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Pre-Art Basel Miami

touch down MiamiI try to avoid the crowds, and so this past weekend I went to Miami to see some art, pre-Art Basel. Really though, it was a scheduled trip, and I wish I could be in Miami in three weeks for Art Basel (or big art party), but I’m not complaining.

This was my first opportunity to tour the arts district, and even though several galleries were closed for openings next week or closed entirely until the fair, the few that I did see were great. The area reminded me of a very early Chelsea.

Franklin EinspruchArts blogger Franklin Einspruch is exhibiting paintings and drawings at the Dorsch Gallery. This is the first chance I’ve had to see his flat, simplified vignettes of domestic and street scenes, and I liked them very much. Also showing at Dorsch are Magali Wilensky’s mixed fabric constructions, utilizing brilliant colors to create beautifully patterned organic shapes.

More good painting by Jeniffer Coates at Kevin Bruk Gallery. I’m familiar with her work, as she also shows with Feigen Contemporary in NY. What seem like simple landscapes are transformed into a more hallucinatory experience, with a closer look. She has a wonderful sense of balance and color.

True Stories is a large photo installation of 30 works, by Sophie Calle at Gallerie Emmanuel Perrotin. Was this space formerly a bank? Calle will represent France at the 2007 Venice Bienniale. In this exhibit each of her large framed photos leans against the wall with an accompanying, framed, very personal story centered on relationships, marriage, and divorce. Some stories are uncomfortably personal, some overshare, while some are are quite fun, as in Divorce, where her fantasy is to be a man, so she would stand behind her husband, holding his penis as he peed. I could only find the true text in French.

Simon Lee@Ingalls Assoc, Miami

Ingalls and Associates was my last stop of the afternoon. I saw Yui Kugimiya’s thickly painted imagery of animals and birds, which I enjoyed but unfortunately don’t have an image of. In the main gallery are Simon Lee’s large photos of people on buses (shown above), which are fascinating.

You can feel the anticipation of the upcoming art fair in all the galleries. It will be an art Mardi Gras in Miami. Judging from the latest art auction results, that means millions in art sales and a few -- no, a lot of parties. Have fun.

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