Miami Art Week: Beyond Art Basel

By Evan Orensten, Cool Hunting

The early days of Art Basel Miami have proven the staying power of Satellite Fairs and independent exhibitions surrounding the behemoth Swiss import. Public murals, boutique shipping and interior design rival the mainstream offerings and give plenty of reasons to ditch the convention center. Scope, for one, has grown and improved noticeably from former years, with a lineup of artists that must not be missed. The streets of Miami have also become more of a draw, as pop-up stores and public installations abound. Opening to the public today, December 6 2012, Art Basel is not the only attraction to be had in Miami this week, and we’ve gathered some of our favorite reasons to venture beyond the confines of the convention center.

Those in town can look forward to installations that prompt you to stick your eyes between a set of cheeks, an ongoing series of murals telling a poetic children’s tale, Louis Vuitton travel accessories that are as useful as they are handsome, Swarovski-covered burger sculptures and more in our round-up of some of the more entertaining moments sprinkled around Art Basel this year.

Milcho: “Domingo Familiar”

Milcho, whose decades-strong career includes working as a hand-held dominatrix, a camera operator, a creative writer and more, humors visitors to Scope with her provocative installation “Domingo Familiar.” The eccentric Paris-born artist—and local Miami Beach resident—uses a video stream to project your image onto a tiny screen, seen only by peering between the buttcheeks of a glittery cowboy-boot clad woman. On view through Pabellon Gallery.

Herakut: “The Giant Storybook Project”

Plainly visible from the entrance to Pulse on the side of a red brick building in Wynwood, a massive mural by artist duo Herakut has been installed as part of the ongoing “Giant Storybook Project.” This is the eighth installment, and Herakut—a mashup of “Hera” and “Akut,” the graffiti artists’ respective nicknames—has announced plans to eventually use the murals as part of a children’s book. If you’re in Miami and Pulse isn’t on your to-do list, don’t worry—Herakut also has several pieces hanging on the walls at Scope.

Louis Vuitton: “Objets Nomades”

The minty fresh temporary outpost for Louis Vuitton on 40th Street is displaying “Objets Nomades,” an accessory collection built around the world of travel. The portable accessories range from a pristine leather hammock by Atelier Oï to a hanging travel cabinet made from variegated leather strips by the Campana brothers. The most practical piece? A leather stool from Patricia Urquiola that collapses into a portfolio for easy transport.

Bill Viola: “Liber Insularum”

Société Perrier was lucky to witness the incomparable Bill Viola at the opening of his exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami. His immersive video installations provide an intense sensory experience, and the projects on view survey his work from the 1970s through 2008. Viola was in good company with plenty of South Beach fashion including a leopard print unitard, which we surreptitiously scouted for your viewing pleasure.

Front: “Surface Tension Lamp”

Over at DesignMiami, Booo was showing their Surface Tension Lamp designed by Front, an interactive piece that fills soap bubbles around a suspended light, creating a kind of gossamer shade that falls to the ground at regular intervals. The LED bulb can expect around three million bubbles throughout its lifetime, and the interactive installation proved to be a big hit with children in attendance.

Scott Scheidly: “Fabulous”

Floridian artist Scott Scheidly explores the masculinity of public figures by dressing up the notorious tyrants in flamboyant attire, such as purple and pink heart-shaped sunglasses in “Kim Jong Ill” and a Good Charlotte-inspired haircut in “Emo Hitler”. Perfectly ridiculous, Scheidly’s “Fabulous” series is on view at Scope through Spoke Art.

Jonathan Stein: “Shiny Sparkly Goes Down Easy”

Mixed-media artist Jonathan Stein allows his concept to guide his choice of medium, stating “I will forge ahead until I have fully expressed the idea circling around my head.” In a statement on what drives human culture in our fast-paced world, a brilliant series aptly titled “Shiny Sparkly Goes Down Easy” Stein creates Swarovski-covered sculptures of everything from a bottle of Chanel No. 5 to a Starbucks cup. Although a discerning look at pop culture, we can’t help but love the giant crystal burger. Check it out at Gallery Biba at Scope.

Delfina Delettrez

Highly skilled jewelry designer Delfina Delettrez showcases her meticulously crafted accessories under large magnifying glasses in a moody exhibition at Design Miami. The Rome-based designer’s work beautifully marries artisanal Italian tradition with modern technique for statement pieces that explore the relationship between the micro and macro. Have a glimpse at Antonella Villanova.

Fay Ku: “Paper Tigers”

Originally commissioned earlier this year for the Brooklyn Museum, Fay Ku’s “Paper Tigers” (featured) is a reflection of her curiosity for a term that is considered an insult in Chinese. In an installation at Scope, Fay organizes an army of these small-scale sculptures, each one screen-printed, cut and assembled out of seven pieces of paper by Ku. On view at Uprise Art.

Kenya Hara: Architecture for Dogs

Muji art director Kenya Hara’s collection of doggie architecture has set up shop at 180 NE 39th St in Miami’s Design District. The wide-ranging selection features handsome hammocks, houses and mazes created for specific breeds. Visually stunning, the pieces are also highly tactile (Kazuyo Sejima’s cloud-like pillow for a Bichon Frise is particularly inviting). The designs are all available as blueprints online, and we spotted order forms for flat-packed, ready-to-assemble pieces at the welcome counter.

Guest Post by Cool Hunting Editors

Images courtesy of BHP, James Thorne, Evan Orensten, Karen Day. Emo Hitler image courtesy of Spoke Art Gallery.