There are a couple of things that I do as a practicing artist: I am systematically critical of my own perspective, my goals, and how what I make will ‘be’ in the world; I am leery to the point of skittishness about what ‘art’ means in Western culture and its colonies. My self-monitoring makes me keen to know how others who share my interests – in any field – manifest their perspectives and to what ends. My apprehensions around taste and access and power mean that it is near to impossible for me to have a transcendent moment in any ‘art world’ space, and frankly, I wouldn’t want to as that would mean I’d lost my bearings. And so, every opportunity I get to be with art, I take, even when it’s in a space I absolutely do not trust. Of course, my annual visit to Miami Art Week facilitates the one in the other.
The phrase, ‘what moves at the margins’ has lingered in my mind for the last few days as I’ve thought about what makes NADA Miami different from other Miami Art Week fairs. What Moves at the Margins is the title of a collection of essays by Toni Morrison that gives readers insight into her thinking, and, for serious readers of her work, is essential. For aesthetes – and I mean that in the classical sense – New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) moves at the margins of contemporary art and its market and informs an understanding of both.
People are afraid to merge on freeways in Los Angeles. This is the first thing I hear when I come back to the city. Blair picks me up from LAX and mutters this under her breath as her car drives up the onramp. She says, “People are afraid to merge on freeways in Los Angeles.” Though that sentence shouldn’t bother me, it stays in my mind for an uncomfortably long time. Nothing else seems to matter. Not the fact that I’m eighteen and it’s December and the ride on the plane had been rough and the couple from Santa Barbara, who were sitting across from me in first class, had gotten pretty drunk. Not the mud that had splattered the legs of my jeans, which felt kind of cold and loose, earlier that day at an airport in New Hampshire. Not the stain on the arm of the wrinkled, damp shirt I wear, a shirt which had looked fresh and clean this morning. Not the tear on the neck of my gray argyle vest, which seems vaguely more eastern than before, especially next to Blair’s clean tight jeans and her pale-blue T-shirt. All of this seems irrelevant next to that one sentence.
This year, my Miami Art Week plan includes a packed calendar beginning the afternoon of Tuesday, December 5, 2017 when I’ll visit Prizm Art Fair and then head to the Art Miami/Context complex at the former Miami Herald Herald site on Biscayne Bay. I’m interested in the general energy of the fairs I’ll visit and want to focus on one outstanding – knock out, life-changing – piece at each fair.
Each December since 2007,1 my buddy Jason and I have met up for Miami Art Week. We’ve learned a lot in the past 10 years about how to ‘do’ art fairs (perimeter first, then the middle). And, although the bazaar atmosphere can be overwhelming, the week is as a chance for us to quickly take the pulse of all things aesthetic and critical. We’ve never really set an agenda. One year he’ll wander over to DesignMiami, another year I’ll make a point of going to as many boutique fairs as possible, and still other years we’ll spend more time chatting over good food than doing anything else. It’s a circus, to be sure, one that it is increasingly popular to ridicule, but it happens here in South Florida and it’s directly related to things that are important to us, so we go.
Technically, I wasn’t late to see Get Out. Like my all-time favorite movie Fight Club, in the months leading up to its release, Get Out was somewhere in the back of my mind where I knew very little about it other than that the teaser images looked very, very good, very intriguing. So, as I happened to with Fight Club, I saw Get Out on opening night. And then again later that week. What!?
My favorite thing about Get Out is the way that it taints the “Good ThingsTM“. It questions – as we should – the provenance, purpose, maintenance, and significance of leafy suburbs, interest in Black lives, and everything (milk and cereal, tea services, slacks, basements, hats, TV sets, law enforcement, the UNCF slogan…) in between.
Alex Mitow is the co-founder and director of Superfine! who along with his partner James Miille began the organization a little over two years ago. A Florida native, Mitow grew up around the food and beverage industry and made the likely transition into the business, garnering his own success. His crossroads came at a culmination of events including catering an art fair, meeting Miille (an artist in his own right), and reminiscing on early Miami Art Week experiences. The pair decided to take on organizing a solo show in New York, exhibiting Millie’s photographs and the inspiration grew from there.
Michael Mut is a multitasking musician from Hialeah who plays in a couple of different bands around town. We met a few months back at work, where we bonded over the bass guitar and our love of music. Michael plays everything from classic rock to new wave 80’s music but his main project Electric Piquete is a funky Latin fusion that gets your body moving.