Looking at art, from the Art League to the big League

Attacking Art

"Colored Vasses" Ai Weiwei

“Colored Vases”   Ai Weiwei                           Image/Jami Nix Rahn


In a misguided act of vandalism last Sunday, Miami based artist Maximo Caminero, 51, walked into the Perez Art Museum’s survey exhibition of Chinese artist, Ai Weiwei and deliberately smashed a reportedly $1 million Vase.

The vase was part of a group which included 16  brightly painted ancient urns dating back more than 2,000 years to China’s Han dynasty.

According to police, the artist explained, that he dropped the piece in protest at the lack of local artists on display at the museum.

This act of vandalism was misguided on so many levels.  Had the artist done his research, he would have realized that indeed their are more than a few South Florida artists represented in the Museums collection.

Currently running at the newly inaugurated Perez Art Museum in Miami is  “AMERICANA”, an exhibit which features local arists  José Bedia, Naomi Fisher, Lynne Golob Gelfman and Frances Trombly.  Upcoming shows later this year will feature Edouard Duval-Carrié and Adler Guerrier.  This only leads one to believe, that it was not the lack of representation of South Florida artists in the museum, but the omission of one artist in particular, that aroused Caminero’s ire.

Caminero was also misguided in his manner of protest, which he may have garnered from  Ai Weiwei’s own acts of activism.  The traveling survey exhibition “According to What?”  features works by Ai Weiwei that have been created over the past 20 years.  Much of the work on view has served Ai Weiwei as a platform for activism and freedom of expression.

On display in the museum, directly behind “Colored Vases” are three large black and white photographs documenting  Ai’s destruction of a Han dynasty urn.  In the first photograph Ai faces the camera directly, displaying an ancient urn. The second photo captures the urn in mid air as the artist’s hands irreverently release it to its assured fate.  In the third photograph the urns lays shattered at the feet of the artist.

Ai Weiwei destroyed the Han dynasty urn in an audacious act of protest, questioning the aura of antiquity and todays perceptions of art, history and politics. The important detail, that Caminero seemed to have missed, is that Ai Weiwei owned the vase and it was his to destroy.

Caminero admitted in a statement later that he had no idea of the vases worth.  Again misguided.

Acts of vandalism toward works of art in major institutions and galleries are not uncommon. In 2012 The Tate Modern in London suffered damage to Mark Rothko’s “Black on Maroon” 1958 when a young Russian born man claiming to be a co-founder of the yellowism art movement tagged the painting in black ink or paint with the words “Vladimir Umanets, A Potential Piece of Yellowism” .

The Menil Collection in Houston was also victimized recently, by a vandal who spray painted, an image of a matador, slaying a bull alongside the word, “Conquista”, onto Picasso’s 1929, “Woman in a Red Armchair” .  A fellow gallery visitor (accomplice?) captured the incident on video and uploaded it to You Tube, the vandal later liked it on his Facebook.

It is not just modern art that is targeted. Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa has suffered several attacks over the years,  some of the weapons of choice include acid, rocks, spray paint and a museum souvenir tea mug.  Bullet proof glass has protected the Mona Lisa from most recent attacks.

The reasons, individuals attack works of art, are as varied as the definition of art itself, but not all damage to art is intentional.  Accidents happen, in 2008 a visitor at London’s Royal Academy stumbled into a 9 foot tall ceramic sculpture by Costa Rican artist Tatiana Echeverri Fernandez, sending it crashing to the ground.  As the day progressed museum visitors assumed that the shards of pottery were a part of the exhibition and were seen taking pictures.

love, has also been used as an excuse for defacing art.  In 2007 a 30 year old french artist put on red lipstick and puckered up to an all white Cy Towmbly painting leaving her mark,  or as she put it, “I left a kiss”

And then there is the excuse, “I didn’t know it was art”  used by the cleaners when they found out that the half-full coffee cups, dirty ashtrays, beer bottles etc. they had thrown away at the Mayfair Gallery in 2001 was actually a work of art by Damien Hirst!

The destruction of art. for whatever reason serves no rational purpose, and when it is as misguided as it was in the case of Mr. Caminero, it is just sad.

Happy New Year


Brazil Art Fair Debuts in Wynwood.


Galeria Mercedes Viega

With the influx of Brazilians into the Miami Community, it was only a matter of time before they would stake their artistic claims.  Brazil Art Fair made it’s debut amongst the Art Basel Miami Beach satellite fairs, pitching it’s tent across the lawn from the Wynwood cluster of Art Miami and adjoining fairs.


Fair organizer, Ester Krivkin, explained that she envisioned an exhibition highlighting Brazilian Art as well as the creative Brazilian economy.  

Orchestra Brazil exhibited the latest in Brazilian furniture design and home decor.




Manageable in size and free to the public, Brazil Art Fair, hosted 24 booths. This gave ample space to enjoy the fair.

A bar serving Caipirinhas, a popular but potent brazilian drink and “pau de quejo”, a delicious cheese bread, best served hot, made it even more enjoyable!


Galeria Um zero Tres


Cris Bierrenbach @ Galeria Lourdina Jean Rabieh


Gallery booths, all hailing from either São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro, were a mix of well established and newer galleries. Some opened as recently as this year.  The artists shown were also diverse, ranging from internationally acclaimed artists to young newcomers.

A special exhibition curated for the fair by Luisa Duarte and Gabriel Bogossian, brought together 14 socially conscious Brazilian artists.  “Tempo Suspenso” (Suspended Time) addresses issues of post modernity in the latin world.  A once envisioned modern utopia, confronting the reality of broken dreams.


Artist Clarissa Toussin’s video “White Marble Everyday”  documents the meticulous cleaning of the long halls of the Supreme Court.  The white marble and constant cleansing of footsteps, alludes to an underlying analogy between Justice and Religion. 

In contrast to Toussin’s urban view, Artist Berna Reale looks toward the external periphery of Brazil, where the country borders with Bolivia.   Much like the American border with Mexico (only five times longer) this is a treacherous region of illegal immigration and drug smuggling. In her vide titled “Ordinário” the artist, dressed in black, walks stoically through a northern border town pushing a wheel barrel filled with the skeletal remains of 40 people. 


Matheus Rocha Pitta’s, red earth photographs “Brazil”, evoke contemporary Brazilian artist Artur Barrio’s “Livro de carne”.

Brazil Art Fair’s debut made a good showing, let’s hope they can come back next year with an expanded roster of galleries.  Brazil is after all, the fifth largest country in the world.

Images from the fair

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PULSE | MIAMI | 2013

Pulse Art Fair Miami landed for it’s ninth edition at the Ice Palace. 

Brandon Vickerd, “Sputnik Returned” 2013

Located at the southern most tip of the Wynwood Arts District, Pulse Miami, creates it’s own tranquil environment.

The peripheral location and tropical garden offers a respite from the concrete and traffic of this Mid Town neighborhood.

Fabiano Parisi @ Diana Lowenstein Gallery

Fabiano Parisi @ Diana Lowenstein Gallery

Pulse Contemporary Art Fair presents a roster of  85 US and International galleries exhibiting works in all media.  Photography  and works on paper made a strong showing in this years edition, but there was also an abundance of exciting new work incorporating a wide range of materials.

Sigalit Landau @ Andrea Meislin Gallery

Israeli artist Sigalit Landau, explores issues of culture, history and borders. In her piece “Over the Rainbow”,  the artist suspended a pair of shoes in dead sea water creating crystalized fossils.

Darren Lago @ Davidson Contemporary

Darren Lago @ Davidson Contemporary


A counter balance to the main event at the Convention Center, Pulse galleries take risks, highlighting  emerging artists alongside those at mid career and more established. Prices are affordable and dealers are friendly and eager to talk about their artists.



As a part of Pulse Projects, Bad at Sports blog and podcast was commissioned by Cannonball, Miami to broadcast a Live Radio Show inviting the audience to argue about art, and yes, you could also buy a poster.



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ABMB | 2013 | review


Art Basel Miami Beach closed on Sunday with strong praise from collectors, gallerists, critics and visitors alike.

This 12th edition in Miami drew record crowds of over 75,000 visitors over the five day period.  Glenn McMillan from CRG Gallery  in New York said, he had been a doubter when he first heard that a major art fair was being considered for Miami.  Now he admits “it has become a destination” and spoke highly of the event.

moversMany dealers reported selling most of their work on the first day.  This was evident as works were taken down, moved out and quickly replaced, while crowds whisked by.


“Isla” Revolver Galeria, Lima, Peru

This years edition did not disappoint. There were strong booths, boasting Modern Masters and the Nova Galleries were fresh and exciting.

Unfortunately all good things must come to an………..

60But if you want to see a little……………………..

1463102_10201577710780451_1202675831_nview the slide show below………..

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Girls’ Club Brunch


The  Girls’ Club Collection in Broward County hosted a Sunday Brunch on the last day of Art Basel Miami Beach.

This was a wonderful opportunity to take a breath, meet with artists, curators and art lovers to share experiences of the past week’s frenzy of Art Basel | Miami Beach.

The fact is, not even superwoman could have seen everything!  So it was great to hear about what was missed and different views of the the fairs, exhibitions and performances that were going on around Miami.

The one thing everyone present did not miss, was The TM sisters curatorial vision of works from the Girls’ Clubs permanent collection.


The TM sisters, Monica and Tasha Lopez de Victoria were on hand to chat and discuss the exhibition as well as what they have been up to in their own work these days.

The title of the exhibition is taken from Tracey Emin’s work on view  “I think it’s in my head”.  The TM sisters explained that as they culled through works in the collection, they encountered many pieces that seemed to resonate with the text of Emin’s neon scribbles.  They found themselves pulling out works that that were narrative in concept yet not quite complete, leaving the viewer to finish the story.

I think it’s in my head” on view at Girls’ Club November 10, 2013 – September 26, 2014

Art Basel | Miami Beach | 2


When the doors opened for the VIP opening of Art Basel Miami Beach 2013, Collectors were ready. Primed with champagne, consultants in tow, they had their maps in hand and were ready for business.


Gallerists clutched their catalogs and stood in anticipation as the crowds flowed into the convention center.  Mr. Gagosian looked relaxed in his blue chip booth, filled with young fresh faces, ready to recite names and prices for those who dared to ask, wall tags are out of the question at this gallery.


On this first day of viewing sales seemed brisk, art works were sold, wrapped up and carried out while empty wall space was quickly replenished.

Berlin based artistic couple Eva and Adele drifted through the halls, posing for those who asked.

Familiar works showed up like old friends, Jeff Koons, Anish Kapoor, Ai Weiwei and Damien Hirst, the big boys club, vying for attention with with Barbara Kruger’s declaratives and Cindy Sherman’s gaze.

Art Fairs can be exhausting, a sensory overload, but there are those moments when your eye catches something and you stop, look, and absorb the aura of a work of art.


Marian Goodman Gallery provided one of those moments with a small Gerhard Richter hanging discretely behind the desk.


White Cube also offers a rare find for Art Basel Miami Beach. Jake and Dinos Chapman, forever “les enfants terible”, show that even as they enter into middle age, they have no intentions of letting up.   “In Our Dreams We Have Seen Another World”  2013,  is a delicate, dark world of zombies, skulls, nazis and crucified Ronald McDonalds all very neatly encased in a glass box. 2-1


For those looking for a rest from the crowds, Berlin gallery neugerriemschneider offers a sumptuous lounge space custom designed by Jorge Pardo.

A marble chair by Ai Weiwei sits like a throne in a back room.

The inside wall space is covered with multi colored curtains.  Small scale art works by gallery artists  are on display on the booths outer walls in a series of small niches.


Pawel Althamer


Another Place of peace……………


Video viewing pods.


Revolver Gallery @ NOVA

The beauty of ABMB is in it’s diversity.  Works from young up and coming artists are exhibited alongside great works from the modern masters.

Positions and Nova Sectors offer Galleries the opportunity to highlight works by young and emerging artists.  Positions spotlights a single artist while Nova shows works created in the past three years by one two or three of three artists.

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