At the Pulse Art Fair in Miami, visitors to Kerry Phillips' booth may notice a distinct lack of framed contemporary art, furniture and price stickers. Instead, the Miami artist, in collaboration with the Girls' Club Collection in Fort Lauderdale, has replaced them with an "anti-Art Basel" object exchange. She'll bring found objects — floral tin cans, beaded curtains, old incandescent light bulbs— and ask participants to barter and swap possessions, and trade the stories behind them. She wants your old junk, too.
"Art fairs seem like giant shopping malls, and it's difficult to get from one place to another. This is a place to breathe," Phillips says of her project at Pulse (1400 N. Miami Ave.), titled "Sometimes Your Things Are My Things (the Great Exchange)." "I'm not the only person who attaches meaning and value to useless objects, so I wanted to see what other people might value."
The found-object artist, who wants visitors to form "personal connections" to items instead of "artistic" ones, will exhibit her work as part of the festivities surrounding next week's Art Basel activities. Along with Pulse, 21 satellite fairs will fill the Wynwood Art District, downtown Miami and the Design District this year. The fairs — seven of them brand-new — will provide an entertaining whirl of contemporary art around the main event: the 12th annual Art Basel Miami Beach at the Miami Beach Convention Center, running Dec. 5-8.
Ignoring the Convention Center entirely, since most of us are without Swiss bank accounts, we've broken down the new and returning art fairs and music gatherings taking place during Basel week.
THE SATELLITE FAIRS
New this year are the Brazil ArtFair, Spectrum Miami, New Material, Prizm Art Fair, Interactive Art Fair, Fridge Art Fair and Arts Kuala Lumpur-Miami, with locations spread from Miami Beach to Little Havana.
In 2012, Brazil ArtFair co-organizer Michel Serebrinsky noticed one thing the international art bonanza in Miami was missing: Brazilian art.
The Sao Paulo, Brazil-based Serebrinsky, who founded the fair with partner Ester Krivkin, says he spotted "just a small handful" of galleries from Brazil among the thousands that piled into Basel in 2012. That changes with the 15 Brazilian-owned galleries and 18 design studios huddled under the 25,000-square-foot tent at Midtown's Woodson Mini Park (corner of Northwest Second Avenue and Northeast 36th Street), a high-profile footprint for a country growing in the international art market, he says.
"It's a matter of maturity and a matter of timing, and it's Brazil's turn," Serebrinsky says. "We're having a curated art fair, which means you'll see more artworks from the same emerging artists so we can put them in a better context. It's a great opportunity to discover what's new and next."
The ArtFair will present the Luisa Duarte-curated exhibition "Tempo Suspenso," featuring street art and mixed-media installations that emphasize art, politics and civic engagement, as well as Orchestra Brasil, which includes 24 works of contemporary furniture.
BROWARD AT BASEL
The recurring portrait of an aging, long-bearded homeless man appears in the street murals and canvasses of Sunrise's Elio Mercado, a.k.a. Evoca1. His contribution to the Pop-Up Piano Miami project, in which random pianos hand-painted by local artists will dot Miami streets during Basel week, is titled "Seeking Sanctuary" and shows the pensive-looking man looking at his feet.
A sketch of Evoca1's image, depicting the man sitting on a milk crate in an alley, will also be featured in the "SupaDutyTuffWork" group show at Miami's LMNT gallery (55 NW 36th St.). As with his other sold artworks, proceeds from his Basel contribution will benefit his Sketches for Mankind project, in which he feeds Miami's homeless every third Sunday of the month.
"I like doing bearded portraits, because there is no story in a young man's face," says Evoca1, who is also working on a bullfighter mural across the street from the Wynwood Building and a homeless portrait on the corner of Northwest Second and 28th Street.
Evoca1 was also a muralist for the Downtown Hollywood Mural Project, a public-art initiative designed to beautify the city's area around Young Circle. Joining him during Basel week are mural project alums Tatiana Suarez and Jessy Nite, both of Miami, and Ruben Ubiera, of Weston.
In Fort Lauderdale, meanwhile, Hollywood photographer Lloyd Goradesky will unveil his two-years-in-the-welding Gator in the Bay project to the public on Dec. 1, at a ceremony on the New River where he’ll receive a key to the city.
The 33,000-pound steel gator, assembled from recycled scrap, spans 270 feet from alligator snout to tail, and its body, added over the past 12 months, comprises 104 floating art tiles containing Everglades photographs Goradesky has snapped over the years.
"The people who don’t read the newspaper might get a little freaked out by my gator next week," Goradesky says. "I took something that was garbage and applied it to create a very valuable message: to raise awareness for the Everglades."
From Fort Lauderdale, the gator will float on a barge down the Intracoastal until it docks at Miami Yacht Club, where it’s on view starting Wednesday through Sunday.
On display at the NSU Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale is "Spirit of Cobra," an exhibition dubbed "Basel bait" by museum director Bonnie Clearwater. A survey of the art movement started by experimental artists from Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam, the show has sharp, post-World War II works rooted in folk, tribal and primitive art forms.
Among the big names to spring from Art Basel's music lineup is Questlove, bandleader on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" and drummer of the Roots, performing Saturday, Dec. 7 with English DJ Mark Ronson during the three-day Mana Wynwood concert series. The series (at 318 NE 23rd St.) will include Darkside, the DJ duo of Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington (9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, $32), and Boy George (9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, $32). Go to ArtBaselManaWynwood.com.
The Basel Castle Art and Music Festival heads to Miami's Grand Central Park (700 N. Miami Ave.) with a diverse bill of DJs and electronic acts, including a headlining DJ set from SBTRKT, and performances from Gesaffelstein, Brodinski, Heroes x Villains and Chance the Rapper. Tickets cost $20-$50. The show will start at noon Saturday, Dec. 7. Go to BaselCastle.com.
On Sunday, Dec. 8 at Mana Wynwood, the free Fool's Gold Day Off concert will feature performances from Trick Daddy, A-Trak, Flosstradamus and Dave 1 (of Chromeo). The concert will run 2-8 p.m. Go to FoolsGoldRecs.com/dayoff.
ART BASEL 2013
When: Tuesday, Dec. 3, through Sunday, Dec. 8
Where: Various locations in Miami's Design District, the Wynwood Art District, Miami Beach and downtown Miami