Basel wrap-up: Taffy, crystal and a T-shirt barge

12/07/2013 3:45 PM

12/07/2013 3:47 PM

CARNIVAL FOOD: THE STICKIER, THE ARTSIER

The annual VIP breakfast at CIFO (Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation ) in downtown Miami is always a sought-after invitation, and not only for the donuts-on-a-stick, pastelitos, mimosas and music. This year’s exhibition, "Permission to be Global,’’ explores various impacts of globalism on culture, government and protest. It’s a must-see show, and thankfully, open after Basel departs town.

“This really shows the difference between an art fair and a well-curated exhibit,’’ said Art Basel executive Annette Schonholzer. “It’s one of my favorites.’’

Among this year’s culinary offerings: Giant twists of colored taffy that were as much sculpture as they were food. As servers pulled chunks off for guests, the shapes whirled and reformed in constant reinvention. And they were yummy, too.

JANE WOOLDRIDGE

A VIRTUAL SUNSET OUT OF 400 POUNDS OF CRYSTALS

Among its myriad identities, Art Basel Miami Beach is an intersection of art with commercialism. No doubt, the art displayed at the Miami Beach Convention Center represents the world’s finest. But the undercurrent of product promotion is unmistakable.

Among the premium liquors and luxury cars, at the high end of products on perpetual display at the fairs is Swarovski crystals, in its sixth consecutive year as principal Design Miami/ sponsor. Blocks away from the Convention Center on Lincoln Road, you can buy your sweetie a crystal-studded holiday gift at the Swarovski boutique. At fairs all around Miami and the Beach, you can buy crystal-studded artworks.

In recent years, Design Miami/, the sister fair to Art Basel Miami Beach, has devoted an entire room to an installation using the crystals. This year’s edition is the Swarovski Crystal Palace’s “Mangue Grove,” put together by Brazilian architect and designer Guilherme Torres out of found wood from his native country and 432 pounds of Swarovski crystals. The installation is intended to draw attention to water conservation in Brazil, but even at this showy fair, it draws ample attention to itself. And each day at 5 p.m., there is an interaction of sights and sounds that creates a virtual sunset.

Kendall Hamersly

MODERN IMAGES OF NAVY SAILORS, TAKEN ON VIETNAM-ERA FILM

In the Design District, a presentation by Kiwi Arts Group features newly released (and authenticated) sketches by Andy Warhol, mind-and-eye twisting works by David Datuna, and a series by The Hilton Brothers, who individually are artists Christopher Makros and Paul Solberg. (The pair will be around the gallery at 97 NE 40th St. through the weekend.)

One of the most poignant series of images were created by Solberg from a 1970s roll of film. He explained that in 2010, he biked around New York with the old film in his camera, photographing sailors visiting during Fleet Week. Because of the film’s age, the images he developed lasted only a few days; luckily, he had scanned them before they disappeared. The resulting images, collectively called “Service,” recall the hazards of war and the sacrifice of those who serve. It was just bought by Elton John – much to Solberg’s delight.

JANE WOOLDRIDGE

POLITICS VERSUS ART: WHICH IS MORE BAFFLING TO OUTSIDERS?

Ann Korologos served in Ronald Reagan’s cabinet as Labor Secretary before launching her career as a gallery owner. She sees some similarities between high art and Washington.

“To me, the art world feels like the world of politics,” Korologos told a group of nearly 100 women artists, art benefactors, collectors and art leaders, as guest speaker at Niche Media and Art Basel Magazine’s Women In Art luncheon at Lure Fishbar at Loews Miami Beach on Friday. Korologos owns a gallery of contemporary western art in Aspen, Colo.

“They have much in common: both have their own culture, their own language and their own protocol,” she said. “ And both can be baffling to outsiders."

INA PAIVA CORDLE

A T-SHIRT BARGE MOORED IN MIAMI

Next to the Margulies Warehouse in Miami, inside a Bhakti Baxter- adorned warehouse, stands a 90-foot barge inhabited by mannequins in T-shirts.

The installation, by Thai artist Rikrit Tiravanija, is a half-scale model of a barge that rescued homeless people from freezing in the 1920s.

Miami Dade College entrepreneur in residence and The Lab co-founder Boris Hirmas brought the barge project to Miami to encourage an exchange of ideas. This week, two dozen area students came to trade protest T-shirts with the artist and each other. Hirmas will keep the installation and another massive installation by Carlos Amorales next door as a place to conduct programs on forums through February. For now, the monumental sculptures are open to the public noon to 5 p.m.

Friday at the Center for Visual Communication, 541 NW 27th St. in Wynwood. Admission is free.

JANE WOOLDRIDGE

THE VIPS OF THE VIP LOUNGE GET RARE LOOK AT UBS ART

UBS, sponsor of Art Basel’s global program, has one of the largest -- 35,000 objects -- and most important corporate art collections on the planet. But the works are somewhat rarely seen outside UBS offices (though they are loaned for various museum exhibitions.)

Lucky visitors to the ultra VIP UBS lounge at Art Basel are being treated with the rare opportunity to see 10 works from the collection by Latin American artists, including Oscar Munoz, Los Carpinteros, Gabriel Oroszco and Santiago Cucullu, who was in the lounge when we took our tour. He explained that the highly complex print series (edition of 8) on the wall was an achievement of printing by High Point Press, as it contains both a flow of rainbow-like colors inset with block prints of a schizophrenic who does battle against a city come alive.

Sounds weird, but it’s well worth seeing if someone can sneak you in.

JANE WOOLDRIDGE

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