The Biscayne Times

Jul 09th
Off the Basel Path 2013 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Melissa Wallen -- BT Contributor   
December 2013

Some recommended stops on the mad dash through Miami’s Art Week

If there was ever an appropriate time to send frantic e-mails, befriend an art-world insider, or brush up on your alcohol foraging skills, that time is nigh. Art Basel is in session, and the only thing better than receiving a crash course in art-world politics is Miami’s winter weather.

The prospect of accidentally ruining an inconspicuous work of public art or running into James Franco awaits you at every turn, so be ready. However, if your idea of Art Basel revelry involves pitching a tent inside the Miami Beach Convention Center, the following might not be for you.

While the art fairs and rechristening of the institution formerly known as MAM will attract the lion’s share of attention, there are plenty of other things to do. If you’re looking for the best, boldest, and weirdest happenings during Basel, you might reconsider fighting Beach traffic in favor of staying local.


”Tracy Emin: Angel Without You”


You’re forgiven if you’ve allowed Tracy Emin’s reputation as Britain’s bad girl of art and polarizing shows to overshadow her powerful body of work. Her iconic neon sculptures, many of which consist of epigrams in her own script, are given the royal treatment, courtesy of MOCA, in “Tracy Emin: Angel Without You,” her first solo U.S. museum exhibition.

Though neon is typically reserved for bold product advertising -- especially at venues entertaining sleazy dreams -- her neon signs glow in vibrant pastel hues, providing contrast to the austere nature of the gallery setting. They allude to the transient exchange between the artist and her audience, while the epigrams lend a personal, confessional touch to the work.

Given neon’s relationship with Miami, her first stateside solo exhibition at MOCA seems appropriate, even welcome.

“Tracy Emin: Angel Without You,” December 4 through March 9, MOCA, NE 125th St., North Miami, 305-893-6211.


“Big Deal”

ArtFeature_2“Big Deal” is the inaugural exhibition at Space Mountain, a refreshing alternative space in Miami’s Little River neighborhood.

According to local artist and curator Autumn Casey, the exhibition “brings together a range of female artists from South Florida, who tap into the dark undercurrents of what that can entail.” Yes, please! Featuring an eclectic roster of multidisciplinary artists, “Big Deal” holds the promise of true DIY bliss.

“Big Deal” with Sara Abruña, Dorys Bello, Serena Dominguez, Nina Hartmann, Sarah Hersey, Jessie Laino, Katie Lasley, Nicole Mijares, Beatriz Monteavaro, Renata Rojo, Veronica Shalom, and Simone Thornton, curated by Autumn Casey. Reception December 4, 7 p.m. to midnight; December 5 through 8, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Space Mountain, 8363 NE 2nd Ave., Miami.


Nan Goldin: I Remember Your Face, a film by Sabine Lidl


Nan Goldin has never been afraid of showing herself to the world, producing diaristic work that is uncompromising and revelatory.

Since her debut in the 1970s, she has championed the art of capturing gritty moments in her photographs; her most famous work showcases the development of New York’s underground scene and its players. Touching upon themes of love, gender, and dependency, Goldin immortalized numerous artists, bohemians, and transsexuals, many of whom did not survive to see the 1990s.

This year Zurich film aficionado This Brunner, who has curated the Art Basel Miami Beach film selection since 2002, selected Nan Goldin: I Remember Your Face for screening at the Colony Theater. The documentary film showcases Goldin’s most important works and the artist in her element. Photography nerds will relish the opportunity to engage in a post-film Q&A session with the artist and director.

A bit of advice for you who have yet to brave the Basel-fried beach: Consider biking.

Nan Goldin: I Remember Your Face, a film by Sabine Lidl, December 6, 8:30 p.m., Colony Theater, 1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach, 305-674-1040.


Center for Visual Communication


The Center for Visual Communication is coming up strong this Basel with work from Carlos Amorales and Rirkrit Tiravanija.

Amorales’s intriguing performance piece re-creates the drama that ensues on a spider’s web, both home and hunting grounds for the spider and its prey. Spider Galaxy, which first debuted in Mexico City, courtesy of Fundación/Colección Jumex and PERFORMA07 in New York, is a 400-piece “sound sculpture” and stage. Amorales is known for his idiosyncratic performances that involve audience participation.

Rirkrit Tiravanija, no stranger to Miami, reconstructs Le Corbusier’s famous floating barge at half scale for the Center of Visual Communication.

Le Corbusier’s Paris barge began as a storage space, which was then transformed by the artist into a floating shelter for vagabonds. Considering the social implications of a storage space recontextualized as shelter, it’s no wonder that Rirkrit, whose work focuses on social architecture, would find a project like this so appealing.

Political T-shirts, some of which were designed by the artist, will be shown inside the space. Both opening receptions are free to the public with RSVP to 305-571-1415 or

Spider Galaxy by Carlos Amorales, and Asile Flottant by Rirkrit Tiravanija, reception December 5, 7 to 10 p.m., December 6 through January 23, Center for Visual Communication, 541 NW 27th St., Miami.


Look Alive Fest

Looking for a dose of rock ’n’ roll during Basel? Miami’s own Spilt Milk Projects, a booking, touring, and special-events collective for and by musicians, curates two nights of underground music with the help of Gramps and New York City tastemakers Ad Hoc.

The inaugural Look Alive Fest will take place at Churchill’s Pub and Gramps, two of Miami’s best rock venues, and feature exclusive Florida headlining performances from seminal noise rock trio Wolf Eyes from Detroit, and experimental-rock outsiders Indian Jewelry from Austin.

The fest also features notable local bands, including Lil Daggers, Teepee, Cop City/Chill Pillars, and Nerve City.

Show up early to Churchill’s for free beer, and RSVP on the Look Alive Fest website for free entry at Gramps. Not to be missed!

Look Alive Fest: Day 1, with Wolf Eyes, Guardian Alien, Chronic Youth, Rubber O Cement, Teepee, and Cop City/Chill Pillars, December 6, 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., Churchill’s Pub, 5501 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, 305-757-1807. Day 2, with Indian Jewelry, Pontiak, White Mystery, the Wiggins, Lil Daggers, and Nerve City, December 7, 8 p.m. to 3 a.m., Gramps, 176 NW 24th St., Miami, 786-752-6693.


M|/\M|M/\X: Hosted by Jim Drain and Bhakti Baxter

Sorry. You’re not on the list. In fact, no one is.

If you happen to travel the MacArthur Causeway en route to or from the Beach, check out a view of the most exclusive Basel party.

Commissioned by Miami-Dade County’s Art in Public Places, Jim Drain and Bhakti Baxter have created a monumental installation that imagines a party where “everyone is invited, no one may attend,” a fitting sentiment for the season.

This installation celebrates the completion of two public-art projects: Drain’s The Bollard Project, which involves the installation of 1000 artist-designed traffic-control bollards; and Bhakti Baxter’s Coral Reef City, a series of 18 toll booths wrapped in photographs of zoanthids, discovered by Coral Morphologic. Good luck getting in.

M|/\M|M/\X: Hosted by Jim Drain and Bhakti Baxter, December 4 through 7, sundown to 11 p.m., waterfront area near Port of Miami, visible from the MacArthur Causeway.


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