For South Floridians, the best thing about Art Basel Miami Beach and the events that surround it is that it is all right here. We need go no farther that a few miles to experience every aspect of the contemporary art world. In fact, no other art event worldwide offers such a plethora of opportunities to see the good, and yes the bad, the ugly and the simply bizarre.
Along with the insanity, we also get a yearly glimpse into the trends swirling around the contemporary art world and market. Although the galleries represented in the main convention center fair and the major satellites have some of the top-notch — and biggest selling — works, it’s when you get off the main path to take in the pop-up shops, the one-time only affairs, the local galleries, the outdoor installations, that you can get a feel for what is really happening.
This year, for instance, aside from the ubiquitous street art happenings that you will surely stumble over, two groups are putting on eco-friendly awareness “campaigns” involving a bunch of fake animals, made from recycled plastic and re-used metal and other recycled materials. A number of outlets are going retro, featuring classic photography from the 20 th century. And light works are making a big return, showing up both outdoors and in.
There is so much out there, however, you can likely pick up your own trends. That’s what makes this week great.
Pop-Up Piano Miami 2012
There’s a reason this city-wide public art happening is returning for a second year – it’s popular and cool. A handful of pianos (donated by Steinway & Sons) will “pop-up” in Wynwood, Midtown and the Design District. Each of the pianos will be coated with the work of artists, and professional musicians will take to the keyboards at times shot out on social media during the art week. When the pros aren’t on the ivories, locals are encouraged to explore their musical souls. The pianos are then all donated to worthy charities. For more information and to get texts and tweets, go to www.PopUpPianoMia.com.
HOTBED at NADA
The Wet Heat Project, made up of the duo Grela Orihuela and Bill Bilowit, has been making video documentaries of local artists for several years. They also founded HOTBED to showcase emerging and student artists (who are helping to make this a hot house of culture) during Art Basel. This year, they bring HOTBED to the NADA art fair, where they will feature four BFA New World School of the Arts seniors, who have been asked to make site-specific videos that will show 24/7 at the prestigious satellite fair, as well as in all the rooms of the Deauville Hotel in which it is held. It’s a high-profile events to promote local and young art, along with being refreshingly unpredictable. It runs from Dec. 6-9 at NADA, 6701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; and on channel 8 in the guest rooms.
“Lui Hui: Void and Substance”
The Zadok Gallery in Wynwood is a relative newcomer to the art scene here and for its first Art Basel show (and with its new curator, former gallerist Bernice Steinbaum), it will deliver a dramatic light show. Bejing-based Lui Hui will employ laser and LED lights, fog, cracked glass and crimson coloring to make these light sculptures – making full use of the high ceilings to create a trippy environment through which the visitor tries to navigate. It’s super high-tech and Zen at the same time. From Dec. 6 through Feb. 18 at the Zadok Gallery, 2534 N. Miami Ave., Miami. www.zadokgallery.com