Zevs, Liquidated YES, 2012, mirror polished bronze on patinated bronze base
Miami 2013: The annual see-and-be-seen..or should I say see-and-be-scene.
This year’s scene had a decidedly Latin American feeling to it starting with the re-opening of the Perez Art Museum Miami. The PAMM is revitalizing the art scene in Miami, bringing this city right into the future with its contemporary architectural design and collections. The museum is an education on how artists can come together to tell a story of craft, landscape, consumerism, violence and identity. To inaugurate these ideals, PAMM has amassed key loans and recent gifts from Miami’s most significant private collectors with highlights from its own young collection to create a two-year cycle of changing thematic installations collectively titled AMERICANA. An English and Spanish word that broadly describes images and objects produced in the Americas and typical of American cultures, it is specifically intended to evoke both North American art collecting traditions and a unique perspective that reaches across national borders.
Hew Locke, a British artist of Guyanese descent, known for his ship replicas, designed dozens of colorful vessels that are suspended from the ceiling as you enter the museum. In light of Miami’s history of being a port of immigrant entry – particularly by sea, this installation in the project gallery holds special meaning with many museum visitors.
Hew Locke, For Those in Peril on the Sea, 2011, 79 model boats and mixed media
Many of the artists showcased in the museum were seen at the fairs.
Adrian Esparza, who hails from El Paso, Texas, deconstructs the serape blanket, transforming our view of an everyday object to show how art exists in the world around us. This cultural symbol and souvenir from Mexico has become Esparza’s inspiration to comment on political divides and borderland experiences. His installation at the PULSE Fair was a small example of his larger piece at the Perez. These “postcards,” as he calls them, can be commissioned and range in price depending on their individual size.
Adrian Esparza, Untitled, 2013, nails, thread, and serape
Rene Francisco Rodriguez, Ciudad Simulada, 2013, oil on canvas
Work by Cuban artist, Rene Francisco Rodriguez, was snatched up by the Cisneros Art Foundation. His paint has been layered on the canvas with a spatula, using a meticulous pointillist technique. Most of his art has sociological and political themes. One of his pieces shows masses of indistinguishable faces in black-and-white while some show architectural buildings in the shape of text that send a historical message.
Rene Francisco Rodriguez, Gotas, 2013, oil on canvas
Ramiro Gomez is another young Latin American who is on his way to super stardom, with works in the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. His parents emigrated from Mexico and set down roots in Los Angeles. In 2009 Gomez became a live-in nanny in West Hollywood and observed the many Latino workers arriving each day to assist in household maintenance. Soon Gomez started a series of "drawings" titled Happy Hills, a documentation of the Hispanic workforce who tirelessly preserve the beautiful imagery of the affluent. Ramiro embellishes the pages of high-end home décor magazines to make his point.
Ramiro Gomez, Olympia and Janus et Cie, 2013, acrylic on magazine paper
Guadalajara-based artist Jose Davila’s work was almost sold out the first day of the Basel fair. He is primarily known for his assemblages of found objects but has now branched out into Richard Prince-like photography. He is taking images from the cigarette-ad cowboy series and lifting out the rugged Western figure, bringing the cut-out to a whole different level.
Jose Davila, Untitled (Cowboy Grande), 2013, archival Pigment Print, Edition of 4
Some other great finds were the mattresses by Wade Guyton and Kelley Walker. The duo have now started incorporating functional objects like tables and beds into their artistic repertoire. Digital weaving, approving tufting designs and matching mattress tape were no small tasks...and yes, not only are these suitable for the gallery, you can sleep on them as well!
Guyton Walker, Untitled, 2013, mattress
Check out Chinese artist Li Hongbo’s flexible paper sculptures. They look like solid marble busts but they are actually made of paper and bend like a slinky! A book editor and designer, Hongbo has a true obsession with paper and its endless possibilities. His crazy experiments began when he purchased a honeycomb paper ball used for festive decorations in China and took it apart to see how it was made. Using common paper, Hongbo sticks thousands of sheets together with carefully placed strips of glue and uses an electric saw to form these stacks into masterpieces.
Li Hongbo, Girl I, 2012, paper, glue
Argentinian Analia Saban’s sculptural paintings are the result of the artist’s interest in dissecting the painting process. Saban describes her own method of working as both artistic and scientific—an approach that was inspired by her former instructor John Baldessari. She is best known for using laser cutters, silicone molds, and erosive techniques. Her practice has included unraveling painted canvases and wrapping the threads into a single ball and using photographic emulsion as a device for applying marks to painted surfaces. At the Basel fair, she exhibited wood circuit boards to further explore her deconstructionist values. Saban has been included in a number of group shows, including at the Hessel Museum of Art at Bard College, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah, and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.
Analia Saban, Walnut Wood Circuit Board, 2013, laser sculpted wood
Emerging artist Borna Sammak displayed TV sculptures at the NADA art fair, fully equipped with extension cords, tags and notes. Sammak generates his video collages by overlapping multiple movie trailers and various other film clips, removing parts of the image to achieve the grainy edges and then “bumping” them against each other to explore new and innovative ways of drawing.
Borna Sammak, some say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree but that’s just a lazy way to dismiss the seed, 2013, 1920 x 1080 pixels, 15 seconds looped, 30 frames per second
When Aiko Hachisuka doesn’t want a piece of clothing any more, she doesn’t just bag it for the thrift shop. The LA-based artist’s bulging cloth sculptures are made from clothing she’s folded, screen-printed, stuffed and stitched together in large, elaborate forms. She also has created a series of works on paper from this process, with impressions of loosely folded clothing in bright colors.
Aiko Hachisuka, Untitled, 2013, silkscreen on clothing, protective gear and foam
The photographic work of Brittany Nelson challenges the medium’s characteristic conventions. It defies our traditional expectations of how to look at photography. From afar, her compositions can easily evoke the translucent layers of watercolor, finely etched lines or even the shadows of smoke. While her training at Cranbrook has equipped her with a solid background in photography, instead of using a camera and film, she extracts her compelling images from the reactive relationships of the chemicals involved with Silver photo paper, then enlarges her imagery with a scanner. What fascinates her is the separation of the photo process from the representational image.
Brittany Nelson, Test, 2013,c-print, face mounted plexi
Sigalit Landau, DeadSee stills, 2005, archival pigment print, Edition of 9
In “DeadSee”, a cord connects 500 floating watermelons, which form a coiled raft on the buoyant waters of the Dead Sea. Sigalit Landau’s video of this work is offered as a sequence of 18 different still shots. Her use of the spiral symbolizes the connection of the Dead Sea to Jewish and Israeli identity, merging East and West, past and present. It highlights the sea as a natural border between two countries, a healing site and the place on earth where the high salt content represents death and destruction. Landau also suspends various objects in its water, such as shoes and chandeliers, creating a lab of “accelerated archeology.” Like the story of Sodom, where Lot’s wife was transformed into a pillar of salt, Landau’s objects become completely coated in salt crystals after several weeks and thus altered or reborn.
Sigalit Landau, Over the Rainbow, 2011, Shoes Suspended in the Dead Sea
availability of work
Work is available by all of the artists mentioned above. Please contact TAG ARTS if you are interested in seeing more work by a specific artist.
Prices vary according to artist and size of work.