DISPATCH - DEC 12, 2012 (10:35 p.m.)

MIAMI BEACH, FL-

Mixed media installations and sculpture were strong at the 2012 edition of Art Basel Miami Beach. Painting and references to painting made a solid showing. Video art was a constant presence, appearing in booths throughout the fair, looping in oval viewing pods and projected outside onto a four-story tall building designed by Frank Gehry. The free screenings drew around 1,200 visitors, Art Basel Miami Beach estimated. Around 60 videos were shown throughout the four-day art fair.

Art Basel Miami Beach featured over 250 galleries from 31 countries in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. This year's fair drew 50,000 visitors with total attendance placed at 70,000, according to the art fair. This included over 130 groups from museum and organizations from across the world, according to Art Basel.

Then there was the art: On view were artworks spanning 11 decades and over 110 years of art history within the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Here are a few of the artworks that drew my attention and held it:

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"Narcissus Garden" by Yayoi Kusama, 2004. 500 Stainless steel balls, 15 inches each. Exhibited Robert Miller Gallery (New York, NY). On wall is "Re-Take Babel" by Willem Oorbeek, 2009. 101 x 134 1/2 inches.

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Kusama created her first "Narcissus Garden" at 33rd Venice Biennale in 1966. The piece was installed on a lawn outside of the Italian pavilion and was made up of hundreds of mirrored spheres creating a shiny kinetic carpet. Kusama sold each sphere for $2, transforming the piece into a protest and notorious artwork. The 1966 Narcissus Garden was designed to make a statement about artist promotion through the media and was a commentary on the commoditization of art, said Paul Richert-Garcia of the Robert Miller Gallery.

Versions of "Narcissus Garden" have been presented at the 2004 Whitney Biennial at the Jardin de Tuileries in Paris, France in 2010 and other venues around the world. Kusama had a major retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art from July 12 to Sept 30, 2012.

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"OG-107 Scenery" by Hector Zamora, 2012. Installation; 17 army parachutes, paper, video, variable dimensions. Exhibited Luciana Brito Galeria (São Paulo, Brazil).

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Parachute log, detail of "OG-107 Scenery" by Hector Zamora, 2012. Installation; 17 army parachutes, paper, video, variable dimensions. Exhibited Luciana Brito Galeria (São Paulo, Brazil).

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Installation by Peter Nathan, 2012. Canvas and paint. Exhibited with PSM Gallery (Berlin, Germany).

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Peter Nathan's work appears to be an installation but the artist considers it a painting, according to Denis Piper from PSM Gallery. Nathan's focuses on ways to push painting beyond a 2-dimensional plane, linking painting's past with the present and exploring new possibilities for the medium. The installation is a deconstructed painting: all of the materials are pieces of shredded canvas. The streams of cloth are raw canvas while the yellow strips are painted. The yellow ribbons refer to still life paintings by the Flemish artist Pieter Claesz (1596-1660).

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"Untitled" by Marcus Amm, 2012. Oil on gesso board, 13.7 x 11.8 in each. Exhibited Herald St. Gallery (London, United Kingdom).

A series of "Untitled" paintings by Marcus Amm exhibited by Herald St. Gallery (London, United Kingdom). The works are oil on gesso board.

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"Untitled" by Wolfgang Laib, 2006/07. Beeswax, wood, 136 (h) x 70 3/4 x 27 1/2 inches. Exhibited Buchmann Galerie Agra (Lugano) (Berlin, Germany).

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Wolfgang Laib's artwork is abstract but aligns closer with landscape painting, said Andre Buchmann of the Buchmann Galeries of Berlin. Laib's reductive sculpture and installation channels the natural and the spiritual while aspiring to provide a sensual experience for the viewer through the use of natural materials. One of Laib's favorite is beeswax for its symbolism, purity and its duality of complexity and simplicity. Laib typically selects two materials to create a single work. He considers the material art and on par with the work that results, explained Buchmann.

In the artwork at Art Basel Miami Beach, the triangles play an integral role in the suggestion of a landscape, said Buchmann. Their iconic peaked shape suggests a mountain. By presenting rows of triangles, a serene mountain range can easily be conjured. Some triangles were open and others were closed, adding mystery and prompting wondering about the possibilities.

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Detail of "Untitled" by Wolfgang Laib, 2006/07. Beeswax, wood, 136 (h) x 70 3/4 x 27 1/2 inches. Exhibited Buchmann Galerie Agra (Lugano) (Berlin, Germany).

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Laib will present "Pollen for Hazelnut" at the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) from Jan 23 to March 11, 2013. The exhibition will feature his largest pollen installation to date, according to the museum. Laib exhibited at the 1982 Venice Biennial and had a traveling exhibition of his work from 2000 to 2003 with stops in the United States and Germany.

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Viewing pods for video art at Art Basel Miami Beach 2012.

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"36 Ways a Dice can Roll/ Dice" by Robin Rhode, 2011. L & M Arts, New York/ Los Angeles.

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Detail from "36 Ways a Dice can Roll/ Dice" by Robin Rhode, 2011. L & M Arts, New York/ Los Angeles.

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"36 Ways a Dice can Roll / Dice" begins with paintings made upon a wall. A person joins the art, begins to interact and a narrative unfolds. Robin Rhode photographs the scene and arranges the images into a panel so the series of implied actions gain power.

The South African artist is known for his narrative work that features a single figure engaging with an artwork on a wall or floor,  according to L & M Arts. "36 Ways a Dice can Roll / Dice" used a storyboard presentation to create an engaging piece where chance and different outcomes are always up for grabs.

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Sculptures from the Cage: Box Series by Elizabeth Turk, 2012. Marble on pedestal, varying dimensions. Exhibited Hirschl & Adler Modern (New York, NY).

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"Glass Doors" by Jonathan Wateridge, 2012. L & M Arts, New York/Los Angeles.

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From the series "An Invitation: July 28, 2011" and July 26, 22 and 23, 2011 by Leigh Ledare, 2012. Photolithograph, 92 x 49 x 3 inches. Edition 3 of 16. Exhibited Pilar Corrias Gallery (London, United Kingdom).

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"I Won't Give up on You (Installation)" by Jon Pylypchuk, 2012. Wood, expanding foam, denim, hot glue, ping pong balls, plether, cardboard, zinc, spray paint, latex paint, acrylic paint. Exhibited Fredric Snitzer Gallery (Miami, FL).

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"I Won't Give up on You (Installation)" by Jon Pylypchuk, 2012. Wood, expanding foam, denim, hot glue, ping pong balls, plether, cardboard, zinc, spray paint, latex paint, acrylic paint. Exhibited Fredric Snitzer Gallery (Miami, FL).

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Jon Pylypchuk's art typically features social commentary made from ordinary materials, explained Fredric Snitzer of the Fredric Snitzer Gallery of Miami, FL. His work conjures a narrative world of characters that attract, repulse and manifest emotional fragility, according to an artist description from the Saatchi Gallery.

"I Won't Give up on You" at Art Basel Miami Beach was no exception. The sprawling field of miniature toughs of cigarette characters were difficult to resist yet horrifying in their implied lifestyle behaviors and attitudes. Hatred, cynicism and depravity were part of an ordinary day for this bunch as they grouped together in packs.

The artist was / is in the process of quitting smoking, prompting the grouchy groupings of cancer sticks, said Snitzer.

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"Monumento Lima" by Miguel Andrade Valdez, 2012. Presented by Revolver Galeria (Lima, Peru) as part of as part of Art Public at Art Basel Miami Beach.

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Detail from ""Monumento Lima" by Miguel Andrade Valdez, 2012.

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"Tosender Speicher (Thunderous Accumulator)" by Pipilotti Rist, 2012. Video installation; 1 LCD monitor, 1 flashcard player, 1 vintage sideboard in laminated wood, miscellaneous objects, LED lights, laboratory glassware with synthetic resin, 108 5/8 x 59 x 22 7/8 in.

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"Untitled (brain sculptures)" by Peter Kogler, 2012. Five brains, synthetic material, approx. 40 cm each. Exhibited with Galerie Mezzanin (Vienna, Austria).

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Austrian artist Peter Kogler is interested in spatial illusion, projections, brains, ants and creating projections of graphic environments that give the illusion of changing a fixed environment to generate an emotional response from the viewer.

At Art Basel Miami Beach, Kogler exhibited five neon brains installed on the floor of the booth of Galerie Mezzanin. According to gallerist Karin Handlbauer, the artist specified the brains were to be placed on the floor for unspecified reasons. The shock of realizing they were replicas of brains caused immediate curiosity about their form, function and why there were on the floor.

Kogler exhibits extensively around the world. His solo shows include galleries in Paris, Zurich, Istanbul, Innsburg, New York, NY Los Angeles. CA and many more locations.

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Resting from the sprawling art fair in one of two "green" spaces at Art Basel Miami Beach.

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BASIC FACTS: Art Basel Miami Beach 2012 was held from Dec 6 to 9, 2012 at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami Beach, FL. Art was presented in six tiers presented as a unified whole. They are Art Basel Miami Beach Art Galleries (accepted galleries deemed to be the leaders in Modern and Contemporary artworks), Art Nova (emerging and established galleries), Art Positions (galleries presenting one project from a single artist), Art Video (film and video works), Art Kabinett (selected galleries present small curated exhibitions) and Art Public (art placed outside of main exhibition hall).

The 2013 Art Basel Miami Beach art fair will be held from Dec 5 to 8, 2013. miamibeach.artbasel.com.

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Hamptons Art Hub: "Hamptons Galleries Arrive in Miami for Art Fair Week." Published Dec 4, 2012.

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© 2012 Pat Rogers and Hamptons Art Hub. All rights reserved.

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