I hope I am not looking at the storm before the apocalypse, but everything at the Miami Art Fairs, and especially in the halls and sectors of Art Basel Miami Beach seem sunny and normal, if a bit less crowded than usual. Keeping socially distanced is not a problem, and mask wearing is not déclassé in the least, but rather required. Dress is definitely fancier than usual, as though we might not party again for quite a while, and this respite between pandemic strains closing venues is a last gasp, hopefully not literally.
The show is brightly colored, with few subjectively dark work, providing a party atmosphere, added to the crowd’s bright colors and floral patterned dresses (and men’s suits). Subjectively, there are lots of flowers and landscapes of beautifully, if environmentally challenged scenes.
I loved Miguel Cardenas’ work, drawn onto a blue painted wall, of flora and fauna of his native Columbia, with fantasy birds of wood topped with painted aluminum heads at Glasgow Gallery. “Kendall Kopp,” Vincent Valdez’s portrait of a fellow artist at Matthew Brown Gallery of Los Angeles was beautiful, arresting and a gracious depiction of an older woman artist of consequence. British artist Lucy Williams’ “Palm Springs #1,” 2021, Plexiglas, paper, engineered wood, piano wire, soil and cotton thread and acrylic paint on birch panel, at Berggruen Gallery of San Francisco, looked like a scene from LA in the 1950s, a time when, also threatened by the bomb and the cold war, things were relatively unthreatening.
There was a lot of handiwork; tapestries and sewn objects, but more of that tomorrow. For now, I’m going to take another look at the inflatable iceberg floating in the pool at the Faena Hotel and see what else Art Basel Miami Beach offers to keep me happy and the world outside inconsequential for this week.
(Art Basel Miami Beach 2021 is open to the public December 2-4 at the Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach, Florida. For more details and to experience the international arts festival from the safety of your own home, visit artbasel.com.)