About Last Week

Ryan McNamara at Art Basel

Survey 10 visitors to the non-stop bacchanal that is Art Basel Miami Beach and you’re bound to get 10 different impressions. As big-ticket collectors, dealers, artists, brands and assorted others converged on the 2014 edition last week, there were so many fairs, performances, exhibitions and parties on tap that one could easily have seen art from dawn til dusk, slept til dusk and partied til dawn, or done a little of both. The art world is, in fact, many worlds under one umbrella and if you want to experience them all simultaneously, Miami is your kind of town. Each year there a few new outliers: during her outdoor concert at the Raleigh Hotel on Wednesday night, for example, Miley Cyrus self-identified as an artist.

Party central for the week was Ian Schrager’s newest hotel, the Miami Beach Edition, whose LED-lit indoor skating rink, bowling alley and basement nightclub drew throngs nightly. There were the usual celebrity sightings (Leonardo DiCaprio, P. Diddy, Swizz Beatz, Linda Evangelista) and some unlikely ones (Paris Hilton and Housewife Bethenny Frankel). One wannabe kept popping up all over town wearing a thong swimsuit and a lampshade on her head. Instagram founder Kevin Systrom also powered through the fair grounds, taking in content and getting likes everywhere he went. And performance artist Ryan McNamara got everyone talking about his game-changing ME3M 4 Miami, a story ballet about the Internet performed nightly in Miami’s former Playboy Club, where the fabulously seedy ambience was itself worth the journey up Collins Avenue. Of course, there was also plenty of contemporary art and design to revel in. Here, a highly random sampling of our favorite things.


Ryan McNamara’s Me3m 4 Miami performance, Performa In the Miami Grand Theater at the Castle Beach Resort, Ryan McNamara and his troupe of dancers took audience members on an immersive tour of the Internet. One by one, each audience member was hoisted while still in their seat by a custom-made dolly and rolled backwards to a destination that was never named. The means for getting from place to place was the same for everyone in the audience; but each viewer had a slightly different experience, depending on what they looked at. Moments after being plunked down to watch one dance performance set to house music, or hip hop tracks, the viewer was lifted and rolled again, only to be plunked down in an entirely new place. McNamara did a brilliant job of mimicking the sensation of clicking through images online before making sense of them, an endless scroll of virtual experiences he created through dance, music, and ambient décor in real time.


Urs Fischer at Sadie Coles HQ, Art Basel Miami Beach Fair It was raining Urs Fischer at London’s Sadie Coles HQ booth, where visitors had to dodge dozens of green rain droplets hung at varying angles from the ceiling to get up close to works by Fischer and others on view.

Copyright Sadie Coles HQ, London


Petra Cortright at Foxy Productions, NADA Art Fair Best known for her YouTube videos, digital artist Petra Cortright wowed with her digital paintings, images made in Photoshop and printed onto aluminum.


Neugerriemschneider, Art Basel Miami Beach Fair The Berlin-based Neugerriemschneider created discrete spaces for each of its artists on view, given them room to shine. There were gorgeous hanging pendant lights by Jorge Pardo, an installation of geometric chandeliers by Pae White and a haunting sculpture by Pawel Althamer.


Jon Rafman, NADA Art Fair In Room 111 at the Deauville Hotel, where the NADA art fair is held, artist Jon Rafman used the Oculus Rift virtual reality system to recreate and destroy the very room where the viewer stood. Rafman’s work explores the fading boundaries between the real and the virtual. As soon as visitors stood on the balcony and donned goggles, they could see the details of the room they had just been in, only to watch its walls fold in and the balcony beneath them slip away, leaving them to experience the virtual ocean as if they were floating in space. It was an out of body experience to say the least.


Flyboarding, PAMM One of the most exhilarating moments came via DIS, the collective that organized last year’s Kardashian look-alike contest. The group choreographed a night of flyboarding on Biscayne Bay as part of the one-year anniversary celebrations for the Perez Art Museum Miami. The performers wore jet-propelled boots that launched them high into the air, then plunged them into the sea. They looked like human porpoises. See for yourself right here.

Photo by Getty Images


Beatriz Milhazes, PAMM In her first solo museum show in the US, at the Herzog & de Meuron-designed Perez Art Museum Miami, the Brazilian painter Beatriz Milhazes’s Botanical Garden was a psychedelic garden of earthly delights.

Courtesy of the artist


Thaddeus Wolfe, Design Miami Fair In his fair debut at R & Company, Thaddeus Wolfe proved one of the standouts with his pendant-like glass sculptures reminiscent of Brutalist architecture and rock formations.


The Rubell Family Collection At their Rubell Family Collection, Don and Mera Rubell toasted 50 years of marriage and collecting with “To Have and To Hold,” a survey of highlights from their vast collection that included wall labels about the works shown written by the artists who made them. Downstairs, the Rubells gave over individual spaces to solo efforts by six artists: Will Boone, Aaron Curry, Lucy Dodd, Mark Flood, David Ostrowski and Kaari Upson. Dodd’s ravishing “Guernika,” an ode to Picasso’s 1937 anti-war mural, was painted over three moonless nights in Miami just weeks before it went on view. Dodd brought with her materials she had gathered in Guernica to use in the work. The gorgeous painting, the same dimensions as Picasso’s mural, was not hung on a wall, but left to lean against a column in the vast space, leaving the impression that the artist had just popped out for a mojito and left it to dry.


Miley Cyrus FKA Twigs, 2 Live Crew and Miley Cyrus all put in appearances in Miami but Miley’s concert caused the most panic when the stash of green wrist bands handed out by the night’s organizers, curator Jeffrey Deitch and V Magazine, ran out. Miley thanked Deitch for taking her foray into the art world seriously, then ripped into such covers as Rick James’ Super Freak, the Johnny Cash classic A Boy Named Sue and her own ode to her dog, whose death, she confessed to the crowd, had made 2014 “the worst year of my life.” Sharing the stage with the Flaming Lips, she was clearly having fun in her silver foil wig and pasties and sent the crowd off with bubbles, confetti and Miley ‘play’ money, which she’s no doubt been minting all year as she’s crossed the country promoting Bangerz.