Art Wynwood

A Unique Window on the Contemporary Art World

by Jeanne-Marie Phillips

Whether you’re a contemporary connoisseur, casual collector or just enjoy the drama and color of a premiere art event, Art Wynwood in Miami is a must-see showcase of the current trends, new directions and classic roots of the modern and contemporary art worlds.  After all, how often do you see works by Andy Warhol, Robert Rymans and recent art school graduates together in a single venue?  That variety and visual dynamic is the hallmark of this innovative art fair–and this year didn’t disappoint. The event was held February 13 to 17 on 14th Street and Biscayne Bay and attended by more than 26,000 collectors, curators, artists, and art aficionados.

Now in its 12th year, Art Wynwood is the final major event of the Miami art season.  It places the accent decidedly on its host city, bringing together a diverse and impressive assemblage of Miami galleries that demonstrate the city’s enviable status in contemporary art.  Rounding out the fair are prestigious exhibitors from around the country and globe, including France, England, Italy, Canada and more.

The boutique-like showcase of more 55 galleries is housed in the former Miami Herald building’s generous open space and offers its broad perspective on contemporary and modern art sensibilities and trends in a more approachable format than many of December’s large showcases and events.

Not an intimidating event characterized by the hushed conversations among art intellectuals and elites, it kicks up its heels a bit and presents art with a friendly swagger that just might usher your visually neutral friends into the world of artistic pleasure.

As another bonus, for the past few years, attendees with a nautical bent can combine their visit with a trip to the Miami Yacht Show, which runs alongside Art Wynwood for an event-filled long weekend in the Magic City.  Doubtless, a few lucky guests took advantage and picked up some impressive art to adorn their impressive new yachts on the high seas.

Art Wynwood is rather unique in bringing together emerging and mid-career, as well as established art talent. By contrast, in December, CONTEXT Art Miami focuses on the former and Art Miami on the latter.  This event’s vibrant mix enables attendees to witness a side-by-side dialog between time-validated artistic approaches and experimental points of view, enabling show goers to truly discern through a multiplicity of artistic languages what truly speaks to them. Not surprisingly, that diversity also presents with a broad spectrum of price points, from a mere thousand dollars for an up-and-coming talent to several million for a recognized modern master.

Highlights of the 2020 Fair included from the Long-Sharp Gallery, New York, a collection of never-before exhibited Andy Warhol ink sketches, notable for their spare but decisive lines that deliver vibrant images with well-chosen swaths where charcoal meets paper.

At Belair Fine Art, Miami, Italian artist Marco Battaglini put a provocative spin on the classical paintings of his native country by depicting time-honored religious imagery against gritty modern urban backdrops.  This combination of classic beauty and visually unappealing signposts of modern urban life challenge viewers to understand the world without the boundaries of time and place.

On display at The Bonnier Gallery, Miami, was Scene a painting by Robert Ruman who is notable as a pioneer of modern minimalist style.  In 2015, a similar painting sold for more than $20 million at Christie’s, New York City.

Lelia Mordoch Gallery presented Miami-based sculptor Jose Arellano’s interactive wall sculptures crafted from museum board and xylene-based acrylic paint. His interlocking geometric forms are expertly designed to create a shifting visual experience that is wholly dependent on the perspective and movement of the viewer.

Art Wynwood is enriched every year by the distinctive contributions of new galleries—and this year was no exception.  Among them were Pontone Gallery Burgess Modern and Contemporary, Mark Borghi Fine arts and many others.

Acknowledged for casting an international spotlight on Miami’s burgeoning arts area, Art Wynwood debuted in 2012 in the Wynwood Art District. Today, the fair retains its name in its new location and continues to embody the spirit of the exploration and innovation of the Wynwood art scene as well as the growing number of vibrant galleries that help light up the Magic City.

For information about next year’s event, visit Art Wynwood.