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We started out with a plan, walking the perimeter first, then working our way towards the middle. Dumbfounded by our inability to locate a map, our plan soon evaporated and became a wandering towards things that caught our eye (like Diddy and Tobey Maguire having a hug). That approach may be the best way to wind your way around the 13th edition of Art Basel Miami Beach, a massive fair with over 267 booth presentations from 31 countries. The collector’s preview started today, while the fair officially opens tomorrow and runs through Sunday.
After a slew of impressive presentation in the Edition section of the fair, we stopped at a very crowded Chicago’s Kavi Gupta gallery. Half the booth was taken up by a seventies living room installation by Mickalene Thomas, complete with seating, a TV, a shimmering pair of Crocs, linoleum flooring, and even a bottle of wine from her recent label collaboration with Bedell Cellars.
In the back corner of the booth was a new sculpture by Roxy Paine, who in our opinion, has just been killing it lately. Fresh from his wildly successful larger-scale, all-wood dioramas at Marianne Boesky last September, we find the artist still working in maple wood, this time making a to-scale pressure washer.
Seeing an old friend at Regen Projects, we moved there next, where we took in three new works from Walead Beshty in three different mediums. Notably trained as a photographer, he’s very adept at working in ceramic and copper. A corner of the booth exterior was covered in five, right-angled copper bars. We were told he asks that the handlers not use gloves or polish the work after it’s hung, so fingerprints and smudges are visible on its surface. The copper is also left untreated, and will naturally oxidize as time goes on.
Further inside the booth was a mirrored work by Doug Aitken that read “EXIT”in red. Popular for its reflective quality in our selfie-happy culture (of which we are admittedly quite guilty), we laughed out loud when we saw a painted version of the work in Mary Boone’s gallery. Our meta experience was further heightened when we saw that it was by Eric Fischl and entitled Art Fair Booth #1. So there was a Doug Aitken at the art fair, in a painting of an artwork in a booth at an art fair, in a booth at an art fair. Yikes.
After taking note of some stellar pieces from Lisa Yuskavage at David Zwirner, Allora & Calzadilla at Lisson, Collier Schorr at 303, Brancusi at Paul Kasmin, Teresita Fernandez at Lehmann Maupin, and Tomoo Gokita at Mary Boone, we admired the Instagram-ready installation of Urs Fischer’s lime green raindrops at Sadie Coles and took an unavoidable knee in front of nine images of Beyonce by Jonathan Horowitz at Gavin Brown that was very reminiscent of her Countdown video, we exited stage right.
If only Queen Bey had been at the fair when we were, Art Basel Miami Beach 2014 would have gone down as the most meta ever.