Tuesday night set off Art Basel fever when several satellite art fairs hosted their first viewings. Hopscotching from fair to fair, absorbing the avalanche of art, shuffling through the clinking crowds, we came away with the following photo collage.
In a week of mega art fairs, SEVEN promised to look “beyond the art fair model to create an alternative platform for presenting and experiencing contemporary art in Wynwood” — and delivered. An exhibition of seven galleries (Pierogi, Hales, Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, BravinLee Programs, Postmasters, PPOW, and Winkleman), all but one from New York, SEVEN distinguishes itself from the other art fairs around town this Art Basel weekend by spurning the booth format. This minimizes the trade-show feel (though the art is for sale) and allows visitors to appreciate the work without feeling any pressure to buy (or pretend they could buy) anything.
At the same time, SEVEN keeps visitors on their toes. At least one of the pieces is a hoax: “The Genretron” (Winkleman) purports to be a “faithful” reconstruction of a 19th century panorama used by an old Dutch family named the Chadwicks who considered 17th-century Dutch art “the definitive moment in which landscape painting ‘vomited up the tyrant Christian landlords'”. Beware of Lytle Shaw, co-creator of “The Genretron”, who will volunteer to tell you an engaging story about his “glorified internship” reconstructing the panorama for the Chadwick family and never break character. (I’ll admit he had me going for a while.) But don’t stay away — put-on or not, “The Genretron” is a really cool piece. (See video below)