Friday December 4, 2009 | by intern

Seen: Glass art in Miami during the Art Basel Miami Beach madness

FILED UNDER: Art Market, Events, Opening

The art world has converged on Miami this week for Art Miami and Art Basel Miami Beach.

This weekend, the international contemporary art world descends on Miami, Florida for the infamous Art Basel Miami Beach exposition, and its numerous satellite events. In its eighth year and already shaping up to be more outrageous than ever, Art Basel opened its doors to the public yesterday at the Miami Beach Convention Center, while, back on the mainland, the longer-running Art Miami show had already opened its doors on Wednesday. Shuttle buses kept art collectors moving between these two major events, with other shuttles whisking buyers to the many satellite fairs such as NADA, Scope, and Verge, to name just three.

As the somber economic moment may have tempered some of the excess of years past, it has also changed the size and scope of these shows. The Art Newspaper reported last week that Art Basel lost 60 galleries from its lineup this year but also added 65, which undoubtedly means that the many ancillary shows are shorter on their exhibitor lists as well.

How has this affected galleries showing or specializing in the glass? In different ways, with some galleries staying away from Miami this year while others return or even exhibit for the first time. With a mix of fine art photography as well as contemporary art, Barry Friedman Ltd. of New York is showing vessels from Yoichi Ohira’s “Cristallo Somerson” series at his booth at Art Miami. The St. Louis-based Duane Reed Gallery is not showing at Art Miami or any of the other satellite shows this year, though they have in the past, but Reed himself is attending to stay abreast of trends for his own mixed media gallery with an emphasis on glass. And Bullseye Gallery, out of Portland, is exhibiting for the first time ever this year, showing the work of Jessica Loughlin among others, also at Art Miami. It’s fair to say that, like this year’s SOFA Chicago, galleries are cautious but increasingly aware of the importance of art fairs, and some are targeting Miami, the epicenter of the phenomenon.

And it’s not only contemporary art that has taken over Miami this weekend. Jeff Zimmerman’s “drawings” in glass, for example, will be on display at R 20th Century’s booth at Design Miami, being held near Art Miami in an interesting temporary structure. In addition to the fairs, exhibitions at regional galleries will attempt to prolong the fervor of the weekend; Habatat Galleries’ new location in West Palm Beach will host a large-scale show of contemporary glass work with a big grand opening event tomorrow, Saturday. Taken together, all of these events mean that new work in glass—or any medium—should be especially accessible for the next few days.

Analisa Coats Bacall

Glass: The UrbanGlass Quarterly, a glossy art magazine published four times a year by UrbanGlass has provided a critical context to the most important artwork being done in the medium of glass for more than 40 years.