Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Miami Social Diary

Urbane Matisse? Here is a look at the wall created by NYC artist Ryan McGinness, being unveiled during Art Basel December 1-5. Introduced at last year’s Art Basel, Wynwood Walls is featuring new work in collaboration with The Hole in NYC as well as various other installations and sponsors.
Street Smarts: Miami’s Wynwood Arts District offers Art Basel preview
By Augustus Mayhew

The white tents are popping up and the pink snails are on the move as Greater Miami preps for the Art Basel fest that usually leaves the local art scene unappreciated, overwhelmed, if not, off the radar. Hoping to capture some limelight before the Swiss tsunami hits in two weeks, the Wynwood Arts District scheduled their gallery show openings during Saturday night’s Art Walk.

And since W’s recent Art issue with Kim K on the cover left me thinking I really should do more prep before the upcoming Art Basel extravaganza, Saturday night I motored down to catch up on Miami’s latest. I drove south on Miami Avenue, through the Design District, past Ross, Pet Smart and Target to 20th Street. I turned right to cut over to 2nd Avenue when I encountered what appeared for several blocks to be an obstacle course of George Romero-like moments. More than several of our less fortunate homeless, people without walls, seemed to converge on my moving car. Or, as someone suggested, as darkness fell they were probably just shuttling from the harsh glare within the concrete-and-asphalt warehouse district into more comfortable green spaces sheltered with palms rather than barbed wire.
An early arrival for Saturday night’s Art Walk. I arrived early enough to find a parking space in front of several uniformed security guards and before “the 300 reservations” arrived at Joey’s Italian Café, seen across the street from the Plymouth. My fig-and-gorgonzola pizza was fine; for me, Michael’s Genuine is still on another level. Joey’s, as in Joey Goldman, is in the same block as Jessica Goldman’s Wynwood Kitchen & Bar. As in SoHo and South Beach, these restaurants are part of the Goldman development formula.
The King of Wynwood appears to be familiar SoHo and SoBe veteran Tony Goldman whose family-owned company reportedly owns 20 properties in the district. Family members include Jessica Goldman Srebnick and Joey Goldman. A recent press release credits them with being “the driving forces behind the renaissance of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, the Wall Street Financial District, SoHo, and so on.

After my Wynwood adventure, I attempted to catch a few gallery openings in the Design District. But, but 8 o’clock the three-block area was jammed with cars circling bumper-to-bumper scrambling for an open space; after five spins, I called it a night.
The interior promises to be a veritable Sistine Chapel for taggers and neon skater comics enthusiasts.
WKB’s north elevation.
A new mural by Dearraindrop is a backdrop for WKB’s outdoor dining area, “… sure to be one of the coolest and most visually striking new restaurants in the country,” according to the press release.
The renowned Kenny Scharf applying his signature work on an Airstream.
Scharf at work on the Airstream with the ongoing Wynwood Doors installation in the background. New York gallerist Eric Firestone presents artists Phase II and CoCo 144, early seminal “writers” of the New York subway system. Their installation, The Wynwood Doors, is a collection of 176 feet of rolling store front steel doors. According to the press release, “The inclusion of the works of these legendary street artists of the early 70’s will mark a historic moment and become a stunning addition to the art park.”
Wynwood Walls

Termed the epicenter for cutting-edge street art, Wynwood Walls is located between Joey’s Italian Café and the soon-to-open Wynwood Kitchen & Bar aka WKB. Along with Ryan McGinness, the other five new wall murals were done by assume vivid astro focus (avaf), Ben Jones and Dearraindrop. Jones, a member of Paper Rad, is known for his neon and comic motifs. Dearraindrop is a collective of three artists whose “swirl of dystopic pop psychedelia will manifest as a tangle of characters in angry orange.” The other artist, assume vivid astro focus (avaf) incorporates a “extensive and internetted visual vocabulary of cultural debris.” The avaf labyrinth, “archaeologist verifies acid flashbacks,” consists of a retrospective of wallpaper designs illustrating “a hybrid collage style and data-moshing abilities.” The avaf project is a co-production of Tony Goldman and The Suzanne Geiss Company with support from NYC’s The Hole.

Here are a few of last year’s and more recent images from the “art park.”
Kenny Scharf, 2009.
Aiko Nagakawa’s 2009 mix of stencil, spray paint and silk screen.
A recently completed Ron English work.
Brazilian street artist Nunca’s mural was completed during last year’s Art Basel, reflecting “the inner character of the Brazilian people.”
Shepard Fairey’s 2009 installation was part of Phase One at Wynwood Walls.
Whether or not this was a performance piece, it was far too sophisticated for me.
More art from Wynwood.
Wynwood District Art Walk
Inside Graffiti Park, The Peter Tunney Experience offers a series of tableaux that I found eerily captivating.
Carl Hildebrand, gallery manager for The Peter Tunney Experience.
A work from The Peter Tunney Experience.
After moving from New York to Miami, Dina Mitrani opened her Wynwood gallery in 2008.
The Panther Coffee neon caught my eye.
What’s Miami without a touch of ritualistic offerings, though I did not see any sacrificial matter or objects.
David Castillo, of David Castillo Gallery, and Ana Garcia. Wendy White and Roland Ruocco, artists with the New Light Studio and Gallery, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.
New York artist Xaviera Simmons opened her current show at David Castillo’s gallery.
I liked this image found at Now Contemporary Art.
At Now Contemporary, artist Federico Uribe was opening his “Once Upon A Time” installation.
Artist Federico Uribe groomed and outfitted for his opening reception.
Exile by artist Luis Cruz Azaceta can be found at PanAmerican Art Projects. The work is priced at $75,000 USD.
Tub Hell Act 1, 2009 is also a painting by Luis Cruz Azaceta at PanAmerican. The work is priced at $85,000 USD.
A surprising touch of generosity seen at one of the galleries, amidst the cash bars and roving “gourmet” food vans.
Comandante. A painting of Fidel Castro, Cuba’s “Maximum Leader,” as they say.
Baltic #4, a work by A. Dale Nally at Mr. Nally’s studio-gallery was tagged at $4,200 USD.
Artist A. Dale Nally and Katrin Moller. Meaghan O’Connor serving at a 42 Below Vodka party.
Wynwood aims to be the global vortex for street art.

Photographs by Augustus Mayhew.

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