It's that time of the year again when Miami becomes the place to be for artists, art collectors and enthusiasts. Of course, Hang-Up couldn't miss it. Director
Ben Cotton and Manager Carla Nizzola had the pleasure of attending the fair again this year for another week of the 'Eat Sleep Art Repeat' regimen.
Let's catch up with them to get all the details of what went down during Miami Art Week...
Entrance to Scope Fair
Hang-Up director Ben walking into Art Basel's opening with The Connor Brothers
First things first, which art fairs did you guys manage to squeeze in?
We have squeezed in a lot of fairs. Art Miami, Art Basel, Scope, Context, Untitled, the Banksy
Carla - We also managed to check out Pulse on Miami Mid Beach and Wynwood Walls in downtown Miami - which is more dedicated to street
Can you describe the overall vibe around Miami and the fairs during the week?
B - It’s intense and at times overwhelming as there is so much going on it can be hard to know what and where to go first. I rarely use
the phrase 'kid in a candy store' but it feels pretty appropriate to describe it as there is just so much everywhere! The vibe is pretty up-beat
and there are lots of weird and wonderful things to see, people to look at, private parties, collector dinners, shows, galleries and of course the
ocean. What’s perhaps odd is that each time I have been I have found that I see and catch up with more people from London here than I do in the
C - It’s a whirlwind, to say the least. There are so many different walks of life who fly in for Miami Art Basel from all over the world
to view the latest and greatest of what the current art world has to offer. Then you have the artists, designers and galleries who come in to showcase
their brand new collections. Squeeze all of these people into 24 hrs, 5 days a week and you have Miami Art Basel. It literally never stops.
Hang-Up director, Ben with Mike Snelle of The Connor Brothers at Scope
Artist Chuck Close in the VIP lounge at Art Basel What were the exciting releases you got to see?
There was all sorts of releases in the early part of the week and as is often the case with the more hyped/hot artists they are shrouded
in mystery by the publisher/gallery concerned. KAWS
, as is traditional
at the fair released a set of three prints through PACE Editions at the main Art Basel. The information available was that there was a small window
to get the prints precisely 15 minutes between 11.00 and 11.15am. There was a lot of controversy surrounding this especially for the unfortunates who
were there at that time and still did not get the release. The rumour mill was was working overtime and the general impression from the people I spoke
with was that a great number of these had been pre-sold prior the opening of the fair essentially meaning that in reality the chances of purchasing
at the fair were very slim.
A similar fate occurred to the collectors who tried to purchase the small edition print from Jonas Wood
on the Wednesday from Cirrus editions at the Untitled fair. There was a long line and a lot of disappointed fans
as everyone was told that the prints had sold out and were no longer available.
KAWS' print release at Art Basel
In terms of original works, we saw a selection of impressive new Jose Parla
and Tracey Emin
paintings at Miami Art Basel - both of which were a new, exciting direction for the artists and almost unrecognisable at first take.
Jose Parla at Art Basel
Tracey Emin at Art Basel
Did you have a favourite fair or one you just enjoyed more?
B - I liked Untitled as a fair. There is a lot of artists and galleries exhibiting that I am less familiar with but the standard of work
for me was very high. Less ‘big name/hype artists’ - just a really thoughtful and well curated set of galleries showing some really inspiring
C - I was also really inspired by Untitled. As Ben says, the standard is so high and its the best fair to go to if you want to seek out
fresh and forward-thinking talent. I don’t think there was one stand I didn’t like. It’s also a really manageable size…! We also visited
Wynwood Walls in the uber hip area of downtown Wynwood, which we didn’t manage to do last year. Wynwood Walls invites street artists from across the
globe to paint its walls. It also has various spaces dedicated to displaying artwork. Here we viewed various groups exhibitions, one being the new
solo show by Vhils which was probably one of the best collections I saw. What a talent. The whole show has sold out by the time we got there, mainly
to big museums and collections, and I’m not surprised. Fantastic work.
Vhils at his solo show with Wynwood Walls
Did you get a chance to attend any other events throughout the week?
B - We were invited to a Mr Brainwash book launch at the Bas Museum, had a big dinner with photographer David Yarrow and around 20 collectors
and gallerists and various smaller events.
C - We also had an invite to Palm Beach to meet with a new art dealer and gallerist we’ve met, but you can't say yes to everything…!
Swoon at Scope
Any new or emerging artists you were less aware of that caught your attention?
B - YES, so many artists that we came accross and really liked.
C - We saw sooo many artists its difficult to list them all. One of my most favourites would be the insane hand woven, melting wall carpets
by Faig Ahmed - sublime. I WANT ONE.
Faig Ahemd at Untitled
And of course, we have to ask about the famous parties and nightlife. What did you guys get up to?
C - We got up to all sorts - the nightlife on the beach and in the city's infamous hotels is a given, but I will say if you’re going to
Miami then visiting the bohemian, painted streets of Wynwood is a MUST. It has a completely different, more underground vibe than on the beach and
on the weekend it kicks off with street performers, live music, incredible food and a whole lot more.
Wynwood Walls in Miami's Art District
Any tips for those wishing to attend next year?
B - Book early, have a plan and remember it's a marathon not a sprint.
C - Make sure you do some research on the areas of Miami when finding somewhere to stay as the traffic is pretty shocking and you don’t
want to be miles away from the fairs (or not close to the beach..!). Know what fairs are opening on which nights so you can plan. And have a Bloody
Mary in the morning.
David Shrigley at Art Miami
Ai Weiwei at Art Basel Lucy Sparrow at Context Art Fair
Oli Epp orignial at Untitled Fair
Keith Haring at Art Miami
The Art of Banksy exhibition
Once again...Miami, it's been a pleasure! Thank you to Ben and Carla for reporting back to us and for the great photos. And thank you everyone for reading
this week's blog. We hope you enjoyed it. Don't hesitate to get in contact with any questions.