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Home / Mensa Kondo


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Tramaine Harris & Asha McGlashan, Miami natives.

Art Basel Miami – the emotional paint-covered fracas that tormented Twitter and Instagram feeds last week – i.e. the art fair which took place Dec 3rd through 8th in Miami Beach, Florida – is over now. Attendees’ hangovers and farmer’s tans have abated, Kanye and Kim have thankfully gone home, and much of the art is in a shipping container somewhere between here and Thailand. Statistically, the fair was a success: Miami Art Basel grew ~7% this year from last, as 75,000 people trekked through the convention center — (keep in mind, probably .002 percent of that buy art or even dare to look at the price tag.) Many people made a LOT of money — works sold included $1.4 million Sigmar Polke at Michael Werner; a $3.2 million Gerhard Richter at Van de Weghe; a $6 million Joan Mitchell at Cheim+Read, plus a spate of multimillion-dollar Legers, Calders, and Miros at Helly Nahmad, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Meanwhile, the usual naysayers bemoaned Miami’s art week — in a nut shell: “Too many people, too many brands, not much substance.” For art lovers, with over 20+ satellite fairs running from graffiti-covered arts district Wynwood to the sea, the week can be a frustrating fiesta of over-stimulation and Fear Of Missing Out. Conquering ABMB is like consuming one of those 3-foot never-ending-daiquiris on Collins Ave; you get your art fix – but any amount of amusement is lost in the associated brain-freeze.

Thus, rather than try to see it all, our goal was simple: To capture the humanity in the experience. All week, we stopped random people who caught our eye from fair to fair – some while musing at art, others while kissing their wives, or one in the middle of her performance-art project. None are famous that we know of — yet at least — but all represent what we love about Miami’s art week : its diversity, ingenuity, imperfection, and rough-around-the-edges funk. After all, while the art provides the week’s heart, the people provide its soul.

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At Scope, we found Nicky Watts -a performance artist exploring self-induced isolation, in which she requires herself to wear a box on her head for 8 hours a day…She recently just completed traveling through 30 cities.

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Artist Anna Wieder-Blank subtly mimics the piece behind her by Bernardí Roig, Practices to Suck the Light (Hanging Man), 2012 at Scope.

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Matchstick fashion matching the art at Art Basel Miami’s Vernissage

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20-year old visual artist, Mensa Kondo, from DC. (Check out his street art here and here.)

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We didn’t catch these guys names but we dig their style…posing in front of Formlessfinder‘s Tent Pile installation at Design Miami. NYC-based formlessfinder’s Garrett Ricciardi and Julian Rose describe their practice as “formless” because materials, construction, and user and landscape interactions take precedent over the formal shape of a building or structure. In this instance? They chose to work with Miami’s most famed resource: sand.

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Neon-hued Art Director, Thomas Camy, and wife, Laure Camy at NADA.

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Artist Dominic at Pulse Art Fair in front of artist Darren Lago‘s Sugar, featuring  “Candy Colts” made of tinted resin and glass but designed to look like little gummy bear guns. Yum….

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Boston inhabitant, Susan DeAngelo, told us she literally walked off the beach (hence the bikini) and into beach-side Untitled Art Fair, where we caught her enthusiastically appreciating art.

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Pop metalinquist, Kendalle Fiasco, looking statuesque at SCOPE.

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LA-based Fashion photographer Gitte Meldgaard & her dog, who is affectionately called “Little Dog.”

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NYC-based, Irish-born artist film maker Luke NeoCamp Howlin…with his roller blades at NADA

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Creative director, Steven Giles, of Miami’s retail & concept store, Baseworld, at Pulse.

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Performance artists arm wrestle at Pulse Art Fair.

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Taraka Larson of the band/art troupe Prince Rama & John Riepenhoff of The Green Gallery. What’s Prince Rama? “Sisters Taraka and Nimai Larson have lived in ashrams, worked for utopian architects, written manifestos, delivered lectures from pools of fake blood, conducted group exorcisms disguised as VHS workouts…etc…etc..”

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Photographer Jessica Eriksen and Tanya Arguelles, browsing at NADA.

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We caught Iranian artist Priya Assal Gheysari exploring the work of Tracey Emin at MOCA. Priya is “interested in the tension that exists between the physical and metaphysical, the mundane and the spiritual, as I strive to explore the whole spectrum of the human experience.” Ditto, Priya. Us too.

(Photos & commentary by Faith-Ann Young)

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