We came correct and started our second Miami day the right way: with a temporary removal from the commotion for some delicious Cuban food and quite probably the most delicious cup of coffee EVER at “the world’s most famous Cuban restaurant” in the world, the Little Havana institution, Versailles. Then we caught an unexpected two Invaders en route to the highway back to the unmistakable Basel action. Reality has been tested. And we’ve invested.
Once back in Art Heaven, Day Two’s action-packed quest began at Miami Project, a satellite art fair in its inaugural run nestled nicely between Wynwood and Midtown.
Highlights of Miami Project were exciting to spot and easy to see:
We checked out San Antonio’s David Shelton Gallery and Alejandro Diaz with his Happiness Is Expensive series front and center.
A thrilling and somewhat bone chilling photography experience featuring two of my all-time faves, Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, captured by Tseng Kwong Chi highlighted the walk through of perfectly-sized Miami Project.
Hugo Garza had some exciting work on display as well.
Abel Alejandre had this piece that caught our attention.
From Miami Project, we made the walk over to Wynwood for our first full day there during Basel, and damn were the streets alive. It was on these lively streets where we spotted the below piece from Tiger Milk Films, which should make every Basel-goer stop and think for a little bit about what’s happening in the art industry. The problem being, most of these self-proclaimed “art aficianados” never dare to venture into the streets of the art Mecca and in failing to do so, they’ll remain removed from the real movement and thus, oblivious to what may or may not really matter. My two cents are free.
Walking into the thick of the action on the streets of Wynwood, sounds of spray paint cans exhaling into the Miami heat and the sweet smell of fresh paint for most of the afternoon filled our nostalgic olfactory sense with thoughts of wonder and joy. Straight up. Wonder and motherfucking joy. The creation taking place right in front of our eyes was stunning and awe-inspiring on many levels. World renown artists and collectives filled the streets to leave their mark on the biggest art event of the year. And if our first day was “spot a celebrity day,” then Day 2 was “hang out with Chicago art celebrities day.” We partook in the creative process with a bunch of Chicago cats who got wall space among local Miami crews, Atlanta painters, and the vibe was real on the strip of 3rd and 26th where Solo RM painted two bomb-ass pieces that flanked Revise CMW’s holding-down-the-corner-of-3rd-and-26th masterpiece. Check out Chicago representin’:
Having spent the day tracking down masterpieces on Wynwood’s walls, we took a trip over to the Context Art Fair for another go ‘round of high level offerings. I mainly wanted to check out this fair specifically to see what all the hubbub was surrounding this dude named Banksy that I’d just heard of the other day. You guys ever heard of him? Supposedly, he’s doing some brilliant site-specific stuff. I don’t know, some new graffiti guy who like, does tags or something.
An almost impossibly elusive enigma, Banksy and the controversial showing of his works at Context took over the space designated for him. The accompanying video documenting the transport of his works around the globe was a nice touch, and I couldn’t help but wonder how this portion of the show even came to be. It seemed so…outdated. But Banksy’s stuff is not meant for the gallery/fair setting (unless he is the one infiltrating the gallery or museum with his own work. Hence, site-specific). I don’t totally care about that though. I don’t care if the works were taken “out of context,” as the Context’s promoters reminded us with giant flanking posters of the artist’s work. I don’t care that I didn’t view the Banksy pieces in their natural habitat. What I do care about is Banksy continuing to push the envelope and surprise us again and again. He is truly, 100% one of a kind, and it was nice to see Context putting together a Banksy display courtesy of some gallery somewhere. Even if it came across a bit forced, it was still impactful and appreciated.
Gozamos’ new buddy, Speedy Graphito delighted us with his Disney and pop culture-infused works. Dazzling in color, magnitude, and subject matter, he granted us a little interview that may or may not have been one of the more awkward and strangely translated interviews ever recorded on video. We’ll share that with you on our youtube channel soon but for now we’ll share these gems from Speedy at Context:
The following day, Speedy painted half of his large-scale mural in all black with a loading icon to urge viewers to check out the rest of the finished piece online. Welcome to the Digital Age, folks…
From the action at Context, we took our talents to Fountain Art Fair, where we were greeted with great music, unbelievable underground feeling talent, an RV Mural, and branding of raw meat on top of naked bodies.
Annie Preece had some of the most exciting work on display at Fountain.
The RV Mural was a badass touch.
Sue Zola’s glittery goodness was a fun stop at Fountain.
Evo Love’s classroom desk/chair combination was cool to see.
Just a quick hop, skip, and jump away from Fountain, we made our way back to Wynwood. Why would we not make our way back to Wynwood? Impromptu street concerts with all the bells, percussions, horns and whistles, improv breakdance sessions, poppers and lockers, and painting and wheatpasting happening EVERYWHERE.
Part 3 will have recaps on Pulse and Scope Art Fairs, as well as more from Wynwood and a full Art Basel Miami Beach 2012 recap. Coming Wednesday…or Thursday. We were busy putting in work so that you could live vicariously through us.
Invader count: 3