Daily Archives: December 1, 2006

Chelsea—with Palm Trees

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Bigger and Better at Basel Miami

Staff Reporter of the Sun
December 1, 2006

Source: http://www.nysun.com/article/44479?page_no=3

Everything is expected to be bigger at the four-day international art fair Art Basel Miami Beach. That includes the crowds, the number of galleries, the sales — and, as always, the dominating presence of New Yorkers.

At the fair, which opens to VIPs on Wednesday and runs through Sunday, New York dealers will occupy 59 of 156 main booths at the Miami Beach Convention Center. No other city comes close: 11 galleries are coming from London (counting Gagosian Gallery twice), 10 from Berlin, six from Los Angeles, and one from Beijing.

Add the New York-based curators, advisers, and artists traveling to Miami, and it’s easy to see why next week South Beach will feel like Chelsea — with palm trees.

Coming off healthy auction sales in November, dealers are optimistic about their prospects. “Last year we sold many pictures above the million-dollar threshold. We’re hoping for the same this year. The market is strong right now,” a director of Acquavella Galleries, Nicholas Acquavella, said.

The frenzy of fair preparations reached a high pitch this week as dealers shipped off artwork and deliberated on where to install the works in their booths. Some build three-dimensional models and tape miniature color printouts of their works to the walls; others tape the outline of their booths on the floor of their New York gallery spaces. Others work it all out on paper or in their heads.

Dealers tend to create a cohesive presentation that appears more like a curated show than a storefront. The small closets in each booth are filled with works that will replace the ones that are sold.

“We’re in the throes of last-minute decision making,” the director of the Richard Gray Gallery on Madison Avenue, Andrew Fabricant, said Monday. By Tuesday, the works, including a David Hockney portrait, a Jim Dine sculpture, and a Joan Mitchell painting, were on their way. Galleries often select artists based on their work in shows and projects that are receiving attention. Sperone Westwater is bringing out two paintings and several drawings by Guillermo Kuitca, who’ll be in the spotlight when his first outdoor commission is unveiled at Miami’s Aqua, a luxury real estate development by Craig Robins. A show of his also just opened in Zurich; in the spring he will be representing Argentina in the Venice Biennale.

Mr. Kuitca, who is attending the fair for the first time this year, plans to keep a low profile there. “I am shy. I can’t be standing next to my work. It feels a little bit awkward for me,” he said.

The timing was also right for 303 Gallery to bring a new Doug Aiken piece, a month before his video work “Sleepwalkers,” featuring Tilda Swinton, Cat Power, and Donald Sutherland, is projected on the façade of the Museum of Modern Art.

Galleries such as Brooke Alexander Editions and Sean Kelly Gallery, both of which carry work by Lorna Simpson, are bringing it to satisfy demand generated by her nationally touring show, which is currently at the Miami Art Museum.

The fair is a time for galleries to show new artists. James Cohan Gallery is exhibiting “The Good War” by Alison Elizabeth Taylor, who had her first show at the gallery this fall.

Sean Kelly Gallery is showing Los Carpinteros, a Cuban duo that makes large works on paper and sculpture. The pair’s sculpture, “Pool Pool,” is a swimming pool in the shape of a pool table that contains 150 gallons of water. “The fair will be our chance to make this relationship public,” the executive director of Sean Kelly Gallery, Cecile Panzieri, said of the duo.

Mitchell-Innes & Nash is showing the work of figurative painter and recent Columbia MFA graduate Natalie Frank. “She’s a very bright woman, a tremendously talented painter who is a natural athlete when it comes to color,” Lucy Mitchell-Innes said. Her 2006 painting “Voila Les Americains” will be on view.

When it comes to contemporary art, setting up a booth can be more complicated than hanging paintings. On Tuesday, Studio 94’s artist Kelly Nipper tested for the first time a sculpture made of ice that will be displayed in a trailer on the beach. Part of Art Positions, her work is in a section of the fair devoted to younger galleries and artists.

“If our mobile works, it’s going to be amazing,” Studio 94’s director, Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, said.

Also in Art Positions this year is the Zach Feuer Gallery, whose founder helped start the New Art Dealers Alliance fair, one of 11 satellite fairs that have sprung up around the primary fair. He will be showing a Berlin artist, Christoph Ruckhaberle, two of whose works sold at the Phillips de Pury contemporary art auction last month.

Even with the months of preparation, the fair itself, with its 12-hour days, is the most challenging. “It’s one of the hardest weeks of the year for us. It’s a lot of work,” Mr. Feuer said.

So what are New York collectors looking for? “I’m interested in seeing what is new, innovative, and significant,” the art collector and investor Donald Marron said. “I make certain to visit those art dealers who are my friends.”

Some collectors make a point of visiting galleries they don’t get to visit in person. That’s fine by New York dealers, who look at the fair as an opportunity to build new relationships with collectors from all over the world. New York dealers also make an effort to have materials that even their local collectors have not seen.

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Thinking Ahead

This article touches upon Miami as a social anomaly. Appearing in today’s Miami Herald, it is refreshing to see more thoughts regarding how Miami is a vision of what American society might be like in a half century. Click on the link below for to read the article:


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Looking Back

This is an excellently written, expansive, and accurate assessment of Miami’s brief but unique history—from beginning to end, it is one of the best historical essays on the city that I have read. It covers almost all the basis; early history, early development, hurricanes, boom and bust patterns, immigrant inflows, racial unrest, leading up to the 21st century—even Elian has room reserved in the essay. It concludes with thoughts on Miami’s future role in the U.S. and world. It is said that the more history you know, the more sense you can make of the present, and the farther you can look ahead into the future. This could not be truer for Miami. Click on the url below to read this great historical essay:


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Can Congressman Tancredo be Taken Seriously?

A Model Third World City Let’s take into consideration this Colorado Congressman’s claim that Miami is tantamount to a third-world city. Could it be that he’s right? Maybe Ritz-Carlton has three 5 star resorts in Miami because the luxury resort chain thrives in third-world environments. Ah! That would explain the presence of the Mandarin Oriental, St. Regis, Le Meridien, Canyon Ranch, Setai and other ultra-luxury resorts. With so many major global corporations setting up Latin American headquarters in Miami, maybe the immigrant-ridden crime plagued slum should secede from the Union and surrender to its third-world status. I guess that makes Jim Clark, Shaya Boymelgren, Glenn Straub, Jorge Perez, Donald Trump, Pedro Martin, Tom Jermolouk, Lev Leviev, Mehmet Bayraktar and others the charitable philanthropists spending billions of dollars to help the impoverished city get back on its feet.

Miami a Social Experiment

This whole situation is a classic case of Miami is not America, when in reality Miami is a glimpse of what the U.S. is gradually becoming. As time passes, the northern and southern halves of the Western Hemisphere will have to build a stronger political and economic relationship in order to compete with the EU, China, India and other trade blocs. The cultural gap is being bridged also. Already, Hispanics have eclipsed African-Americans as the largest U.S. minority. Miami is the most expansive bridge in the cultural gap. 1 out of 2 residents in Miami speak at least some Spanish. No other city in the hemisphere is as bilingual. Miami is a place where if one is walking down South Beach’s Lincoln Road, one is as likely to hear English as one is to hear Spanish, French, Italian, German, or Portuguese. Where this should be refreshing and invigorating, Tancredo finds it to be un-American. One has to wonder how a man with such ill-founded ideas can become the chairman of the House Immigration Reform Caucus. How disturbing! Is Miami’s large Spanish speaking population a threat to American national integrity and cohesion? Come to think about it, forget about terrorism, American cultural homogeneity is at stake, due to the plague that is Miami.

Seriously, Miami is not just a social experiment, but a cultural phenomenon, and is increasingly becoming an international economic powerhouse. In fact, in 2004, Miami-Dade County reported over 4 times more International exports ($29.9 billion) than the entire State of Colorado ($6.7 billion). Given these statistics, if Miami is like a third world country, then what does that make Colorado?

Jeb Bush responds to Mr. Tancredo’s tirade: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/11/30/politics/main2217944.shtml


Major Trading Partners

Leading Export Trade Partners, 2004
Miami Customs District











Costa Rica



Dominican Republic


















El Salvador



Total Top 10



Rest of the World



Total Export Trade


Source of Miami trade data:


Source of Colorado International Trade data:


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Media and Entertainment Districts Around the Globe

Ginza, Tokyo

Picadilly Circus, London

Times Square, The Big Apple

Miami has the potential of becoming an extraordinary urban center–whereas it currently is not. Miami represents the United States’ most up-and-coming international-oriented city, but it lacks one of the most important requirements of a truly great city: a Media and Entertainment District. What is a Media and Entertainment District? I would presume to say that it is an area of the city dedicated to outdoor ads, entertainment facilities, and media outlets, which draws an enormous amount of people. Typically, these areas have squares or plazas where the the masses congregate to dine, shop, enjoy shows, and site see. Tokyo, London, and New York City all have fine examples of M&E Districts, but these cities are also much older and more developed than Miami (London has 2000+ years of history; Tokyo was founded 550 years ago; New York City came into existence 353 years ago). Miami, at 136 years old, is an infant compared to the three, so history will be in the making as our M&E District develops–I hope that generic title doesn’t stay though.

Miami’s City Square project will feature outdoor advertisment elements along with electronic signs, which coincides with what a Media and Entertainment District development should be like yet there are those who oppose this–something I will never understand. Aside from the City designating an area of the urban core as the “Media and Entertainment District”, this development represents the biggest step Miami has ever taken towards actually creating a genuine M&E District. Interestingly, currently the interior area of Parkwest, with its outdoor ads and nightclubs, looks more like an emerging Media and Entertainment District than it’s designated counterpart across the I-395. Still, the above video clips demonstrate just how far behind Miami is in this respect and how important such a district is for the city to arrive at the highest level of urban preeminence.

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