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'ART LOVES MIAMI | AN ANECDOTAL RECORD
December 8th 2017
Miami Basel opened its doors in 2002 following a postponed start in 2001. December was the chosen month as - the thinking went - the winter sun in Miami would draw in the shivering art collectors from the drizzly northern climes. [Readers discretion is advised]
by Henrik Riis
NEWS FROM EYESTORM
This article was written by Jake Miller; The owner of The Approach Gallery in East London and it was a contribution to the book ‘A Hedonists Guide to Art’. He and his gallery exhibit at all the international art fairs: Basel, New York, Frieze - but memories of Miami Basel are the ones that never fail to make him sigh.

Unlike its serious Swiss counterpart, Miami Basel’s raison d’être is to firmly place the buying of contemporary art into a lifestyle of sun, sea and excess. This seemed a little more appropriate post-recession and during the years the Approach participated almost every year from 2003.

The evenings of my first years there were mostly spent at the back of the Raleigh Hotel were I found the bar to be more pleasant than the surrounding South Beach hotels. The ornate pool, palm trees and hanging lanterns gave it a relaxed old money charm that was soon shattered as the smallish back bar became over run by rowdy Brits, Germans and Americans in the process of “unwinding”.
Rob and Nick Carter

Society (Postcards from Vegas series) , 2013

127(w) x 80(h) cm
50.00(w) x 31.50(h) inches
Cibachrome print mounted on aluminium with neon
Edition of 5
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The overcrowding led to the discovery that the sandy garden went on so much further than the pool. On one night of the week, the impresario and one time gallery owner Jeffrey Deitch - now director of MOCA - would organise performances there by the likes of Chicks On Speed, The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, Gossip, and Devendra Banhart (a gig I found myself actually having to climb over a fence... to escape from).

The noise of the Raleigh concerts clash with larger concerts on the beach, which fall under the slightly irritating title of ‘Art Loves Music’. Stage strutters there have included Iggy Pop, The New York Dolls and Peaches. The latter once finished her set by encour­aging the fairly indifferent audience to follow her (disrobed) into the sea to the sounds of ‘F*** The Pain Away’. She threw herself into the waves declaring “I do this in honour of the naked swimmer who livened up a boring party last night by jumping in the pool,” and she was gone. I hope the jellyfish didn’t get her.

I was also at the party she mentioned, one of many held on rooftops or by pools where free drinks flow in plastic beakers and the only corporate branding that seems appro­priate is ‘Art Loves To Get Hammered’.
Ross Holden

13 Million Miles (Diamond) , 2017

85(w) x 85(h) cm
33.46(w) x 33.46(h) inches
30 colour screenprint on Somerset satin 410gsm with handtorn edges and debossed.
Edition of 50
PRICE
$ 1,195.00
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These first years were far less crowded and the revelry seemed to be more authenti­cally funny somehow. The first year was also when a major local collector family held a very generous party at their new home. After a great night that resulted in some busted artworks, the hosts wisely decided to stick to the more civilised ‘collectors brunch,’ a common feature of any art fair week.

Even in these early years, people were talking of the last days of the Roman Empire and of how the whole overblown net jet scene - where everyone is a VIP - was on its last bloated legs.

But still it all continued.

Friends of mine that are not so familiar with the art fair life look at me as though I’m mad when I complain that it’s “Miami time again”, but the constant dull boom boom boom thud from each poolside bar just gets to you after a while, and however perfect the blowing white muslin might be, one soon starts to crave a bit of grime. Not that grime doesn’t exist in Miami - you just sometimes have to create it.

Jacky Tsai

Pow Pow Pow , 2016

86(w) x 105(h) cm
33.86(w) x 41.34(h) inches
19 colour screenprint with 24 carat gold leaf on Somerset 410 gsm paper. Hand torn edge
Edition of 60
PRICE
$ 2,900.00
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The Studio Karaoke Bar was the basement venue for a great birthday party for Modern Institute Gallery director Toby Webster; it also had something to do with the Brit-born New York gallerist Gavin Brown (a man that seems to have more art fair parties than even he seems to be aware of). The atmosphere was such a wonderful antithesis to the plastic world above that somehow the dark, sweaty, noisy dump seemed so beautiful. Another bit of dirty escapism is the infamous neon lit dive Club Deuce, located a late night stagger away from the main drag of Collins Avenue.

But, to the reason we all find ourselves in this unlikely place - the fair. Located at the Miami Beach Convention Centre, you may as well be in any other convention centre from Chicago to Stuttgart. The only giveaway is the amount of deformed plastic faces, big synthetic hair and luminous colours crawling around. And that’s just the men. Sometimes a strange cross-over of worlds takes place. I remember a fragrant, bling-laden Beyoncé coming up against a violently hung-over Darren Flook - director of east London’s Hotel Gallery. She disturbed him from his sorry state to ask about some work on his stand. Only in the art world.

I have spotted Karl Lagerfeld entering darkened exhibits with his sunglasses still on, a lady bouncing up and down on a Franz West sculpture shouting to her partner, “Look baby, you can sit on it AND it goes outside!” The disheartened looking gallerist Christian Nagel could only look on. I also loved the news that a staff member of a friend’s gallery was found to be dealing drugs from the booth. She then asked the boss if he would like a line, and was later that evening found having it off in a hotel’s ice cupboard (lying to security by telling them that she was Mari Spirito, the director of New York’s 303 Gallery, aswell). She was fired the next day.
Jo Bradford

Continuum , 2017

180(w) x 120(h) cm
70.87(w) x 47.24(h) inches
C-type Lambda prints from photograms on Fuji Crystal Archive Pearl paper

Price includes each print mounted on aluminium and framed in thin white tray frame,
Edition of 15
PRICE
$ 5,325.00
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Ahh... memories. Writing this has started to make me miss the place a little - something I never thought I’d say. I have found myself being gently persuaded to apply again this year. For all its soul-destroying tackiness, Miami Beach is still a significant part of the art world calendar and the all-important Basel branding does have clout.

Maybe the party was over for a while and the very hungover art world hadn’t come round to the thought of ever drinking again, but now, over the last few months, at least they seem to be warming to the idea.

Basel Miami next year? Maybe all is forgiven.
 
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DO YOU HAVE A DAMIEN HIRST TO SELL?
Valium
With two major exhibitions during the Venice Biennale, 2017 has been a year which has increased the awareness of Damien Hirst. With Hirst still actively releasing new print editions, many collectors focus on his earlier work from 2000 and before, such as Valium, Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD), Opium, Beautiful, Galactic, Exploding Screenprint (Spin) and Painting-by-Numbers.

If you have one of the above prints that you are potentially interested in selling, please do get in touch with us via the Contact page, which you can find here.
 
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Exploring memories from his travels around the world, we have been proud to exhibited the two… https://t.co/miceKBNI6D
Two of the print editions from the colourful ‘Sloe’ series by Henrik Simonsen. The full series… https://t.co/wUwc5Pun2c
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