Ten Best Things to Do During Art Basel Miami Beach 2011

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Regardless of your approach, the sad truth is it's impossible to catch every piece of art worth experiencing during Basel week. With 250 exhibitors at the Miami Beach Convention Center, not to mention hundreds of others operating at the more than a dozen satellite fairs, this year's tenth edition is a cut above, making any victory over the schedule even more pyrrhic.  And don't forget our own homegrown dealers and artists eager to prove we measure up against the best in the world.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't try. From levitating platforms to 3-D graffiti to naked hog-wrasslin', here are our picks for this year's can't-miss moments. While you work up your Basel game face, don't miss the retrospective on ten years of Basel madness in this week's feature.

10. American Exuberance

Want a primer on contemporary art from the past three decades? This

blockbuster show at the Rubell Family Collection is your one-stop shop,

with nearly 200 works -- nearly a quarter of them created just for the

exhibit -- by 64 artists, from blue-chip talent such as Jeff Koons, Mike

Kelley, and Barbara Kruger to rising comets such as Ryan Trecartin and

Sterling Ruby. And don't miss Jennifer Rubell's breakfast installation

Incubation, where the public can watch her make yogurt -- and then eat

the results. (Through July 27, 2012, at the Rubell Family Collection, 95

NW 29th St., Miami. Free to the public during Art Basel, Thursday

through Sunday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call

305-573-6090 or visit rfc.museum.com)

9. Before They Were Famous

Behind the Lens of William John Kennedy": Those suffering from a sweet

tooth for the golden oldies should check Scope Miami's iconic images of

legends such as Andy Warhol and Robert Indiana shot during the early

'60s by Kennedy, a longtime Miami shutterbug.

"People are going to experience the notion of entering a time warp,"

explains Kennedy, who adds he is also "wallpapering the entire room" at

Kiwi Project Space in Wynwood and screening a documentary revisiting the

era at O Cinema as part of his Basel breakout.
(December 1 through 4 at Scope Miami, NE First Avenue and

30th Street, Miami; Kiwi Project Space, 48 NW 29th St., Miami. Scope's

admission is $20, and it's open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Visit

scope-art.com and myspace.com/kiwiproject)

8. Fab Five Freddy at Fountain Art Fair

After setting Wynwood ablaze with wild pyrotechnics in 2010, Fountain

Art Fair returns with more works that the average-wage slave can afford.

A pass to Fountain runs just $15 for the weekend and features

late-night musical performances -- none more incredible than a set by

Fred Brathwaite, better known as hip-hop and graffiti founding father

Fab Five Freddy. In the early '80s, Freddy's cartoonish versions of

Warhol's soup cans helped move tagging from subways to galleries. He

went on to host Yo! MTV Raps. (December 1 through 4 at Fountain Art Fair, 2505 N.

Miami Ave., Miami. Public hours are noon to 7 p.m., with performances

running until midnight Friday and Saturday. Admission is $10 for one

night or $15 for the weekend. Visit fountainartfair.com.)

7. Graffiti Gone Global

Wynwood has earned well-deserved street cred for building-swallowing

murals painted during Primary Flight and at Wynwood Walls, but this

year's edition of "Graffiti Gone Global" promises to completely blow up

the art form. Creatives including Marc Fornes, Volkan Alkanoglu, Billi

Kid, and other urban mavericks will present cerebral 3-D graffiti

projects you'll be able to walk through. Look for everything from a

mammoth, 30-by-16-foot installation created from hundreds of thousands

of interlocking nodes, evoking a fractal universe, to a reinvented NBA

All-Star Game basketball court. (11 a.m. to 8 p.m. December 2 and 3, and

11 a.m. to 4 p.m. December 4 at the Rotunda Space, 3252 NE First Ave.,

Ste, 101, Miami. Admission is free. Visit gggexhibit.com.)

6. Born Under a Bad Sign

In 2009, serial disturber of the peace NeckFace debuted a Halloween solo

show at OHWOW that left spectators' eye sockets crushed into creamed

corn. It featured drawings of blood-puking babies hung over full-color,

tractor-trailer-size vinyl murals of brutal crime scene photos. The

precocious virtuoso of the putrid is back to haunt us with his new

horror film, Born Under a Bad Sign, helmed by cult filmmaker Isaiah

Seret and featuring the tale of "Satan's lonely soldier who hunts for

the heads of those who wronged him." Venom-spitting, "witch-house" band

Salem will provide the musical interlude. (10:30 p.m. December 1 at the

Gusman Center for the Performing Arts, 174 E. Flagler St., Miami.

Admission is free with RSVP to rsvp@onfwd.com. Visit onfwd.com.)

5. (Slow Room) at Seven

During its first session last year, indie satellite fair Seven made an

impression with an expansive look at the programs of seven New York and

London spaces in a sprawling Wynwood warehouse. Unlike the other

piggyback fairs where dealers shop wares in cramped booths, Seven

offered a chill and immersive viewing experience. This year, check out

Pierogi Gallery presenting Jonathan Schipper's kinetic installation Slow

Room, in which the artist will yank a roomful of furniture through a

tiny hole in a corner in slow motion over a course of  several  days.

(December 1 through 4 at Seven, 2637 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Hours are 11

a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Admission is free. Visit seven-miami.com.)

4. Pop-Up Pianos Miami

Ten Steinway pianos will be festooned with art ranging from graffiti to

3-D sculptures to acrylic paints, some customized by local talent such

as Lebo, Reinier Gamboa, and Alouishous San Gomma, AKA street artist

Ahol Sniffs Glue, known for his gigantic blinking eye murals across

town. The tricked-out instruments will make appearances from South Beach

to Wynwood and Brickell. Anyone who finds a baby grand can stroke the

ivories before they are donated to local public schools at the end of

the weekend. "I'm trying to get mine donated to my old high school,

Miami South Ridge," Ahol says. (December 1 through 4 at various

locations around Miami. Admission is free. Visit popuppianomia.com.)

3. Levitating the Fair

Arguably this weekend's most ambitious interactive project is Glenn

Kaino's stunning interactive performance piece, part of ABMB's Public

Art segment,which will feature 24 monumental installations by other

artists at the sprawling outdoor event in South Beach's Collins Park.

The Los Angeles-based Kaino has created a minimalist, 20-by-20-foot

sculptural platform that invokes iconic attractions at the 1939 New York

World's Fair. Spectators all weekend can help Kaino "levitate" the

structure, holding it aloft like crowd surfers at Burning Man.

Kaino says the project began after he left Basel's 2008 fair crestfallen

because of the focus on that year's economic collapse. "People were

freaking out about money, and that's not why I got into art," says

Kaino, who closed his studio after the fair to study magic instead. "I'm

looking for volunteers to help me hold [this project] up in the air as

long as possible. It's an act of faith and deals with belief and

suspension of disbelief at the same time. When it comes down, it's

over." (December 1 through 4 at Collins Park, 21st Street and Collins

Avenue, Miami Beach. Admission is free. Visit artbaselmiamibeach.com.)

2. Art Video: Public Screenings in SoundScape Park

Taking advantage of the skull-staving, 7,000-square-foot outdoor

projection wall on the façade of the Frank Gehry-designed New World

Center in SoBe, this video program selected by David Gryn, director of

London's Artprojx, boasts feature film and video by top-drawer talent.

Friday at 8 p.m., Americania will offer a selection of shorts showing

the United States through the eyes of various artists from contrasting

backgrounds. Saturday at 8 p.m., you can catch Painterly, a 55-minute

work that explores new digital technology by combining film, animation,

sculpture, and painting in unexpected ways. (December 1 through 4 at New

World Center's SoundScape Park, 500 17th St., Miami Beach. Admission is

free. Visit artbaselmiamibeach.com.)

1. Here Lies Georges Wildenstein

If we had to predict what will become the most trumpeted work during

this year's circus, look no further than our own homegrown Primary

Projects. The rogue troika of Books IIII Bischof, Chris Oh, and Typoe's

new show with edgy works by 15 artists takes its name from an

influential Parisian art dealer of Jewish descent who was stripped of

his French nationality in 1940 and later accused of trafficking art with

the Nazis. Among the highlights are Miru Kim's Basel opus The Pig That

Therefore I Am, where the artist will wallow nude in a glass enclosure

full of live hogs. Her performance promises to leave local tongues

wagging well into Noche Buena, the traditional Cuban roast-pork dinner

that locals slaver over for Christmas Eve. (December 1 through 4 at

Primary Projects, 4141 NE Second Ave., Ste. 104, Miami. Opening

reception Thursday from 7 to 10 p.m. Visit primaryflight.com/projects.)

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