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Art Basel and Art Miami the highlight of 2009!




The highlight of my year of seeing endless art shows and installations all over Toronto was to attend Art Basel and Art Miami at Miami Beach held on December 3rd to the 9th.

Art Miami and Art Basel were amazing shows this year. The amount of innovation and talent that permeates these shows “Art Basel” being the largest of contemporary art show extravaganzas in the world, is phenomenal.

This is the 8th edition of Art Basel Miami Beach an International art show with more than 250 leading galleries from, North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa, taking part. Chosen by renowned gallerists of the Art Basel Miami Beach Selection Committee, the galleries showed works by more than 2,000 artists of the 20th and 21st Centuries. Special sectors are devoted to very recent artworks, curated exhibits, performance, and art in public spaces.

Art Miami is now celebrating its 20th anniversary. It’s the city’s longest running contemporary art fair and the anchor fair for the city of Miami. Considered one of the most important venues for modern and contemporary art in the U.S.The fair takes place in the Midtown Miami Arts District adjacent to the Miami design District and the Wynwood Arts District, more than 80 national and international contemporary art galleries, representing 12 countries, feature works of more than 750 artists including presentations of decorative arts, African tribal art, Pre-Columbian art, Japanese bamboo art, textiles and kiln formed glass.

In the vast array of art that I viewed at these two shows I have chosen to high light two Artists that are at completely different ends of the spectrum.

My award for the most thought provoking work at The Art Basal show goes out to Thomas Hirschhorn showing his work through

Alfonso Artiaco, Napoli.

Artist: Thomas Hirschhorn


Is a Swiss born artist who lives in France. The piece is called ” Two Subjecters” It was explained to me that Hirschhorn develops his work related to social and political criticism through the use of everyday materials such as adhesive tape, cardboard, plastic sheets, photocopies, or in this case mannequins. These two mannequins in their evening gowns represent extreme beauty and superficiality.

There is a strong contrast between the dresses and the extreme pictures glued to them, which are unpublished war photos and incredibly disturbing.

Hirschhorn is showing that the dresses are carrying all of the negatives of the world with them. There is an ironic contrast between the superficial worlds of beauty and fashion and what is really going in in the world with war and fighting. Seeing these images initially from far away I thought how light and silly and it intrigued me to get a closer look to see what this artist was all about and when I realized what the images were I was taken by the intensity and the violence I have never seen photographs like this and they make an incredibly powerful statement .It brought back a statement an art teacher made to me at OCAD . That not all art is looking for a positive reaction sometimes its about your negative reactions and how those feelings provoke you. This piece is for sale for $75,000.00 U.S.

Timothy Yarger Gallery Beverley Hills

Artist: Jean Wells


A standout at Art Miami was the work of Jean Wells, Giant sparkly ice cream cones and Teddy bears finely covered in cut glass. Ordinary things that are larger than life. her pieces shout out celebration Her art emanates all the humour and happiness life has to offer.

Jean Wells: I actually started doing Mosaic art when I was 12, my father Thomas Wells was an artist and I was his apprentice ( Wells graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in Fine Art. She later attended The Art Institute of Seattle (formerly Burnley School for Professional Art),

and so I continued on for a while and a few years ago I started to go off into more glass cutting instead of the little tiles I worked with before, and then into monumentals which I love.

For the subject matter I go back to my youth and recreate a lot of things from that time, it was a very happy time for me and I like to share a lot of things from that era. Icons like teddy bears, ice cream cones and princess phones.

Gallery Owner Tim Yarger: Jean and I met through a friend of jeans many years ago and this relationship has flourished . I love her art not only for its joy and life and celebration, fun and joi de vivre, but it also has this fantastic component of the history of contemporary art. The history of pop art the vernacular of over the top pop sensation and I’m so proud not only of the quality of the placement of the collection that this work has found its way into, some very important collections, museum collections of the best contemporary art on the planet now include jeans work its really fun and happy.(The commercial appeal of Wells’ work has led to commissions for public art sculptures across the Southwest United States. Her art is presently being represented in New York, Mykonos (Greece), San Diego, La Jolla, and Beverly Hills).


About the author: Alison

  • Ellen

    Wow – I just LOVE the huge mosaic art of Jean Wells. I can’t help smiling just seeing her art. It’s just wonderful!
    Can you post more information about any upcoming shows she may have or a website? I’d also like to find out if there are smaller versions of the large pieces, or books, or notecards available in case I can’t afford the large works. Thanks!