Sunday, December 6, 2009

Beyond Art BASEL

Click on Beyond Art BASEL and see more images!

The art explosion this year did not happen at the Art BASEL Miami Beach. Basel may have been the big top event, but the greatest shows on earth were across the causeway in the Wynwood Arts District. From donated pieces that were shown in thrift shops that were selling for whatever your generosity, or your budget come bare, to the investment pieces that would run upwards of six figures for a token of the artist’s vision.

Sandwiched between NW 20th Street and NW 36th Street, just west of Biscayne Boulevard are a couple of hundred artists spaces and galleries. This week a couple of hundred more artists from around the world and the U.S. called Wynwood home making The District the place to be. Aptly name were a few satellite exhibitions: Scope Miami, Pulse Miami, and ironically Migraciones (Migrations) at a time we when we are witnessing the shift from South Beach to the Magic City.
While not everything appealed to my aesthetic taste, but the running around alongside the lambs, the punks, and couture-clad crowd, made for an exciting time. I even stopped and chatted up a few exceptional street artists hard a work in the shadows of NW 2nd Ave.—their only gripe was a boastful, “We never get paid for what we do!” I returned to see the progress one of these mural masters had accomplished and offered the address of Alternative Gallery, a space not far from where we stood that promotes street art among other new works.

Aside from my preoccupation to the street art, I visited and chatted with: photographer David Dye(he promised I’d be in his next book), the extremely talented Brian Leo and Charlotta Janssen of New York, the half-naked performance artist Myk Henry, and of course a few totally naked performance artists. After all that I went to visit friends who were having openings amid the mayhem that is called Basel’ing !

A Great Dane with poodles? A Butterfly and an Old Wise Ass Owl? Yes, it’s the Carlos Alves Show. “Animal Instincts” at the new Gallery Cafeina will surprised even the diehard collectors of Carlos Alves’s work. Alves accomplishes a group of more intimate pieces for this show; that doesn’t mean they’re small! “Animal Instincts,” is reminiscent of the whimsy of earlier work, while exhibiting a fusion between craft and high art seldom seen. But, that should surprise no one who has followed his career, what does surprise hangs high above our heads in the gallery, “The Lures,”(see image) which float form the ceilings at Cafeina are with out doubt the catch of the day!

“Lapidus Infinitus,” by Carlos Betancourt at Diane Lowenstein Fine Arts was spectacular. Two rooms displaying similar, yet very different approaches to what may be traditionally called assemblage. The White Room holds the bigger than life photographs, which are testament to Betancourt’s eye for detail and composition. The Red Room installation(see image), a colonnade of blue totems fused with pop-culture icons creating a modern day Acropolis. Again, both Lowenstein and Betancourt deliver beyond our expectations and raise the bar.