Art Talk

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Three artists with Miami connections offer their points of view about Art Basel Miami Beach.

West Coast Experience

Laura Kimpton
Laura Kimpton

Laura Kimpton is creating a week-long fine art installation called “Myths, Words & Fire” at the SLS Hotel, 1701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, during Art Basel Miami Beach. The show will feature recent mixed-media art constructions, a three-story art print, video art, and a custom “Art Truck” filled with dozens of televisions. Kimpton will also install several of her monumental steel sculptures that were an integral part of past Burning Man events: four 12-foot “Kimpton Words” — LOVE, #, M, and OK — and three mythical-themed sculptures — 16-foot Celtic Tree, Centaur, and Mermaid.

The artist’s installation creates a carnival-like atmosphere that gives the viewer a taste of a little-known, underground San Francisco art scene without having to travel 2000 miles.

During Miami Art Week, Kimpton’s art work will be showcased at two events hosted by fine-art collectors Marc Bell and Marc Leder. On Thursday, Dec. 3, Kimpton will present the “Taste the Burn” West Coast Fire Festival on Miami Beach in front of the SLS Hotel. And on Saturday night, Dec. 5, a private VIP Art Party “Myths, Words, & Fire” will take over the SLS Hotel.

In addition, Kimpton will also be launching her “She’s Got Wings” apparel line of California-lifestyle clothing at a custom pop-up store in the SLS Hotel.

TM: What are you looking forward to this year at Art Basel Miami Beach?

LK: “I look forward to sharing my work with the Miami Art Week attendees and observing peoples’ reactions to these — perhaps somewhat unusual for Miami — installations. We are transforming the entire SLS Hotel with a carnival-like, West-Coast-festival atmosphere, which, I hope, will be a lot of fun. I suspect, for many, it will be the first exposure to fire art, and I am really excited about that amazing experience. I can’t wait to see the reactions to my ‘Art Truck’ stacked with dozens of antique televisions playing a video of my 30-foot EGO sculpture going up in flames at Burning Man. But mostly, I look forward to the private conversations that will arise about being a right-brained artist in a left-brained art world.”

TM: What do you believe Art Basel Miami Beach contributes to the art world and where art is today?

LK: “Art Basel Miami Beach gives artists a chance to express and present themselves in an unparalleled setting and expose their art to an elite group of art collectors, galleries, and critics. I like that hotels and public spaces are thinking outside the box and asking artists to install art and transform the experience of Miami Art Week.”

Using Space

Carolina Sardi
Carolina Sardi

Argentinian sculptor Carolina Sardi has been creating art in Miami since 1995. Although she works mainly with steel, her sculptures and installations have an organic sensibility that, she says, “reflects her interest in the basic interactions of life. Space is a medium and transparency is always an important factor in these pieces.”

For the artist, blank walls become the medium. Free-standing and hanging pieces use the void as the main visual element.

Sardi will be exhibiting during Miami Art Week at Pan American Art Projects in Wynwood as part of the exhibition Shades of Grey, which explores artworks that are devoid of color. She created an installation exclusively for the show, which displays her characteristic organic elements, and in keeping with the theme of the show, was exclusively made in black and white.

Her work will also be shown at SCOPE Miami Beach, Dec. 1 through 6, with Galerie Leila Murdoch, Paris.
TM: What are you looking forward to at this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach?

CS: “I look forward to seeing great art and showing my work. I always enjoy going to the different fairs and visiting the special exhibitions that are all over the city during Miami Art Week. It’s a time to spend time with friends from Miami and from out of town.”

TM: What do you believe Art Basel Miami Beach contributes to the art world and where art is today?

CS: “Miami Art Week and Art Basel Miami Beach have contributed to developing Miami as a center for the arts during the first week of December and beyond. It’s great for artists to meet people, for artists to show their art, and for enriching yourself by seeing new things and masterpieces, too.”

Grand Scale

John Henry
John Henry

Sculptor John Henry is internationally recognized for his large-scale public works of art. The Kentucky-born, Chattanooga-based artist has had a long affiliation with Miami, creating many outdoor sculptures that grace South Florida from Cutler Ridge to Coconut Grove. His piece, Je Souhaite, which means “I Wish” in French, was commissioned by the Arison Arts Foundation for the Miami Art Museum in 2008. The sculpture competes as one of his most massive and complex pieces to date, standing 80 feet high and weighing almost 70,000 pounds. It began as part of the sculptor’s Peninsula Project exhibition and was situated in Bicentennial Park — the piece now finds its home at the Port of Miami.

Other South Florida commissions include: New Directions at the American Bankers Insurance Group, Cutler Ridge, 1994; Gateway at Grove Isle Yacht and Tennis Club, Coconut Grove, 1988; Reef, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton; Matthias’s Legacy, Temple Beth Am, Miami, 1987; Paciencia, South Miami Metro Rail Station, 1981; Rocher du Diamant, The Sculpture Park at Florida International University, Miami, 1980, and others.

Just two weeks after Art Basel Miami Beach and two years in the making, Henry’s sculpture for South Florida’s The Doral Project will be finalized. “The sculpture is unique in my work in that it is built in two parts, creating a dynamic entry for the new City of Doral’s downtown. The two parts are not alike, but create a gateway, appearing to be mirror images of one another,” says Henry.

For this year’s Miami Art Week, Henry’s work will be featured at SCOPE Miami Beach, 801 Ocean Drive, represented by Callan Contemporary.

TM: What are you looking forward to this year at Art Basel Miami Beach?

JH: “The visual arts world is constantly changing, and Miami Art Week is one of the best places to keep up to date for what is new and exciting.”

TM: What do you believe Art Basel Miami Beach contributes to the art world and where art is today?

JH: “Art Basel, Art Miami, and all the others are an enormous benefit for artists as it has been, and will be, the gathering place once a year where connections are made and renewed. Opportunities always present themselves, and ideas for an artist’s career are always abundant. It is just a tremendous time and place for an artist to be and take part.”

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