On the flight to Miami I was startled to see none other than Work of Art judge Bill Powers on the TV screen, wishing us a good flight, courtesy of NBC, which owns Bravo, which airs the art-reality show.
Powers showed up in person in Miami to help launch, via his ingenious photomultiples operation Exhibition A, a suite of ten reproductions of hyper-realist paintings of young celebrities by Richard Phillips, called “Most Wanted,” which are benefiting something called “Youth Insights” at the Whitney Museum. Each of the ten prints is in an edition of two, priced at $5,000 apiece, which means the Whit gets about $100,000 when everything is sold, which is going to be pretty soon. Yvonne Force Villareal bought one, and both copies of the Taylor Momsen portrait are already gone.
I have all this via Phillips’ publicist — didn’t quite make it to the party, sorry — who adds that the artist is off to Moscow for the launch of Interview’s Russian edition, which features on its cover his portrait of Leonardo DiCaprio, and that Phillips is to appear as a guest judge on Work of Art next week. Sounds like synergy to me.
On the way back to New York, I found myself seated next to a real celebrity, Isabelle Dufresne, the 80-year-old former Andy Warhol superstar otherwise known as Ultra Violet. She had been in Miami to show her 9/11 memorial sculpture, which consists of the Roman numerals IX and XI set up like the letters in Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE.
George — she said people call her George, though she may have been kidding — then quizzed me a little bit about what it takes to be a success in the art world, as if I’d know, and next showed me a brochure with some of her Rorschach-style paintings of cloudy blue skies, which I told her had real success potential.
In between the two flights, I managed to go to seven art fairs, out of about 18. For one that I missed I have an excuse: Pool, the French-accented New Yorker Thierry Alet’s fair for unaffiliated artists, was shut down on opening night by the city when the hotel owner failed to obtain a permit — 27 participating artists had paid $2,000-$2,500 — and only later relocated in the 45th- and 50th-floor condos of Miami art patron Deborah Tynes.
As for two of the top B-level fairs, Pulse and Scope, they were doing very well, thank you. Both appear much expanded, with new annexes and gardens, and were thronged with touristy locals on the weekend. And the air conditioning was pumping.
Among the dealers at Pulse was Max Davidson IV, who had red-dotted a kind of mobile of scrap wood painted fluorescent orange, made by Sarah Hardesty, whose first show at the New York project gallery is coming up in a month or so. The sculpture was $8,500 (I think he said).
Down the aisle at Danziger Projects, the suave New York photo dealer James Danziger was touting his portfolio of photos of Kate Moss along with Yuji Obata’s high-focus black-and-whites of falling snowflakes. My eye was caught by a photo diptych painted with dripping Takashi Murakami-type color Louis Vuitton logos by Zevs, priced at a healthy $25,000.