When is an Art Fair like a Museum?

Yesterday was the last day of our annual Art Week. Constant Companion, Daughter, and I ventured out for our last look. Actually, it was CC’s first day at the Main Fair since he’d been away all week. I was saving up to go with him.

I always forget that his pace is excruciatingly slow as he considers each piece of art from every conceivable direction. Then he engages the gallerists in discussions about what he is seeing. On the other hand, I’m more of a grazer. I browse. I look from afar. I move in when I’m really intrigued, interested, and want to see more. And, I rarely speak to the gallerists. There are so many ways to work through the art fairs, and galleries and museums for that matter. We go at it differently and always see different works of art and sometimes the same works of art.

This was my second trip to the main show and I saw so much more (see Dec 6 post for Day 1). I was able to see a few more Kabinetts, quite a number of mainstream contemporary artists, and lots more as I grazed along.

The Fondation Beyeler display singlehandedly answered the question posed above. They presented a series of framed works by Goya, The Disasters of War. What a privilege to see this very significant collection.

Seeing the classics provided me with a twentieth century Art History refresher. Scattered throughout the galleries (some of the represented by multiple galleries) were works by Romare Beardon, Alexander Calder, Carlos Cruz-Diaz, Thornton Dial, Sam Gilliam, Jacob Lawrence, Louis Nevelson, Richard Prince, George Segal, Jesus Rafael Soto, Andy Warhol, Ai Wei Wei, Kehinde Wiley. It was also like seeing old friends to see the work of some of these artists.

Romare Beardon
Guitar Executive, 1979
Only one of the several galleries showing Calder

Jesus Rafael Soto and Carlos Cruz-Diaz also figure heavily in the Juan Carlos Maldonado which Constant Companion and I visited earlier during this year’s Art Week Marathon.

Carlos Cruz-Diaz
Polychromie 174, 1965
Jesus Rafael Soto
Tes negra y color,1993

Thornton Dial is another old friend. The first exhibition incubator curated by my FIU Museum Studies students focused on the folk art in the collection of the Frost Art Museum. A central piece in that summer exhibit was one of Dial’s tigers. So comforting to see other Dial works. Thanks to the Andrew Edlin gallery.

Thornton Dial
Shedding the Blood, 1991

I saw a much larger Sam Gilliam piece on my first visit (it was also featured in a print article during the week). I did not even try to find it in the maze and through the crowds as the day progressed.

Sam Gilliam
Cut, 1969

When Constant Companion and I compared notes after we both got home (at different times. I left early and walked home; he stayed til the bell rang!), we realized that the same Jacob Lawrence had caught our eyes.

Jacob Lawrence
The Butcher Shop, 1938

Louis Nevelson, Richard Prince, George Segal … what can I say?

Louise Nevelson
Young Tree XXIV, 1971
George Segal
Red Woman Hanging from a Rope, 1996
Richard Prince
Untitled (Cowboy), 2001

Ai Wei Wei and Kehinde Wiley are today’s rock stars. Wiley spoke on Monday evening at a big buck (spendy, one of my brothers says) event. A few years ago, I saw him at this fair. Ai Wei Wei’s piece is constructed of Legos!

Ai Wei Wei
Illumination 2019
Kehinde Wiley
Portrait of Jordan Phillips, 2019
Kehinde Wiley
Portrait of Harper Watters, 2019

Here is a smattering of other artists whose work caught my eye during my stroll through the art fair. First, two artists from Africa:

Omar Ma
Africa on the Great Path Towards Nation-State, 2019
Pascale Martine Tayou
Lampedusa, 2019
Can you tell this is a field of marbles?
See also this blog’s feature image

A growing representation of African-American artists, another long-awaited art history class.

Charles White
I Been Buked & I Been Scorned, 1954
John Biggers
Old Couple (aka Old Sweet Home), 1944
Bettye Saar
Gliding into Midnight, 2019

Several artworks were by artists I’d seen earlier in the week or reminded me of images that I’d also seen earlier in the week:

I was struck by the image of the woodpecker in each of these pieces –

Ambreem Butt, Pakistani-American
Daughter of the East, Plate 1, 2008
seen at Ink
Charles Ephraim Burchfield
The Red Woodpecker, 1955

Oh gosh, in January 1971, after dropping out of college (TMI) my parents sent me to spend a (cold wintry) month in London. Our flight was diverted to Manchester because of weather and I actually heard someone declare that it was “a real pea-souper.” Right out of Sherlock Holmes.

I haunted the museums and immersed myself in the theatre. What a wonderful month. At one of the museums I must have seen an exhibition of Palestinian embroideries and I purchased two small catalogs written by Shelagh Weir. I had fallen in love with the art form. Thus, both on this day and at another gallery was drawn like a magnet to the work of Jordan Nassar.

P.S. I did return to school and get my B.A. in African Studies and Textile Crafts.

And finally, if you’ve been reading this blog for the past week, you know I’ve tried to also capture/document the artfulness of dress. When I saw this well-known Andy Warhol print, I remembered the dress (sorry for the photo quality) seen on the first day at Art Basel! Somethings in life to imitate art!

Thus ends, the 2019 diary/observations of Miami’s famous Art Week. I do have a few more ramblings to add which I’ll do this week, if you all don’t mind.


  1. Annette, thanks so much for all of this! For those of us who couldn’t be there, your descriptions and photos were fantastic!


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