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December 11, 2008

The Aqua Art Fairs during Art Basel Miami Beach... some passing thoughts..

The Aqua Art Fairs during Basel Miami Beach... some passing MAO thoughts..
Now that we've had some much needed time to rest up from our Art Basel Miami vacation. Since everybody asks... we thought it was worth doing a little postmortem more art fair writing.

After the Pulse fair.. our next favorite fairs were the 2 Aqua fairs. One in the traditional Hotel, and the other in an old warehouse in Wynwood. Just like all the Art Maimi fairs, both were more quiet this year than last.  Sadly, these 2 fairs were also filled with very anxious art dealers....who'd not sold much art work by the time we visited. But, the quality was there, we thought both fairs were terrific. With several standout booths.. and a few new found artistic gems MAO felt well worth sharing with the blog world.

First The smaller, Aqua Hotel Fair. We loved the following galleries..and a few particular artists..

- The Platform Gallery from Seattle -They had new works of witty paintings and drawings by William Powhida (one of MAO's longtime favorite humorists artists) and they also had self portrait photographs by new young talent Ariana Page Russell. (Ariana Page Russell, photo #1 & #2, #3,  "Corsage, 2008", and "Heat Wave, 2008", and  "Sugarplum, 2008", all 26" x 18", archival ink-jet prints)

Ariana_Page-russell_Corsage Ariana_PAge_russell_Heat-Wave Aiana_Page_russell_Sugarplum So.. You have to check out Ariana's website directly to fully understand her work.  But in a nutshell, she has a skin condition, dermatographia, which causes her skin to quickly turn red and form welts when she's scratched. Ariana utilizes her medical hypersensitivity condition to create designs and patters on her body, which she then photographs.  We found her self portrait images both beautiful, and shocking. At the fair her works were selling quickly for only $600 each, Edition of 5.. they clearly were too amazing to pass up.

It turns out MAO wasn't the only blogger to love Ariana's work..

- Publisher AMMO books from Los Angeles, had a very cool booth. They were showing both photographs by our so loved, Zoe Strauss (FYI, they have about 10 different prints by Zoe Strauss available in 2 sizes at prices too cheap for such a total super star photographer..) FYI Zoe's new book "America" was just listed in Artforum as one of the best photobooks of 2008. They also had a great Limited edition, plus photo prints available from the Hunter S. Thompson book Gonzo.

- Western Project from Culver City had several new paintings by Wayne White. They, along with Todd Oldham and AMMA books, are coming out with a huge new Monograph of all Wayne's work in the Spring 2009. Should be wonderful to see!

- The Paul Kopeikin Gallery (which just recently moved to a new location on Melrose Ave in West Hollywood, CA..good luck to Paul on your new space) had several hysterical "worded braille" photos by Lizabeth Rossof, they were made from those silly paper roll dot candies MAO remembers from our childhood.

The Aqua Wynwood Fair Thoughts and Standouts..

First off, when it comes to art fairs, The Aqua Wynwood Fair.. is lucky to have nice real walls, much better lighting, and real Flat Floors... which just makes for a much better presentation experience for Art viewing. If MAO had a drink dollar for every time we stumbled on those damn tent floors at Scope, Art Miami, Etc..... Yikes!

- Patricia Sweetow Gallery  from San Francisco, CA - Great Booth! They had some thoughtful photo and video works from Jefferson Pinder, which are worth checking out. But both MAO and Dr. Quiz totally fell in love love love with the work of super young painter Jamie Vasta.

    Now, MAO never in his lifetime thought he'd ever write these words... "We liked a group of paintings made entirely of GLITTER."  Yikes..! Yes.. It's true... As a total contemporary Art Snob, it's almost scary to even type Jamie_Vasta_Zoe that statement, but it's totally true.

The work of Jamie Vasta, is as intoxicatingly thoughtful, as it is sparkly & luminous. Made of only Glitter glued onto wood board, her newest series of young girls with their hunted (and frequently killed) prey left us mesmerized.  FYI.. these painting were all made prior to the Sarah Palin for VP choice.

There's so much in these paintings, we looked at them again and again. this series are all based on images Jamie found off the Internet.. it's hard to begin.. but they were impressive, political, lush, scary and beautiful all at the same time. Sadly they don't photograph well.. so don't think MAO's completely gone mad, until you've experienced one directly.
(Photo #4, painting by JAMIE VASTA, Zoe,2008,glitter, stain on wood,40 x 30 inches)

But after seeing these paintings, it was no surprise to hear, this artist was recently named one of the top 15 artists under 35 to watch, by Art Ltd. Her work was actually the magazine cover. Jamie who was only born in 1980, already has had reviews in Art in America, Artweek, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and has been a critics pick in Artforum.com. That's a lot of attention for glitter paintings.. but well deserved. Check out the work of Jamie Vasta soon.

- The Electric Works Gallery from San Fransisco had a great booth. Complete with a working artist Katherine_westerhout_aquarium_detroit made pinball machine by William T. Wiley.

They also had a great photo by Katherine Westerhout. Who's work we had not seen before.. but her Detroit project images are worth checking out.

(Photo #5, Katherine Westerhout, Aquarium, Belle Isle I, 2007, Archival Pigment Print)

- Walter Maciel Gallery from Los Angeles, had a strong booth with work by Rubel Collection Show, super star artist John Bankston. We also liked the soft cloth Cactus works by Margarita Cabrera. Finally, a plant MAO's black thumb can't kill.

- Lastly, we liked the newest color work by photographer Wouter Deruytter. He's completed a very expressive series of forest fire works complete Wouter_deruytter_first response with several hottie smoky firefighters. Several large photos were shown well at the Light&Sie Gallery booth from Dallas Texas.  We found these all very powerful images. great work.

(Photo #6, Wouter Deruytter, Untitled, First Response, 2007, pigment print)

Actually, for anyone at Aperture reading post.. this body of work would make for a perfect photobook.

So overall we really liked the time we spent at the two different Aqua fairs.. There was lots of new cutting edge contemporary art to see, and next year we will be sure to put them higher on our priority list of places to get to when at Art Basel Miami Beach 2009.


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Thanks for the Ammo Books tip. "Mattress Flip" is now mine. I told 'em MAO sent me.

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