Contributed by Sharon Louden / Thank you, Sharon Butler, for giving me the opportunity to be a guest contributor from the art fairs in Miami Beach this week. I started with Pulse, Untitled and Art Basel Miami Beach. Like many in the art community, given the current political climate and all that’s happening in the world, my mind is in a different place than last year. However, I remembered something artist Michael Waugh wrote in a thread on my Facebook page recently: “Aesthetics and cultural production are a crucial aspect of the domination of capital. Sometimes work that directly addresses an issue can be the least engaged with the hegemonic process.” True. Everything is political, and every kind of expression counts. Aesthetics in painting can be powerful.
Jason Middlebrook has always impressed me not only by the rigor of his work, how it has grown over many years, but also how he shows his work professionally: he never seems to be locked into one gallery arrangement, and he shows his work in numerous places. I really admire that. This piece was in Jeff Bailey’s booth at the Untitled Art Fair.
I also enjoyed talking with Brad Thomas, an artist based in St. Paul, Minnesota, who was manning the Soco Gallery’s booth. He shows with the gallery as well, and I love the multiple roles he plays with the gallery, which is relatively new. Here is their installation of Clare Rojas paintings.
As I was leaving Untitled, I really enjoyed this wall of 90 individual works by Sean Bluechel at Galerie Laurent Godin of Paris, France.
Over at the main fair, Art Basel Miami Beach, I had a conversation with artist Mark Tribe about the 99% and what it means in the art community. Is the “99%” just defined by economics or by reputation, exposure, traction? We walked through the fair, discussed the notion of 99%, and saw these pieces.
All of the work at Galeria Luisa Strina’s booth was outstanding. I loved everything except for the lighting, which was mixed and often dark. Nonetheless, here are a few things that stood out:
A few other works to round out the day:
About the author: Educated at Yale University, Sharon Louden is represented by Morgan Lehman gallery. She is a Senior Critic at the New York Academy of Art and the editor of Living and Sustaining a Creative Life: Essays by 40 Working Artists. Louden is currently working on a second book entitled, The Artist as Culture Producer: Living and Sustaining a Creative Life, which will be published in early 2017 by Intellect Books and distributed by the University of Chicago Press.
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