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The Annunciation/Camping sleeping bag covered in the interior with oil painting

Apotheosis of Ramona/Mixed media construction


Untitled/Oil on canvas

Mouth Populated by Mouth/Mixed media Installation

Oasis/Acrylic on canvas

The Priest, the Monkey and Me/Acrylic on canvas, metal sculpture

Volti/Oil on canvas

Still Life/Fish, salt, tar, aluminum, glass

Art Miami 2001

ArtNexus #40 - Arte en Colombia #86
May - Jul 2001

Miami, Florida
Art Miami

Carol Damian

Miami Beach, Florida

South Florida’s annual exposition of modern and contemporary art had a new look this year. It was the first Art Miami organized by Ilana Vardy, the former director of Art Chicago and a woman of experience and energy who had the ability to make significant improvements, and did. In implementing her vision, she hopped to present a show that would increase Art Miami’s cutting-edge component, while maintaining its reputation with respected galleries and their clientele. Her intent was to organize an art fair that would not only address international art trends, especially of Latin America, but how they represent South Florida and its artistic environment. In addition to 120 international galleries, Art Miami 2001 included numerous events, lectures, panel discussions and special exhibitions. The Currents section that enjoyed great success in Art Miami 2001 expanded to feature 20 galleries with cutting edge art and emerging artists from New York, Chicago, São Paulo, and other cities from Canada, Spain and other countries. There were Project Rooms featuring the work of eight contemporary artists on the fast track who were chosen by international curators. Though the concept was excellent, there were some technical and location difficulties that detracted from its success. Visitors were confused about the relationship to Currents because of its close proximity. The exhibits of Mega Fino were organized by Peter Doroshenko, Victor Zamudio-Taylor and Pedro Alonzo from the institute of Visual Arts in Milwaukee and were presented inside the fair and outside on the streets on Miami Beach. The idea was to focus on the Caribbean as an area of transculturation reflected in contemporary art. Too few people visited the work outside the fair and the exhibits were lost in the maze of gallery participants inside. The work of Liliana Porter at Espacio Minimo (Madrid) was particularly remarkable.

Art Miami is expected to highlight Latin American art and this has not changed. But the number of Latin American galleries seems to have decreased, as have the number of masterworks. There were nevertheless many stellar works to please visitors. Solo exhibitions are rare, but certainly add to the credibility and distinction of an art fair to go beyond the strictly commercial. First time participant Galeria Rubbers (Buenos Aires), stole the show with a jewel of an exhibition of the beautiful works of Argentinean Master Xul Solar (1887-1963). Mary Anne Martin Fine Art (New York) always exhibits masterpieces and the displayed works by Diego Rivera, Rufino Tamayo, and others were extraordinary, as were the glassworks by Isabel De Obaldia and paintings by Claudio Bravo, Elena Climent and Antonio Berni. At Galería Sur, masterworks from the Escuela del Sur featured wonderful paintings by Joaquin Torres García and Pedro Figari as well as Barradas, Matta and Paul Klee.

The mix of international artists of renown appeared often and the European galleries offered a wide range of new works for fair visitors to see. At Galerie Lelia Mordoch (París) there were especially interesting glass and mixed media objects by Patrice Girard on display. The New Art Gallery (Padova) brought a stunning selection of works from Italian artists including Marino Marini, Giorgio De Chirico, and Sandro Chia, which were exhibited with Latin American artists Botero, Ana Mercedes Hoyos, Wifredo Lam, Matta, and others of international reputation. There were provocative works by Francis Picabia, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, and Max Ernst amidst the selection at Galerie Marion Meyer (Paris and Frankfurt). The powerful works of Moises Finale dominated Galerie Fallet (Geneva), and the photographs by Marta María Pérez Bravo at Galeria Luis Adelantado (Valencia, Spain) were showstoppers, and among the few notable photographs at the fair. The Latin American artists were well represented at Gary Nader Fine Art (Coral Gables). There were a phenomenal mix of artists in what amounted to a preview of his auction that gave visitors an opportunity to view works from all over the Americas, from the early Modernists such as Amelia Pelaez, Rufino Tamayo and Rene Portocarrero to young artists in his gallery, including Nicolas Leiva. The works of Botero appeared frequently, and Artemudi (Miami Beach) had his sculptures among an extraordinary group of Latin American masters. The Mexican artists at Praxis International (Mexico City) did not disappoint the many who came to see the newest works by Roberto Cortázar, Trini, and Roger Mantegani. Praxis International (Buenos Aires and New York) exhibited Ignacio Iturria’s newest works.

There were numerous local galleries represented, as well as galleries from Chicago and New York that came for the first time and added to the fair’s new contemporary look. Ambrosino Gallery (Miami and Caracas) gave visitors the opportunity to see the works of artists from the area, including Eugenia Vargas, Nina Ferre, William Cordova, Florencio Gelabert, Humberto Castro and Carol K. Brown. Artspace/Virginia Miller (Coral Gables) presented a oneman exhibit of the dynamic paintings of Matt Lamb. Other local galleries included Silvana Facchini Gallery, Barbara Gillman Gallery, and Skot Forman Fine Art.. Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, new to Miami from New York, brought works by Hung Liu, Edouard Duval Carrié, Pepón Osorio, Miriam Schapiro, Dhara Rivera and Kate Moran. Galerie Freites/ Freites-Revilla (Coral Gables and Caracas) had some wonderful paintings by Santiago Cardenas.

Peruvian artists have been neglected here in recent years, so the participation of Galería Lucía de la Puente (Lima) helped bring such artists as Ramiro Llona, José Tola, and Luz Letts into the Latin American scene. Diana Lowenstein Fine Arts (Miami and Buenos Aires) exhibited Lucia Warck-Meister, Eduardo Hoffman, and others from her unique stall of artists. Galería El Museo (Bogotá) atrtracted the attention of the crowd with the strange sculptures of Aurora Cañero, Jim Amaral, Paloma Navares, and Nadin Ospina. At Jacob Karpio Gallery (San José) Darío Escobar and one of the artists of the moment, Kcho, could be seen. Gallery Eighty-six (Curacao, Antilles) had an interesting mix of objects by Ria Houwen, and the artists at Lyle O. Reitzel (Santo Domingo), added to the Caribbean flavor. Marlborough (Boca Raton, Santiago de Chile) had a diverse selection that included the works of Magdalena Abakonowicz, Tomás Sanchez, Julio Larraz, Red Grooms, Ricardo Maffei and Richard Estes. Visitors were also fascinated by the computergenerated photomontages of Robert Silvers at Fabien Fryns Gallery (Marbella).

The fair was crowded and exciting as people tried to make their way through the maze of exhibitors. Art Miami presented a new look and it promises to get even better.

Carol Damian
Proffesor and member of the Visual Arts Department at the Florida International University, Miami.



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