Travels with Couri: Art Me Tomorrow

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Dear, dear Reader,

Here’s Day Three of my Miami diary featuring Art, Art & More Art as at Aqua Art Miami’s 12th annual edition:

Lenny Kravitz Leads the Parade of Collectors

Aqua Art Miami, the sister satellite fair to Art Miami, at the Aqua Hotel, reported impressive numbers in attendance and sales, with more than 11,000 collectors, curators, art advisors, artists and museum professionals in attendance. Fair director, Katelijne De Backer, curated a selection of 51 international galleries that highlighted emerging and mid-career artists from around the world. Numerous galleries reported strong sales throughout the fair with works by Ben Frost, Hebru Brantley, Ken Wood, Liz Tran and Frank Hyder proving to be in demand.

A variety of notable guests were seen at Aqua Art Miami including Lenny Kravitz, Janna Bullock, DJC Money, LaBlanc, DJ Moonray, Bee Miranda, Tiffani LeBlanc, Jean Shafiroff, Gina Mcfall, Stephanie Zabriskie and Tristan Eaton. Aqua Art Miami continued to solidify itself as a completely unique fair with mass appeal for those looking to procure works by young, emerging and mid-career artists. “Aqua gives young artists and galleries the chance to grow by offering an incredible platform with an international audience through Miami Art Week,” said De Backer, director of Aqua Art Miami and Art New York.

The fair also featured an exciting selection of special projects in the hotel lobby and idyllic courtyard entitled Art in Public Spaces, where a group of provocative installations and large site-specific projects curated by Grela Orihuela and the Aqua Art Miami director De Backer. As guests entered the hotel they were greeted by Liz Tran’s explosive Traveling Planets, a mixed media on nylon from 2016, presented by Phylogeny Contemporary. Continuing into the courtyard, they were presented with Vertical Gallery showcase of Chicago graffiti artist turned art star, Hebru Brantley’s multicolor Fly Boy (Blue), Fly Boy (Green), Lil Mama (Red) fiberglass sculptures. He draws inspiration from pop culture icons, comic book heroes, Japanese anime and street art pioneers including Jean-Michel Basquiat, KAWS and Keith Haring. Defined as an Afro-futurist, he uses comic book style compositions to address his own experiences of African-American and urban life in America.

Frank Hyder, who participated in New York City’s Great Egg Hunt, created the mixed media work, Janis, which was the talk of the fair creating a unique centerpiece in the middle of the hotel’s courtyard. The work was comprised of denier nylon, acrylic paint, LEDs, iPod audio system, internal electric blower and nylon tie downs and presented by Projects Gallery. Lie Nay Tijen (Chen’s) Spheres was presented by Lassiter Fine Art in the courtyard. Chen creates each work piece by piece, in one-inch increments of polished stainless steel and the hallmark of Chen’s art is the emotion maintained within each piece.

This year, the five-day fair partnered with the Association of Women Art Dealers (AWAD), a nonprofit trade network on a mission to facilitate business between and for women and art. As a special treat, Aqua Art Miami and AWAD hosted a morning panel on Friday, December 2nd, addressing Unconscious Bias and the Art World, moderated by Susan Mumford, founder and CEO of AWAD. The panel included Sara Kay, founder and chairwoman of the Professional Organization of Women in the Arts (POWArts,) and Founder of Sara Kay Fine Art; Mashonda Tifrere an American R&B recording artist and the Founder of ArtLeadHER, a dynamic platform celebrating and bringing awareness to the women creating, curating and thriving in the male-dominated art world; Dawn Delikat, Associate Executive Director of Pen + Brush, a 120-year old nonprofit championing women artists and writers, and Steven Alan Bennett, collector of realist art of women, made by women.

Nanna Kassenaar of Kallenbach Gallery based in Amsterdam was thrilled with the response from fairgoers at Aqua Art Miami stating, “For Kallenbach, it was the first time presenting original work by Favela Painting in the United States. The response was amazing and we sold almost all of the works and have options on the ones that are still available.” She continued, “We sold them to respected collections from The Netherlands and the United States. For a first time, this was unexpected and we are very pleased.

Late Colombian artist Luis Jimenez’s brightly painted sculpture, The Crop Series presented by ACA Art Center from Miami, was a huge crowd pleaser. Paying tribute to Mother Nature, the artist noted that, “It was an invitation to fall in love with nature all over again, to treat it with respect, to observe it, and listen to it because it’s always telling us something. We need to reconnect with it.” Sheila Giolitti’s 2016 Tomorrow #2, made from ink, acrylic, gouache, archival metallic pens on Yupo was presented by Mayer Fine Art. Her works focus on her fixation with the connections between all matter and consciousness. Pele Prints presented artist Ken Wood’s 2016 series with works including Writ Large V, Writ Large IV and Writ Large VI. These were all collagraph and relief prints studying color and geometry and were found within the lobby of the hotel.

The installation, El Vuelo de la Semilla by the Cuban-born contemporary artist Leonor Anthony from 2015 was presented by Simons Gallery. The installation was inspired by her experience as a Cuban-born immigrant. NAOYA’s Kira Kira Poly Kanten (2016) made from resin, plastic and LED light was presented by Onishi Gallery, creating a childlike exhibition at Aqua Art Miami. Poly Kanten is the ever-evolving imaginary world filled with fairy-like children, animals with human personalities, and animistic goddesses.

Top 10 Sales

  1. Chicago based Vertical Gallery sold 90% of their booth during the VIP Preview with selections by Ben Frost and hometown artist Hebru Brantley selling for close to six figures.

  1. Stick Together Gallery based in Amsterdam held a solo exhibition by Max Zorn and sold their entire room to various collectors with placements between $35,000 and $40,000.

  1. Brooklyn’s New Apostle Gallery placed works by David Hollier including Jimi Hendrix for $12,000, Lady Gaga for $8,000 and the typed Obama for $4,000.

  1. Florida based CASS Contemporary placed Natalia Rak’s Whisper of the Witch for $4,600, and Shark Toof’s Tripych for $4,100, the entire collection of Michael Reed’s works on display was acquired.

  1. Pittsburgh based BoxHeart Gallery sold Kyle Ethan Fischer’s assemblage sculpture Rats Get Fat to Swiss collector, Daria Sandburg’s assemblage sculpture Light Traveler: All Aboard and her wall sculpture Light Traveler: A Fresh Breath of Elsewhere.

  1. J Fergeson Gallery from Farmville placed a selection of their spray-painted model train works from street artists CON, STOE, PRE, and KICK.

  1. Louis’ Pele Prints placed five large prints including Carly Kurka’s Fall and a Divide series and Ken Wood’s Writ Large series, which hung in the lobby of the hotel.

  1. London’s Simons Gallery placed four large works including Leonor Anthony’s homage to Basquiat, Sin Titulo for $13,800, two sculptures from Aimee Perez for a combined total of $5,000, and a photo by Italian artist, Daria Cipriani for $3,500.

  1. Fine Art Consultancy based in London and Tokyo sold all of their works from artist Jasia Szerszynska to a private collector.

  1.  Paris’ galerie bruno massa had a total of $15,000 in sales.

If you still haven’t had enough art news, I’ll serve up one more report on Friday: The VIP Preview of Art Basel.  Watch this space!


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