Artistic innovation has
arguably become harder for New Yorkers struggling against the financial wall of
gentrification. Yet during the flurry of fairs in Miami this month, it was New
York galleries, project spaces, and collectives who proved themselves to be the
most inventive and experimental elements of the week.
A perfect example is Know
More Games, an artist-run space from the “Donut District” in Carroll Gardens,
Brooklyn, who exhibited in the Projects
section of NADA
. “We want to foster those who are emerging
while also creating exhibitions that challenge a supposed context that other
established artists find themselves in,” KMG’s founders Jacques Louis Vidal, Miles Huston, and Brian Faucette point out.
The central piece of their stand at NADA was an installation by Joe Graham-Felsen
titled To sit or stand, To eat or speak
(2013), consisting of a metal frame balancing bowls of dates and olives that
obstructed anyone from entering the booth at all. The structure and limits of
the space became a work in itself.
Outside of the fair, Know
More Games staged a 50-person exhibition in an abandoned night club in North
Miami called Euforia. “NPR BAR” was a grimy, makeshift show that would not be
out of place in Berlin. Highlights included a painting of a reception
wall mural at the entrance by Michael E. Smith Chippewa CF mural
(2013) and a
performance of remote control helicopters by Rafael Lyons. The show aimed to
question how work is seen and consumed at fairs. “It is nearly impossible to do
anything in a booth above from being a glorified candy store,” KMG observe.
Red Hook project space The Still House Group
also curated an exhibition in Miami entitled “Straight
”, with artists including
Phoebe Colling-James and Peter Sutherland
. Their booth at NADA consisted solely of a
photocopier machine that printed out invitations to the show. The aim was “to
give viewers a more considered, spacious and curated viewing experience. The
fairs can be overwhelming, and we sought to provide an alternative.” There was
a touch of arrogance about their approach but the result definitely felt fresh
in a fair setting.
York spaces were more classic in their stands but equally inventive in
attitude. COPE CYBULSKI
is run by two New York-based curators doing exhibitions in
unconventional spaces across the city. Their solo presentation of Ben Sansbury
’s neo-modernist sculptures at
NADA sold out in 45 minutes. Proof that New York’s edge has concrete results.
British artist Matthew Stone
, represented by The Hole
, came to Miami with his new collective of NYC
artists and performers, who co-created a “hybrid-opera” at The Shore Club in
Miami. The group, named after their performance Love Focused Like a Laser
included vocalist of the moment Kelela, music producer L-Vis 1990, and
performance artist Andre J. “I love learning from people,” Stone explains.
“Like most people in the world I simply can’t achieve what I do without relying
on others in many ways. I see the only positive future for humanity being based
on cooperation instead of competition.” Their nighttime musical performance by
the pool, if perhaps haphazard, was a genuine attempt to refocus attention to
art, rather than just the hedonism and fashion that Miami has been criticized
It is interesting that
Miami provided the context for New Yorkers to shine. Perhaps it is a reflection
of the multiculturalism of the city, the heat, the hedonism, the corruption,
the lawlessness, the empty real estate, but Florida took its hat off to the
Yankees for a week.