As I am writing this blog post, the Instagram hashtag Yayoi
Kusama (#yayoikusama) has 850K related posts and @yayoikusama_ (which I presume
is the artist’s official Instagram) has 31.3K followers. There’s plenty of
unofficial accounts and a variety of Yayoi-ish hashtags. Search Yayoi Kusama
news on Google and you’ll find 40,400 results. Switch to “All” and there will
be more than 7 million results.
It’s infinite and that’s
There’s nothing that I can write that hasn’t been written
before about Kusama, who has lived through a turbulent, personal history for
nine decades. Today, I can only relate my personal experience and it was a
I adore polka dots and my daughter’s first Easter outfit was a navy blue dress with white polka dots. The hat had a matching fabric sash. I loved it and she hated it. I tried for all of her preschool years, to force polka dots on her, but failed.
Before even knowing anything about Yayoi (can we be on a first name basis?), I was drawn to one of her pumpkin sculptures at a gallery participating in Art Basel Miami. A man looked at it pensively while I wondered what he was thinking.
A couple of years ago a friend recommended to see a
documentary about her life. I did plan to watch it, but it got bumped off the
long list of things to do. Over time, I would hear other Yayoi murmurs and
rather than research, I would just recall those dots.
Then, recently I received an email that I must go see All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins at the ICA Miami. Without thinking twice, I purchased two tickets for $30.00 for myself and a friend, and squeezed that one minute experience, which I might add entails a 2.5 hour round trip car drive, into my busy schedule. Yes, if you are blinking at the last sentence: it translates to $15.00/person for a 60 second, solo view of Yayoi’s Infinity Mirror Room.
In order to prepare for the visit, I finally watched Kusama: Infinity and I suggest you do the same.
Connecting the Dots
Between that first work of art that I saw to some last minute research, I gained a compassionate understanding of Yayoi Kusama’s life and career. To think that at ninety years old, she walks to her studio almost every day and meticulously and obsessively creates dots on canvas or other two or 3-D mediums, fascinates me. Her therapy became#MyArtEscape.
It was reported in January, 2018 that over 75,000 people visited With All My Love For The Tulips, I Pray Forever at David Zwirner in New York. At ICA Miami, they receive 20 people per thirty minute time slot and hundreds line up on Thursdays when entrance is free.
I imagine during Art Basel/Miami Art Week attendance will skyrocket.
Multiply those figures by the amount of people who will visit any of the Infinity
Rooms around the world, from today until a closing date of probably never,
means that Yayoi’s artistic legacy will be limitless.
Buzz Lightyear said, “To infinity and beyond” a remark
embraced by children and adults alike. How often do you see Facebook posts, “I
love you to infinity and beyond?” Infinity is the fictitious place (or non-place
to be exact) that we dream to reach.
For Yayoi, infinity may once have been a location to escape like fields of flowers or an infinite reflection of polka dots, but now it’s eternal hope for her and us all.
And, as we make the most out of our 60 seconds, immersed in that infinite field of spotted pumpkins, we can reach Instagram immortality by the click of our iPhone. Or, if we leave our phone behind (which I plan to do next time), our imaginations will be forever sealed in that magical spot/polka dot.
Our earth is only one polka dot among a million stars in the cosmos. Polka dots are a way to infinity. ~ Yayoi Kusama
About This Town by Artez | Calle de Fuencarral 31, Madrid
A brief visit to Puerta del Sol in Madrid was Instagram
worthy, but crowded with shoppers. The stores were mostly American and there
were the familiar fast food restaurants. I was disappointed.
However, my eye caught sight of this colorful mural. “About This Town” depicts a girl holding a pile of books with a bird and its birdhouse balanced on top. There’s a plant behind her or maybe she’s holding that too. The eye happily travels up and away from the crowded street to appreciate the blue sky above.
Born in Serbia, Artez painted this mural in four days to be a part of the 2019 Urvanity Art Fair. On his website, he explains: “This mural tells us the story of Madrid, a place where visitors from all around the globe are welcome to come and enjoy the vivid artistic and cultural content that this city has to offer. Positioned in the very centre of the town, this mural creates a contrast with the pedestrian shopping street in which it is located. Instead of carrying shopping bags, girl depicted on the mural is holding a pile of books important for the history and culture of the city, and a plant with a small birdhouse that is inviting all the “birds” to come and feel like home!”
A closer look reveals the title of one book Miau by Benito
Pérez Galdós (considered to be one of Spain’s most famous writers since Cervantes)
and another references the painter Francisco Goya. Possibly this reference is a
commentary about the maladies of society.
I would say that a deeper reading surfaces from Artez’
mural. Possibly, the tourist should spend more time getting to know Madrid’s
history and culture. Or, maybe it’s the Spaniards
who should pay more attention to Madrid which may be selling its soul to the
tourist industry. Who knows?
In any case, she’s my soul sister. I’ll give up shopping bags for a pile of books any day. And, if my nose isn’t in a book, I’ll be birdwatching with my zoom lens pointed to the sky.
El hombre de pensamiento descubre la Verdad; pero quien gozan de ella y utiliza sus celestials dones es el hombre de acción.
~ Benito Pérez Galdós
The man of reflection discovers Truth; but the one who enjoys it and makes use of its heavenly gifts is the man of action.”
Miami, FL…October 7, 2019…Etra Fine Art
is pleased to announce its Art Basel Miami/Miami Art Week exhibition, Ciudades.
This multimedia exhibition will be made up of paintings, music, an installation,
sculptures, photography, videos, poetry and essays. Etra Fine Art will hold an
Opening Reception for Ciudades from 12:00 – 4:00 p.m. on Sunday,
December 1, 2019 and have special hours during Art Basel. Etra Fine Art,
6942 NE 4th Ave, Miami, FL 33138, www.etrafineart.com,
Alicia Restrepo, Curator and
owner of Etra Fine Art, uses the cities as symbols, differently represented by
world known artists, to stimulate a dialog over the most pressing issues of
today. In fact, cities are a descriptor of today’s sacrifice of natural
resources, centers of communication, synthetic containers of our history, a
confluence of religions, languages and ideologies; technology and alienation coming
from it; social iconography, migration, selfishness and egoism.
Different expressions about the subject will create an interesting
dialog between artists from diverse representative cities of the world such as
New York, Milan, Kiev, Bogota, Miami, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro, among
Ciudades will include works by:
Andriy Halashyn (Kiev)
Juan Raul Hoyos (Miami)
Ana Maria Gutierrez (Bogota)
Juan Raul Hoyos (Miami)
Valeria Yamamoto (Buenos Aires)
Juan Raul Hoyos (Miami)
Francis Hines (New York)
André Cypriano (Rio de Janeiro)
Juan Raul Hoyos (Miami)
Music, Poems and Essays
Ciudades, fundadas para odiar
Ciudades, tan altas, ¿para qué?
Ciudades, cada vez de pie
Ciudades, al polvo volverán
Music arrangement: Astor Piazzolla- Buenos Aires; Lyrics: Horacio Ferrer – Buenos Aires; Vocals: Amelita Baltar – Buenos Aires
The haunting and powerful, La Ciudades by Astor Piazzolla
(Argentina) (that will be played as part of Ciudades,) not only
highlights the literal connection to the exhibition’s theme, but will serve as
a celebration of Piazzolla’s career who faced intense criticism for breaking
tradition to create a nuevo tango (new tango.)
Restrepo will also have excerpts from poetry and the essay,
“Transhumance” by Elizabeth Rogers, Critic, writer, Harvard-Radcliffe,
B.A. Yale University, M.A. East Asian Studies, M.F.A. Poetry Director, Tibetan
Museum of Art, New York, displayed alongside some of the works.
2501 (Jacopo Ceccarelli) began his
career as a street artist when only 14 years old. He would continue to develop a
new style which combines wall painting, painting on canvas, sculpture,
installation, photography, video, and documentary. With respect to his work in
relation to Ciudades, he states: “Nature has been ingested and hidden in
the cracks of the city, in the abandoned factories, in the discarded buildings,
in the shantytowns, in the landfills, along railroad tracks. It survives solely
in the spaces of the collapse of policies and memory.”
Juan Raul Hoyos’ installation, Compound is currently on view at Narrativas y Procesos Del Arte Contemporáneo De Medellín/Colombia presented by Fundación Rozas-Botrán. In addressing the theme of Ciudades (cities) Oscar Roldan Alzate, Curator and Director of The Museum University of Antioquia -Colombia writes of Hoyos’ work: “To build, to install, to destruct, to dismantle, to arrange, to reassemble, to reorder, to project, to build, to reform, to modify, to deform, to form, to demolish: these are the collective actions that recall the image of ‘CITY.’ Beyond its execution we have seen the birth, the upbringing, and the disappearance of civilizations, empires and towns.”
Ana Maria Gutierrez takes pieces of posters found on the walls of her city, Bogota, Colombia and reinterprets them to form a new narrative. She says, “Each piece is composed of fragments of our urbanity, which come together in a masterful wall. A wall that invite us to get out of the obvious and to think of the capacity that we, as human beings, have to transform our environment and leave a mark in history.”
Additional Images and Artist Information By Request.
About Etra Fine Art
Now located in Little Haiti (Little River Art District) and
previously rooted in the renowned Miami Design District for nearly 10 years and
Wynwood for two years, Etra Fine Art focuses on representing and promoting a
wide variety of mid-career and established international artists whose work
represents modern and contemporary styles. The gallery exhibits paintings,
drawings, prints, sculptures, photography and installations that reflect
progressive concepts while incorporating traditional and non- traditional
materials. Because of its location at the crossroads of the Americas and
Europe, Etra Fine Art has made it a priority to connect artists and collectors
from both regions.
In addition to promoting and exhibiting artists, Etra Fine Art
works with private collectors, corporations and interior designers to build
collections by researching, locating, acquiring and installing an array of
Alicia Restrepo graduated in Economics first and Art later, and
has been in the art business since 1983. She was recognized as co-owner of one
of the most important galleries in Soho in the eighties and nineties, before
moving her business to Miami in the early 2000’s.
If you’ve landed on my page and happen to be looking for Miami’s best Art Basel (Miami Art Week) parties, you’ve come to the wrong place. I’ve been writing about art fairs for the last four years and to me, it’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Why? Because for less than the price of an airfare, you have a chance to see art from all over the world, talk to the gallerists and sometimes meet the artists.
If you spend too much of that time attending parties, you won’t have the energy to survive the art trek mileage.
So here I go, jumping into the Google pool of listicles with an “A to Z” where I’ll be this year. Put on some comfortable shoes and join me on the trip!
If you’ve never been to an art fair before, start with Art Basel in Miami Beach. After all, Miami would not be the western hemisphere’s premier destination for art collectors that it is, if Art Basel had not debuted in 2002. Besides a chance to visit 268 leading galleries representing 35 countries, you’ll get to see the completed renovation of the Miami Beach Convention Center.
Rather than walk in and figure it out, I suggest you download the Art Basel app and mark the galleries that you wish to visit ahead of time. If there is a particular artist who you like, search by his/her name and it will show you which gallery represents that artist.
As a journalist, I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to attend the press conference and preview, but if you want to try to beat the crowds, attend one of the morning Conversations and then enter the fair. There will still be a line, but this quiet time sets the tone for an inspiring visit.
I was disappointed to know that there won’t be a Public sector (the outdoor art installation at the Bass Museum) this year, but you may want to check out the multidisciplinary installation, ‘Autorreconstrucción: To Insist, to Insist, to Insist…’ by Abraham Cruzvillegas. The project which is an Art Basel partnership with curator Phillipp Kaiser and The Kitchen, takes place in the Grand Ballroom and is free and open to the public: December 6 – 9 at 3:00 and 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, December 6, 2018, 3pm to 8pm; Friday, December 7, 2018, 12noon to 8pm; Saturday, December 8, 2018, 12noon to 8pm; Sunday, December 9, 2018, 12noon to 6pm
This year, Art Miami and its sister fair CONTEXT Art Miami are presenting their 29th edition and the second year located at the site of the former Miami Herald building. It’s impressive to say the least, and there’s something about the infiltration of natural light and bay views that makes this new setting very relaxing. Now although Art Basel in Miami Beach did change Miami’s art world landscape, did you know that Art Miami is the original and longest-running contemporary art fair in Miami?
Expect to see significant artworks, projects and installations from over 160 galleries from almost 30 countries.
Although I have yet to visit CONTEXT, I have visited Aqua Art Miami located at the Aqua Hotel. If you’re not in the art collecting big leagues, here’s a great place to start your art collection. You’ll find works by young, emerging and mid-career artists.
I love Design Miamiand if I had an unlimited interior design budget, here’s where I’d be home shopping! Focused on high-end design, areas are aesthetically pleasing and full of inspiration. If you’re lucky enough to afford it, whatever you buy will be collectible and often a one-of-a-kind investment. I know that nobody seems to like the term: “functional art,” but to me there’s nothing nicer than owning a piece of art that can be enjoyed in many ways and not just looked at.
This year, plan to visit the Curio exhibitions which are small-scale, immersive installations presented by brands, galleries, and designers alongside the gallery program. There will be eleven new presentations.
Pedro Reyes and Carla Fernández, recipients of the 2018 Design Miami/Visionary Award will present a retrospective of their work that focus on design with a social dimension such as addressing social justice and peacemaking, as well as the emphasizing the importance of handcrafted products in a world where automation is replacing humans.
There will also be about thirty-two galleries from all over the world with booth exhibitions.
Wednesday, December 5, 12–8PM; Thursday, December 6, 10AM–8PM; Friday, December 7, 11AM–8PM; Saturday, December 8, 12–8PM; Sunday, December 9, 12–6PM
I visited NADA (New Art Dealers Alliance) for the first time last year. I enjoyed the smaller venue (Ice Palace Studios) and the intimate feel. Although it’s been years since I visited New York, there is an urban vibe to NADA and it feels like walking through a gallery district on a warm, summer evening.
NADA will have 125 exhibitors representing 23 countries of which 37 are first time exhibitors, 64 are NADA Member galleries and 26 project spaces.
Here is another fair to begin your art collection or continue supporting emerging. The NADA Miami International Gallery Prize is awarded to galleries based outside of the US that often have not participated in a US art fair before. The award minimizes the gallery’s financial risk and encourages experimentation. This year’s recipients are, CARNE Gallery (Bogotá) and Galeria Dawid Radziszewski (Warsaw.)
Thursday, December 6, 2–7pm; Friday, December 7, 11am–7pm; Saturday, December 8, 11am–7pm; Sunday, December 9, 11am–5pm
I have yet to visit PINTA Miami and am looking forward to it! PINTA is in its 12th edition and in its main section, will include 60 galleries from Latin America, United States and Europe. PINTA Countries will have sections dedicated to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico, and for the first time will include Spain.
Other areas to visit are: Project Section; Proyecto Visible; Collections Program; PINTA Platforms; and PINTA Editions.
Thursday, December 6, 12pm–8pm: Friday, December, 12pm–8pm; Saturday, December 8, 12pm–8pm; Sunday, December 9, 12pm–7pm
This will be my first visit toPULSE Contemporary Art Fair. I’ve tried in past years, but being set apart from the other fairs on Miami Beach and not contained like the mainland ones made visiting a challenge. However, that’s just me and no reason for you not to visit. The 14th edition of PULSE exclusively showcases contemporary art, from over 70 galleries from countries including: China, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Scotland, South Africa, Switzerland and Ukraine.
Like Untitled and SCOPE art fairs, PULSE is situated right on the Miami Beach sand. Whereas the North Tent houses the galleries, the South Tent presents SOLO exhibitions and CONVERSATIONS which are dual artist shows that encourage galleries to explore conceptual dialogues between artists who they represent.
Friday, December 7, 10am – 7pm; Saturday, December 8, 10 am – 7pm; Sunday, December 9, 10am – 5pm
I have been secretly admiring SCOPE Miami Beachfor the past few years. As a marketer, SCOPE is at the top of their promo game and, this fair and the way it’s presented is just outright cool. Gallerists are approachable, people look engaged and you can find some really unique and gutsy art at affordable prices. If you’re looking for a rest stop, SCOPE should be one of your top choices for light bites, libations and stellar views.
Celebrating its 18th edition, expect to see a diverse range of over 130 contemporary exhibitors. There’s also a New Contemporary section; a 360° experience of VIP Programming; Special Projects; Panel Discussions; Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series; Superchief Gallery; and publication, HI-FRUCTOSE will transform the SCOPE tent with ambitious projects featuring artists Okuda, Hot Tea, and AJ Fosik.
Here’s another fair that does an outstanding job of marketing its event. Because of my job, I notice these things, but even if I didn’t, I believe, Spectrum Miami and Red Dot may be a great place for emerging and local artists to gain some exposure and hopefully, sell their art. Side by side, both fairs offer 100,000 square feet of exhibition space. Red Dot Miami is a curated gallery-only contemporary art show and Spectrum Miami features the work of more than 160 exhibiting artists and galleries from the Florida region, U.S. and around the globe. Here is the perfect opportunity to engage with the artists directly and “shop local.” I’m looking forward to my first visit!
Thursday, December 6th: 1:00PM – 9:00PM; Friday, December 7th: 1:00PM – 10:00PM; Saturday, December 8th: 1:00PM – 9:00PM; Sunday, December 9th: 12:00PM – 5:00PM
Superfine! presents its fourth Miami edition presenting 38 solo artist booths and 11 galleries. If you find a work of art that you don’t want to live without, this fair helps to make it affordable offering tools like Art Money: zero interest loans and low monthly payments. 75% of the art ranges in price from $300 to $5000. In a press release, Superfine Director, Alex Mitow says, “Art should be about experiencing wonder and discovery, being enlightened and excited. Too many fairs and galleries get wrapped up in art world politics and forget their prime duty: to connect the work of talented artists with people who love and appreciate it. That’s the mindset we are seeking (and succeeding) to correct.” Don’t miss out on the Young Collectors; Ice Cream Social and other fun events.
Thursday December 6, 11am-10pm; Friday December 7, 11am – 10pm; Saturday, December 8, 11am – 10pm; Sunday, December 9, 11am – 8pm
It’s impossible to pick a favorite art fair because each one has its own character and of course, caters to different types of collectors. However, I love Untitled, Miami Beach! From the hot pink tent entrance and ocean view; to the vaulted (tent) ceilings and bright natural light; and beautiful and intellectually stimulating gallery presentations, it’s one fair that I could return to each day. This year is Untitled, Miami Beach’s 7th edition presenting 133 international exhibitors from 30 countries (46 exhibitors are new.)
I am particularly interested in seeing the artist-focused special projects which explore themes such as collectiveness, displacement, migration, and precarious presence, transpiring from the artists and artworks presented by exhibitors.
If you are a VIP member, be sure to check out the Podcast, Special Programs and Events. And, if you live close to Miami Beach, definitely take the mid-Miami Art Week Sunrise Yoga class break offered at the north end of the Untitled, Art tent.
Wednesday, Dec 5, 11am – 7pm; Thursday, Dec 6, 11am – 7pm; Friday, Dec 7, 11am – 7pm; Saturday, Dec 8, 11am – 7pm; Sunday, Dec 9, 11am – 5pm
Every writer needs a retreat. It’s impossible to keep filling up the mind with information, especially in the age of social media, without seeking empty space in order to continue being creative. When I need this space, I turn to art, nature, water and birds, or a trip in a kayak.
I am deeply affected by art: especially music, sculptures and film. A Chopin Nocturnecan move me to tears, a sculpture enrapture me, and a film send me into a trance. Am I strange?
I can see a single work of art and be moved, but never has an artist’s solo exhibition touched me as much as Mira Lehr’s Tracing the Red Thread at the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami. In fact, I’ve written a review for Widewalls magazine and you can read it here.
However, I needed to write something more personal and that’s the beauty of blogging. I don’t have to be too careful about grammar and I can write as if I’m speaking to someone face to face. I just hope someone is listening.
The Museum Visit
Tracing the Red Thread is a museum-wide installation divided into four rooms. In the main area, mangrove sculptures rise up from the floor and majestically stretch up to the ceiling. Each tree is connected to another with mangrove-like arms, holding the other up while protecting life nestled between its branches. If you physically follow the red thread, you too will be embraced by Mother Mangrove.