MIAMI - As Art Basel in Miami Beach got into full-swing, dealers seemed happy. Angela Westwater, of the New York gallery Sperone Westwater, said things were “upbeat,” and that she noticed a more internationally mixed crowd than in previous years, particularly more Russian and Latin-American buyers. In her booth was a very big and impressively pink watercolor by Alexis Rockman, Untitled (Cherry Blossoms), 2013. You could practically smell it.
Alexis Rockman, Untitled (Cherry Blossoms), 2013.
Over at Paul Kasmin Gallery, big-time sales were reported: the huge and stunning Morris Louis, Gamma Omicron, 1960, went for $2.2 million, and several of Nir Hod’s works went for big money, including Once Everything Was So Much Better Even the Future, 21013, for a cool $1 million. Kasmin also had a terrific historical show of Constantin Brancusi’s work, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the infamous Armory Show, when his work gained acclaim and controversy. The gleaming bronze of one Brancusi piece looked great against the Louis painting, and many people were getting pictures of it.
I found lots of things to like at the fair, not least of which was Vik Muniz’s very funny and complex Woman I, after de Kooning (Pictures of Magazines 2), 2013. It’s a remake of the famous De Kooning painting completely done with torn-out magazine pages, and stuffed with amusing references and jokes. Best of all, it was not too far away from a real De Kooning painting, looking ravishing on the wall of the Gagosian Gallery booth.
Vik Muniz’s Woman I, after de Kooning (Pictures of Magazines 2).
Certainly the long-running collaboration between Wade Guyton (late of the Whitney retrospective) and Kelley Walker has taken a fun new turn. Untitled (mattresses) are basically souped-up mattresses with crazy, colorful scenes on them – they almost look spray-painted, reminding me of those vans from the 1970s decorated with elaborate scenes, and they were sprawled out in front of the Greene Naftali Gallery booth. But the gallery rep was careful to point out that images were not printed on; the fabric itself contains the color and the image. I’m guessing these personality-filled mattresses are not for getting a good night’s sleep.
Wade Guyton’s Untitled (mattresses) at Greene Naftali Gallery.
And discoveries of artists that are new to me are always fun. Raffi Kalendarian’s Shanti (Yellow Room), 2013, a sweet portrait of a young boy against a striking decorative pattern, charmed me in the booth of Suzanne Vielmetter Los Angeles. And at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Jason Martin’s Malandro, 2013, caught my eye. It’s a uniformly burgundy-colored disc with a texture that makes you want to touch it—thickly impastoed, like a cake frosting. Evidently it’s made of pure pigment on aluminum, but it looks soft and plush.
Watch this space on Monday for my take on some of the satellite fairs and other events from the week in Miami.