Edition #41 – Art Basel Miami Beach: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

December 10, 2014 · Print This Article

Local’s Only

When I moved back to Miami from New College in Sarasota in 2009, a new gallery opened on NW 7th Ave called OHWOW (Our House West of Wynwood). During that year’s edition of Art Basel Miami Beach, OHWOW mounted an exhibition called “It Ain’t Fair” which included a work by Aaron Young entitled “Locals Only.”

Local’s Only, image via ArtSlant.

Nearby on 41st Street, Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz debuted their 3 story, 30,000 sq foot private museum space including an Ana Mendieta vault that had it’s own separate lock and was only open for viewing when Mrs. de la Cruz was in the building.

That same year the now shuttered Bar on 14th street opened as a facsimile of NYC’s Max Fish. I’m pretty sure that 2009 was also the year that Pharrell William’s debuted the chair he designed in partnership with Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin. I always thought the chair looked pretty coital. Looking back, maybe it was an omen of the celebrity clusterfuck to follow in the coming years as the collectors slowly shed their post-crash modesty. At least William’s makes his home in Miami (Poor guy can’t leave, no one wants to buy his Brickell penthouse!).

Noting that 2009 was the first edition of the fair in the aftermath of the US economic depression, Karen Rosenberg described ABMB as a “delicate organism… [that] requires sunlight, optimism and an abundant supply of collectors with open wallets,” in her review for the New York Times.

Despite the tepid state of the economy, she noted that the fair and its sales weren’t affected too, too much. Aside from this, the most notable thing about the review is the fact that it is primarily ABOUT THE ART. She discusses Kehinde Wiley’s large scale painting of Michael Jackson and Tom Scicluna and Nicolas Lobo’s pirate radio station at NADA, which had just moved to Miami Beach’s Deauville Hotel from the Ice Palace on North Miami Ave.

Fast forward to 2014, and there is so much competing for your attention that the art itself gets lost and even Eva and Adele look routine.

Me, nearish to Eva & Adele in 2009 outside the convention center. I think my friend Cesar Mantilla made me take this.

Since 2009, the increasingly extensive coverage granted to the Miami art extravaganza in the Times is primarily confined to parties, celebrity, prices and failure. In light of the rampant societal problems plaguing our country, this year a troubled anxiety hung around the fair and it’s corresponding events. Trayvon Martin, Reefa, Mike Brown and Eric Garner were in everyone’s eyes, on their minds and protruding from their lips. While the general merriment and partying persevered, it certainly had an effect on the vibe. Or at least my experience of it (Linda Yablonsky seemed unfazed).

Kristin “says something smart.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, the ever eloquent Liz Tracy.

I actually read this sentence in a NYT Magazine recap of the week: “The most quintessentially South Floridian event must have been the island housewarming of the prominent Russian collector Maria Baibakova, who chartered VanDutch boats to speed guests though the twilight to the Spanish mansion formerly inhabited by Cher.”

I almost couldn’t think of anything less “quintessentially South Floridian” than a Russian collector’s housewarming party (gag me with a spoon). Also, isn’t it “Von Dutch”? Or maybe I just haven’t ascended quite yet. After this I probably never will. What do New Yorkers know about Miami anyway? Don’t worry y’all, I care about art and I’ll give it to you straight.

Stopped in a Churchill’s one night to confirm to myself that some things never change.

Personally, my nomination for “most South Floridian” would be for #ihaitibasel, or the Thursday night Kelela/ Future Brown performance at the Perez Art Museum Miami (formerly the Miami Art Museum, but at least the word Miami is still IN the name).

Knowing my hometown a little too well, I would also have to nominate the opening of a new “institution,” the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami, as the most Miami thing possible. More on that elsewhere in this edition of the T.

#ihaitibasel was a week long event at various spaces [loosely] in the Little Haiti neighborhood that featured local and visiting artists alike. The front page of the #ihaitibasel website invites you to explore various venues on the mainland of Miami, as most ABMB visitors flock to the island of Miami Beach and never leave. For most Miami artists, the mainland is where the year round action is. It’s also where the majority of people live and work.

An online map pointed out venues like Swampspace, run by the delightful Oliver Sanchez, and Gucci Vitton, the artist run gallery on 82nd street that has received much deserved attention for their exhibition by Ida Eritsland, Geir Haraldseth and Agatha Wara (formerly of Bas Fisher Invitational) in collaboration with Bjørnar Pedersen.

Oceans of Notions at Swampspace.

The large thin reified internet banners hanging in Monday night’s Luxury Face opening commented on contemporary culture and trends through digitally collaged images and non sequitur text about babies and consumerism. I caught up with friends and spotted someone in a “Bad at Sports” t-shirt. Monday night and we were already in full swing.

Spotted!

Luxury Face at Gucci Vitton.

Monday night also saw the semi-local opening at Emerson Dorsch Gallery, featuring Miami artists Hugo Montoya and Brandon Opalka, as well as the NY gallery Regina Rex’s “Cemeterium,” a sprawling sculpture/ performance garden in the Dorsch’s back yard.

Work by Hugo Montoya at Dorsch.

The title of the exhibition, “BACK ON EARTH, a tragicomedy in two parts,” fits the rambunctious Montoya to a T. At the opening, Montoya toured me through his show, relating his epic journey to retrieve the negative for a large print of the artist as an adolescent in headgear from his mom’s house. Then he turned off the lights in the gallery to bask in his backlight metallic fountains on mirrored plinths.

Hugo Montoya on view in the de la Cruz Collection kitchen.

Light’s out on Montoya’s sculpture fountains.

Despite the fact that I still can’t help but call it the Miami Art Museum, I thought the Thursday night PAMM first anniversary party was pretty boss, and I didn’t even find DIS Magazine THAT obnoxious. Miami should be the focus of these types of events and I was pleased to see my city and its major new museum in such flattering light (I did think the water jetpacks were a little much, though).

Mark Handforth’s light installation with work by Gean Moreno and Ernesto Oroza.

Leyden Rodriguez, Frances Trombly, Gean Moreno and Glexis Novoa at PAMM Thursday night.

T around Town

Adler Guerrier inside of his exhibition at PAMM on Thursday night’s anniversary party and opening.

Work in Guerrier’s exhibition, Formulating a Plot. The signs say things like “don’e be bored, alarmed or afraid Blck Power is equitable.”

Amanda Sanfillipo in the Locust Project’s booth at NADA.

Work by Daniel Arsham in the Locust Project space on North Miami Ave.

The gorgeous Anita outside before performing at the Zone’s Art Fair on 82nd Street.

All I want for Christmas is this beautiful diptych by NY based artist, Carson Fisk Vittori (right). These and other works were on view in the Carrie Secrist booth at Untitled.

A enormous sun print by Chris Duncan at the entrance to Untitled. Duncan’s work was on view with Halsey Mckay Gallery.

Best ever instagram of the Art World: Sibylle Friche caught this precious moment in front of a painting by Tim Bergstrom, also in the Hasley McKay booth.

Local favorites, Dracula, performs at Emerson Dorsch gallery on Friday, Dec. 5th.

Ran into an old friend, Jordan Thompson, screen printing at Marc Jacobs’ new story with his business The Fine Print Shoppe.

Marc gets it.

The Weatherman Report

Buckminster Fuller’s Fly’s Eye Dome, originally designed in 1965, in the Miami Design District.

Everyone was there and looking real cute. I ran into Nicholas Frank outside under the H&VM fern trellises and toured the museum’s exhibitions with him. I nearly freaked out at a man who was touching my favorite Thomas Hirschhorn gold CNN piece, but otherwise enjoyed seeing the work on display and checking out all the new collection gifts PAMM has received in the past year (many of which I recognized from my work with the Craig Robins Collection in the Design District). The GPS exhibition was impressive, though not over hung (like everything else everywhere— looking at you Bass Museum, Peter Marino).

Nicholas Frank takes in a monumental work by Gary Simmons at the PAMM.

Could you not? Also, how is it that if I sniff a work of art I’m toast, but this guy can just manhandle the art!?

I LOVED the Leonor Antunes room in the front entrance (check my B@S interview with the artist about her PAMM opening at MACO last February). Beatriz Milhazes’ paintings aren’t my thing, but big selfie draw so I guess that’s OK. The upstairs room featuring Mark Handforth’s Western Sun light installation and work by various other Miami artists, including Loriel Beltran and Glexis Novoa was the bees knees. Unlike my friend and fellow asocial mediator, I wasn’t super into the Let’s Make the Water Black animatronic room thingy.

Leonor Antunes in the front room of PAMM.

Laz Rodriguez and Dana Goldstein outside of PAMM on Thursday night.

The Queen, Kelela, performing in the rain outside of PAMM.

Right outside PAMM in front of Biscayne Bay, Kelela’s performance was entrancing to say the least, and she was totally a trooper. As the audience ran for cover in the face of a tiny Miami drizzle she just kept singing, working the fog machine rain combo like a genie in a flowy blue dress. I spotted Dev Hynes of Blood Orange in the crowd along with Miami artists Dylan Romer, Lazaro Rodriguez and Dana Goldstein. Just before I had to leave to see Clams Casino and FKA Twigs with my friends at Young Arts, we were kicked out for taking off our wristbands too soon. ¯\_(?)_/¯

FKA Twigs was chill. You can read Rob’s review of the performance, and I am 100% in agreement with his take. Also, maybe a good time to note that WTF!? Gigi’s in Midtown was owning Basel events on the mainland.

Gallery Diet’s Emmett Moore booth at Design Miami. From the Design Miami blog, photo by James Harris. (I left my phone in the car so I’m missing images of Coral Morphologic, too.).

Other highlights included the opening of Design Miami, and specifically the presence of two booths in the back corner of the fair (near the bathrooms): the Gallery Diet solo booth by Emmett Moore, and Coral Morphologic’s booth complete with a sea anemone Oculus Rift and ceiling projection. Moore, a native of Miami, continues to impress with his artistic design work. His quirky, modular pieces had everyone in Miami talking and beaming with pride. I would take the whole booth (including that sweet printed packing blanket). Days after the opening we heard that other galleries (including Chicago’s own Volume Gallery) were clamoring for meetings with the young designer.

Coral Moropho’s Jared McKay posts about meeting Andre 3000 in their Design Miami booth.

Work by Pepe Mar in the David Castillo pop-up exhibition.

Far and away the best exhibition I encountered last week was Guaynabichean Odyssey by José Lerma, curated by Kristin Korolowicz at David Castillo’s new permanent space on Lincoln Road. Unfortunately, Castillo’s strange and unfortunately flat “pop-up” on the ground level distracted from Lerma’s show, as many people I spoke to had visited the raw and defunct club space chocked full art, but missed the new space on the 4th floor.

Upstairs, Korolowicz took me on a wonderful tour of the exhibition, discussing Lerma’s interest in Ponce de Leon and the Fountain of Youth. The triangulation of Lerma being from Puerto Rico and mounting the exhibition in Miami was just too perfect. There was also a large scale shower curtain depicting a baroque recreation of the Fountain. All of the figures had characteristic Lerma double eyes, I couldn’t help but sympathize.

Lerma’s coup de grâce was presented in the back of the exhibition space where the artist had created a mind bending hyper colorful light installation with paintings (a visual timeline starting with Ponce de Leon and ending close to present day, as the paintings became increasingly smaller). It was really amazing, but hard to explain without seeing— check out the video of the installation above. Just before leaving I ran into Miami celebs Otto Von Schirach and Monica Lopez De Victoria of the TM Sisters (who had a very cool palm tree installation in the weird club). As always, they looked ready for their close up so I made them take a photo in front of Lerma’s work.

Monica and Otto. Now in technicolor. PS- At the opening Monica told me her to-die-for vintage dress was by Miami fashion designer Sheila Natasha, who’s in the collection of the Met!

Agustina Woodgate’s radio broadcast from Spinello’s AUTO BODY exhibition on the beach was also among my favorite offerings. While I unfortunately missed the performances (I really really wanted to see Kembra, Naama and Cheryl, but I could only take so much beach commotion and traffic), it was delightful to listen to Woodgate’s deep voice and adorable diction as I braved what felt like every single inch of Florida highway from Ives Dairy Road to the Rickenbacker Causeway.

Live Radio Espacio Estacion taping at AUTO BODY.

Some pretty cool exit ramp art + plants on I-95.

Agustina invited a cadre of female movers and shakers that included personal faves, Lauren “Lolo” Reskin of Sweat Records (voted by me as obviously the best record store in Miami) and musician/ stylist Sarah Attias. On the way to visit my cousins in Davie, I got really into trying to understand the engrossing conversation between Woodgate and Karla Damian, from Miami Dade Transport about public transit in Miami en español.

Saturday night, after stopping in to see AUTO BODY, I headed down to Vizcaya for the worst named exhibition at pretty much the best place in the city. If you don’t know what Vizcaya is, educate yourself. It’s totally worth visiting outside of Art Basel, and it’s what elementary school field trips are made of. I just love it there. Even better, the outdoor sculpture exhibition was a showcase of Miami’s best and brightest including Felecia Carlisle, Adler Guerrier, Brookhart Jonquil, Jillian Mayer, Emmett Moore, Christina Peterson and Magnus Sigurdarson (with Domingo Castillo).

Float in the Vizcaya pool by MFA students from the Florida International University’s College of Architecture + The Arts

I ran into the entire Newberry family, and was delighted to make the acquaintance of the Moore family as well. I had a lovely chat with Misael Soto waiting in line for a glass of wine where we discussed his killer performance series, this is happening, at Dorsch and his own work as an artist. I was surprised to happen upon Siebren Versteeg in the hedge maze, where he mentioned how enchanted he was by visiting the baroque Italian-style gardens and mansion last year that he made a point to return for 2014’s opening.

Late Sunday night, outside of the 71st street warehouse, as I watched a squarish blonde girl with her tits out scream at a crowd of what I was told were “a bunch of Bushwick hipsters who hadn’t been hugged enough by their parents,” the goings on of the last week swirled in my head. I wish I had time to ruminate more, maybe write many pieces instead of this near stream of consciousness. I couldn’t stop thinking about Young’s “Local’s Only” and how annoyed I was with the whole affair, the back and forth, the distractions.

The dance troupe who performed with Zebra Katz performing outside of the warehouse on 71st Street.

There was so much going on I started to feel bad for not feeling bad about missing many of the cool things and people I was in close proximity to. (Sidenote: I am pleased, though, that I missed the instagram panel in favor of Dan Duray’s snarky coverage.) Thankfully, I ran into Ibett and Juan from the de la Cruz Collection and their candid company put me at ease.

OP-ED: WTF is going on with the ICA?

Before we get started a short recap: Bonnie Clearwater failed to secure the money to expand the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), left for Fort Lauderdale, a 26 year old curator named Alex Gartenfeld became the interim director, the board wanted to merge with the Bass Museum on South Beach, but, after a bitter battle against the city of North Miami ultimately ended up splitting off, creating a new museum in the posh Design District, taking collection objects and digital assets with them.

For a longer, more in-depth recap check the Art News piece. At what cost indeed.

Ok, now that we’re all up to speed: About that newly minted ICA. I was impressed with their, and seemingly everyone else’s, ability to gloss over the brutal and ugly debacle between the ICA and MOCA during the effervescence of last week. I’ve been watching the story develop from afar since Rosa de la Cruz first spilled the beans in an interview in the Miami New Times.

Now that I’ve had the chance to discuss its opening with Miamians and see the space for myself, I have a few questions and things to put down in digital ink. I grew up attending MOCA and formative parts of my art education took place in the museum. To this day, I think that Ruba Katrib’s stint at the museum brought some of the best and most thoughtful solo surveys I’ve ever seen (Ceal Floyer, Ryan Trecartin, Claire Fontaine & Katrib is now at the Sculpture Center to boot).

The behind the scenes stories I’ve heard about the gutting of MOCA make me physically ill. It’s seriously some Vice City shit. For example, how did the ICA get away with stealing all of MOCA’s computers?! It’s totally loca. I haven’t met Alex Gartenfeld, but it seems like the entire city (minus his sleepover buddy, Irma) thinks he’s a jerk, and the fact that he declined to apply for grants which MOCA depends on seems to support that opinion. Seriously not cute.

Speaking of grants, I also can’t quite wrap my head around WHY the Knight Foundation felt it necessary or appropriate to fund the ICA, when the vanity institution clearly has the advantage of a strong and wealthy board, as well as extremely wealthy supporters. Meanwhile, they pulled a 5 million dollar grant from the MOCA for lack of confidence.

Finally, I just don’t understand why the Brahman’s couldn’t put up the money for the North Miami expansion when it ends up that now they are building a whole new museum out of pocket! That is of course, unless the board just felt that North Miami was too poor and the demographic too black to host a world class museum, or be worth the investment. It certainly wouldn’t be as brag-worthy as a shiny new space in an up and coming area of town valued at 1.4 billion dollars. And if that is the case then I guess I have to admit, it all makes sense.

I know a lot of people have been passing around this article on the internet in the wake of Basel. So here is my version of Is Art a Mere Luxury Good? by Georges Didi-Huberman, Giorgio Agamben and Pierre Alferi et al., modified to reflect my feelings about the ICA:

It seems urgent to us in this moment to demand that public institutions cease to serve the interests of individual collectors through adherence to their ‘artistic’ choices and real estate whims. We don’t have a moral lesson to give. We only want to open a long-deferred debate and say why we do not see the inauguration of the Institute for Contemporary Art Miami as any cause for celebration.

Based on the opinions of my colleagues, the future of the MOCA is grim to say the least. Especially with a shiny new ICA on the horizon in the Design District. And where is Bonnie Clearwater in all of this!?

Please help me figure it out! Are we there yet?

And another thing. The underhanded dealings of the ICA may not be surprising to most, and something about blaming “TINA” as an excuse for local artists and patrons supporting the museum. Others are staying silent on the matter, probably in order to keep their options open and not bristle the omnipotent Knight Foundation. But I am surprised that in all of the discussions of #BlackLivesMatter and Art Basel that this situation and its impact on the community of North Miami wasn’t picked up in any big way by the media (I suspect that the issue is too complicated and the major players too rich to affiliate spuriously with the murder of black men across the country).

When I read that Mykki Blanco got up on a table to say that “[Klaus] Biesenbach doesn’t care about black people unless they’re famous” at a MOMA party on the beach I, for once, wished I had been on the island. Based on rumors and conversations, it seems like Blanco is on point when it comes to the German curator and Director of MoMA PS1. I felt a kinship with the ArtForum diary writer, Sarah Nicole Prickett (in contrast to the party whining of most coverage). The moon was really that enormous.

Even the usually upbeat Theaster Gates couldn’t help but voice his own discomfort at the lack of race discourse during the art fair while sitting on a panel with Paula Crown for the artist’s TRANSPOSITION installation. The Mykki Blanco incident cast Jeffery Dietch’s mistakenly calling P. Diddy “Kanye West” at an art fair last year in a different light. Does he not care about Black people either? What was up with Miley Cyrus?

#ihaitibasel Creates Safe Space for Weary Miami Art Crowd

More effecting and impressive than the demonstrations that shut down I-195 (and certainly more poignant than getting arrested for the sake of publicity) was the unmistakable presence of #ihaitibasel.

Showing up late at night after art hopping across the city, I knew I’d see at least a familiar face or two. #ihaitibasel felt insulated from the foreign invasion east of the bay. It just felt real real, like General Practice, or La Cueva on a better than good night. Being in a warehouse on 71st Street, or at the Thrift Store/ Concert Hall on 59th street eased the tension and strangeness I and everyone else [with a heart] felt as complicit participators in the extreme hedonism of the week.

Jorge Rubiera, Monica Peña and Max Johnston outside on the opening night of #ihaitibasel.

The collective organization of the event was a welcome anecdote to the celebrity hosted parties on the beach, favoring content and substance over ego. The producers, Tara Long (Miami), Kathryn Chadason (NYC), Sarah MK Moody (Miami), Ariella Mostkoff, Emily Singer (NYC), Elizabeth Kenney (NYC), Deon Rubi (Miami) and Tatiana Devere (Miami) were approached by the owners of the Little Haiti Thrift Store, Mimi and Schiller Sabon-Jules, after a ‘Little Haiti Small Business Association’ meeting at the Caribbean Marketplace just six weeks before the event was scheduled to take place.

The media’s conflation of killer cops and Art Basel Miami Beach caused me to wonder if Black lives will matter through the next news cycle or not. Especially now that we have a new distraction to worry about in the CIA torture briefs. While our peers across the country demonstrated and hosted conversations about race politics in the United States, attendees at #ihaitibasel came together, shared culture (and this unmarked passion fruit “beverage” that was pretty off the chain) and tried to get along.

The front of the Kriz Rara parade. Photo by Sarah MK Moody and #ihaitibasel.

Kriz Rara performing behind the Thrift Store. Photo by Sarah MK Moody for #ihaitibasel.

One of the most affecting moments of the entire trip was the procession during #ihaitibasel’s opening night on Wednesday, December 3rd. The evening featured the release of the Strangeways zine with a performance by Richard Kennedy of Hercules and the Love Affair. I managed to buy myself a fur muff for Chicago from Mimi Sabon-Jules, who owns the store with her husband, Schiller. (The thrift store is a freaking goldmine for fur and other winter accessories that are irrelevant in Miami.)

Kennedy performing inside of the Little Haiti Thrift Store.

I actually ran into Melena Ryzik interviewing Schiller. When I inquired, Ryzik cagily responded that she wrote for the New York Times. Cool. Whatever, at least she seemed to be into it. Afterwards the Haitian music group, Kriz Rara, led a parade that traveled all the way from 59th street to the satellite space on 71st street where another local, Rainer Davies and his band performed spotless instrumental covers of Sade songs for the audience. It sounded and felt like magic.

Mimi Sabon-Jules running behind the Kriz Rara parade up NE 2nd Ave.

There were certainly lots of young hip New Yorkers (see: anyone from outside of Miami) around #ihaitibasel (most likely due to the presence of performers like Prince Rama, Zebra Katz and Mykki Blanco), but there were also a ton of local Haitian people from the area and a good sampling of Miami artists.

Zebra Katz performing to a packed crowd. Photo by Sarah MK Moody for #ihaitibasel.

Zebra Katz performing “Ima Read” at the Little Haiti Thrift Store.

#ihaitibasel gave me a great excuse to avoid the traffic and excess of the beach. It felt fresh and was something I’d want to do outside of art week (I still can’t get over that whole Miley Cyrus thing. Straight up just don’t get why people want to see her perform so badly. I saw the VMA’s and that was enough.).

Mystical Monica Uszerowicz reading tarot in the Little Haiti Thrift Store. Photo by Sarah MK Moody for #ihaitibasel.

Shout out to the powerful women who put the festivities together. I’m looking forward to seeing more from the group in the months and years to come.

Very cool sculpture work by Matt Nichols. Feeling his Brancusi vibes, though I hated how overcrowded Untitled (and all of the fairs felt). You don’t have to cover every square inch! And while I’m at it, the thing where the booths rotate the work each day is just dumb. Who goes to the same fair every day to see the work change? I’m showing up once and I want to see it all.

Really gorgeous ekat weaving by Margo Wolowiec at NADA.

Work by Tony Lewis and the ever adorable gallerist, Eric Rushman, at Shane Campbell’s booth in NADA.

Monique Meloche and gallery director, Allison Glenn, speak with artists Derrick Adams and new friend Sam on the last day of Untitled. The group is framed by Ebony Patterson sculptures in MM’s booth.

Naama Tsabar and Agustina Woodgate at the Mikesell’s annual house party.


A patron getting their photo taken in front of work by Alex Isreal at the de la Cruz Collection.
Brad Lovett and I on Konstanin Grcic’s Netscape in the Miami Design District.

Oli and Lulu Sanchez at Swampspace.

Work by Julie Bena at Joseph Tang’s booth in NADA.

The localist of the local. Kevin Arrow’s Beatles Mandala (Amor=Love) celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Beatles landing in Miami Beach on Collins and 73rd Street. Arrow of #myhandholdingthings fame, traveled to India to complete work on the mandala earlier this year.

Crowded at Sad Bar. I mean, Sand Bar.

Ran into fellow ACRE alumn, Theo Elliot, at NADA.

Chris Cook helping Shannon Stratton show off her shoes at PAMM on Thursday night.

The dude from Xeno & Oaklander matching himself during a performance at Gramps on Friday night.

Header image is a detail of work by Glexis Novoa titled Luz Permanente (Ivan Shadr), 2013, Graphite on canvas, 6 x 12 feet, on view at the Perez Art Museum Miami.

Got any T? email me!
(or get @ me on twitter)


EDITION #40

November 17, 2014 · Print This Article

Who Wore it Better!?

It’s the megamax edition y’all. Twins are apparently in, and we’re seeing double. We had so many WWIB? options this week, we couldn’t just pick one. They’re too good!

Will the real Anne Wilson please stand up?


VS

Nailed it!

VS

We’ve been big fans of Miss Pop Nails for a while but we’re having serious envy over this look for Refinery29 in October photographed by David Brandon Geeting. Time to upgrade our look from last summer photographed by Heaven Gallery’s Alma Wieser.

She sells sea shells by the… you know the rest.

VS

Was super interested to learn that Robert Chase Heishman’s new body of photographic work is based on still life paintings by Guantanamo Bay inmates. Learn more about the paintings here and see the paintings at LVL3 where Heishman is exhibiting alongside another triply named artist, Adam Parker Smith, through December 14th.

Hand in Leopard Hand.

VS

How cute are snow leopard homies Kristina Daignault and Edra Soto?

Are you my boyfriend?

VS

No? How about you?

Header features a detail from Dan Gunn’s piece To fan No. 2, 2014, Dye and polyurethane on plywood, 22 x 88 inches in his exhibition at Impromptu Airs on view at Monique Meloche Gallery until January 3rd, 2015.

Got any T? email me!
(or get @ me on twitter)

Seriously! We want to hear from you now more than ever as we transition into managing the Bad at Sports blog!


T around Town

Can’t get enough of this new work by Aron Gent at Devening Projects. Recommend that you see this work before the show closes on December 6th.

Performance shot from The Conviction of Pearl Dakota. We were pleasantly surprised by the return of J. Soto to Chicago for their choreographic debut at the Cultural Center. Part of “SPINOFF 2014: Contemporary Dance Made in the Midwest,” Soto’s piece was inspired by trips to the Cook County Clerk in 2012-13. Modern dance with line stanchions? Unlikely combo, but we’re into it.

Who’s that annoying person taking photos during the Hybrid Theory screening by Theo Darst and Jennifer Chan? Oh, that’d be me. At least the artists didn’t go through with their plan to play the entire Linkin’ Park album by the same name throughout the entire screening.

Work by New York based artist Jacques Louis Vidal on view at The Hills Esthetic Center on view through December 14th.

Friend’s of WTT?, artist Eric Fleischauer and AFC’s Corinna Kirsch showing the world how it’s done at The Hills opening for Jacques Louis Vidal’s Nothing is Possible In There is No Future.

Check out the show and look out for the hidden painting by Alivia Zivich in her exhibition Bottomless on view at Night Club through December 5th.

Super sweet new mural outside of the Violet Hour by Jenny Kendler through her residency at the NRDC. We wish that we could show you Kendler’s killer beehive drive fit for the Queen B that she wore at the launch, but the bar was far too dark. Hopefully Chicago Looks got a shot! Instead, you can scan the pollinators on the piece for a free seed packet! Just gotta hold out until Spring.

The Inside/Within auction last Saturday made us wish we had more disposable income. WTT> is taking donations!

This sweet new Paul Erschen’s piece was hotly bid on throughout the auction.

Cutie patrol at the Inside/ Within auction on Saturday, November 15th.

Get your Miami on, Chicago.

This post is click bait if we’ve ever seen it. Get even more hot and bothered than you already are about Miami with McCaughan’s analysis of Muecke’s design. Warning: Not cute if you’re colorblind.

DfbrL8r’s new space on Chicago Ave. via the gallery’s Facebook.

Performance venue returns with 2015 edition of Rapid Pulse Festival

Defibrillator is back with a new space, new curatorial fellows and a new call for artists. On the tails of their announcement that the gallery will reopen at 1463 W Chicago Avenue with an exhibition by German artist Veronika Merklein in February 2015, the gallery has launched a call for the fourth annual Rapid Pulse Festival.

The well-timed announcement pairs nicely with Stephen Bridges Notes on Rapid Pulse 2014 on the MCA Blog. This year the RPF cocurator will be joined by new curatorial fellows Jennifer Mefford and Teresa Silva in addition to Founder, Joseph Ravens, curator Julie Laffin and Assistant Festival Director, Giana Gambino. The deadline for proposals is December 30th at midnight.

In other and somewhat related news: time based work is having a moment. ACRE TV also recently launched a call for Direct Object/Direct Action that is due by November 25th.

Community comes together for very worthy cause.

If you don’t know what Chances Dances is get out from under your rock and watch this video! There’s no arguing with their mission to be the bangingest queer dance party and DJ collective dedicated to building safer spaces and fostering creative expression in and out of the club. If you do know what Chances is and have been to their parties we don’t need to justify why this is a great organization to support. They give us all so much, give a little bit back to them. Oh, and while you’re at it, check out their super cute 10 year exhibition at Lula organized by Aay Preston-Myint.

The anticipation is killing us, so stop it. Seriously. Just donate now and we’ll celebrate together at the 10 year anniversary.

EDITION #39

October 27, 2014 · Print This Article

Arnold Johnson as Putney Swope.

Comedian Shows Funny Movie

Yesterday afternoon we took a trip to the new Black Cinema House space on 72nd and Kimbark to see the 1969 film, Putney Swope. The screening featured an introduction by comedian, Wyatt Cenac, who was wearing a knit sweater like you wouldn’t believe. Cenac’s choice for the screening felt uncanny in the gorgeous new home of the Johnson Publishing House archives, including a very 1970’s light up table from their offices.

BCH Program Manager, Penny Duff, introduces the film with Wyatt Cenac.

After the film was over a robust discussion started on the reception of the film when it was originally released, Robert Downey’s dubbing of Arnold Johnson’s voice, blacksploitation films, hip hop history, education and possible proscriptions for current day cultural production.

Cenac was an excellent moderator, letting others direct the conversation. Amongst other insightful contributions, Pemon Rami, Chicago’s first black casting director and the current Director of Educational & Public Programming at the DuSable Museum, discussed his impressions of the film having seen it in ’69 and again Sunday at the Black Cinema House (he mentioned he was fazed by the “buffoonery” on his recent viewing).

Black Cinema House is hosting more great programming at their beautiful brand spanking new space throughout the rest of the year, including hosting experimental filmmaker Akosua Adoma Owusu on November 14th. Check out their calendar of events here.

Reading is Fundamental

  • Chloé Griffin presents Edgewise: A Picture of Cookie Mueller. Tomorrow night get yourself to Quimby’s to see and hear one of our favorite local writers, Britt Julious discussing the life and legacy of actress, Cookie Mueller, with author Chloé Griffin. Tuesday, 7PM at Quimby’s. Free, our favorite flavor.
  • Inside Views: Micro Publishing at Spudnik Press. Featuring artists Charlie Megna, Veronica Siehl and April Sheridan and the The Perch, this Wednesday evening event is a no-brainer for lovers of community based art making and publications (like ourselves). We’d be loathe not to mention the world premiere of the short animations of Fred Sasaki’s & Fred Sasaki’s Four Pager Guide to: How to Fix You!. The Sasaki guides are already killer, and the film promises to knock you off your socks (and to fix you, of course!). Don’t forget to RSVP!
  • Fred Sasaki’s “Table of Value” prep for Wednesday. Stolen from the writer’s instagram account.
  • What is a work of art in the age of $120,000 art degrees? Sometimes trends are actually important and right now, statistics are #trending. If you haven’t seen the BFAMFAPHD video report yet, let us help you get up to speed. Watch the video, then listen to B@S interview Caroline Wollard. You should probably also read Abigail Satinsky’s questioning “Who Pays Artists?” and possibly also this statistics filled response from the Washington Post. Caught up? Ok, great. Now let’s do the damn thing!
  • We’re pretty sure you know what Mexico-based artist Andrew Birk is talking about in his comment above. But if not, here are the pieces on Grabner and Prince. Talk amongst yourselves.
  • A Poet on Drake’s Poetics. So you know it must be true. Read Dorothea Lasky’s ode to Drake, where she sings the praises of his direct address on the occasion of the Canadian actor turned something like a rapper’s birthday. We feel you, Dorothea. But if you’re looking for some “real” poetry, check out her killer new book of poems, ROME.

The Weatherman Report

Sunday Thoughts by Clay Hickson from the artist’s tumblr.

Happy Dog Resurrects for Film Release

Talk about a #tbt. When was the last time you visited Happy Dog? The former SAIC party rocking spot is way cleaner than you remember and the bathrooms have upgraded from their former horror-movie quality. Oh, and they hosted last Saturday night’s extravaganza for the DVD & VHS release of Lindsay Denniberg’s Video Diary of a Lost Girl.

Monica Panzarino’s video installation featuring Erica Gressman. Photo by Mikey McParlane.

The evening started with performances by Denniberg and self-surgery maven Erica Gressman aka Boogita. The space was scattered with video installations by Monica Panzarino on stacks of TV screens throughout. Happy Dog’s head dog, William Amaya Torres, had gigantic inverse prints of what appeared to be sketchbook pages installed throughout the house. We hadn’t seen work from Amaya Torres since our days at SAIC together. His prints were bold and appealing, they also had the benefit of darkening the space for the screening.

Alongside VDoaLG in the program was first year UIC MFA, Jimmy Schaus, with a 16 minute short titled Kangaroo. Schaus is the protagonist in the surreal dream scape of a film, which vacillates between the main character’s boring everyday life and the business casual demons who haunt him. Kangaroo impressively manages to riff on VHS effects and color distortion without being cheesy. We hope to see more from this budding filmmaker in the near future.

The world premiere of Kangaroo by James Schaus.

Video Diary of a Lost Girl looked better than ever Denniberg’s handmade VHS packages. We highly recommend getting your hands one of these beauts, even if, like us, you don’t have a VHS player. Yes, they are that cute. We’re not really sure where they’re available aside from in-person, but the filmmaker’s website is probably a good start.

T around Town

We loved this exhibition by Daniel Arnold in Paris London Hong Kong, that’s the Billy Goat Tavern in the photo!

The current crop of Art Admin MAs at SAIC hosted mural making an other arts & crafts at the Logan Square Comfort Station just outside of the penultimate neighborhood farmer’s market.

Greg Stimac and his coy grin at his Document opening on Friday night. We’re so in to those we’re gun sculptures that look kind of like legs!

Sense of déjà vu overwhelming at photo exhibition.

We’re not really sure how, but Paul Germanos (the man with the camera and the motorcycle) somehow managed to assemble an impressive array of artists and makers for his exhibition at Antena Gallery in Pilsen last Friday night. Artist sat casually under photos of themselves, and as participators ourselves WTT? couldn’t help by snap a few re-takes.

Marissa Lee Benedict and David Rueter pose in front of themselves at Antena.

Daviel Shy and Hope Esser creatively interpret their photo on the wall. Cute!

Erik Wenzel does the Wenzel in front of his small likeness in the corner.

EDITION #38

October 14, 2014 · Print This Article

New New Art and Event Space Opens in Logan Square

With or without a physical locale, Green Lantern Press has been a force in the Chicago art scene since Caroline Picard started to open up her loft space in Wicker Park to public exhibitions and events in 2005. GLP is responsible for the release of more than 30 titles, including Lise Haller Baggesen’s “Mothernism,” an experimental epistolary novel on motherhood which has enjoyed a sweepingly positive reception since it’s summer release. After a brief stint in France, the prolific Picard is back with a new space on the formerly derelict stretch of Milwaukee Avenue near Fullerton that now is home to, amongst other things, a luxury juice bar. Picard’s space stands out, with glorious accordion front doors that open onto Milwaukee Ave, gender neutral bathrooms with a shower (for residents only!), and a polished wood floor so shiny it’s a little hard to look at.

Jesse Malmed and his box of ideas, jokes and sentiments at the opening of Sector 2337.

Officially opening on October 16th, Sector 2337 started out strong with a soft opening last Thursday, October 9th, with performances by Carlos Martiel and Jesse Malmed, co-curated by Lin Hixon and Matthew Goulish’s Every house has a door. Martiel’s performance really took to heart the title of the overarching exhibition, “The New [New] Corpse”. A full house witness Martiel’s “corpses” draped in American flags across the pristine gallery floor. After a brief intermission, Malmed’s animated spoken word performance was a singular meditation on the future, technology, jokes of scale, good (including bad) ideas, inspiration and (I think) art. Afterwards, everyone shared a toast and crazy loving vibes with Sector 2337’s proprietors Devin King and Picard.

Hixon and Goulish introducing the performances and the new venue.

A well attended event with strong work? This wasn’t even the official opening! The group show, “The New [New] Corpse”, features an impressive rooster that includes Benjamin L. Aman & Marion Auburtin, Joseph Grigely, Young Joon Kwak, Jason Lazarus, Carlos Martiel, Heather Mekkelson, Aay Preston-Myint, Rachel Niffenegger, Xaviera Simmons, Shane Ward, and Shoshanna Weinberger and will open this Thursday, October 16th from 6-9PM. Sector 2337 is also hosting Jane Jerardi as their November Studio Resident.

Don’t miss it. The New [New] Corpse. Sector 2337. 2337 N Milwaukee Ave (duh!). Thursday, October 16th from 6-9PM.

Trending

  • Time: We never have enough of it, so why are artists always rubbing it into our faces? Although there is something a little bit lovely and poetic about sinking a timepiece into a wall or styrofoam column.
  • Detail of Sabina Ott’s clock column in her [so much more than an] exhibition “here and there pink melon joy” on view at the Chicago Cultural Center through January 4th of 2015.

    Work by Daniel Arsham at the Fashion Outlets of Chicago at Rosemont. On view indefinitely?
  • Beyonce, always. If you’re not interested in the photos of the Queen B shutting down The Louvre that’s cool, we don’t have to be friends. Maybe you have one of these other responses?
  • In the future everything will be chrome, is apparently what Gavin Brown’s son told Rirkrit Tiravanija when the globe trotting art star ended up playing the part of babysitter in rose-colored glasses. He probably isn’t too far off, I heard more than a few students and professors coveting the Zebra aluminum lunch boxes used by the artist for his lunches at the Sullivan center as part of Mary Jane Jacob’s exhibition “A Lived Practice”. According to the artist, the metal containers are nostalgic items, used by his grandmother for her restaurant business in his native Thailand.
  • Groups of lucky students grabbing Tiravanija’s lunchboxes.

    Tiravanija discussing the impetus behind his lunch project with student groups from across Chicago.
  • Meg Leary, the performer, the opera singer, the myth, the legend. Leary has been on a back to back streak performing at the Whistler and Berlin in the span of a week. The artist presented the work of a formative influence, Karen Finley, at the most recent Crimson Glow on the 6th anniversary of the Whistler (can you say delicious and cheap cocktails?). In homage to the controversial performer, Leary prepared waffles and yams for the audience’s consumption while regaling the crowd with odd tales of Leary’s time in NYC with Finley. Leary then brought us all the way back to Miami Basel last Thursday when she performed at Gravy, a new monthly dance party at Berlin sponsored by our friend at LVL3. Leary brought the house down, belting out pop hits like “Call me maybe” that had the crowd chanting “one more song” long after the performer left the stage. All we can say is, we want more!
  • Leary serving waffles during her presentation of Karen Finley at Crimson Glow.

    Full regalia for Gravy at Berlin. Photo by Jono Pivovar.

    Roth’s Complaint: Author sues artist in absurd plot line straight out of his own novels.

    In 2012, Bryan Zanisnik was served a cease and desist letter from the firm that represents well-known author Philip Roth. Both artists share a love of Americana, baseball, and New Jersey (of all things). Unfortunately, the humor of Zanisnik’s silent re-performance of Roth’s The Great American Novel, was lost on the aging author.

    In the aftermath of Zanisnik’s run-in with Roth’s lawyers the artist hasn’t let up, making work that is even more focused on the Roth, his paranoia and the intersection of their shared interests. In his exhibition, The Passenger, closing this Saturday at Aspect/Ratio in the West Loop, Zanisnik weaves the real life Roth and his works deeper into his production.

    Work by Bryan Zanisnik on view at Aspect/Ratio.

    The first two pieces you see when you enter the exhibition are diptychs featuring needle points, one of Roth himself and another featuring the cover of his best seller, Portnoy’s Complaint. Each embroidery is paired with a photograph of a characteristic assemblage by the artist, each additionally refers back to Roth, with physical copies of his books placed amongst the still lives. In a way, it seems like Zanisnik has written Roth into the narrative of his own work. Baseball cards are excavated from the gallery walls, and the symbols of the over saturation of American capitalism ring out as true here as in Roth’s American Pastoral.

    Cease and desist that, Roth! The Passenger is on view through October 18th at Aspect/ Ratio, 119 N Peoria, Unit 3D. Catch this gem before the only place you can see Zanisnik’s compellingly narrative obsessive compulsion is in New York museums.

    EDITION #37

    September 22, 2014 · Print This Article

    Reading is Fundamental

    • The L@@K We’re mostly here for the outfits anyway right!? Loved Isa Giallorenzo’s take on outfits and art in her Chicago Looks for NewCity post from EXPO Chicago.
    • Palpitating on ArtFCity Robin Dluzen’s worthwhile rundown on what’s selling and what’s not (sorry Picasso!) in her review of EXPO for AFC. Dluzen’s day job gives her great insider perspective that made her review feel like the most specific and accurate we read during the fair. She’s also a great press lunch date ;).
    • Gracious Goodbye In his final dispatch from EXPO, Matt Morris takes a decidedly sappier tone, thanking the arts community for the true Dialogue he engaged in at the fair and it’s subsidiary events. We love Morris’ stamina, wanting “talk just a little bit more” before the end of the weekend. In fact, we loved all of NewCity’s dispatches, definitely worth checking out Morris on EDITION and Erin Toale on “sticking to the perimeter.”
    • O Miami

      Ms Chicago Looks looking fabulous as always at the Vernissage for EXPO Chicago.
    • A Collection of Collectors If you’re not tired of hearing Duncan’s voices after this Saturday’s Dialogues than you should definitely peep the extended on-air version of his Collectors Interview transcribed and published in the Pier Review.
    • “Did someone say Pier Review?” You asked for it and we hosted it! Here are all four editions of the Pier Review available for download in easy to read PDF’s. If you would still like to nab a physical copy of this gorgeous and stimulating edition designed by Clay Hickson with Tan & Loose Press drop us an email (link’s in the footer).

    T around Town

    The end of summer means the beginning of art exhibitions in Chicago. With the Equinox this Tuesday, summer is officially coming to a close and the Chicago community is returning to the city to roost (or at least those of us who haven’t left permanently after last winter). Like most September’s in the city, this one has been packed with openings and performances to inaugurate the fall season.

    Openings across the city (as well as in Oak & Rogers Park’s) now share the month with EXPO Chicago. With it’s inaugural shine transforming into a timeworn tradition, thousands made the arduous trek across Navy Pier (in gorgeous weather no less) to take it all in. WTT? has been hard at work on the Pier Review, an in-the-flesh newspaper for fairgoers enjoyment in partnership with EXPO, ArtSlant and the home-team, Bad at Sports. This week we’re throwing up some highlights from the past month as well as a few fair favorites. Based on what we’ve seen so far, it’s gonna be a great season Chicago, we can feel it!

    Danny Giles performance

    If you missed Danny Giles’ performance at Roots & Culture on September 12th we’re sorry, but you can still see go/figure, featuring work by Daniel Giles & Eliza Myrie and a fantastic essay by Meg Onli.

    Eliza Myrie’s graphite diamond in go/figure. Based on her research on the Lesotho Brown Diamond and the woman who discovered it, Ernestine Ramoboa, Myrie used this block of graphite to create the drawings in the instillation, leaving a “diamond” of her own.

    R&C’s Eric May with Michael Rakowitz at the opening for go/figure.

    Edra Soto

    Edra Soto surrounded by friends and admirers at the opening for Say Everything at Lloyd Dobler in Wicker Park.

    Edra Soto

    Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle and Rebecca Beachy inside of Say Everything at Lloyd Dobler on September 12th.

    Was it this photograph entitled Mom & Dad (2014) by Leonard Suryajaya in the SAIC Expo booth curated by José Lerma or Leo Kaplan of The Hills Esthetic Center in this Instagram photo by Thorne Brandt? And what do those things do to your face anyway?

    The Weatherman Report

    The view from the Mystic Blue on the opening night of EXPO Chicago.

    It wouldn’t be fall without a little bit of LUST, which is just what Ashley Scott brought to the exuberant performance and trunk show for her newest collection, “Drapes of Lust” at MANE Salon on the 12th. Here Scott poses with one of her models, Sarah Weis (left).

    Derek Bagley with his partner, Hayley Barber, taking in the aftermath of the LUST performance at MANE Salon.

    We were pleased to see Katie Hargrave, Nick Lally and Daniel Luedtke at their thoughtful exhibition, EDIT ROAD MOVIE, a musing on the classic tropes of road trips based the artists’ explorations of intentional communities on the road to the ACRE Residency in 2013.

    Custom car visor by Katie Hargrave. EDIT ROAD MOVIE is on view until September 29th at ACRE Projects in Pilsen.

    Well deserved NewCity Top 50 artist, Brandon Alvendia with Angel Essig at the Vernissage last Thursday night.

    Drew Ziegler and Ryan Sullivan pulling off a little “fashion imitating art” at the Vernissage.

    Dance party on the Mystic Blue docked at Navy Pier on Thursday night. Shout out to Vincent’s elbows!!

    We enjoyed chatting and sharing a (clandestine) beer with Ludwig Kittinger of the Vienna collective dienstag abend at their booth sponsored by ArtReview.

    Great paintings, clever booth. Possibly our favorite showing of the entire weekend, Morgan Manduley’s flower shoppe at Yautupec Gallery in EDITION at the CAC was on point. All of the floral arrangements are painted canvas.

    Brett Schultz of Yautupec and Manduley wrapping up one of the painted flowers at their booth.

    Another highlight of the weekend was slipping into the Hancock building to see RETREAT, organized by Theaster Gates in collaboration with his Black Artist Retreat (BAR). The show was really beautiful (especially the first room outside of Valerie Carberry’s main space). The work above is an artifact of a performance by Wilmer Wilson IV from 2012.

    Crumbled artifacts abound at RETREAT. A detail of Tony Lewis’ Untitled (Hancock via Orchard via Oak Park via Bindery via Autumn Space), (2012-present) pairs nicely with the Wilson work.

    Things we can’t get over: 1. Work by Alejandro Figueredo Diaz-Perera and Cara Megan Lewis in their exhibition A Home Coming which opened last Friday night and is on view at Antena until October 11th by appointment. Above is a sculpture/ video work by Lewis.

    A beautifully installed and enticingly seedy piece by Alejandro Figueredo Diaz-Perera in A Home Coming that you will just have to see for yourself.

    Header image features a detail of Ishtar Gate by Michael Rakowitz on view in the IN/SITU program at EXPO Chicago this past weekend. Rakowitz’s gates were fittingly (?) installed at the entrance to the VIP section of the art fair. The entire series is really amazing, read about it on Michael’s website.

    Got any T? email me!
    (or get @ me on twitter)