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Art Vandalized at ArteAmericas. Also, Dildos, Testicles, and Artist Brawls

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From dancing dildos to swollen scrotums, from scrapping artists to vandalized paintings, not to mention truly thought-provoking artwork, this year's ArteAmericas is turning out to be the most memorable ever.

By mid-afternoon, Convention Center security and Miami Beach cops stood at the Miami Art Museum booth, examining four canvases by Miami artist Marcos

Vallela. The artist covers his abstract paintings in washes of color to

create lightly veiled transparencies.

At one point, someone had painted

the word shit, one letter on each of his panels, damaging all four of Vallela's paintings. See the photo after the jump.

The infuriated artist stood by wondering if the vandalism was an act of jealousy or someone's idiotic commentary on the quality of the art fair. So by the end of the day, Vallela had his paintings, valued at $8000, removed from ArteAmericas.

"The text almost looked integrated," Vallela said. "On the one hand I was worried that people would misread the work, but I was also concerned that people that don't know my work would spread the word around and sensationalize it so I had it put in storage. This was really weird. Whoever did it had a lot of balls."

Beyond the work of a vandal, one of the biggest attractions at the boutique fair was Wynwood's LMNT which featured a taste of "The Latin American rEvolution," which will be on view during April's Second Saturday art walk.

Crowds snaked in a conga line that stretched around the booth to steal a peek at Milcho's Family Sunday (the first photo above), the glittering golden rump of a mannequin through which the spectator could peek into the sawed-off figure's entrails and watch themselves emerging on the other side of its large intestines.Also on view at the LMNT booth was a pair of videos by the conceptual team of caraballo-farman. One depicted a glowing ball sack while the other featured a chorus line of multicolored adult toys spinning in circles not unlike whirling dervishes. Curated by Daniella Sforza, the LMNT booth was by far among the most popular draws at ArteAmericas all weekend.

Yesterday at D'Oliant Art Projects, Carlos Quintana's edgy canvases depicting disembodied figures also drew plenty of peepers, but the artist was away nursing a black eye after a Saturday night bout of fisticuffs with colleague Humberto Castro at a private shindig thrown by ArteAmericas' vice president Emilio Calleja.

Castro's dealer, Raul Cremata did add some class to Calleja's hootenanny however, when he cracked out a karaoke machine and warbled an old Frank Sinatra classic before the police sirens started wailing and his appreciative crowd scattered.

Mauricio Esquivel
Reference Lines Performance Documentation

Sunday a growing trickle of patrons filled the Miami Beach Convention Center's halls to check out special projects on violence in Central America, the works of Modern Mexican masters at Galeria Arvil celebrating its 40th anniversary and a Miami Art Museum exhibit featuring new works by local talent. 

Manuel Penafiel
La Ofrenda Galeria Arvil

ArteAmericas ends today at the Miami Beach Convention Center (1901 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach), where it will also be showcasing painting, photography, sculpture, drawings, mixed media installations and videos by over three hundred artists from across the U.S. and Latin America.Tickets cost $12. For hours visit arteamericas.com.

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