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Inside Look at Art Miami 2011

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Inside Art Miami 2010

The holiday season kicks off in Miami at the close of November, with a veritable feast of art events taking place in the Sunshine state. Art Miami officially ushers in Miami art week with open arms, and its 22nd edition is sure to be a crowd-pleaser for contemporary and modern art enthusiasts. This preeminent anchor fair opens to the public November 30th, when thousands of gallerists, collectors, artists, curators and art dealers will flock to the Florida metropolis to peruse the latest in cutting-edge contemporary and modern art.

The Opening night VIP Preview Party happens the previous evening, on November 29th, with a “First View” Fête featuring a sneak-peak of some of the works to be showcased at the fair - and attendees will have the opportunity to purchase some of the most prized pieces of contemporary and modern artwork. Best of all, the entire proceeds benefit the local Lotus House Women’s Shelter. Director Nick Korniloff has been presiding over the fair since 2008, but his relationship with the event extends back 20 years, when he first became involved with the project as an events manager (and clearly, his devotion to Art Miami is evinced through the Fair's increasing success). The 22nd edition of Art Miami is curated by Julia Draganovic, an independent curator and art critic, who has also organized a special video segment of the fair, ZOOM! Decoding Common Practice, in addition to the sculpture pieces that are placed throughout the pavilion.

Leslie Smith Gallery – Artist Marc Chagal- Les Amoureux à Saint Paul de Vence/ La Fete Heureuse And certainly, the outdoor/indoor sculpture park will keep the crowds captivated, placed throughout the fair pavilion and showcasing over twenty artworks from a variety of artistic media. Works like Marc Chagall’s vibrant mosaic (at left, from the Leslie Smith Gallery) Les Amoureux à Saint Paul de Vence / La Fete Heureuse (1971-72) and a stunning metal sculpture by artist Arman, Wall of Violins (below,  from the Allan Stone Gallery) will be placed throughout the venue, in addition to site-specific pieces created especially for the fair. With such a wide variety of work, there are numerous highlights, including the video exhibition (featuring a film by controversial, oft-imprisoned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei), and a VIP lounge specifically designed for the event by the prolific designer Juan Montoya. The variety of media on view covers nearly all artistic disciplines within contemporary and modern art: painting, photography, drawing, sculpture, film, video, installation and design. Allan Stone Gallery – Artist <a class=Arman - Wall of Violins 1409728" style="padding-top: 10px; padding-right: 10px; padding-bottom: 10px; padding-left: 10px; float: right; " />

True to its rich history within the contemporary art market, last year’s Art Miami drew crowds exceeding 7,200 on opening night alone, and 46,000 visitors in less than one week’s time. As the longest-running contemporary fair in the city’s history, the event has received critical acclaim for the variety of works on display. This year, over 110 international galleries and art institutions from eighteen countries will be showcasing the work of the best and brightest artists in this genre, (1,000 artists from 60 countries!) and fair organizers have high expectations for the turnout.

Recently, MutualArt talked in-depth about the fair with the director, Nick Korniloff, and discussed the highlights of the video project segment ZOOOM! Decoding Common Practice with curator Julia Draganovic. Take a look at both exclusive interviews to see why Miami’s definitely the art hot-spot of the season: Whether you’re a contemporary art connoisseur, an artist, or simply an avid art-lover, this fair is an event not-to-be-missed!

Q&A with Nick Korniloff –Director of Art Miami

MutualArt: How do you define a successful Art Miami?
Nick Korniloff: A successful Art Miami is determined by the reaction of the collecting audience
and the art market as a whole. We have worked very hard to establish our own identity through the variety, quality and depth of the art and participating galleries at Art Miami. In addition, we have become a proven JGM Galerie - Artist <a class=Rob Wynne - The Shape of Beauty" style="padding-top: 10px; padding-right: 10px; padding-bottom: 10px; padding-left: 10px; float: left; " />marketplace where top collectors come to acquire the finest works available. The fair has become a platform for great galleries representing both primary and secondary market art to create awareness, recognition and additional respect for their artists. (Left, The Shape of Beauty by Rob Wynne, from the JGM Galerie)
A successful Art Miami is also defined by how many new clients our galleries are meeting and how many new collectors we are cultivating in the market. In the end, we look at our attendance numbers, which have risen more than 20% in the last two years (the fair now attracts 50,000 people annually) and our overall renewal rates from galleries who have participated or new galleries that apply each year. Last year we had almost four applicants for every available location in the fair. We’re in the business of providing a qualified audience for our clients — the galleries. Success is measured with their overall sales or the ability to create new relationships and reinforce established relationships. The entire platform of curatorial programming, exhibitor selection, sponsor relations, guest services, design of the fair, attendee marketing, promotions and technical support is executed for the sole purpose of fulfilling the needs and servicing our dealers and the global contemporary art market at the highest level.

MA: What is new in this year's edition? How do you keep it "fresh" year after year?
NK: There are two things that you can count on annually at Art Miami each year: one, the quality of participants and art work will be of the highest caliber, and two, the ambiance and design will always be different and provide an energy that is unrivaled to any other Miami fair during Art Week. This year we have 22 new exhibitors participating in the fair and the percentage of international dealers has increased. We have a group of dealers that participate in the top international fairs in the world: Art Basel Miami, Art Basel Switzerland, Basel Design, Miami Design and TEFAF Maastricht, Pavilion of Art & Design and The Masterpiece Fair. Another highlight [which Julia will expand on] is the Persol Art Video New Media lounge, featuring six videos including a long film from Ai Weiwei. Also, Juan Montoya designed the Mandarin Oriental VIP Lounge, and Sofia Maldinado will create a work-in-progress at Art Miami. What’s also an exciting facet is the curated interior and exterior sculpture exhibition [curated by Julia Draganovic].

Catharine Clark - Artist <a class=Lori Nix - Botanic Garden" style="padding-top: 10px; padding-right: 10px; padding-bottom: 10px; padding-left: 10px; float: none; " />
Botanical Garden by Artist Lori Nix, from the Catharine Clark Gallery.

MA: How did Art Miami become involved with The Lotus House Women’s Shelter?
NK: The Lotus House is an exceptional organization, which serves as a Women's Shelter located in a quiet enclave in downtown Miami, offering a sanctuary where the minds, bodies and spirits of homeless women and infants most in need are supported and nurtured. In 2008, when I took over as director, a group of participating galleries who were fond of the project thought it would be a good idea if I spoke with [president of Lotus House] Mrs. [Constance Collins] Margulies about creating the benefit. After some discussion, we decided that being a sponsor of their cause and providing the proceeds of the Opening Night VIP Preview to the shelter would be beneficial to all. Over the last four years, we have sponsored their main October event and have raised a substantial amount of money through our sponsors and attendees during Opening Night.

MA: What are your favorite parts or highlights of the 22nd edition of Art Miami?
NK: One of this year’s biggest highlights, is, in my opinion, the Mandarin Oriental Miami VIP Lounge, designed by artist Juan Montoya. I asked Juan to transform our 2,100 square foot VIP lounge for our guests and sponsor Mandarin Oriental, Miami. He has an amazing level of passion, experience and natural talent and is truly an artist in his own right. Juan is very cautious and particular in how he approaches a project and we are honored that he has accepted our invitation to take on this challenge. Juan Montoya. Art Miami VIP lounge.His design of the Art Miami VIP Lounge (pictured below) elevates the ambiance of our fair and will set new expectations for all other art fairs. It takes a really talented, experienced person to take on the challenge of designing a private lounge within a public space that will reflect a premier sponsor like the Mandarin Oriental, Miami, while also being functional in its use and highly visible to the thousands of attendees that the fair will attract. While the lounge only will be accessible to VIP cardholders, it will be visible to all who attend the fair. If you have seen the renderings, Juan has really envisioned an energy and atmosphere that has never before been seen in association with a VIP lounge at an art fair. We are really excited to see the reaction of our attendees and exhibitors when they experience the lounge firsthand. The space will create the perfect backdrop for our premier attendee audience to relax at Art Miami, enjoy a cocktail and converse socially and culturally with each other while pursing their passion of acquiring the finest contemporary art that the market has to offer.

MA: What do you make of the whole ABMB spectacle?
NK: Art Basel was the catalyst for the growth of all the surrounding fairs and they bring along with them a large European contingency, great reputation, strong history, mentality, strategy and system that has worked successfully in Europe, America, and now Asia. Sometimes such power and influence can create an overbearing confidence in the market that becomes out of reach or unobtainable for certain galleries and collectors. We believe that with more than 20 shows happening at the same time, the holistic definition is really “Art Week Miami” – not just ABMB. The continuation of Art Week in Miami is extremely important for the growth, confidence, and creativity within the global art world. It’s where the very best of the best in talent and galleries collide, offering an unparalleled importance to collecting side-by-side with social and cultural engagement. It’s an environment that provides great economic impact to the South Florida region with a positive influence globally as well. New collectors are cultivated while seasoned collectors are satisfied. The careers of emerging artists and galleries can take off while others may fade. It is the litmus test for the contemporary art market in America...the main stage that you must be a part of if you are a gallery or artist. (Below, Perversion Aversion by Ryan McGinness, from Galerie Forsblom)

 Galerie Forsblom-­ Artist Ryan McGinness ­ Perversion Aversion

And now check out our interview with one-of-a-kind curator Julia Draganovic, who talks about this year’s edition of Art Miami - in particular, the cutting-edge new media segment "ZOOOM! Decoding Common Practice", which presents six videos by artists examining the human condition.

Q&A with Julia Draganovic, Curator of Art Miami

MutualArt: How long have you been involved with Art Miami?
Julia Draganovic: This is the fourth time I’m involved with the video lounge. In 2008 I presented a project by Bjoern Melhus called Deadly Storms. In 2009, I curated Mapping the Blank Spots together with Asher Remy-Toledo. In 2010, I presented the video show In What We Trust, and together with Nick Korniloff selected the pieces shown in the sculpture project. This year I’m presenting the video show ZOOOM! Decoding Common Practice and again curated the artworks for the sculpture project. On top of this I’m working with two artists [Kaarina Kaikkonen and Sofia Maldonado] on site-specific pieces for Art Miami. Galerie Forsblom- Artist Kaarina Kaikkonen-The Gate

MA: Which artists did you choose to work with?
JD: I’m working with two women coming from very different geographical and cultural backgrounds: Sofia Maldanodo is a young Puerto Rican painter who, coming from the Caribbean urban street culture, depicts powerful images of feminine figures. You will find a lot of street culture elements, like skateboards, graffiti and the feminine aesthetics of the Caribbean in her work. Kaarina Kaikkonen is a well -established Finnish artist, who works as well with feminine imagery, but of a completely different kind. Her sculptures and installations are often made out of clothes. For Kaikkonen, the material carries the memory of the previous owner, which is an integral part of her work. Her pieces are charged with spiritual energy and effortlessly explore complex notions relating to ethics and ecology. (Right: The Gate, by Kaarina Kaikkonen, from Galerie Forsblom. Below: Concrete Jungle Diva by Sophia Maldonado, from Magnan Metz Gallery. Both artists have created site-specific installations for Art Miami).

Magnan Metz Gallery- Artist Sophia Maldonado- Concrete Jungle DivaMA: How will the exhibitions be installed?
JD: As in previous years, you will find selected outstanding sculptures all over the public areas of the fair. Sofia Maldanodo is preparing a large panel for one of the thoroughfares and another one for the façade of Art Miami, next to the entrance. If the weather allows, she will continue to work on it during the opening hours of the fair. Kaarina Kaikkonen is planning an installation of shirts on four of the palm trees on Midtown Boulevard, left and right from the entrance of the Art Miami Pavilion. The video show will have its own area in the fair. We have six booths, each 10x20, that allow for good-sized, one-channel projections.

MA: What's it like having Ai Weiwei participate in this year's Art Miami? What's his video about?
JD: Having a video by Ai Weiwei at Art Miami this year, of course, is causing a strange kind of excitement. He has become the icon of an upright artist, one who speaks up for his beliefs and risks his life for his artistic vision. Ai Weiwei is not allowed to leave his country, and what we heard about his arrest and detention sounds scary and makes everybody worry about his future. It is hard to talk about this, not really knowing what’s actually going on. That said, his amazing video Chang’an Boulevard is dealing precisely with this issue: the impossibility to represent reality. It is truly a monumental work. It consists of 10 hours and 13 minutes of video shots taken every 50 meters traveling along Chang’an Boulevard across Beijing, and in a way it’s an essential work regarding the pretension of “presenting reality”: No one is able to watch a video for 10 hours. And even if you could – and you would surely be overwhelmed by the amazing variety of impressions and images throughout the film – you would still not have seen Chang’an Boulevard [in its entirety], but only some brief excerpts; a spot every 50 meters, chosen by the artist, defined by his casual view of something that captured his attention. And then you realize how fast the urban landscape in China changes: Go back to where you started from, and after ten hours, a lot of things have changed.

Ai Weiwei: Chang’an Boulevard. 2004
Ai WeiWei's 10-hour film, Chang'an Boulevard, (2004) will be presented in the video segment of the fair.

MA: This is your third year curating the art video lounge. Can you expand on the theme? How is this year different?
JD: I fully enjoy the sensibility and commitment of the fair direction for video art and the freedom they leave me to develop some kind of experimental research. There are a number of fairs that are presenting video screenings, but Art Miami is presenting for the fourth time a real show in every sense of the word, giving space and the appropriate technology for every single piece, precisely following the specifications requested by each artist. The title [ZOOOM! Decoding Common Practice] came out of my longing for simple things (after I dealt with the heavy-duty ideological stuff in last year’s show In What We Trust). With ZOOOM! Decoding Common Practice, I’m presenting six video works that show the capacity of video to make the viewer “read between the lines.” Video was for some time mainly used as “documentation” of time-lapse based art (performances or events) and really large-scale art pieces that transcended the capacity of human perception (for example, certain land art pieces). ucia Nimcová: Double Coding. 2010. One channel video. 5'13”After a period of experimentation with the new technology, the last decade has seen a return to a lot of documentary work. I’m always surprised when the short connection between video art and journalism is used as a critique against certain video pieces: media theory of the last few decades should have taught people that there is really no such thing as “objective news” or mere “documentation”; moving images are always creating their own narrative. ZOOOM! Decoding Common Practice shows different ways to display this: apparent documentation; assemblages and post-production of found footage; performances that are recorded in a specific manner; and performances staged explicitly for the eye of the camera. I was really intrigued by Lucia Nimcova’s found footage video Double Coding (pictured above) which is composed of a series of images cut out from Czech movies, that had been censored by the Communist regime of the former Czechoslovakia. At first glance, all these censored scenes that were cut for being “dangerous” to the Czechoslovakian audience [were shocking because they] seemed so innocent to me. I did understand that there was an underlying code that I had difficulty to decipher, and all of the sudden, every detail became curious to me. So I chose a series of serious works that are telling simple stories. But each video tells more than just one tale...if you look closely, each piece opens a variety of interpretations.

MA: Overall, what are the challenges in curating exhibitions at an art fair (as opposed to an event in a different setting)?
JD: The environment is unlike the meditative ambiance created by a museum, so that’s challenging at times. An art fair is a meeting point, a social event; it is loud and, hopefully, joyful. Shows in a fair like Art Miami have a high number of visitors who want to look at the art, but they also want to “see and be seen” by the other visitors at the fair. Therefore, the attention-span of visitors to the art fair is much shorter than that of the average audience to a museum or gallery show. So it’s of crucial importance that an art fair has plenty to keep visitors visually entertained at all times...Luckily, Art Miami has all of those we hope to see you there!

Miami’s longest-running contemporary art fair, Art Miami, runs from November 30th - December 4, 2011 in Midtown Miami, Florida. Don’t miss it!

Outside Art Miami 2010
Written by MutualArt Staff is a revolutionary online art information service which covers the world of art by collecting content about events, venues, artists, articles and auctions from thousands of web sites.
Ai Weiwei
Marc Chagall
Kaarina Kaikkonen
Sofia Maldonado
Ryan McGinness
Juan Montoya
Lucia Nimcova
Lori Nix
Rob Wynne