MIAMI BEACH — In a cavernous tent right on the sands of Miami Beach, Untitled Art Fair is opening this Wednesday with a sprawling array of international galleries. Site-specific pieces are placed alongside group installations, which favor mixed, sculptural media, and strong visual statements.
Untitled started in 2012 and differentiated itself from the other Art Basel satellite fairs by adding an emphasis on curatorial vision. Artistic director Omar López-Chahoud and curators Christophe Boutin and Melanie Scarciglia have corralled galleries, nonprofits, and artist-run spaces from New York, Buenos Aires, Toronto, Lima, Berlin, San Francisco, Hong Kong, and many other cities for this year’s iteration. This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a consistent or fluid experience, as they’ve squeezed every inch of space out of the fair’s monumental home. If you go be prepared to wind around a few times to see it all — the rows aren’t neat lines and instead break off and curve into each other. This also leaves things like the frenetic Toiletpaper Lounge, a collaboration between Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari, a bit stranded up front and feeling disconnected from the flow of booths, although if you want to sit on a tombstone that reads “THE END” and ponder the aesthetics of a rug decorated with severed fingers while looking out at the beach, seek out the portal to this space.
Many of the highlights of the fair are the installations, which include a towering collision of found chairs, wood, paint, and other objects by Julie Schenkelberg of Site:Lab in Grand Rapids, which reminded me of her recent show at New York’s Asya Geisberg Gallery; a floor-consuming piece by Ryan Wallace with Romer Young Gallery of San Francisco involving canvas, vinyl, rubber, and heavy slathers of roof coating that you can walk over; and a simple sculpture in wood and metal by Amanda Keeley, “Double Arc,” which is activated by dancers during the fair — it’s part of a series of performances taking place around the space. And if you aren’t in the area but want to tune in, there’s also a live radio broadcast through Wynwood Radio, which you can listen to online. Below are some more photographs from the seaside fair, where large-scale art and colorful mixed media command the attention of the crowd.