The Week’s Over, Almost

For all intents and purposes the week (Art Week, that is) is over. Curiously, this year Constant Companion and I were able to pace ourselves and did not reach the saturation level that overtook us last year. We actually went to the Main Show (Art Basel Miami Beach) four times, for about four hours each immersion. After reaching destinations that appealed to both of us, we went our separate ways to view art. As would be expected, we discovered different artworks and artists.

Today I’m trying to regain my usual equilibrium … though it got wacked out of sync following my recent three weeks in Greece and Albania. Did my morning e-mails, “read” the Sunday paper, put in a load of laundry, completed my Sunday watering of the plants (two need to replanted). I even picked up three loads of trimmings from the backyard shrubs that I did last week. The weekly to-do list was started as I look at what awaits me.

Here’s some more thoughts of what I saw during Art Week 2022.

Interesting how art imitates life. I think that is part of Jeff Koons‘ philosophy. His eggs reminded me of the hard boiled eggs waiting to be used in the fridge (sorry, we don’t have a yellow bowl.)

My folklorist antenna was alerted at Art Basel when I saw Mary and Her Little Lamb one day.

Another day there was Chicken Little watching the sky falling at the private collection we toured. Sorry I could not find the artist’s label for either work.

The amazing work of Alexander Calder was represented by a number of galleries.

El Sol Rojo, Stabile, 1967, maquette

I was struck by the scale of his work, from the small, almost table-top maquettes to the larger than life sculptures.

Branches san Feuilles, 1946 – Small
Two Knobs, 1951 – Medium
Clouds Over Mountains, 1962 – large

I was reminded of the utter surprise expressed by a woman whose family was gifted a piece by Calder himself in a 2011 episode of Antiques Roadshow, broadcast from the Miami Beach Convention Center, the venue of Art Basel Miami Beach. Her unsuspecting husband was sequestered in the Green Room where I was volunteering during the appraisal. Luckily, he was seated when the value was announced.

Another observation I made compared the undulating marble sculpture full of curving ripples or rippling curves by Elizabeth Turk, American artist and MacArthur Fellow, with the more static marble sculptures by Pablo Atchugary, the Uruguayan artist whose work is displayed at the Pierro Atchugary Gallery here year round.

Elizabeth Turk

The work of both artists reflects an advanced and unusual level of skill bringing static marble to life.

Pablo Atchugarry

I thought the Atchugary would live outside in my yard as this one is next to the traveler palm in the courtyard of his gallery while the Turk’s softer work would add to warmth of our home.

Pablo Atchugarry

Finally, as we near the close of 2022, two additional months remain in the lunar calendar marked in many countries around the world, I am getting ready to bid farewell to the Tiger, my own sign, early next year. Tigers represented in various art forms in several of the fairs continually caught my eye.

First were these two delightful sculptures by ceramicist, Emily Yong Beck, which stood out at the Untitled fair.

This fierce, political assemblage at Art Basel by indigenous artist Denilson Baniwa from Brazil also caught my eye (https://www.getty. theseedu/news/meet-denilson-baniwa-brazil-colonialism-video/).

Another tiger peered out from this canvas.by Ellen Birkenblit.

Finally, a tiger from American artist Thornton Dial.

When I realized this was Thornton Dial tiger, my museum studies professor antenna perked up. The first of five shows curated by my students at FIU’s Frost Art Museum explored the museum’s collection of American folk art. One of the outstanding works in the exhibit was another Thornton Dial tiger – apparently he used this figure so much that a book documents them (Thornton Dial: Image of the Tiger).

At the Frost Art Museum

Note: Look closely at the eyes in all of these tiger images. At an exhibit about tigers in Asian art at the National Museum of Korea, it was pointed out that many artists represent the eyes using the eyes of domesticated cats; the pupil is a vertical line. In fact, the tiger’s pupil appears in nature as a round dot centered in the eye … Look again at the Emily Yong Beck sculptures.

While the art fairs have closed their doors, a number of venues continue to remain open. As we regain our stamina, Constant Companion and I will make a list and see what we can explore. Then, there are the local museums which staged new special exhibits to attract the many visitors who come from near and far every year for Art Basel Miami Beach. And, I might continue with a few follow-up observations from the fairs. In the meantime, the neglected dust bunnies have started to show their faces from underneath our furniture. House cleaning is calling my name!

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