Art Blobble

Even the Broward and Palm Beach holdouts are getting sucked into this year's Basel

BlackBooks

Fort Lauderdale graffiti artist, engraver, and stenciler, Books is at it again. Along with Anthony Spinello and Lynn Yohana Howard, he'll be curating ABMB's first-ever street-level group graffiti exhibition throughout the Wynwood Art District. It will include 26 artists from all over the world.

The abstract, "wild-style" tags of BlackBooks, the stenciling team behind the eponymous Fort Lauderdale business, will also be on display in the Spinello and Scion galleries. BooksIIII and partner Andrew Black are looking forward to the attention and the possibility of lining their pockets with a little extra cash. Though he's heard plenty of people bash the fair for its commercialism, its size, blah, blah, blah, BooksIIII says he doesn't want to waste time on negativity. Especially about ABMB — one of the greatest opportunities out there for the area's artists.

"Basel is a circus, man," he says. "What else can I tell you?"

Scary Mary Santa Domenico and Conde

She may be 350 years old, but this artist/vampire has life in her yet. Scary Mary (a.k.a. hostess with the mostest pain) and her Hollywood neighbor and curator Conde, 45, will have their paintings on display at 1525 Lennox Ave., a house in South Beach they've rented. Well, a slave actually paid for the space, says Scary Mary, who is also a dominatrix.

Naturally, she'll be doing demonstrations in the torture chamber, as well as leading the doll burial ceremonies. Videos that Scary Mary has been making since 1986 will be running on screens in the seven-parlor home, and bloody marys and dead meat canapes will be served on opening night (Dec. 7), from 7:30 to midnight.

"The doll will represent things we hate. Like commercialism," Scary Mary says.

Her work and Conde's together explore the themes of the living and the dead, with Scary Mary's representing the living — after all "I'm the undead," she says — and Conde's venturing into the skeletal and the macabre. There will also be plenty of erotic art, including that vagina painting.

"You can put it right in," Scary Mary says. "It's like nothing anyone else is doing."

Lumonics

If you haven't heard of Lumonics there's a reason. Though adored by a small circle of friends, fans, and Florida art critics, they never asked for any attention, and for almost 40 years they routinely turned down invitations for more exposure.

Influenced by light shows of the late '60s, they've kept their heads down, quietly creating multimedia environments for the purpose of "making people feel good." They work mainly with Plexiglas, acrylics, video, and electronic and classical music to create a mood in a space. But for ABMB, they'll have individual light pieces for sale at the Edge Zones Art Complex. That's a first.

"We've never been to an art fair," says Dorothy Tanner, who runs the show these days. Her husband Mel died in 1993, and Tanner has decided it's time for his life's work to be shown. The most exposure they've allowed themselves was two years ago, when friends talked them into setting up a space at the Coral Springs Museum.

Friends kept telling Tanner she should share her art with more people, and finally she agreed. "I was like, hey, this stuff should be seen."

Alex Sweet and Timothy Buwalda

The Snitzer Gallery, owned by Fred Snitzer, will feature the wood burnings of Fort Lauderdale's Alex Sweet and watercolor paintings of West Palm Beach's Timothy Buwalda.

Sweet, a former high school athlete, explores the mentality of the athlete through his burnings. Buwalda — who left the family air-conditioning business three years ago — has examined connections between life events and car wrecks in a series of paintings.

Buwalda had been working with metal for nine years in his family business as an air-conditioner repairman, but he wasn't your average A/C dude. He loved the angles and the way the pieces fit together, and unlike most repairmen, he always wanted his installations "to be pretty." When he came home, he'd sometimes be up all night painting. Though he was the fastest A/C installer in the company, he wanted more. "I remember being in an attic one day and just thinking I was wasting my life," he says. "It wasn't my occupation. I immediately got out of the attic."

He enrolled at New World School of the Arts in Miami, where he took a class with professor Fred Snitzer. Snitzer gave Buwalda his first solo show two months ago, and his paintings sold out. Now the gallery will feature Buwalda, 32, on the floor of the convention center, where dealers and wealthy collectors will no doubt behold his work and maybe hand over the big bucks.

"I never thought in a million years I'd be showing there," he said. "It tips you back."

Colby Katz

New Times' own staff photographer will display some of her renowned child beauty pageant photographs at Bridge Art Fair and at Aqua. For more information on exhibitors and events, go to www.artbaselmiamibeach.com.

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