Emotional Collecting Emerges as Top Trend at Miami Art Week

by Karen LeBlanc

Collectors bring curiosity to a week of Miami art fairs making emotional connections and purchases.

The Design Tourist, aka Karen LeBlanc, at PULSE Art Fair in Miami Beach during Miami Art Week.

Miami Art Week takes place Dec. 3-8, 2019 with more than 80,000 collectors, curators and art enthusiasts attending art fairs anchored around Art Basel Miami Beach. The defining trend of this art fair frenzy is the concept of emotional collecting, art purchases propelled by personal connections with works.

Kazuyuki Takishita, an artist from Tokyo, Japan brings his works to PULSE Art Fair with Gallery Art Composition. His art was a PULSE Prize Nominee.

Kazuyuki Takishita, an artist from Tokyo, Japan brings his works to PULSE Art Fair with Gallery Art Composition. His art was a PULSE Prize Nominee.

With more than two dozen satellite art fairs throughout Miami Beach and Miami, fair fatigue can set in from sensory overload. PULSE Art Fair in Miami Beach aimed to be the antidote by creating a sensory soothing backdrop for contemporary art on exhibit. “Our theme is Calm in the Palms. We want to be a destination, not an event on the checklist. PULSE is not just an art fair. It’s an experience. I want people to come here, relax, feel the PULSE environment so that they can absorb the artists here to their fullest extent,” says PULSE Art Fair Director, Cristina Salmastrelli.

PULSE Art Fair, one of the first satellite fairs to join Art Basel Miami, celebrated its 15th year with a curatorial theme that stimulates the five senses. The fair’s signature scent by Aroma 360 permeated through the aisles as an invigorating infusion for fairgoers, who were invited to touch the artwork in many of the gallery booths. A soundscape of cicadas created by PULSE Project Artist, Sandra Mohs soothed and focused attention. 

Many of the works piqued curiosity and started conversations creating connections between the art and collector.  “Emotional collecting is emerging as a strong trend in the art world. The tendency is to think of traditional collections as governed by strict rules that focus art in a certain genre or style, whether it’s emerging artists, print or photography works. In the last five years, more people are coming to our fairs with a curiosity and no rules for collecting. That has led to emotional buying where someone walks in; they are struck in some way by a piece and they buy it. That to me is very exciting,” explains Salmastrelli. 

Meguru Yamaguchi, Out of Bound No. 77, 2018 is acrylic, plastic, epoxy, and UV paint on shaped wood board, presented by GR Gallery at PULSE Art Fair

 “We must reflect the population that lives here year-round and we need to offer an international experience. We have artists from five continents here, which I’m very proud of because we need to see how creativity in all corners of the globe. When I vet the galleries and artists that apply to exhibit at PULSE, I want to make sure I’m not giving you just one point of view but all,” Salmastrelli says.

Hyperrealistic charcoal drawings presented by Galerie ALB, Paris at PULSE Art Fair during Miami Art Week

Works with emotional resonance include the hyperrealistic charcoal drawings of Galerie ALB by French artist Nicolas Pegon. “It looks like a photo but it’s charcoal drawings from a French artist. We came here to present Nicolas who works in hyperrealism drawings for 10 years now. He takes people’s surroundings, people of his family and he does these mise-en-scene works,” says Anouk Le Bourdiec, gallerist, Galerie ALB.

The Rendon Gallery presented the Casspir Project by South African artist Ralph Zim including this outdoor installation, the SPOEK 1 covered in colorful beads at PULSE Art Fair during Miami Art Week

The Rendon Gallery presented the Casspir Project by South African artist Ralph Zim including this outdoor installation, the SPOEK 1 covered in colorful beads at PULSE Art Fair during Miami Art Week

South African artist Ralph Ziman makes a powerful statement about social justice and violence with The Casspir Project presented by The Rendon Gallery.  ​Ziman covered in beads a Casspir, an armored, all-terrain vehicle developed in South Africa in the 1970s. The Casspirs were used extensively by the South African Police, as well as the South African Defense Force, against civilians in urban township areas from the late ‘70s through early ‘90s during apartheid. Developers of these vehicles named them Casspirs, an anagram combining the name of the designer (the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, CSIR) and the end-user (the South African Police, SAP). 

 The Casspir Project is a multidisciplinary fine art exhibition that encompasses a variety of media including installation, photography, oral history, and documentary film in response to Apartheid’s effects on South Africa’s culture and community.

Sophie Derrick self-portrait on view during PULSE Art Fair. For more go to www.degreeart.com

Sophie Derrick self-portrait on view during PULSE Art Fair. For more go to www.degreeart.com

Artist Sophie Derrick plays with painting and portraiture using the body as both an object and subject.

Sophie Derrick self-portrait on view during PULSE Art Fair. For more go to www.degreeart.com

Sophie Derrick self-portrait on view during PULSE Art Fair. For more go to www.degreeart.com

She photographs the act of painting onto her skin then paints on top of the photographs, creating a layering of the image of paint and painted image, blurring the boundaries between the two.  

Port-O-Potty by Zeke Moores presented by Art Mur on view at PULSE Art Fair during Miami Art Week.

Port-O-Potty by Zeke Moores presented by Art Mur on view at PULSE Art Fair during Miami Art Week.

Port-O-Potty by Zeke Moores presented by Art Mur takes a disposable, dejected object taken from the street and places it into the artistic context of a gallery space. The artist uses metalsmith techniques to create his Port-O-Potty, usurping the traditional modes of mass production and the disposable materiality that we associate with these objects. Moores uses mechanized assembly line production and objects made to be thrown out and transforms them into a craftsman’s labor of love. 

PULSE Art Fair is my antidote to fair fatigue during the art-saturated week of shows and fairs because of its original programming, cutting-edge installations and sensory-rich experiences. I highly recommend this annual art fair during Miami Art Week.

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