Friday, December 5, 2008

Miami Slice

Jen & I are scouting out Art Basel Miami and the adjacent and coinciding art fairs which have been dubbed the Cannes Film Festival of the art world. Miami is certainly hosting her fair share of celebrities this year including Grace Jones, Faye Dunaway, Beyoncé Knowles, and for all you art fans, Jay Joplin, Julian Schnabel, Rachel Feinstein and John Currin, to name a few.

It’s a world where contemporary art meets design meets fashion. Despite gloom and doom in the daily national news, and while everyone acknowledges the crazy hey days (or should that be daze?) of art buying have past, there is still an encouragingly brisk trade happening on the trade fair floors.

Canadian artists are holding their own. While not all claim Canada as home any longer, spotted in International galleries were excellent examples of Rodney Graham, Jeff Wall, Graham Gilmore, Peter Doig, Jessica Stockholder, Steven Shearer, Jillian McDonald, Keer Tanchak, Mike Swaney and Kelly Mark.

We haven’t even made it yet to the Canadian galleries beyond Katherine Mulherin at Aqua and Trepanier Baer at Scope, but hey, we’ve only been on the circuit for 2 days and have the sore feet and swollen eyeballs to prove it.

Some of my favourite pieces so far have been sculptural. A yellow polar bear made entirely of yellow feathers by Paola Pivi (above), a contrasting trio of spotted fiberglass/resin dogs by Yayoi Kusama and a copper maquette of work slated for Canada’s National Gallery by Steven Shearer. Heartening for us at Vantage Art Projects with our Fresh Picks, was to see was the proliferation of quality digital ink jet prints selling well in an envious price range!

This is the land o beautiful people surrounded by a tropical sea where dinner customarily starts at 10pm and revelry for revelry sake ends at dawn. It’s refreshing to see that at Art Basel & friends, painting is definitely not dead, nor is art collecting!