With dozens of art fairs and shows Miami Art Week competing for my attention, it’s impossible to attend and experience every art, fashion and entertainment event. Shows extend from Miami Beach, anchored around Art Basel Miami, the mothership of all art fairs, and spread throughout downtown Miami and Wynwood District. My strategy is to experience a cross-section of art fairs that represent everything from blue-chip art to urban art which brings me to Red Dot Miami and Spectrum Miami, held inside Mana Wynwood convention center, December 4—8, 2019.
I attended the Opening Night Preview Party sponsored in association with Jadot and Bulleit Bourbon where I sipped on a , inspired by the iconic Bulleit Bourbon label and whiskey.
Nearby, I admired the debut of the Bulleit Art in a Bottle Collection.
Bulleit Frontier Whiskey partnered with Red Dot Miami and Spectrum Miami to create an art project of 12 original works of Bulleit Art in a Bottle in collaboration with south Florida artists Jason Skeldon “SKEL” and Elidea. Both artists are known for their unique visions and use of multiple mediums to create something new.
Jason and Elidea’s art pieces are visual representations of what the cultural frontier means to them. Elidea’s Bulleit Art in A Bottle pieces depict the Cuban influence in Miami’s culture.The Bulleit Art in A Bottle Collection is available now at Saatchi Art
What I like about Red Dot Miami and Spectrum Miami is their commitment to showcasing Florida artists.
Artist Elidea lives in Miami and creates collages of mixed media working with gold and bronze leafing in layers with different papers and textures to create landscapes.
Artist Doug Powell based in Winter Park, Florida, works with recycled computer keys to create 3D sculpture and art.
Doug creates the illusion of three-dimensional form through the use and arrangement of recycled, or up cycled, computer keyboard keys.
Florida artist Paul Columbus showcased his Phantom Faces and Collaborations with Jennifer Friedland, at the Spectrum’s ArtBlend. Gator Skull, “Florida Boys” was the show stopper at his booth. The piece is a real Florida Alligator skull harvested from the waters of the Ochlockonee River in Northwest Florida and a limited release collaboration between the artist Paul Columbus and his lifelong friend and outdoorsman Justin Rock. Both are Florida natives with a deep appreciation for native flora and fauna that define Florida landscape.
Columbus also presented his Phantom Faces collection, paintings of surrealistic faces blended with cubism.
The overarching theme at both shows was about creating awareness and connecting with humanity. At Spectrum Miami, I ran into two strange-looking characters clad in rags roaming the show as social sculptures. They were wearing Ghillie Suits, camouflage garb traditionally worn by snipers outdoors to blend in with their surroundings.
“The Ghillie suit disrupts the silhouette and changes the figure making it invisible,” says Colin Beatty of the craft guild Unaffiliate exhibiting the Ghillie Suit Project. The Boston-based artist who designed the 10 Ghillie Suits featured at the art fair wishes to remain anonymous but says his art is a response to the opioid epidemic. He crafted each suit from the articles of clothing from people who died from opioid addiction. “The artist took their wardrobe, shredded it and made camouflage suits of the people who died of addition to symbolize how they were hidden in plain sight. The artist is calling out the stigma attached to the disease of addiction. The Ghillie Suit is a work of art that serves as a catharsis and recovery.”
The work of artist Eduardo Cabrer calls attention to the single-use plastics problem polluting our waterways and beaches. Cabrer suspends found trash and objects in colored resin creating thought-provoking works that raise questions about consumerism and our throw-away culture.
“It’s about creating an awareness of the excess of plastic that is out there. I find most of the objects that I use in my art on the beaches of Puerto Rico. I found the plastic bags in the streets of New York. It’s a contrast between the process of buying something and the process of disposing of something. It’s just creating that awareness of the eternity of plastic,” Eduardo says.
New Jersey-based artist Zevi G, shared a message of kindness with his interactive art installation featuring the character sculpture Gesture, part of an imaginary world called 456 Land.
The bronze, bow-tie clad sculpture held a rose and stood in front of a wall of roses. As I approached the booth for a photo op with Gesture, someone handed me a real long stem rose and encouraged me to “share kindness.” Part performance art, guests were invited to fill out by postcard with the address of someone they wish to send kindness and Zevi G’s staff will mail the rose to the recipient on the postcard.
Crazy Sugar by artist Mario Villarroel is a critical reflection of society, in this case, its addiction to junk food. The work is part of Villarroel’s The Second Life collection that seeks to give a new beginning to everyday objects, that lost their value due to their usage. His paintings are collages that he decorates with disruptive memes.
Spectrum Miami featured the works of more than 200 exhibiting galleries and artists from the Florida region, the U.S. and around the globe, informed by the 2019 curatorial theme [IGNITE]. Known for its urban and upscale works of art, the five-day show attracted more than 40,000 visitors and high-net-worth collectors who interact with the specially curated programming, while celebrating the fine art experience with music, entertainment and other special events.
Red Dot Miami, a curated gallery-only contemporary art fair, presented for its 14th year, saw the highly anticipated annual presentation of leading galleries and their artists, informed by [PASSION] as the curatorial theme for 2019. Red Dot Miami featured more than 60 galleries representing over 500 leading contemporary artists from primary and secondary markets throughout the world.
Learn more about the artists featured at Red Dot Miami and Spectrum Miami in new episodes of The Design Tourist filmed at Miami Art Week.
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