At this point Art Week has long since come to an end. The big white tents have come down, the visitors are gone and so is all that precious artwork. While I try to collect my thoughts for this piece I am left to sift through hundreds of photos, business cards, and great memories. I’ve been attending the festivities for nearly ten years now; every year I learn better ways to maneuver from fair to fair but still get completely worn out. This year a cold caught up with me a couple of days afterwards; which is one excuse for my delay in reporting. Here are my four highlights of the week:
Superchunk at NADA Art Fair – December 7
I was lucky to leave work a bit early to make it to the Ice Palace just in time for a performance by Mac McCaughan and Jim Wilbur of Superchunk. This special acoustic set was to promote a 14 day auction by Merge Records in conjunction with Paddle8 and 25 artists. The artists each created a cover for Superchunk’s Break the Glass 7-inch single and the originals were auctioned to benefit the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Merge Records had a booth in the art fair that included some of the auctioned art work, zines, music and other Merge gear with some proceeds going to SPLC. This was the band’s first time playing Miami since 1993, and the performance was magnificent. The set was made up of new and old tunes including Break the Glass and The First Part, the striped down set was powerful and heartfelt. The tour for the upcoming album release of What a Time to Be Alive early next year does not show Superchunk coming to Florida so count yourself blessed if you made it here this day.
Afrobeta at Superfine! Art Fair – December 7
Superfine! Art Fair celebrated the opening night for Miami Art Week with a live performance by Afrobeta and a fashion show by local designer Krel. The art fair that hangs its hat on providing a unique experience in comparison to the typical, did not disappoint with nearly 50 exhibitors from around the world displaying their best work. I arrived with enough time to enjoy the art within the gallery as I maneuvered my way to the patio out back. I have seen the duo perform a dozen times and they never cease to deliver a fun and funky show. Make sure you check out Afrobeta’s documentary Birthright?! about the band’s experience traveling to Cuba, directed by Jayme Gershen.
The Nth Power at Wynwood Yard – December 7
I finished off this night of art and music at the Wynwood Yard to witness New Orleans based power trio The Nth Power tear up the stage. Made up of what drummer Nikki Glaspie calls her “dream team”, the other two members include: Nick Cassarino on lead vocals and guitar and Nate Edgar on bass guitar. I had not heard the band prior to this evening but the music is funky, rocking, and romantic; together with their engaging live performance it was an unforgettable experience. “The Nth Power wants to change lives through a message of musical love and understanding.”
Lucy Williams Pool at Night at Art Basel
Tucked away in the maze of the Miami Beach Convention Center in the Berggruen Gallery booth was a picture of a lovely Palm Springs backyard swimming pool scene at dusk. But wait this was not a picture, it was an intricate 3-D collage of scrap materials beautifully assembled to resemble a detailed photograph of a backyard swimming pool. Only when you closely analyze the piece from different angles do you realize the protrusions and layers that make up Williams masterpieces. The style and meticulous craftsmanship reminded me of the work filmmaker Wes Anderson creates for his movie sets. Williams creates her models based on photographs of iconic Mid Century structures by architects she admires, most of which are no longer standing.