PULSE Art Fair returns to Miami for its 15th year on the beach, open through December 8. Now under new direction with fair director Cristina Salmastrelli, the presentation addresses a relatable theme for the seaside location—“The Calm in the Palms.” New this year, as well, is PULSE Perspectivos—a series of dual-language programming in Spanish and English.
In addition to booths from over 60 exhibitors, visitors also gain access to a relaxing wellness lounge and an oceanfront table service restaurant with food and beverage from Malibu Farm Miami Beach, in partnership with the Eden Roc Miami Beach & Nobu Hotel Miami Beach. Regular programming from previous years will also be returning, including PULSE Projects, PULSE Play, and the PULSE Prize—this year awarded to artist Lin Yi-Chi from Taiwan-based 182 Art Space.
Today was our day to explore the fair head-on, and we were pleasantly surprised with 7 booths in particular.
The Rendon Gallery from Los Angeles is presenting “The Casspir Project”—Ralph Ziman’s multidisciplinary response to Apartheid’s effects on the culture and community of South Africa. Before even walking into the fair, guests are greeted to a tank covered in culturally colorful beads. And inside, from the start, Ziman’s powerful pieces strike you with questions and a desire for more empathy, as onlookers take a closer peek at the colorful works—some are beaded guns, others are images of African people on vibrantly-colored tanks. To further his culturally significant message, the work was made in collaboration with a team of artisans from Zimbabwe and the Mpumalanga province of South Africa.
Around the corner at Kolman & Pryor Gallery, we enjoyed the playful interaction of works on the walls from artists like Patrick Pryor, Jodi Reeb, and Kate Casanova. There at the booth to greet us was Reeb (whose “True Blue” installation of metallic painted acrylic disks popped out at us) and Casanova (whose atypical sculptures had deserving platforms on an opposing wall).
A part of PULSE’s “The Next Generation”—a showcase of emerging designers, hand-picked by Salmastrelli—was an enormous can’t-miss piece that we loved by Zuzanna Kozlowska entitled “Beauty is a state of mind.”
Down the hall, we were stopped in our tracks by ethereal works shown by Estepona, Spain-based Stoa Gallery. The artist of said works was Salustiano, who just so happened to be there to walk us through his pieces—a collection of his prints, as well as the star of our show: a drawing entitled Zahara with Kimono.
Unusual to the eye and truly unlike any other art we saw at the fair was a showcase by Tennessee-based David Lusk Gallery, featuring the works of artist Greely Myatt. Based on the late paintings of Philip Guston, Myatt presented a return to a body of work he worked on years ago called “The Waiter and The Gang.” Along the wall of the booth were eight of Myatt’s sculptural pieces—made of found materials from his home like wood from a tree in his yard and nails from his house—and a larger piece on its own in the front of the booth. Gallerist Lusk was there to explain Myatt’s works to us, commenting on his fascination with works by Guston and other artists before him, while reinterpreting something dear to him in these works—his dog.
A hop, skip, and a jump over, Roman Fine Art presented the works of a few artists that caught our eye, particularly by Ciara Rafferty and Lizzie Gill. Rafferty’s oil on Perspex piece entitled Palm Spring III was a gorgeous reel-in, based on a photograph she took in California on a month-long road trip. Gill, there to greet us, showed us her gorgeous pieces—Electric Feel and Echo Boom—that tugged on the past through images from the yesteryears, silk-screened and collaged onto a wood panel with acrylic.
And just before leaving, Treat Gallery soothed our soul with some feel-good images curated by Sherri Littlefield. Also there to welcome us, she spoke about how the gallery hosted an open call and accepted submissions from an array of talent—like special needs artists—that otherwise couldn’t find an outlet. The only criteria was that the photograph must be 70 percent the same color, here resulting in a gorgeous palette of colors. Special for this exhibition, as well, is its outreach initiative (something the gallery regularly does) with a third of its proceeds benefiting the onePULSE Foundation—the not-for-profit organization established to help the victims and their families of the Pulse nightclub tragedy in Orlando on June 12, 2016.