Art Basel Miami Beach 2013: The Florida fair steps out of the shadows of its Swiss sibling

Art Basel Miami Beach 2013: The Florida fair steps out of the shadows of its Swiss sibling

Inflatable Swiss chalets, huge easter eggs and bare-breasted women beating resin blocks in a public park. It’s the first week of December, and once again in Miami, the art fair has come to town, with this year activities neatly bookended in the north of the city by a show at MOCA of Tracey Emin’s neon works - 67 created over 20 years - called Angel Without You and in the south by a retrospective exhibition of Ai Weiwei’s work at the newly opened, Herzog & de Meuron-designed Pérez Art Museum.

Emin’s archive of chaotically scrawled and spelt slogans - in a lofty blacked-out space - read like illuminated scribblings on a toilet wall. From inanities such as ’Is Legal Sex Anal?’ and ’Is Anal Sex Legal?’, to moments of beauty (’Love happens - like lightning’) and self-knowledge (’I know, I know, I know’ - crossed out three times), it’s Emin in her best light.

Weiwei’s politics often focus on the billions of Chinese who labour thanklessly in the creation of their country. At PAMM an enormous sculpture made of shiny metal bicycle wheels (a nod to both Duchamp and the only transport available to many working Chinese) has the feel of a war memorial for workers, recognising all those subjugated by the system.

Between these two poles, the business of the fair has gone along briskly, dealers having upped their game with some fighting work. (Miami is no longer the funsome little sister of June’s Art Basel but a more serious player in its own right, particularly with its geographical attraction for the Latin American market.)

Gagosian’s big gun is the Jeff Koons showstopper ’Baroque Egg with Bow’, in scintillating turquoise and hot pink (1994-2008), a massive bundle of symbolism (from new birth to a stealthy restraint, suggested by the big bravura ribbon). At Sadie Coles, Sarah Lucas’s ’Tit’ chair (2012) - entirely ’upholstered’ in stuffed stockings that pop up like perky breasts - is a ribald piece of feminism, poking particularly apposite fun at a Miami audience, where enhancements come as standard. And at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, Martin Creed has constructed an elegant pyramid of bog-standard toilet rolls. It isn’t ironic - more an act of transformation of this prerequisite of contemporary life into a perfect architectural component.

Other ways to get noticed include the booth of Neugerriemschneider, which Jorge Pardo has turned into a lush domestic space, lined with cheap fabrics more usually used to make Mexican pinafores (Pardo, who is Cuban, now lives in Merida). Everything is for sale, while other artists’ work is encased in the shelving system he has created around the outside of the stand. And at Marianne Boesky, Roxie Paine’s massive moving neon piece of a man being knocked down and getting back up could hardly be missed. ’I think it’s how artists feel everyday,’ says Boesky.

Beyond the Convention Centre, projects take on a more expansive form. LA artist Ry Rocklen has created an art bar, sponsored by Absolut, turning a patch of ground by the W Hotel into a basketball court, filled with chess and ping pong tables created from trophies and trophy parts, a comment, perhaps on the winners and losers that an overly competitive art market now creates.
 
Another large-scale installation came in the inflatable form of a Swiss-style chalet. Perched over the water at the Miami Marina Stadium, its polyurethane skin gently heating in the Florida sun, it is the creation of French artist duo Kolkoz for Swiss watch company Audemar Piguet. ’We love clichés and we love Pop,’ say the pair. Indeed.
 

Sign up for the Amateur Photographer Newsletter

Sign up for the Motorboat and Yachting Newsletter

Sign up for the Cycling Weekly Newsletter

Sign up for the Amateur Gardening Newsletter

Sign up for the Country Life Newslettter

Sign up for the Decanter Asia DAWA Newsletter

Sign up for the Decanter China Newsletter

Sign up for the Decanter Daily Newsletter

Sign up for the Decanter Events newsletter

Sign up for the Decanter World Wine Awards DWWA Newsletter

Sign up for the Decanter Weekend Newsletter

Sign up for the Golf Monthly Newsletter

Sign up for the Horse & Hound Newsletter List

Sign up for the Ideal Home newsletter

Sign up for the Livingetc Newsletter

Sign up for the Mountain Bike Rider Newsletter

Sign up for the Marie Claire Daily

Sign up for the Magazines Direct Newsletter

Sign up for the Celebs Now Newsletter

Sign up for the Practical Boat Owner Newsletter

Sign up for the Sporting Gun Newsletter

Sign up for the Uncut Newsletter

Sign up for the Woman & Home Newsletter

Sign up for the Womans Weekly Brand Comms

Sign up for the Woman Newsletter

Wallpaper* Newsletter

Sign up for the World Soccer Newsletter

Sign up for the What's On TV Newsletter

Sign up for the Yachting Monthly Newsletter

Sign up for the ybwcom newsletter

Sign up for the ybwcom boats for sale Newsletter

Sign up for the Equo Organiser Newsletter

Sign up for the Equo Rider Newsletter

Sign up for the The Field Newsletter

Sign up for the Goodtoknow Generic Newsletter

Sign up for the Goodtoknow Recipes Newsletter

Sign up for the Life Death Prizes Newsletter

Sign up for the Rugby World Newsletter

Sign up for the Shooting Gazette Newsletter

Sign up for the Shooting Times Newsletter

Sign up for the ShootingUk Newsletter

Sign up for the Trusted Reviews Newsletter

Sign up for the Womans Own Newsletter

Sign up for the NME Daily Newsletter Newsletter

Sign up for the Decanter Master Events Newsletter

Sign up for the Goodtoknow BISS Newsletter

Sign up for the Yachting World Newsletter

Sign up for the Decanter Shanghai Events Newsletter

© TI Media Limited. Wallpaper* is part of TI Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.