Art Basel Miami Beach 2018

At NADA Miami, Sex Sells—and Ceramics, Too—to Droves of Collectors from Near and Far

Works by Joanne Greenbaum at Rachel Uffner’s booth.


Following yesterday’s Art Basel Miami Beach VIP opening, NADA Miami swung open its doors for invited guests this morning at the Ice Palace, where 106 galleries are currently selling their wares. During NADA’s first few hours, business was going swimmingly, and dealers were beaming. Inside, the atmosphere was frenetic, but outside the building, the vibe was serene—the sun was shining, and attendees sipped iced coffee while lounging on hammocks beneath palm trees.

Just as the fair opened, at 10 a.m., collectors were out in force, including Martin Z. Eisenberg, the Horts, Jill and Peter Krauss, and Ann Schaffer. Contemporary Art Museum Houston director–turned–dealer Bill Arning, adviser Todd Levin, Hamptons gallerist Joel Mesler, and Primary Information publisher Miriam Katzeff were also on hand.

Paintings by Hamishi Farah at Chateau Shatto.

“It’s been a wild day!” Davida Nemeroff, of Los Angeles’s Night Gallery, exclaimed. Night’s booth was consistently packed, and she said that “something by each of our ten artists has sold,” including an Ian Davis painting ($22,000), an Andrea Marie Breiling work ($10,000), and a bold painting of a horse by Andy Woll ($24,000).

By noon, New York’s Jack Hanley Gallery had sold four paintings by Danny Orchard for between $6,000 and $8,000 each, and was already switching out works by Emma Kohlmann. “There’s a lot more people than last year—it’s going much better,” Hanley said.

The excitement could also be felt at the booth of Miami Beach gallery Central Fine booth. “We just sold out!” a member of the team reported. Currently featured there are three glittering tapestries by Haitian artist Myrlande Constant that had been priced between $5,000 and $20,000, based on size.

Not far away, Chateau Shatto was showing works by Hamishi Farah, the Australian-born artist known for his controversial painting of Dana Schutz’s son Arlo. This time Farah focused on the Obama family. All five Obamas (including their Portuguese water dog, Bo) were the subject of a portrait by the artist. Well, sort of. Olivia Barrett, who cofounded the Los Angeles gallery, explained that the former president’s portrait is actually based on a famed look-alike from Cape Verde, whom the artist used “due to the inherent corruption of the position of president of the United States.” Within the fair’s early hours, the portraits of Malia, Michelle, and Bo had sold for prices between $4,000 and $8,000, with Bo’s portrait at the low-end and Michelle’s at the high.

Ceramic works by Jesse Wine at SculptureCenter’s booth.

Ceramics remain hot. SculptureCenter was presenting up five ceramics by Jesse Wine, who will have a solo show at the New York kunsthalle in 2020, from an edition of 10—great blue heads perched atop pedestals, open in the back to reveal little dioramas depicting dreams.

The trend continued over at Rachel Uffner’s booth, where vibrantly colored and delightfully unvarnished ceramic towers, reefs, and geometric stacks by Joanne Greenbaum made a splash. Uffner reported “robust sales” for those pieces—all had gone for between $5,000 and $8,000. Aside from its clay offerings, the gallery had also brought photographs by Sara Greenberger Rafferty, which had all sold for around $7,000 apiece, and large-scale paintings by Molly Zuckerman-Hartung, which were priced at around $35,000.

Right next to Rachel Uffner’s booth, Galeria Dawid Radziszewski, of Warsaw, Poland, had set up a table of ceramic objects by Polish artist Katarzyna Przezwanska, who made use of natural elements such as seashells and animal horns and painted them with car paint. These are cheeky, sardonic sculptures were selling for between $1,700 and $4,000.

The relaxed scene outside NADA.

Sex sells, at NADA as much as anywhere else. Two pieces by Andy Warhol, both prominently featuring male genitalia, were on display at the Invisible-Exports booth. Late in the afternoon, a screenprint from 1978, Fellatio, had sold for $16,000, while Penis (Male Member), a sparse sketch depicting exactly what its title says, was still waiting for a buyer.

Also at the Invisible-Exports booth were some charming small paintings by onetime Warhol associate Brigid Berlin, which were bought for $1,600 each, and some effervescent landscapes by Lucas Michael, which went for $1,400.

The energy in some areas of the tent was practically bubbling over. At New York gallery 56 Henry’s booth, three walls of works on paper by Al Freeman were catching many people’s eyes. These tongue-in-cheek works juxtapose photos of classic artworks with images from contemporary pop culture, memes, and sexual imagery. An image of David Hockney’s A Bigger Splash was mounted next to a pair of soiled jeans, and a grinning, Cheshire Cat–like figure by Willem de Kooning was placed next to a viral image of an equally devious-looking Jack Nicholson eating watermelon. “I’ve been running back-and-forth all day,” said Daisy Sanchez, an associate with the gallery. “These works are selling quick.” Each piece, and there had to be at least 50 of them, was tagged with the modest price of $750.

Paintings by Purvis Young at Fuentes.

Back in the main tent, James Fuentes gallery had sold a majority of its work by early afternoon, including several pieces by artist Purvis Young, who’s having a star turn at the Rubell Family Collection further up town, all for within the range of $1,000 to $40,000.

L.A.’s Nino Mier gallery was also seeing work fly off its walls: a piece by Michael Bauer sold for between $20,000 nd $40,000, and a Cameron Welch for between $10,000 and $20,000. A work by Celeste Dupuy-Spencer, who appeared in both the 2017 edition of the Whitney Biennial and the 2018 edition of the Hammer Museum’s Made in L.A. biennial, sold for an undisclosed amount. (Works by artists such as Louise Bonnet, André Butzer, and Anke Weyer had been pre-sold.)

“We’ve seen people from museums, private collections, and private institutions today, from Miami, elsewhere, and abroad,” Megan Mulrooney, an associate director at the gallery, said. “It’s also been a huge day for international collectors. It’s been a great day. We love NADA!”

Update, December 7, 2018: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the Warhol sketch Penis (Male Member) had sold, while his screenprint Fellatio had not. In fact, the reverse was true. The post has been updated.

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