Art Basel Miami Beach is a new form of art event which combines an art show with a thrilling program of special exhibitions as well as events with art, music, film, fashion, architecture and design. One of the most exciting platforms of Art Basel Miami Beach is "Art Projects", where 22 international artists create art projects in public spaces around Miami Beach.
Art Projects provides a compelling insight into how leading contemporary artists interpret sculpture in public areas. The majority of these works have been created specially for Art Basel Miami Beach. "Art Projects" is being curated by James E. Rondeau, Curator at the renowned Art Institute of Chicago in collaboration with the participating galleries. During the opening evening on December 4, 2002, a spectacular display of artistry in fireworks will cast its spell in the skies above Miami Beach.
The encouragement of young art has a long tradition at Art Basel - a tradition which is being consistently continued in Miami Beach. The special "Art Statements" sector encourages the youngest generation of artists by way of one-person shows;
"Art Positions" offers cutting-edge galleries a favorably-priced, but exciting form of presentation in converted shipping containers set up on the beach and the "Art Video Lounge" constitutes a futuristic platform for video art. "Art Projects" fosters artistic projects in open spaces, giving artists an opportunity to show important works which it would be virtually impossible to exhibit in the "white cube" of a gallery, museum or art show.
With just a few exceptions, the Art Projects are all located in the Art Deco District of Miami Beach, in walking distance from the Convention Center where 160 international galleries are exhibiting. The 22 projects are in streets and beaches;
in and on buildings; on billboards; in gardens, parks and night clubs; in a car; on a helicopter and on the ocean. A map and checklist contained in the Art Basel Miami Beach Show Guide leads visitors to the works of art. The aim is to locate and experience a number of important, engaging, entertaining and beautiful site specific works of art and at the same time explore the city of Miami Beach. Those or similar works by the participating artists can be purchased by the exhibiting galleries.
James E. Rondeau, Acting Thomas and Frances Dittmer Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the renowned Art Institute
of Chicago, is responsible for selecting and positioning the art works on show. The majority of these works are being been created specially for Art Basel Miami Beach. This unique interplay of artists, galleries, the curator, the Show Management and the city of Miami Beach is an impressive "first". No other art show has anything to compare with Art Projects.
The works described hereinbelow constitute a selection of the projects which are on show - and also on sale - at
Throughout all of Ghada Amer's work (Deitch Projects, New York), witty, ironic, self-consciously simple ideals of romantic love loom large. In each of her outdoor projects, she recuperates a wishful optimism by giving center stage to the simple joy of boys, girls, fun, flowers, kisses, heartbreaks, and the like. In doing so, she invites us to participate in an interactive, mutually satisfactory exercise in the art of flirtation. For "Art Projects", Amer has developed a new, site-specific work for the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens close to the Miami Beach Convention Center based upon the icon of the 1960s - the peace sign ñ using meat-eating plants which the artist will be feeding in the course of a Performance.
Irony also governs the work of Jose Bedia (Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami) in Miami Beach. Bedia will present a new, site-specific wall work, with a sculptural element, on and adjacent to the exterior walls of the Miami Beach Public Library facing the Bass Museum sculpture lawn. Bedia's work is based on his passion for Amerindian, Afro-American, Asian and Euro-American cultures, most especially for the Afro-Cuban religions of Santeria and Palo Monte. Bedia's new work here takes
as its point of departure, in part, a nearby grave of a dog named Taxi, who was the pet of a city agency in Miami Beach. Ironically, Taxi's burial site is immediately next to a public sign warning that dogs are not allowed on the grass.
A more didactic approach is adopted in the project of the American David Byrne (Max Protetch, New York). His book project "The New Sins" uses text and image to explore imaginary passions, sins and desires. This book is designed to evoke a pocket-size Bible or prayer book, and is distributed free to visitors to Miami Beach. In a secret and transgressive act, equal parts generous and invasive, the book is placed in hotel rooms alongside, or in place of, the New Testament. According to Byrne, the book describes, in words and pictures, the New Temptations, many of which are often mistaken today for virtues.
Also visible - or rather audible - throughout Miami Beach is the work of Anri Sala (Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris). Inside a taxi she has set up a sound installation which incorporates the noise of a sports car race. Customers can summon the cab by telephone and then be driven to their destination accompanied by this sound.
In and around the Miami Beach Convention Center, Miami-based artist Tao Rey (Jacob Karpio GalerÌa, Costa Rica) will stage
a series of temporary, guerilla street interventions, including composed signs and letters in reflective safety lights and text-based alterations to existing directional or traffic signs (for example: "Follow Your Heart")
Public advertising spaces, which form the daily scene throughout the USA, serve as the basis for the work of the American Kay Rosen (Galerie Klosterfelde, Berlin). By means of outsize banners set up on the facade of the Miami Beach Public Library, emblazoned with the texts "Go-Go Miami" and "Ocean Mist and Blue Moon over Night Sea", Kay Rosen on the one hand takes up local topics as well as color, which controls and augments text. As a result, multiple meanings accrue from M I A M I G O M I A M I as it is segregated into color fields on the banner. On the other hand, it so happens that the abstract color field depicting ocean mist and blue moon over night sea represents the names of the latex paints used, creating a giant paint chip while revealing a poetic literary and visual landscape.
For the last few years, Katharina Grosse from Germany (Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica) has worked almost exclusively on-site in advance of an exhibition, wielding a spray gun to apply paint directly to walls, ceilings, over doorways, passageways, and windows. Linear or architectural boundaries dissolve completely and color emerges as pure form. Every one of Grosse's works has meaning first as an event, and secondarily as a painting or mural. For "Art Projects", Grosse will make a work on the exterior walls of the Miami Beach Public Library facing the Bass Museum sculpture lawn.
Also akin to painting is the project by George Condor (Luhring Augustine, New York) for "Art Projects". George Condo's work is influenced by a range of sources, from Andy Warhol to the leaders of the Beat Generation. He is known above all for paintings which are best described as self-consciously historical explorations of "figurative abstraction". Condo is also a huge aficionado of Jazz music; recent work has appropriated the aesthetics of record covers of the '50s and '60s to reflect on
the music of Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix and John Coltrane, among others. In Miami Beach, Condo will show a reflective word sculpture, spelling out MILES DAVIS, on the front lawn of the Jackie Gleason Center for the Performing Arts Center.
Miami-based artist Wendy Wischer (Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, Miami) will install "My Dream of You", a projected light and marble installation inspired by the orbital patterns of the planets. One of these "dances" as the artist terms them, will be installed on the boardwalk bordering the beach at the container village of "Art Positions". Installed each evening, the configuration, mirroring an idea of the sky above, will glow and radiate light.
Helen Mirra (Meyer Riegger Galerie, Karlsruhe) is a young artist based in Chicago with a growing international reputation. Like other artists of her generation, she has adopted and reconfigured Conceptual strategies to personal, often narrative, ends. Much of her work pairs ideas of travel and labor, with particular attention to themes of landscape, the sea, and childhood. For "Art Projects", Mirra will work on the beach, at the water's edge. In her own words, she will build: "A dock parallel to the shore, made out of reclaimed wood shipping pallets, nailed together and with the top whitewashed, at the high tide mark on the beach, so at high tide it would be at the water's edge, and otherwise beached."
Martin Oppel (Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami) is a young Miami-based artist who will design a two-part installation
for "Art Projects" - a sculpture that will exist in a border territory between minimal public art and the debris of
a construction site. Installed in or around an active building project, Oppel's work is composed of two simple wooden pallets. One will support a stacked arrangement of ´authenticª materials, such as concrete bricks, plastic, etc., while
the other will be a mirror composition made of handmade, perishable bricks made of soil and mud.
Tony Feher (DíAmelio Terras, New York) renders the ordinary extraordinary. Using the most simple, humble, and inexpensive materials - such as clear plastic bottles, store bags, buckets, glass jars, water, Styrofoam blocks, pennies, marbles, and the like, Tony Feher transforms the substances of everyday life into magical meditations on nature, beauty, love, loss, and identity. In Miami Beach, Feher is working in, on, and around a cluster of old, looming trees on the lawn at the Bass Museum of Art. With this new installation, the artist will create a fantastical, hanging garden of plastic, liquid, and color.
Over the last few years, Swiss-born artist Thomas Hirschhorn (Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris) has produced a series of works that are concerned, in the broadest possible sense, with issues of equity and inequity, power and powerlessness.
His fabricated "displays" consist of common-place, disposable, and yet charged products: scrappy cardboard, cheap plywood, recycled magazine pages, brown packing tape, clear cellophane wrap, and, importantly, gold- and silver-colored aluminum foil. "Art Projects" will feature Hirschhorn's street altar for author Raymond Carver at the Miami Beach Public Library. The work, never before presented in the US, is one of four altars made to honor and thank the artist's cultural heroes and heroines.
Arturo Herrera (Brent Sikkema, New York) combines collage, painting, and sculpture to create carefully orchestrated installations filled with biomorphic forms and cartoon-like fragments that seamlessly melt into one another. Through strategic cropping of figures and shapes, Herrera generates a dynamic balance between figuration and abstraction, while also suggesting the more complicated psycho-sexual associations. For "Art Projects", Herrera will present a brightly colored blue sculpture, resembling a line drawing in space, that also doubles as a functional bench. The work will be installed on the lawn of the Bass Museum of Art.
Anish Kapoorís large-scale sculpture (Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York) made of highly polished stainless steel is a perfect reflector of the surrounding world; images of the environment appear inverted in the work's concave surface. Its supporting base is neatly hidden by the breadth of the disk, so that the piece seems to hover above the ground. It appears weightless, seamless, simple (lawn of the Bass Museum of Art).
Janet Echelman's monumental fabric sculptures (Florence Lynch Gallery, New York) embrace the outdoors at the same time
as they fill architectural spaces. Echelman has conceived a new, site-specific, 20,000 square foot work for the inner courtyard of the Bass Museum of Art.
By grafting the traditional forms of architecture, furniture design, and graphic design to sculpture and installation, Jorge Pardo (Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York) establishes a new attitude toward taste and style - an attitude that presumes, not social status, but formal values. At the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago in 1997, Pardo presented an altered 29-foot-long-by-9-foot-wide sailboat in the MCA's atrium. The artist took the shell of a Santa Cruz 27 - a racing boat designed by revolutionary West Coast boat designer Bill Lee - and constructed an interior inspired by the 1922 house that architect Rudolph Schindler designed for himself in California. According to Pardo, "it's like an attitude toward spatial relationships and the economy of materials." In Miami, Pardo's boat will be docked in front of the home of the private Collection of Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz in Key Biscayne and can be visited by appointment (please contact gallery for information).
Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz have also supported a special project which pays hommage to the artist Felix Gonzalez Torres, who grew up in Miami only to die of Aids at a tragically young age. From 1986 until his early death at the age of 39 in 1996, Felix Gonzalez Torres produced work of uncompromising beauty and simplicity, transforming everyday objects and images into profound meditations on love and loss. Perhaps nothing in the artists' oeuvre better exemplifies the quiet, elegiac nature of his project than a series of photographs mounted to billboards. Quiet, highly personal, and even melancholy images of, for example an unmade bed, an outstretched hand, or, as in the work presented here, of a bird in flight seem powerfully at odds with the vernacular language of advertising and public space. This large-scale billboard project, installed in Miami as part of "Art Projects" is located downtown N.E. 13th St. and Biscayne Blvd (South Side), Miami.
A second billboard in the Design District was sponsored by Craig Robins and Dacra.
Performances also form part of Art Projects. Andrea Fraser (Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York) will present a new version of a performance piece, which, in this case, will examine the social, political, and aesthetic complexities of a commercial art fair. As always, Fraser's scheduled performance will call into question widely held assumptions about art and its myriad institutional frames (time and location to be announced).
Melik Ohanian (Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris) calls his performance "One extra minute of daylight". This is a performance piece using artificial light to extend the day one minute past sunset (time and location to be announced).
To coincide with the opening of Art Basel Miami Beach, there will be a spectacular display of artistry in fireworks on the beach near Art Positions (between 21 and 22nd street). Due to start at 9.30 pm, this will be visible for miles. The project entitled "A smile without a cat (Celebration of Annleeís Vanishing)" by the renowned French artists Pierre Huygue and Philippe Parreno will bring the opening celebrations to a spectacular close. This lavish firework display will also be the last Performance/ Manifestation of the "japanese animated character named Annlee" so legendary on the art scene which appeared in such prominent institutions as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Musee díArt Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Kunsthalle Zurich and the Venice Biennale. The firework gala will be produced by the famous pyrotechnics company Howard & Son, which is also responsible for the Disneyland fireworks.
The project is curated by Sandra Antelo-Suarez in collaboration with Art Basel Miami Beach and Trans, a not-for-profit organization based in New York City and Sao Paolo, which publishes the journal of the same name and also runs an exhibition space in New York.
Art Projects underlines the exceptional and unique nature of the international art show Art Basel Miami Beach and illustrates the extent to which the concept extends far beyond the form that art shows have taken up to now.
Sky Mirror, 2001
Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York
(Courtesy of Art Basel Miami Beach)