If you’ve perused this year’s round of breathless Art Basel Miami Beach event guides, you may have concluded that the whole ABMB extravaganza is an elaborate marketing campaign to sell shoes, t-shirts and “limited-edition yoga mats.” And you may be right. And yet, amid the myriad big top fairs and invite-only soirées at which Gaga or Kanye or Pharrell is rumored to appear, there are a handful of approachable events — let’s call them “contenders” — that have a puncher’s chance of knocking you out without the help of a celebrity. Starting with…
The Newsstand @ The Standard – “The Newsstand re-imagines the traditional format of a newsstand with independent zines, magazines, and records, opening itself up as a forum to artists, photographers and cultural leaders. Curated by Lele Saveri, founder of the 8-Ball Zine Fair, The Newsstand has developed a dedicated community, becoming a platform for creativity and exposure. Having recently shown at The New York Art Book Fair this past fall, The Newsstand is coming to Art Basel Miami for a four day pop-up.” Learn more.
Contender @ Primary – “In a solo show dedicated to self-portraiture through sculpture, painting, installation and photography, artist Kenton Parker challenges the viewer with a swell of raw emotion. On location at Milk Studios (Los Angeles), Parker calls on long-time friend and photographer, Patrick Hoelck, to capture the madness that makes-up the artist’s multiple personalities. Parker tacked on the roles of producer, director, editor and subject for this exhibition, exposing his various states of being behind and in front of the lens. Contender is the most extensive, self-referential and personal body of work of Parker’s career, revealing a narrative that ultimately speaks to the human condition.
“Parker’s self-portraits challenge the boundaries between artist and subject in a process where he meticulously sketches and storyboards each photo shoot of himself. Scenarios, among others, include fighting, purging, nudity and apathy — plots so universal and powerfully executed that in pieces such as ‘From Bad to Worse’ or ‘We Both Knew This Was Coming,’ the line between how the artist is feeling and what he is staging can be easily blurred.
“In ‘Always Sorry,’ a lush installation that takes on the form and function of a flower boutique, Parker creates a unique opportunity to engage audiences with a poetic, intimate, living object. The life cycle of the flower traces the growth, beauty, decomposition and death as a ritual of existence. On a journey that asks viewers to become acutely aware of their own humanity, Parker invites them to relive their memories in his safe space at PRIMARY.” Learn more.
Curva @ The M Building – “The Savannah College of Art and Design presents ‘CURVA,’ a solo exhibition of recent works by Wendy White (B.F.A., fibers, 1993) at The M Building in Wynwood Art District. White has garnered international acclaim for large-scale paintings and installations that merge painting, sculpture and architecture.
“The title, ‘CURVA,’ is an Italian term for the section of a soccer stadium where the most fervent fans, or Ultras, sit. The exhibition will comprise works from White’s ’3-stripes,’ ‘Multiple-canvas,’ and ‘PVC’ series, highlighting her ability to distill text-based symbology into both complex palimpsests and hybrid constructs. White will also conduct an artist walk-through on Dec. 5 at 12:30 p.m. at the gallery to discuss her featured work.” Learn more.
The Wayside group show @ Plymouth Hotel – “Five artists — Steve Saiz, Melanie Bernier, Autumn Ahn, Georgia Kennedy, Christopher Wawrinofsky (artwork pictured above) — were invited to Miami Beach to repurpose abandoned hotel rooms throughout Art Basel. Just steps away from the convention center, the wayside is tucked within the historic Plymouth Hotel. The hotel is a deco-clad building that is also home to a pop-up speakeasy, and beer garden. The artists will pair local items with materials sourced from their origin cities of Los Angeles, Boston and Chicago to adorn their rooms with temporary artwork.” Learn more.
‘Whale Shark Series’ preview @ MAPS Studio – “Photographer Kristian Schmidt will exhibit his limited edition ‘Whale Sharks Series’ photographs at MAPS Studio, and donate a percentage of profits to Wild Aid.” H/t Guest of a Guest
Kolkoz’s “Curiosity” @ Miami Marine Stadium – “Kolkoz, the art duo of Benjamin Moreau and Samuel Boutruche that turned the sands of South Beach into a lunar-styled soccer field during Art Basel last year, is returning to Miami’s mega culture bash next month with a new, equally wacky project: Erecting a chalet-style home, complete with snow, on a floating platform in the waters off the Miami Marine Stadium site.” H/t Miami New Times
Bushwick Gone Basel @ 2805 Collins Avenue – Fair warning: This sounds insufferable, even if the tone of the description is a put-on. But I’m throwing it in here, caps in tact, as a wild card. “A SWARM OF ARTISTS FROM THE DYSTOPIC ART WORLD OF BUSHWICK BROOKLYN WILL DESCEND UPON THE CENTER OF PARADISE IN SOUTH BEACH MIAMI. TAKEOVER WILL CLIMAX WITH A PRESENTATION OF THE BUSHWICK UNDERGROUND. SELECT AND ENIGMATIC PERFORMANCE ARTISTS, MUSICIANS, VISUAL ARTISTS, AND PERSONALITIES WILL BE SHOWCASED ON SUNDAY DECEMBER 8TH AFTER CRASHING PARTIES AND RUBBING EGOS OF THE ART WORLDS BIGGEST PLAYERS. THE EVENT WILL FEATURE LIVE MUSIC AND VISUAL ART IN ITS RAWEST FORM STRAIGHT FROM THE MOST TALKED ABOUT AND MISUNDERSTOOD NEIGHBORHOOD IN NEW YORK CITY. PROVING THAT BUSHWICK IS MORE THAN A PLACE, ITS A LIFESTYLE.” Learn more.
Superchief Gallery/Select Fair @ Catalina Hotel – There’s so much enthusiasm in the description of this event that it’s hard to figure out what it is. That said, I’m getting a good vibe, and Stephen Powers’ mural and the group show “Street Weapons” (pictured above) intrigue me enough to include it on this list. “For 2013′s Art Basel Week, SELECT FAIR is breaking ground even further by working with the good people at the City of Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program to go AS BIG AS POSSIBLE in Miami with a large-scale mural by Steve “ESPO” Powers ACROSS THE FRONT OF THE ENTIRE HOTEL. We have been working closely with SELECT FAIR and for 2013 SUPERCHIEF GALLERY is growing again by leaps and bounds and taking over THE ENTIRE LOBBY of the Hotel Catalina. AND THE ROOF.” Learn more.
Our City Thoughts launch @ The LAB – The LAB has a lot going on during ABMB week, including the launch of Our City Thoughts in the successfully crowd-funded Idea Garden. The launch will feature “a fireside chat” that will give me and five other panelists a chance to share “our city thoughts” with the audience and hopefully hear theirs in return. Here’s the low down:
“During the week of Art Basel, Our City Thoughts hosts it’s official launch at The LAB MIAMI’s never before seen Idea Garden. During this one-day special event, the public will have the chance to see firsthand the diverse collection of video, photography and written narratives the OCT team has compiled in the last six months. The unveiling of ‘The Cube’ also takes place — a video booth designed to capture personal ideas, impressions, and stories about Miami and its future. The release and showing culminates with a fireside chat with an awesome panel sharing their city thoughts. The focus of the conversation: How we are telling and will tell the layered renaissance narrative of technology, culture, and innovation happening in Miami and the Americas.” Learn more.
What’d I miss? Tell me in a comment.