograph by Gesi Schilling courtesy Miami Project

The second edition of The Miami Project opened Tuesday night with a preview of contemporary and modern art from 60 galleries from across the country. For a rookie fair, it attracted a fairly large crowd, considering bigger veteran fairs like Art Miami and CONTEXT were also showing next door.

Live Footage cellist Topu Lyo
Live Footage cellist Topu Lyo
Photograph by Gesi Schilling courtesy Miami Project

Among the things we appreciated at the opening was the live music provided by Brooklyn-based impressionist band Live Footage. Among the things we wish we could have appreciated more but couldn't was the AC, which was set to what felt like below zero to us warm blooded Miamians. (Pro tip: Bring a parka).

But the frigid cold temperature was our only complaint of the night. The artwork on display was as intriguing as the people who were viewing it. Here's a run-through of the night.

Domino by Jemima Kirke
Domino by Jemima Kirke
Photo courtesy of Fouladi Projects

9. Jemima Kirke

The artwork of our favorite star of HBO's Girls, Jemima Kirke--who's actually an artist first and an actress second--are on display at Fouladi Projects in booth #617. Kirke was there in all her glory to present her work to the public. We also spotted her perusing the artwork of other artists, perhaps even doing some art shopping of her own.

The Miami Project Preview: Jemima Kirke, Obama, and Seven More Things Not to Miss
Vanessa Martin

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8. Obama the muse

You heard it here first: Obama is the new black. At least that's what we were constantly thinking to ourselves (the neon sign pictured above says so, too).

52 Obamas by Peter Wilde
52 Obamas by Peter Wilde
Vanessa Martin
Beverly Fishman
Beverly Fishman
Vanessa Martin

Several of the art pieces at the fair featured our president as a muse.

7. Basquiat
7. Basquiat
Vanessa Martin

Jean-Michel Basquiat

While there weren't any Basquiats for sale, there were a series of portraits of the neo-expressionist painter at Eric Firestone Gallery's booth. One in particular features Basquiat standing alongside Andy Warhol and had us mentally rapping the lyrics off the Watch The Throne album when Jay-Z proclaims: "Basquiats, Warhols serving as my muses/ My house like a museum."

 

"She Gets What She Wants" by Kate Clark at the Muriel Guépin gallery
"She Gets What She Wants" by Kate Clark at the Muriel Guépin gallery
Vanessa Martin

6. Loads of creepy stuff

Several pieces were straight out creepy, such as this zebra with human-like facial features by Kate Clark titled She Gets What She Wants. If what she wanted was to scare us, well, she certainly succeeded.

Seriously, take a closer look at that face and try not to have nightmares tonight:

The Miami Project Preview: Jemima Kirke, Obama, and Seven More Things Not to Miss
Vanessa Martin

You can deem us unworthy of examining fine art if you'd like, but here is what seemed to us like a dead pug-shark's head.

Why you mad?
Why you mad?
Vanessa Martin

Then there was this wall installation of a cropped black hoodie titled MUDRA by Mark Calderon at the Greg Kucera Gallery. Yes, it's dark and mysterious, but ask yourself this: is it really something you would want looming over you above your desk? Apparently, to some it was. Just ask the lady we overheard telling her husband, "oooh, you could so put that over your desk."

MUDRA by Mark Calderon
MUDRA by Mark Calderon
Vanessa Martin

Of course, if you really want to learn about art, it's always important to be willing to ask questions instead of just freely snapping pictures for your own Instagram pleasure. "We purchased it after the Trayvon Martin trial," explained a spokesperson at the Greg Kucera Gallery. That alone gave us a whole new perspective to Calderon's haunting work of art.

 

The Plague Parade: Una Quarta Movimento by Kris Kuksi
The Plague Parade: Una Quarta Movimento by Kris Kuksi
Vanessa Martin

5. All in the detail

We also came across some artwork that begged to be stared at forever, such as this captivating sculpture by Kris Kuksi titled The Plague Parade: Una Quarta Movimento. It was a total attention hog, and can you blame it?

The Miami Project Preview: Jemima Kirke, Obama, and Seven More Things Not to Miss
Vanessa Martin

The entire sculpture is made of hundreds, maybe thousands of plastic figurines that were disassembled and then painstakingly arranged to create wildly complex sculptures within one giant sculpture.

Dark Matter by Stephanie Syjuco
Dark Matter by Stephanie Syjuco
Vanessa Martin

4. DO NOT TOUCH

When we passed by a rack of hooded sweatshirts, we were tempted to take one to warm up. But upon further inspection, we noticed that they were actually a part of artist Stephanie Syjuco's project titled Dark Matter. The piece consists of 24 black hoodies with black tags, wooden hangers, and a metal stand. According to the price sheet, individual sweatshirts are "an open edition until project sells" and are sold for $39 each. Once we read that the entire project cost $3000, we were suddenly not that cold.

3. Tech art

We loved the video installation of chirping birds on tablet-like screens in glass domes by David Zimmer. They're the ultimate pet for the type of person who can't keep anything alive other than themselves.

Over at the Ryan Lee gallery, there's a video installation titled Clubbing by Martín Gutierrez that was fun to look at, and once we put the headphones on, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the music that the couple is dancing to is modern-day club music rather than the expected disco grooves.

The Miami Project Preview: Jemima Kirke, Obama, and Seven More Things Not to Miss
Vanessa Martin

2. Pop up shop

The Miami Project has a pop-up shop set up outdoors on the east side of the tent with items within the price range of $5 to $800 so anyone can afford to take something home with them.

The Miami Project Preview: Jemima Kirke, Obama, and Seven More Things Not to Miss
Vanessa Martin

1. Prime people watching

When it comes to going to any art fair during Art Basel, you're literally never visually bored, especially with all of the eccentric characters art fairs usually attract.

The Miami Project tent is open to the public through Sunday, December 8, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. General admission is $25. Visit miami-project.com.

Send your story tips to Cultist at cultist@miaminewtimes.com.

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