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By John Thomason
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By Andrea Richard
The list of Art Basel satellite fairs grows longer every year, and 2013 is no exception. But in an increasingly competitive marketplace, how do this year's new fairs plan to make an impact?
For the Fridge Art Fair, it's about concentrating on culture, not commerce. "We want to take the business out of art fairs and make it a celebration of art," says organizer and artist Eric Ginsburg. "From my experience, other fairs are in it for the money. I don't want to bash them, but we're artists and we have a passion for this."
Ginsburg's celebrated pet paintings will be one of many unique elements of Fridge, which features mediums ranging from paintings, photography, sculpture, and mixed media to flip-flops. Yes, flip-flops.
"We have artists from all genres and all over," Ginsburg says. "Angel Gotti — John Gotti's daughter — makes flip-flops. She'll be there. It's a hodgepodge... We have all these projects going on outside that are bizarre. Inside it'll be this insane fair, outside this crazy street art, and really cool guest performers." (At presstime, Fridge's guest performers had not yet been announced.)
Amid the Miami and New York talent converging in Little Havana, Fridge features acclaimed artists from around the world, including Australia's Olga Kol, Sweden's Johan Wahlstrom, and the Netherlands' Christel van Zundert. Street Art NYC will present magnetic refrigerator cards by a diverse group of global street art and graffiti artists, including members of the collective Buendia Brooklyn. Proceeds from the sale of the fridge cards will support Visual AIDS and PAX Miami. (Friday through Sunday, December 6 through 8, at PAX, 337 SW Eighth St., Miami. Suggested donation is $40. Visit fridgeartfair.com.)
Although it's showing on the swankier side of town, South Beach's New Material is attempting to keep the bottom line out of Art Basel. Canadian media artist Christine Kirouac molded New Material to spotlight brave departures in the practices of established artists and galleries, particularly bodies of work untouched by trends and untested commercially.
"We're trying to reach artists and gallerists looking for change in practice," Kirouac says. "It's a comment on art and commerce and how they succeed and support each other and how they don't. If you're a successful artist commercially, does that support an artist's natural tendency to shift and change? I see artists as sharks. In order to survive, they need to be constantly moving."
All of New Material's exhibitors will display 2012-13 works. Artists range from Delray Beach sculptor Allison Kotzig to Miami's Roman Arevalo, who explores unconventional materials in his paintings. The fair also held a contest to give emerging artists free exhibition space at New Material during Art Basel week. Solo exhibition winner Holly Marie Armishaw of Vancouver will present her Marie Antoinette series of pictorial portraits. New Material public image film and video exhibitors include Madeleine Von Froomer of New York, Pilar Mata Dupont of Argentina/Australia, and Rick Pushinsky of London. (Friday through Sunday, December 6 through 8, at the Chesterfield Hotel, 855 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Admission is free. Visit newmaterialartfair.com.)
Arts Kuala Lumpur-Miami, the first Malaysian art fair, is dedicated to showcasing some of that country's most impressive artistic contributions. The fair will include works by Choong Kam Kow, whose contemporary paintings are in the permanent collections of art museums and galleries across Asia, Europe, and the United States. The festival will also feature pieces by Malaysia's first indigenous artist, Shahar "Shaq" Koyok, as well as Azimin Tazilan, who incorporates microarchitecture and sustainable urbanism research into his paintings. Other exhibitors include master metal sculptor Raj Sharhiman and pop artist Akhmal Asyraf, who uses recyclable materials in mixed media.
"There are many talented artists who have the potential to be recognized worldwide but have not had the chance to be exposed at that level," says fair organizer Norsham Blasko. "I have developed Arts Kuala Lumpur to be the voice for these artists." (Friday through Sunday, December 6 through 8, at 2235 NW Second Ave., Miami. Admission is free. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Entrepreneur Michel Serebrinsky founded the Brazil ArtFair to spread the word about that country's bustling art market and draw more international attention to Brazilian creativity. Curated by Luisa Duarte, the fair features 15 prestigious Brazilian artists, including Mauro Restiffe, Berna Reale, and Pedro Motta. Serebrinsky says the presentation reflects Brazil's recent political and social upheaval.
"Brazilians from all around expressed their anger and frustration at living in a country with amazing potential, economic power, natural resources, but also very serious problems of corruption, high taxes, and lack of infrastructure and respect for its citizens," Serebrinsky says. "A big catharsis happened. Luisa's exhibition is based on those facts and is about the Brazil that the entire world was expecting to see in the future, a future that never happened, and how the artists expressed those political issues with their art."
Works on display will include pieces from Galeria Estação, street art by Movimento and Logo, conceptual contemporary art by Central Galeria de Arte and Emma Thomas, and technical art. The design of the pavilion's entrance, created by Marton Studio, will resemble the concrete architecture of Brasília, the country's capital, but the shape changes as it inflates. "It breathes to show you that we are alive, living in the present, craving the things to come," Serebrinsky says.