Art Basel Miami Beach Launches With Untitled and Marina Abramovic

Last night saw the first event on the Art Basel Miami week calendar, the launch of the UNTITLED art fair. In two short years this pavilion on the Beach, at the start of Ocean Drive, has grown to become a contender as an important international art fair. Comprised of mostly New York galleries there was also a strong local and international contingent of booths. It is always difficult to start up a new quality art fair and UNTITLED is uncompromising in quality with a capital Q. The well designed pavilion makes it a pleasant experience to view art both on and off the wall despite it being so cold inside that people were going outside to warm up.

The fair opened with a pre-preview evening which included a special appearance by the artist Marina Abramovic at the UNTITLED event to benefit the Elton John AIDS foundation. The organisation launched a new original limited edition print by the artist which sold out almost immediately at $1000 a pop raising a total of $300,000 for the foundation. Abramovic was gracious posing for photos for friends and fans and resurrecting her face to face concept with Val Kilmer (see photo).

There were only two UK galleries, representing the East and West End of London: Hales Gallery and Vigo.  Of particular note were the moving image photos by Leslie Thornton at the Winkleman Gallery from Chelsea, New York. A bizarre combination of animals and kaleidoscopes whereby the movement of the animals governed the changing shapes of the kaleidoscopic patterns. Also, the doctored family photos by Zach Nader at Brooklyn based Microscope Gallery were compelling.

Today sees the VIP launch of Design Miami, Scope and a very special pavilion at the Raleigh hotel by the great 20th century designer Charlotte Perriand “La Maison au bord de l’eau”.

The highly anticipated Absolut Art Bar on the beach designed by the Los Angeles-based artist Ry Rocklen, who will create an installation titled, ‘Night Court’ also launches. This imaginative environment sponsored by the Absolut Vodka brand will draw on Rocklen’s recently unveiled line of useable furniture made of trophy parts or what he calls, ‘Trophy Modern’. Using the principles and aesthetics of Trophy Modern at the heart of Night Court’s design, Rocklen examines the culture of competition and success.

Watch for more daily diary updates on Artlyst

Photo: Val Kilmer and Marina Abramovic P C Robinson © Artlyst 2013

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