Cuban artist, Aurora Molina, claims that she put the final nail in Fidel Castro’s coffin. The dissident political artist, who is showing her work at the Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, was putting the last stitch (and needle) into her soft sculpture of the dictator when he promptly died. Molina knew this because her godfather called her from Cuba and shouted, “Castro’s dead!” and she replied, “I know. I killed him!” She is, however, quick to point out that she is an artist and not voodoo priestess. In the installation, Castro joins the line up of Hitler, Hugo Chavez, Nicolas Maduro, and Donald Trump, whose hands are protectively holding his private parts. The infamous leaders are positioned in the gallery’s booth as if listening to the Pope giving a benediction.
Art Miami, the city’s longest running contemporary art fair, celebrated the opening of its 27th year with sister fair Context Art Miami, and crowds circled around the block. The VIP Opening of the fairs showed art from more than 234 international exhibitors, 450 artists and 40 different countries. More than 10,500 of the most prestigious art collectors, connoisseurs and advisors attended the previews to view works from blue chip and contemporary artists, contributing to a frenzy of sales made within the first hour, including the $1-million sale of Josef Albers’ 1958 Oil on Masonite ‘Desert Dusk’ (Study for Homage to the Square) by Archeus/Post-Modern gallery. Continuing throughout the evening, galleries including Simon Capstick-Dale and Klein Sun reported five and six-figure transactions with Allan Stone Projects placing a circa 1947 Franz Kline painting in the $400,000 range.
The Pérez Art Museum Miami
The exclusive VIP preview was sponsored by Christie’s International Real Estate and benefited the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). Collectors, museum professionals, curators, connoisseurs and artists, including Jorge and Darlene Pérez, Bernie Taupin, Kara Ross of Diamonds Unleashed, collectors Janna Bullock and Lesya Voron, private art advisors Lisa Schiff, Kim Heirston, and Kathryn Mikesell along with Director of Pérez Art Museum Miami Franklin Sirmans, Marvin Ross Friedman and Adrienne Bon Haes, Michael and Carolynn Friedman, curator Thomas Moller, Jean Shafiroff and jewelry designer Stephen Dweck streamed through the doors to view the works which included pieces by David Hockney, Ai Weiwei, Frank Stella, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Willem de Kooning, Ed Ruscha, Salvador Dali, Cheval, Jeff Koons, Marc Chagall, and Pablo Picasso, in addition to pieces from Brian Eno, Bernie Taupin and Adrien Brody.
Al-Baseer Holly AKA: ABH
Visual and recording artist Al-Baseer Holly a.k.a. ABH, launched his first exhibition at Art Miami. Arcature Fine Art of Palm Beach represented the work. Fifty percent of the proceeds from the exhibition will benefit the Perry J. Cohen Foundation. Cohen was one of the two teenagers lost at sea last year in Florida. ABH’s work is being acquired and commissioned by art collectors including designer Tommy Hilfiger, music executive Tommy Mottolla, recording artists Schoolboy Q, YG, Dom Kennedy, record executive Archie Davis of Interscope, Atlantic Records’ Dallas Martin and Randall “Sickamore” Medford of Sony.
Context Art Miami
An impressive group of collectors perused the hundred galleries at Art Miami’s sister fair, Context Art Miami. Brent Estabrook, a 32-year old blonde dentist turned painter stole the show with his colorful bears at the Mugello Contemporary Gallery. At the Knight Webb Gallery, German artist Juliane Hundertmark was on site to witness the sale of her mixed media on canvas piece, “Sunset.” Octavia Art Gallery sold a work from Regina Scully for $16,000 and a Jerry Cabrera for $4,500. Mugello Contemporary once again sold out of Matthew Ryan Herget’s astronaut works. There were also strong sales at Caldwell Snyder Gallery, Lucia Mendoza, Galleria Alfredo Ginocchio, and Galeria Casa Cuadrada.
Please come back Thursday for my final Travels with Couri (Miami) entry on Art Basel and Art Aqua.