SCOPE Miami Beach: A Mecca for the Talented and Untamed
Walking into SCOPE—the contemporary art fair on 8th Street and Ocean Drive in Miami Beach hosting over 140 international galleries from 22 countries and 57 cities—was a pleasant artistic battle with pops of color and sculpture peeking out and dotting around corner booths. While it was hard to choose which direction to take, we gravitated to the biggest, the brightest, and the boldest—the fair being a mecca, this year, for the talented and the untamed.
In charge and upfront was Brazilian artist Marcos Amaro’s crashed aircraft in the Andrea Rehder Gallery (São Paulo) booth. Inside, we saw a crystal chandelier and orange tarp similar to those used in the Brazilian militia. To its left, we gravitated toward a few vibrant pieces of eye-grabbing neon detail that appeared to spring from their frames at the Alexander Chambers Gallery (Denver) booth. Nearby, we stopped by the Samuel Owen Gallery (Connecticut) booth to admire the colorful drips of Gian Garofalo’s mixed media piece The Hoi Polloi and acronym LED light art by Todd Sanders titled WTF.
We couldn’t change lanes in the enormous fair without stopping to pay attention to Robert Mars’ Come Around Playboy and Jump In The Fire Kate and a series of three skulls titled Skulls by Stephen Wilson—all presented by New Gallery of Modern Art (North Carolina). Mark Ransom (London) showed some sweet mixed material sculptures of childlike activities, such as a figure holding on to a string attached to a glass balloon, a girl in a swimming cap holding a bag of water and goldfish, and a young girl in a dress blowing bubbles.
Mirus Gallery (San Francisco) put forth a few stellar neon pieces by Damon Soule, and just next door, we lost ourselves in the felt work “Sparrow’s Deli” by British artist Lucy Sparrow for Lawrence Alkin Gallery (London). The gallery also presented beautiful LED light art by Zoe Grace titled Happiness Ahead and Ace of Hearts, pill-like sculptures titled Sudafed PE Sinus and Hygroton (Pink) by Damien Hirst, and explicit, fun acrylic on canvas works titled Susurrus ‘Hello Kitty’ and Mrs Wolf in the Cellar with a Bottle of Bleach by Teresa Duck.
FIFTY24MX Gallery (Mexico City) brought us to the dark side with skull table pieces and backdrop paintings to match as we made our way to the seductive, spiky seats at Galerie Montaigne (California) by Jonathan Loubens. We attempted to make our way back to the bright side of things, but got wrapped up in money and power in Macaya Gallery (Miami). There, we caught Knowledge Bennett’s 8 Mao Trumps Red and Chor Boogie’s $uper$tar and In God We Trust—a cast resin skull sculpture that, as he said earlier to us while in the booth, took him “at least six months to create” due to cutting out each and every piece of the dollar bills he wanted to use, and appropriately placing the 24 carat gold.
Dotmaster’s Totally Trashed Miami Style, shown by Graffik Gallery (London), was a materialistic take on the petty objects we buy that will always ultimately be, or already are, trash. Around the bend, we caught sight of—or, well, they caught sight of us—the Arteponte (Basel) booth. Inside, several shutter-eye contraptions, similar to small, circular surveillance cameras, opened and closed to seemingly get a better look at those stopping by, and we smirked at the fuzzy cigarettes in the corner, too.
Next, we were mesmerized by Whitewaller Miami insider Flore’s solo presentation at Up Art Studio (Houston) and WhisBe’s gummy bears at the Castle Fitzjohns Gallery (New York). Evan Lurie Gallery (Indiana) swept us off of our feet with Jeff Robb’s lenticular photographic prints, such as Unnatural Causes, and across the way at Bruce Lurie Gallery (Los Angeles), we got a quick fix with This Is Addictive’s prescriptions—pills and diamonds. The artist, Daniel Cohen, told us in the booth that a New York oral surgeon commissioned him to first make Designer Drugs, which is a limited edition of 10, and since then, he’s made Smoke Two J’s, Poor and Suffering Relief, and White Horse. Leaving the gallery’s booth, we also saw his gum-ball machine full of faux diamonds, Diamonds are Forever, positioned just below The Producer BDB’s jarring painting of Kate Moss smoking a cigarette in a Selena tee-shirt, and holding a tote bag donned with musician Drake’s crying face.
All in all, this edition of SCOPE, on view through December 4, is full of lots of color and lots of excitement, with lots of art waiting to be found.