Miami and Miami Beach will be the hub of the art world during Miami Art Week — or Art Basel Week — November 28th-December 4th. Every year, approximately twenty art fairs compete for collectors and sales, with the major fairs like Art Basel and Art Miami getting most of the attention. Each year brings a new crop of fairs, and this year, Technique — a boutique art fair located at the Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach — is set to make its inaugural mark. Not just another fair, this fair focuses on skill-based work, primarily representational and featuring a body of international artists, who are represented by world-class galleries and dealers. This fair is also the brainchild of Stacy Conde of Conde Contemporary — the gallery on Miracle Mile in Coral Gables — with a concentration on narrative realism, photorealistic portraiture, and surrealism.
TM: How was Technique Art Fair born?
STACY CONDE: We were contacted to do art programming for the Shelborne, and when the opportunity presented itself to create a new fair, we seized it. We see it as a natural progression. Technique Art Fair was born out of a love for art, artists, collectors, and galleries. When there is a balance and all are equally respected, great things happen.
TM: How did you come up with the concept of Technique?
SC: The concept of Technique is one that sprang from my own interest, to be honest. I’m passionate about technique-driven work — particularly representational art — though any work of art requiring an elevated level of skill fascinates me. There’s a quiet movement afoot — a new 21st-century Renaissance is beginning to take hold.
TM: How will this fair differ from the other fairs located in the hotels?
SC: Apart from the type of work we aim to show, the layout of the fair at the Shelborne is exceptional. The booths at Technique Art Fair are set up in the El Dorado Ballroom on the lobby level, which creates a traditional fair experience and makes for easy navigation. The ballroom flows out into the Drawing Room Bar and Lounge, which exudes a relaxed elegance. We’re also activating the Continental and rooms on the mezzanine level with programming. Steps away from Technique, on the hotel premises, is The Sarsaparilla Club, which is magnificent. We’re working on the details now for a series of events there, including art brunches. Lastly, the location of the fair is ideal — 18th and Collins Avenue, three blocks from Art Basel, itself, and right in the epicenter of all things art on Miami Beach for that week. The focus of Technique Art Fair is skill-based work, primarily representational, by a body of international artists, represented by a host of world-class galleries and dealers. Contemporary art is, in many ways, so entranced by the conceptual that the actual work and technique involved in creating art have become secondary — tertiary even — to the obfuscated artist’s statement. Happily, I sense a seismic shift is underway.
TM: Why do you feel it’s important/necessary for a gallery or artist to show in a fair such as this?
SC: Participation in any fair, this time of year in Miami, is incredibly important to artists and galleries from the perspective of sales, publicity, and the inevitable growth of one’s collector and contact base. Participation in Technique Art Fair is important to artists and galleries who seek to capitalize on the previously mentioned benefits, and additionally, to associate themselves with a fair committed to quality work — a concentration on narrative realism, photorealistic portraiture, and surrealism.
TM: What other fairs have inspired you?
SC: I’ve been inspired by a great many fairs. The reason we’re doing this is not because of what we’ve seen, but because of what we haven’t seen — a concentration on technique-driven, representational art. In the years to come, as we continue to grow, I have no doubt Technique will become a force to be reckoned with, launching the careers of new modern masters.
TM: How do you select the artists that you represent?
SC: It’s a weird alchemical formula of my own creation. The short explanation is that first, I have to love the work; then, I have to love the artist. We all work so hard and so closely together, if there’s not a level of mutual respect and admiration, I just don’t see the point. I’m a romantic at heart. I honestly believe fine art and the artists who create it are special. They aren’t meant to be factories churning out masses of disposable goods.
TM: How would you describe the state of the arts scene in Miami?
SC: It’s a very exciting time. There’s a hunger for serious programming, lectures, films, exhibitions … We’re not quite where we need to be, but we’re making great strides.
I would like to see “Vigee Le Brun: Woman Artist in Revolutionary France” at the PAMM.
TM: Conde Contemporary represents an impressive roster of artists who are specialists in contemporary Cuban art. Which ones will be exhibiting at this fair?
SC: Darian Rodriguez Mederos, Andres Conde, Luis Enrique Toledo del Rio, Enrique Toledo, Natasha Kertes, Anthony Ardavin, Luis Rodriguez NOA, and Griselle Gaudnik.
Technique (www.techniqueartfair.com) opens on November 29th with a Collector’s Preview from 12 – 4 p.m., immediately followed by a VIP Press Preview from 4 – 9 p.m. The fair runs through December 4th, with programming to be announced at Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach, 1801 Collins Ave, Miami Beach. www.shelbornewyndhamgrand.com