34 Artworks I Would Like to Acquire from NADA Miami 2017
Readers, colleagues, friends new and old, I write with a proposal.
More than 100 exhibitors currently fill the Ice Palace Studios in Miami for the annual Miami fair of the New Art Dealers Alliance. Today through Friday this international cast of dealers are selling artworks and many are moderately priced, especially compared to those at the Basel bazaar across the water in Miami Beach. Would you like to acquire some for me? Below is my list of 34 pieces. My sense is that all of them can be had for under seven figures, but I am willing to make concessions. Beggars can’t be choosers. Thank you for your consideration.
It is extremely difficult to choose a favorite single work at the delectable booth of New York dealer Jack Hanley, but if you gave me a bunch of money and forced me to, I would go with the scrappily elegant grid painting by Bay Area great Alicia McCarthy right there on the back wall. What a beauty. (Note: Her show at Hanley in New York is also great and up for about two more weeks!)
This sumptuous Ella Kruglyanskaya at Manhattan alternative space White Columns is a hand-colored Xerox print—and just the thing to bring home to remember Art Basel Miami Beach 2017 fondly as the years pass.
An Andy Meerow diptych at the Lower East Side’s Bodega gallery rubs two five-letter words against one another, letting the friction send off all sorts of energetic mysteries. What would a TOTAL HELLO sound like and feel like? I’m going to drive to try to deliver one before this Miami is done.
Also at Bodega is, at left, this shimmering Orion Martin painting, which I would buy for the frame alone—there appears to be hunks of lacquered wood embedded in it!—but as it happens, the painting is very sweet as well.
Stockholm’s Loyal gallery is offering up this Henry Gunderson which seems to celebrate one of my favorite Antonio Banderas films (Desperado, 1995) as well as a remarkable vacuum cleaner. A bonus: his Yahoo email address is on the painting, so you can contact him to tell him what you think of his painting.
The standout artist in Karma’s current show of four artists from Northern California, at its home base in the East Village, Frank Williams is responsible for this grotesque—and also oddly alluring—wall-hung sculpture. Pair it with a Ken Price or a Lee Bontecou or a Zilia Sánchez—maybe all three—and enjoy.
This Gina Beavers at Los Angeles outfit Michael Benevento's booth sees the New York artist continuing to mine the most potent food-porn images. It pops off the canvas, literally and figuratively, and it appears to be so delicious that, if you look very close, you will see someone (the photographer perhaps) has not been able to resist stealing a bite of that top M&M–ornamented brownie.
New York’s Klaus von Nichtssagend has this jaunty, festive Tamara Gonzales at its booth. I would like to hang it next to a dance floor, and I would also like a fine quilt printed with this image—it looks warm, comforting, and cozy.
This adorable little piece by New York veteran R. M. Fischer is sitting on the floor of the booth of London’s Southern Reid, waiting to be adopted. Who could resist it?
One of the great thrilling finds for me at this NADA are the paintings of the Northern Californian Maija Peeples-Bright, who's having her first East Coast showing via L.A.’s Parker Gallery. The booth is filled with them, most dating from the 1960s and ‘70s. They are energetically colored and hypnotically patterned, and I would settle for absolutely any one of them.
At Lomex, of New York, Robert Bittenbender has honed and condensed the energy of his typically raucous, spellbinding wall works (tangles of metal, wire, and all manner of cords) in a suite of new pieces—delicate drawings puncturing with countless pins. They feel both dangerous and vulnerable, Beat-like and beatific.
Amidst so much ultra-new work smelling of fresh paint you just can’t beat coming across the art of 20th-century masters. Portland gallery Adams and Ollman has a full wall of works by James Castle—this is my favorite—as well as a number of Bill Traylors.
The collabo booth of Detroit’s What Pipeline and New York’s Queer Thoughts has this bewitching painting by Nolan Simon.
Martos Gallery’s recent Alex Chaves show was one of the great painting exhibitions of the season in New York, and it’s a pleasure to revisit the artist’s slippery, shape-shifting work down in Miami. This beauty has some Hodler to it, and maybe a little Hartley, plus a touch of Van Gogh. Dive in.
Lower East Side vet Canada gallery has this Scott Reeder display at its booth. The guy can paint, the guy can make films, and the guy, apparently, can sculpt up a little storm when the mood strikes.
New York artist Alice Mackler at New York gallery Kerry Schuss. No more words necessary.
Creative Growth, the Oakland, California, nonprofit that works with artists with various types of disabilities, has a boatload of exciting work at its booth, but my top pick would be this captivating drawing by Aurie Ramirez, in which cupcakes with detailed, clown-like faces seem to be gliding under the garter strips of this woman. I was initially attracted by the sex appeal, but the more I look at it, the more creeped out I am getting. Always nice when that happens.
Brooklyn’s 321 Gallery is selling this Paul Kopkau, titled Blue Lobster (2017), which reads like a Picasso joke told by Isa Genzken. The lobster (which sports a mob mane, you may notice) holds a fork and is ready to dine, and it has already captured its dessert—a silver macaron. I’d like to join in for the meal.
Safe Gallery, also of Brooklyn, has this Andy George Robertson stacked sculpture, an exemplar of casual tension and insouciant balance.
The Lower East Side’s Rachel Uffner Gallery has a little bounty of Sally Sauls on offer, including these two great dogs. Despite their ferocious teeth, they look quite ready to love their new owner.
Invisible-Exports, also of the Lower East Side, has a wall of seven little paintings of women by Vaginal Davis that are composed of materials like witch hazel, perfume, hair spray, mascara, eyebrow pencil, and sundry other materials. This one is named for actress Judy Pace.
New York dealer Kate Werble has this 1982–85 Ken Tisa hanging wonderfully alone on one wall of her booth. It’s made of glass beads, and it’s utterly gorgeous in person, glimmering gently in the light. Its title is fitting: Veryy Good.
Situations is sharing its booth with its New York neighbor, Fierman, and among its offerings are photographs by the Brooklyn-based artist Becca Albee. The work on the left, at a glance, looks like a new-fangled digital number, but it’s in fact a brutally perfect snapshot of a book.
Jacky Strenz Galerie, in town from Frankfurt, has devoted its entire booth to the Berlin–based artist Lin May Saeed, and this piece nearly knocked me over in the middle of the fair when I spotted it—a crazy New Image feel carved out of Styrofoam and gently painted. The 1970s vibe is real, but there’s also a sturdy timelessness, like Neil Jenney and William Edmondson were somehow collaborating in 2017.
Nancy Davidson is in fine form in a solo show up at Design District space of Locust Projects, and her brand of ribald, cartoon darkness is also looking pretty good at the nonprofit’s booth at NADA.
Prague’s SVIT gallery has an illuminating solo show by the Czech artist Jiří Kovanda, which includes this enigmatic little drawing from 1976, made by the artist when he was in his early 20s. It was the seed for a performance work he ended up doing, and this afternoon at the fair he is doing another one that is almost imperceptible: gingerly walking between people who are talking together.
I’m no great Grateful Dead fan, but the this labor of love by Mark A. Rodriguez at Los Angeles gallery Park View makes me want to become one: the study racks contain castles with thousands of hours of recordings of shows by the storied band. It’s titled 2nd Gen (2017), meaning the tapes have been taped from others tapes that have circulated among Deadheads. It’s a portrait of cultural devotion—or, one might say, obsession—and of how culture is preserved and spread.
Tokyo’s Misako & Rosen has these two slapdash winners by Trevor Shimizu. My vote would be for the in-your-face-happy Minnie Mouse, but that other one is pretty great as well.
Southfirst gallery of Brooklyn has drawings by the experimental filmmaker Joe Gibbons, who has recently been incarcerated for bank robbery—a crime that may or may not have been committed, in some sense, as an art project. A new book, Drawings from Rikers, documents these touchingly economical, halting traced drawings in full. Here, a drawing of a label for strawberry turnovers.
New York’s Shrine gallery has a handful of formidable paintings by the late self-taught Mississippi-based painter Mary Tillman Smith. This one, whose figure looks about ready to reach off the canvas and grab you, is dated circa 1980s.
JAG Projects—run by the Brooklyn-based artist Jesse Greenberg—is hawking these two exuberant Brian Belotts. The fine sheen one them comes from paint bedecking cotton balls.
These pastelitos are not artworks, strictly speaking, but they do look delicious, and I plan to acquire a few of them after completing this article.
L.E.S.’s James Fuentes has this sculpture by the musician and artist Lonnie Holley out on the lawn at NADA. It’s an almost Escher-like creation, faces growing out of other faces, cut steels seemingly light as air, floating and changing as you move around it.
This 1971 Harley Davidson motorcycle is also an Olivier Mosset sculpture dated 1971/2015. (The Swiss artist likes to fix them up.) Besides the fact that it’s gorgeous, it’s always a nice thing when an artwork does double duty as a functional object, and, on a personal note, I would like to learn to ride a motorcycle.