Artists and art lovers got a preview Tuesday of the monumental sculptures, dozens of sparkling chandeliers and benches made from eco-friendly materials at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s annual Art Basel luncheon.
This year, 103 chandeliers by artist Jorge Pardo are scattered throughout the garden; the outdoor lights were made for a California benefit and brought to Miami, Pardo said.
For the first time, the garden’s installations include furniture in the form of benches by seven artists. All are for sale, priced from $6,000 to $45,000.
Among the “Sitting Naturally’” bench artists is Miami-New York sculptor Michele Oka Doner, who is also working on a series of benches for a park in Doral. She collaborated with Brooklyn-based designer Walter Meyer to create the prototype for the seats — so complex that 25 companies said they were unable before they could find one that could handle the fabrication. The benches, called “Art Predators,” are made of wood from the invasive species of melaleuca and Australian pine.
Lin Lougheed, the Fairchild benefactor who arranges the art program each year, hopes to repeat the design feature in future years. He has a fan in Cristina Grajales, the gallerist who arranged this year’s benches. “I was speechless when I saw them in the garden,” she said. “They look so perfect.”
The art of partying
The Museum of Contemporary Art kicked off Art Basel 2012 on Tuesday with the MOCA & Vanity Fair party — which attracted thousands of art enthusiasts from all over. The event celebrated the opening of the exhibition Bill Viola: Liber Insularum, a video art installation featuring Viola works that go back to 1977.
The final video piece, The Raft, 2004, depicts a group of 19 individuals in slow motion as they are struck by an onslaught of water from a high-pressure hose.
Viola says his work differs from documentary and fictional film in that it depicts what he calls the ’internal world.’ "My work is based on the internal world. It’s dreams, memories, emotions. And I don’t even know where it comes from, and I don’t even wanna try to know. All I know is it comes up in me at certain times and I feel overwhelmed, actually."
He was flanked by two Miami women who had lined up to take a photo with him. Elizabeth Cimadevilla, a New York native, and Khira Czertok, a German from Berlin, go every year.
"Every year. Do or die," Cimadevilla said. "It’s the best thing that happens in Miami all year round."
Czertok agreed. "Miami’s always known for like ‘party city, party city,’ but finally there is some meaning behind it: art."
Julian Lennon, the son of one of the most beloved musicians of all time, is ecstatic to be in Miami exhibiting for the second time. His photographs are on display at OVERTURE this week, which is situated in the southwest corner of the tent housing SCOPE and Art Asia.
His series of skyscapes and landscapes are strategically meant to slow you down.
His exhibit, entitled "Alone," illustrates very personal moments. It features photographs of clouds he captured on a plane (while everyone else was sleeping) and some of his favorites places like the Charles Bridge in Prague. There are a couple images from his debut exhibition, "Timeless."
As a lifelong philanthropist, Lennon choose OVERTURE because of its commitment to providing opportunities for youth to experience the arts. Each gallery in the fair will fulfill its promise in its hometown.
You can also see his work on the rooftop of the Dream hotel and in the members-only lobby of the Soho Beach House this week.