A Miami based contemporary art newsletter / blog

When the swamp gets swamped

Installation view of Between a Rock and a Soft Place featuring a hammock piece by Colin Sherrell at CasaLin.

And so it begins…after months of preparation, a few frantic weeks, and for most a 36 hour day that finally came to an end sometime yesterday afternoon, Art Basel Miami Beach is finally upon us once again. Amidst roads snarled up fancy rental cars, gaudy boutiques that seem to blob out of the dust, an influx of pasty skinned administrators and enthusiasts, graffiti bombed everything and Bert Rodriguez’s ass, this time painted silver, emblazoning just one of the usual flurry of economic, fair-centric, and largely sensationalist articles in the local press, Artlurker is drifting, sourcing and generally avoiding the hype. Last year we boycotted Basel all together, the year before that we focused on artists in their studios. This year, or rather this week, armed with passes and guest list invitations we’ll be seeking the truth behind the spin, speaking with regular people about their experiences of ABMB and hopefully making our peace with cultural tourism.

Tuesday night saw galleries in both Wynwood and the Design District throwing opening bashes, an evening which for many culminated in a bacchanal at Wynwood Walls. There were and are many good shows; Limestoned, a solo by Nicolas Lobo at Charest-Weinberg being among the best. And although we didn’t get treated to a band at the fair weather Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, or should I say the Wynwood Art Garden, this year, it was sentimental for want of a better word to see the old/new building lit up again.

This morning was the breakfast opening of the annual outdoor exhibition space, CasaLin. As ever the catering was excellent, the atmosphere relaxed and the rum coconuts in full swing. The site specific work of New World School of the Arts students and faculty plus Joshua Levine in Between a Rock and a Soft Place, curated by Fredric Snitzer, was pretty good too. Here’s some pictures in case you plan on missing it.

A tongue in cheek tour performance of the exhibition by Patti Her and Abel Ramon greeted us as we arrived.

Cutouts by Carol Brown, this one hilariously featuring Helen L Cohen, famous Miami Herald arts critic.

Micheal Loveland’s annual chicken coop offering, this time around a metallic canoe ensemble. Thank the lord for the trees or we might have had an addition to the morning’s catering!

Another theme gathering momentum at CasaLin, the sand square. See Chad Cunha’s The Place Where Jesus and Logic Wrestled from 2009. Oh, hang on, no image on the website. Ahem.

The shed again takes on a new life through artful camouflage. Joshua Levine, I assume.

A collaborative book installation by Carol Todaro and Peter Borrebach. A round of beers for the folks at the lecterns, as Douglas Hanks of the Miami Herald would say.

In addition to showcasing Between a Rock and a Soft Place, this year was the grand unveiling of the new yard and house, a somewhat breathtaking addition to the already Eden-like space made possible by the acquisition and radical renovation and landscaping of the adjoining property. Native species from courtesy of Fairchild Tropical Gardens were then used to create a sensitive yet virtuosic botanical symphony.

According to Michael Loveland, an artist with Diana Lowenstein Fine Arts, a sculpture tutor at New World and a long time protagonist and friend of the CasaLin legacy, landscapers scoured the top soil back to the limestone, uncovering a series of magical, although now inert sink holes (see above).

After CasaLin was passed through the neighboring Fountain fair, a satellite fair that describes itself as “the installation-based exhibition of avant-garde galleries.” While the work was generally so-so, there was a great feeling to the fair, a refreshing artist-run kind of vibe that provided a welcome contrast to the hot-lamp, hard sell claustrophobia of its larger cousins. In case you’re too busy to waste your time with this kind of thing, I made this video for you.

Fountain Miami 2010 from artlurker weblog on Vimeo.

OK, that’s definitely enough sleep deprived spleen venting for one afternoon. Tonight we’ll be documenting the happenings at the FriendsWithYou event. The evening will start off with a reception at their Design District studio then move over to their expansive Rainbow City and Building Blocks installation for a concert by N*E*R*D. Maybe see you there[.]

This post was contributed by Thomas Hollingworth.

1 Comment

  • Joshua Levine

    Actually, my installation for CasaLin this year was on the backside of the tree just to the left of the shed. It was called STONEDcrabby and consisted of 12 “genetically modified” stone crabs crawling on the tree. It has now been moved and is installed at Fairchild Tropical Bontanic Garden. You can check it out there.

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When the swamp gets swamped