Tuesday, December 4, 2012

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 Art lovers mingling at UNTITLED

On Monday night before the official opening of Art Basel Miami Beach crowds of art lovers were already lining up for the first art fair opening.  UNTITLED, the new art fair set on the sands of Miami Beach, had a continuous line of people trailing from Ocean Drive to tent. While the fair was filled with modern artwork from galleries like the New York gallery Art in General and Chicago's Andrew Rafacz, for the most part the people attending were more interesting than the art displayed. The colorful crowd of artists, collectors, and art lovers hoping to get a jump on Art Basel celebrations included photographer Patrick McMullan, billionaire Jorge Perez (who donated $35 million to the Miami Art Museum), commissioner Michael Gongora, Brian Gorman (Lords Hotel), James Davis (Elaine Lancaster from Real Housewives of Miami), and Dr. Julio Gallo (Miami Institute for Age Management and Intervention) and  Dr Ivan Rusilko. The crowd attending the UNTITLED opening mingled and schmoozed, almost unaware of the art exhibited and the long line waiting outside for entrance. 
 Artist Desi Santiago at Lords Hotel
On the way to the Helmut Newton exhibition at WEAM (World Erotic Art Museum), we stopped at Lords Hotel to meet Desi Santiago, the artist who created The Black Lords, the giant dog installation covering the hotel. On the hotel's porch guests are invited to insert a question and stand on a podium to accept the answer from the giant dog. The answer comes from the mouth of the inflated dog with the aid of recordings, lights and smoke. Here's a tip: If you don't get the answer you want, keep selecting squares on the podium until you get your preferred response. 
 Naomi Welzig showing a Helmut Newton photograph in her permanent collection
The crowd at WEAM was welcomed by Naomi Welzig, owner and curator of the museum, who told us that the curator for the Helmut Newton exhibition was supposed to have flown in for the opening but got sick minutes before he was to board his plane. Nonetheless, the crowd was treated to cocktails made from  LUST vodka and  made-to-order crepes before viewing the Newton photographs. Helmut Schuster, Art Director of WEAM, spoke to the crowd sharing the story of Yva (Elsie Neulander Simon), the German photographer who taught the art of photography to a 16-year old Helmut Neustädter, later to become the famed photographer Helmut Newton. After WEAM we rushed to the James Royal Palm for the UNTITLED after-party but alas, the party had run out of liquor and food so the guests were leaving. The streets were filled with out-of-town visitors all rushing to parties or destinations unknown, trying to fit into the early madness known as Art Week, just another reason that I feel lucky to be a local. 

Rafacz (Chicago)

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