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The Other Art Fair

Once considered the Carmen Miranda of local art expos for its predominantly Latin flavor, Art Miami has undergone a radical makeover to broaden its appeal, featuring 50 new galleries on its overhauled roster.

“We have made a concerted effort to attract more American, European, and Asian galleries because it’s a different climate than it was ten or fifteen years ago,” explains Art Miami director Ilana Vardy. “It’s still important for us to have Latin American representation, but the market here has changed in recent years.”

Headlining 125 galleries from 25 countries at the Miami Beach Convention Center through Monday, January 9, the fair welcomes newcomer exhibitors from Aruba, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Monaco, and the Netherlands to its sweet sixteen celebration.

“We have concentrated specifically on quality issues and have worked to bring important galleries here, and also include more Miami galleries, who we will have the highest concentration of ever,” Vardy says.

Exhibitors are displaying artwork that spans from modern and contemporary painting, photography, and sculpture to more unusual offerings such as glasswork, Japanese baskets, and pre-Columbian figures and textiles.

This year Art Miami is introducing Free-Day Friday (January 6) capped by an Opening Night Bash that evening with no admission charge. The fair is also hosting panel discussions today and Sunday about a variety of topics, including contemporary art in the Caribbean, organized by Rosie Gordon Wallace of Diaspora Vibe Gallery.

Making its third appearance in the fair’s “Currents” section, Damien B. Contemporary Art Center is introducing the comic-strip-inspired work of Frenchman Rodolphe Planchais, who is concurrently having his first solo show at the exhibitor’s Wynwood gallery. “Art Miami has been better promoted and is drawing a nice audience of collectors,” mentions Damien B. “The fair has begun to generate a lot of excitement.”

Local indie curator Carol Jazzar, who has presented Art in Bloom at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden across the street from the convention center during the event the past four years, has also been invited to unveil “Meet Me in Miami” at the fair. This panoramic exhibit, featuring photography by 23 of the area’s top shutterbugs, uniquely projects the essence of Miami’s cultural depth, organizers believe. “We invited Carol Jazzar to present this wonderful exhibition because we wanted to share these important images of our city with the largest possible audience,” says Vardy.

The crowd favorite Director’s Choice program, in which Vardy selects a local artist to create an installation at the fair’s entrance, showcases the work of Adriana Carvalho this year. The Brazilian-born Carvalho is known for stunning sculptural dresses she fashions out of wire, aluminum mesh, steel wool, tacks, and chains. Her provocative installation called “The Calumny” is a spacy eye-popper evoking a sense of the outlandish gowns Jean-Paul Gaultier designed for the campy sci-fi film The Fifth Element. Art Miami is open today and Sunday from noon to 8:00, and Monday from noon to 6:00.
Jan. 6-9


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