If this week is any measure, Miami Art Week is growing up.
The frenzy of years past has been replaced by the measured pace required for thoughtful contemplation of artworks and talks that speak to the times in which we live. Some may sadden or anger; others will leave you with an ear-to-ear grin.
Some demand a swing in a hammock or a cocktail. You’ll find both this weekend. Indulge.
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You know the drill: Go early to avoid the worst traffic. Expect to wait for that Lyft or Uber ride. Take a shuttle, trolley or train whenever possible.
We’ve scurried from fair to fair to find must-see art. Because you can catch most of the extraordinary shows in museums and galleries through the holidays, we’ve focused on art you can see only this weekend. Blink, and it will be gone.
Pope-l’s “Party Room” installation is both whimsical and tragic. Eight shelves are stacked with 112 bottles of cheap Irish Rose wine (both red and white). “Drinking” from them are an array of stuffed creatures, all bottoms up. The $400,000 work represents the transition from childhood to substance abuse that is all too common in poor communities. Art Basel Miami Beach, 1900 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach, Mitchell-Innes & Nash, booth F5. Fair entry required.
If the gilt-toned walls of the near-empty booth emblazoned with the inscription, “Through me you pass into the city of woe,” weren’t enough to suggest a religious experience, there’s the crimson-clad “monk” sitting in the rear. Answer his soul-searching question, and you’ll end up with a Negroni cocktail — of sorts. The work by Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija is a riff on Dante’s “Divine Comedy. “Art Basel Miami Beach, Beyeler Foundation booth, A5. Fair entry required.
Keith Haring went from illicitly painting subway cars to creating a widely recognized visual language that addressed AIDS and other critical issues of his day. You can see two spectacular exhibitions of his work this year at Art Basel Miami Beach. In the adjacent booths of Gladstone (E5) and Levy Gorvy (E6). Fair entry required.
A recent work by Amy Sherald, who painted the official portrait of former first lady Michelle Obama that hangs in the National Portrait Gallery, part of the Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, is already sold, but you can join the throngs at Hauser & Wirth gallery to catch a glimpse. Art Basel Miami Beach, booth F18. Fair entry required.
INTO THE KITCHEN
Art Basel Miami Beach’s free public art presentation is of a work by noted Mexican conceptual artist Abraham Cruzvillegas. Cruzvillegas’ “Autorreconstrucción: To insist, to Insist, to Insist,” revisits a presentation earlier this year at New York’s The Kitchen. At its center is a hanging assemblage constructed of scrap materials that, like the artist’s sculptures, recall the improvised dwellings in Mexico City’s poor neighborhoods. During the 20-minute performance, three dancers are attached by a strap to the three assemblages; the discordant accompaniment is provided by two violinists. At 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. daily In the Grand Ballroom, second floor, northeast corner of the Miami Beach Convention Center. Free.
Who wouldn’t want to take a ride on an exquisitely sculpted unicorn rocker? You can’t jump aboard, but you can dream about it as you check out the 91-inch tall pine and oak rocker made by Craft Movement master Daniel Jackson in his Philadelphia studio in 1974. Made as a Christmas gift for New York fashion designer Wayne Rogers, the rocker was thought to be lost; it was recently rediscovered by Moderne Gallery. You can take it home for $175,000. Design Miami/, 1900 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach; booth G09. With fair entry.
YOU CAN SWING IT
One of the Design Miami/ highlights every year are the leather-and-sheepskin swings by South Africa’s Porky Hefer. This year’s is a goggle-like double, designed for playmates. Booth G21. With fair entry.
ON THE BEACH
The inaugural Faena Festival takes its name from the Alfredo Jaar LED-light sign you can see patrolling on a boat off the mid-Beach shore: “This is not America.”
On the sand outside the hotel, three life-style installations riff on the uber-relevant theme of national identity. You can step through Luna Paiva’s “Matter of Time,” an American cabin crafted by gold bricks (don’t miss the carpet fringe); ponder the universe beneath the works of Tavares Strachan’s “We Belong Here” sign; and clamber on the jungle gyms of ‘Overtown’ in “America’s Playground” by Derrick Adams, who points out that Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X “went to the beach, too.” Each on its own would be worth a visit. With the film festival inside the hotel’s posh theater, it’s a must see that deserves at least a few hours. And it’s all free.
While you’re there, don’t miss Raul de Nieves’ fantastical carousel in the hotel lobby, part of a separate installation presented by Bulgari. You’ll love watching it, even though you can’t ride. Faena Hotel, 3201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Free.
Franz Klainsek spent weeks arranging thousands of gold nails on their heads on the floor in concentric half circles — incredible effort for a work that will be swept away, literally, at the end of the week. But that’s the point of “Present,” a dedication to living in the present. Pinta, Mana Wynwood, 2217 NW Fifth Ave..; Ad Astra installation sector. Fair entry required.
While you won’t find the usual sculptures outside the Bass Museum (that installation has been discontinued), you will still find the annual Audemars Piguet installation on the beach adjacent to the W Hotel. This year’s array of solar reflective umbrellas and performance is part of “For Aerocene” by Tomas Saraceno. Like the presentations held here in years past, this one explores climate change as it imagines a time when fossil fuels are no more. Oceanfront, 22nd Street in Miami Beach. Free.
TAKE A BREAK
When you’re ready for a rest, head to The Bass. “Ferngully,” the whimsical collaboration between the oh-so-different but inseparable twins known as the Haas Brothers, will bring a grin to the most eye-weary, footsore art goer. The playful monster furniture and objects are a testimony to collaboration and the value of levity; one even sticks out its tongue at the world.
The exhibition will be in place through April 21. What is leaving after Sunday is the Haas Brothers’ pop-up shop by L’Objet. You don’t actually need the monster salt-and-shakers ($275) or the ceramic incense burner with the gold lips ($975) but they will definitely lighten the mood.
And if you really need a rest, head upstairs for Paola Pivi’s hanging mattress installation. No one will blame you if you snag a nap. The Bass, 2100 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Museum entry required.
MINIMALIST MEETS POP
Curator Jeffrey Deitch and Gagosian have once again teamed up for a spectacular exhibition in the Design District’s Moore Building. Here you’ll find first-rate works by familiar artists Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons and Richard Prince — all for free, and without massive crowds. Ai WeiWei’s Zodiac series made of Lego bricks is worth the trek to the fourth floor. 191 NE 40th St., Miami Design District, free.
You can spend the day in the Design District — you definitely want to see Paula Crown’s giant red Solo cup sculpture (on Northeast Third Avenue and 40th Street) and the Judy Chicago and Larry Bell shows at ICA (61 NE 41st St.). If you’re time pressed, those can wait until next week; they and Miami artist Carlos Betancourt’s joyous tropical Christmas works at Primary (15 NE 39th St.) are up through the holidays.
That life-size bear is no toy. Look closely at what appears to be a furry beast, and you’ll see that it’s made of gold-colored bullet casings. So are the surprisingly delicate angel, lion, Siberian tiger and other works by Frederico Uribe nearby. The Colombian-born, Miami-based artist uses everyday objects to create sculptures that deserve close inspection. For $225,000, you can take the grizzly home. Art Miami, 1 Herald Plaza, Adelson Gallery booth AM105. Fair entry required.
Auto fiends know the BMW E3 for the ground-breaking technology it introduced in 1968. To commemorate the car’s 50th anniversary, car- and art-enthusiast Dr. Christian Zschocke commissioned artist Heiner Meyer to repaint the car. You can see it at Art Miami near the central bar, courtesy of Galerie Terminus and Galerie Barbara von Stechow.
Artist Giannina Dwin spent weeks distilling salt from the ocean to create her massive installation “Waves,” a reference to climate change and the waves that are surely coming. It’s part of the terrific FREE! art festival arranged by Anthony Spinello throughout Brickell City Centre; find someone with a black T-shirt emblazoned with FREE! for a brochure explaining where to find installations, films and performances. 701 Brickell Avenue, free.