art basel farewell

Guest post by Rose Zgodzinski

We come to Art Basel to look and absorb as much of the experience and atmosphere as is possible. We’ve never bought anything at any of the fairs, although we have considered a few pieces over the years. The experience is always overwhelming, probably the word that best describes our treks through Art Basel week… but overwhelming in a good way.

If you are a novice and are considering going it might help to do a little research first and then understand that there is no possible way to see it all! So relax, breathe and just start anywhere. 

If you know what you like, try and tailor your experience to the fairs that will interest you. (Granted it is a bit hard to distinguish when almost every fair uses the same descriptions: "cutting edge contemporary works, emerging or mid-career, internationally renowned artists". The NADA (New Art Dealers Association) Fair, thankfully, was described as avant-guard—not to everyone’s taste—and they were right!

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But more than anything, the Art Basel experience provides something for everyone—even man's best friend! On our last day, wandering through the Design district  (in the Buena Vista building) we came across Architecture for Dogs, an exhibit organized through the Design Miami Fair, a celebration of the relationship between humans and their canines. Check out the website that accompanies the exhibit, where you can download free blueprints of the 13 projects on display.

artwork by Vanessa German

artwork by Vanessa German

A highlight for both of us this year were these tar-baby assemblages by Vanessa German—beautifully forged entities, all precariously perched, and encrusted in found objects. They come prepared with everything that they might need, and are strong and frail, old, yet new. Vanessa German, who has also performed as a spoken word artist, is represented by Pavel Zoubok Gallery, a gallery specializing in collage, assemblage & mixed media.

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These globes by Ingo Gunther gave me serious Infographic envy!

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I'm looking forward to next year’s visit, and everything in between…

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art basel: creative blast

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Guest post by Rose Zgodzinski

Rose designs and illustrates information graphics—Charts, Maps & Diagrams is her website. We asked Rose why she attends Art Basel since it is seemingly so visually and conceptually different that her day-to-day graphics and problem-solving.

I have always needed a more practical anchor for my own expression—a large reason why I have practiced design and not fine art. The Art Basel experience, with all its diverse forms of expression is a huge push for me to experiment.

I connect to any schematics I see at the fairs, because it is the language I work in. But all these diverse expressive languages, which can be understood by anyone makes me feel that I can still practise and be understood in a new language.

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art basel: inside manita and randy's apartment

Guest post by Rose Zgodzinski
Photos by Michael Vaughan

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Randy and Manita

Randy and Manita

The best part of Art Basel for my husband Michael and I is the visit to Manita & Randy's Bayside condo. Manita Brug-Chmielenska is the reason why we go to Art Basel. She is an old friend from Toronto who relocated to Florida originally to investigate southern vegetation (when she was practicing landscape architecture). She found Randy Burman in a neighbouring studio, stayed, married him and became a principal in his graphic design firm, IKON Communications and Marketing Design.

For years Manita has been saying "You've gotta come down and see this! It is the Olympics of the art world! We've taken her advice and this year's annual trek to Art Basel marks our fourth visit. I would be lost without Manita's daily telephone debriefing sessions during Art Basel week—she is the indispensable insider's guide with advice on what to see, what to avoid, restaurant and even traffic and parking suggestions.

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We always manage to get in a visit in to their apartment. This year Manita, has organized a morning brunch, in order for all their visiting friends (collectors, out-of-towners, artists) to get together.

Their amazing apartment, which has been organized around a burgeoning art collection (or "Living with our Obsession" as Manita calls it), has been amassing for the past 17 years and reflects their eclectic sensibilities.

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Manita describes their collection as "Guided by intuition, personal preferences and sensibilities that lean towards Dada and Art Brut, we have surrounded ourselves with a collection of contemporary, thought-provoking, and often, witty art." The collection of 200-plus pieces consists mainly of found-object assemblages, but there are also works on paper, paintings, woodcuts, ceramics, books, collages, glass, sculpture, advertising icons, and photography.

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Visiting the apartment is also an opportunity to catch up with Randy's own artwork; also found-object assemblages and an extensive portrait project of Republicans ("Somebody's got to do it!") for a conceptual arcade-like installation.

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art basel

Yayoi Kusama: Tulip with All My Love. Photo courtesy Art Basel Miami website.

Yayoi Kusama: Tulip with All My Love. Photo courtesy Art Basel Miami website.

Guest Post by Rose Zgodzinski

We attended the previews of the Art Basel fair yesterday, hoping to avoid the crush of the vernissage—still the place was packed, and people watching was just as interesting as the art itself. This is the sophisticated, classic art fair that oozes prestige—and never disappoints. Languages overheard: Spanish, German, Russian, French and many accents of English.

Jack Pierson, IF. Photo courtesy Art Basel Miami website.

Jack Pierson, IF. Photo courtesy Art Basel Miami website.

Jack Pierson, The World is Yours. Photo by Rose Zgodzinski.

Jack Pierson, The World is Yours. Photo by Rose Zgodzinski.

We also drove through Wynwood—the street art capital of the world, where we saw several crews painting in the dark, getting their walls ready for the day and the expected throngs. We managed to get to preview some art fairs nearby: Scope, Overture, and Art Asia, all in one tent.

Image courtesy Wynwood Walls website.

Image courtesy Wynwood Walls website.

Photo courtesy Wynwood Walls website.

Photo courtesy Wynwood Walls website.

warmer climes: Art Basel Miami!

Adam Adach: Gymnastes

Adam Adach: Gymnastes

Guest Post by Rose Zgodzinski

Over the past decade Art Basel Miami has evolved into a contemporary art extravaganza and It will launch its 11th season this year on Dec 6th to 9th in the Miami area.

Originally established in 1970 as a way to showcase contemporary art in Europe as Art Basel (Switzerland), Art Basel Miami Beach was set up in 2002 as a sister show to forge stronger geographic links with art enthusiasts in the Americas.

The art festivities during Art Basel week are a visual feast with the Art Basel Fair at the Miami Beach Convention Center the main course. 260 international galleries and over 2000 artists will be showing 20th and 21st century art.

But there is much more on the menu in Miami over the next few days—so far I have counted 23 additional Art Fairs, 16 in the city and 7 on the beach. Because so many art people are in town over the course of Art Basel, a profusion of Art Fairs have sprouted into existence in Miami’s nearby art districts.

If you’ve never visited this part of the world before, the art deco hotels on the beach, some of which will be hosting Art Fairs, are also tour-worthy

It’s not just the added boost of the Florida sun that makes this event so invigorating. It’s great to be able to recharge the creative batteries and all this non-stop art just makes you want to get back to the studio and dig in.

I’m happy to be offering a taste by sharing my impressions and photos of Art Basel Miami over the next few days.

Bon Appetite!

Alex Katz: Sharon

Alex Katz: Sharon

Alexander Ross: Summer III

Alexander Ross: Summer III

Alexandre da Cunha: 1623100812

Alexandre da Cunha: 1623100812