Jefe aka Johnny Chiba provides lowbrow highlights of all that is cool and
all that is great at the annual Miami South Beach event ART BASEL 2012

and assorted satellite fairs

our journey began at the Miami Convention Center, a sprawling arena of international galleries in geometrical
mazes of columns and corners. this year our favorites were a variety of artists we've seen before, working in new
mediums, or being represented by more than one gallery. please click thumbnails for links to galleries, artist websites and larger pictures


Thomas Schütte c/o Skarstedt Gallery

Single print from a suite of ten color offset lithographs, signed, numbered, and dated

Schütte's work is comprised of a diverse use of media as well as many of the ironies and criticisms of humanity
he explores, including historical recollection, achievement, loss of power, and finally mortality.

Sculptures and photographs, all unanimously entitled United Enemies. The group of sculptures, which correspond to the photographs, consists of two small figures tied together on a piece of PVC pipe adorned with colorful cloth all protected by a glass dome. The counterpart to this series, the photographs, of which all ten are displayed, highlight the faces and emotive nature of the sculptures.


Mr. Schütte was also represented by the gallery of Carolina Nitsch,
who also showed the lithe lithographs of

Martin Kippenberger


Fred Tomaselli c/o James Cohan Gallery

- photo-collage, acrylic, resin on wood panel

Fred Tomaselli continues to astound, with his shocking and awesome work, his large paintings-cum
-collages made with resins and meticulous cutouts go beyond the art norm. the snakes within the snake,
the bird's eyes within the bird, all within a universe of colors and shapes that only Fred Tom can conjur.

Fred Tom also paints over The New York Times front pages, creating artful commentary juxtaposed
with the serious nature of the political reporting

also repped by James Cohan:
Erick Swenson

the devastating use of resin and acrylic paint resulting in lifelike homages
to nightmarish creatures, disgusting yet interesting... art


Jon Kessler c/o Salon 94
one of the more interesting booths at Art Basel belonged to Salon 94, displaying
artist Jon Kessler's various mediums using video and moving sculptures.

"Live in Your Head"
video snippet

Included were a kaleidoscopic camera in a tub, a twirling camera in a water bottle,
the kinetic "Lost Boys" sculptures, and the head on laptop, whose screen showed
a youngster running about wearing a superhero costume.

the entire booth was enjoyed by gangs of roving schoolkids and curious adults alike,
whose interaction was necessary to complete the art piece



space-age video installation located in the heart of the
convention center provided a needed respite



Nicola Tyson c/o Friedrich Petzel Gallery

a figurative painter, whose contorted figures represent urgent bodies (of the mind),
entities that exist within the flatness of two dimensions.

a short interview with Ms. Tyson from


Tim Rollins and K.O.S. c/o Lehmann Maupin

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - On the Raft (after Mark Twain)

In 1984, Tim Rollins launched the Art and Knowledge Workshop in the Bronx
together with a group of at-risk students who called themselves K.O.S. (Kids of Survival).
the group’s 20-year career continues with prestigious exhibitions worldwide



William Kentridge c/o Lia Rumma

video snippet

a fine video on Mr. Kentridge's work process can be found here
as well as this MOMA piece, best view full screen


also representing Sir Kentridge was the gallery
of Marian Goodman, and this delicious piece


Pedro Reyes c/o Galeria Luisa Strina

"Personality Crisis"

a number of separated pieces seemingly placed according to artist's whim,
but what about that hidden piece? what is it and why is it hidden?
Señor Reyes' artwork in the past combines therapy with hypotheses,
prospective and retrospective. these pieces are identifying yet mystifying.


T. Kelly Mason c/o Cherry & Martin Gallery

"Stars Stairs Potemkin Exorcism"

giant lightboxes with cinema gels, separated by packing blankets,
replete with audio, metal fittings, zip ties, etc, a work of art ready
to be packed and shipped and sold!


Gert & Ewe Tobias c/o Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin

twin brothers as collaborative duo of visual artists, whose work centres
on their Romanian heritage, myth and legend, incorporating elements of
contemporary graphic design, camp horror films and abstract art

the Brothers Tobias were also well-represented by the fine Galerie
of SABINE KNUST, whose wall of Tobias was impeccably hung.

the reproductions at Galerie Maximilian Verlag website are far better
than the photos below, click galerie link above


Jerry B. Martin c/o Revolver Galeria

the artist, pictured next to his arte, esta muy interesante!
the stock market is actually composed of thousands of words via multi-colored
typeset, all politically-charged commentary on the market itself. genius!

a wheel, a chair, a slew of words.

also at Revolver, from the website:

Giancarlo Scaglia

made with melted black garbage bags... this art is truly garbage!


Hilary Berseth c/o Eleven Rivington Gallery

Model 5" - graphite on paper

a floating circular cave portending gravity-defying reality
of an architectural abstract, delicately detailed.


Assume Vivid Astro Focus c/o Casa Triangulo

Obama Lady

a vivid silkscreened tribute to President Obama or the rock band Kiss?
the proliference of multi-colored penis was abstract and colorful, from
the vibrant minds of AVAF




Barry McGee c/o Cheim & Read

Barry McGee continues to climb the corporate ladder of gallery
prestige with new color and patterns and identifiably droopy face,
all coming together in a 2012 psychedlic weave

Cheim & Red also repped:

Donald Baechler

mega-skullular pop-art


Raqib Shaw c/o Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art

Absence of God III; And His Tears of Blood Will Drown the Cities of Men II
Acrylic, glitter, enamel and rhinestones on linen

closeups reveal the horror of mythological animals ejaculating,
babies skewered, and bodies strewn among the glittering jewels
of the beastial and the beautiful




Marino Marini c/o Landau Fine Art

Cavallo e Cavalieri (1951)

b 1901, d 1980, known for his sculptures, this painting
reflects his magnificent talent in other mediums


Alexander Gorlizki c/o Berggruen Gallery

we've come across Mr. Gorlizki's fine work in the past, and would once again
run into a wall of his art in the near future, but it was nice to see an artist taken
to the next level by a gallery of such prestige as the Berggruen.

Gorlizki's works on paper originate from an obsession with Indian Miniature paintings - a tradition that he has subverted and applied to his own particular visual language. In the mid 1990's he opened a studio in Jaipur, India with Riyaz Uddin, a master painter with a perfect command of technique that goes back over 600 years. Gorlizki draws out wonderfully odd subjects, patterns and compositions that Uddin then paints with jewel-coloured pigments, stone colours and gold leaf with a single hair-tipped brush to create works of breathtaking intricacy. When not working together in the studio, drawings get sent back and forth to be modified and adapted between New York and Jaipur, often over a period of years.

Berggruen also reps the magnanimous mural magnificence of:

Julie Mehretu

yet another huge, architecturally-sound and spacious piece


the Untitled Art fair took place in a tent on the beach, where we attended a sunset
party filled with art revelers, reveling in liquor and art and see-thru clothing

Andrés Carranza c/o Des Pacio

three gladiator busts: Ruby Red Shining, Lollipop Racer Arrow, Glitter Thunder Belly,
each opening to reveal the artist's skull replica molded in bone, blood, sweat and tears.


the aqua hotel provides the gallery-within-a-room motif, where we window-shop
the art before deciding whether to enter the room/gallery. I always make sure to
check out the bathroom for sh*tty art... pun intended.


Benjamin Pierce c/o Pele Prints

interesting prints with repeated motifs, via bulls and gothic persona



Katsu Ishida c/o Sytema Gallery

with galleries in Osaka Japan and Kathmandu Nepal, artist Katsu Ishida's gallery is truly
a gateway to the world. he makes the ink, the paper, the art... Ishida-san is a true artisan.


Victor Ekpuk c/o Morton Fine Art

Nigerian-born artist whose work is rooted in African art and nsibidi aesthetic philosophy,
where sign systems are used to convey ideas; Ekpuk re-imagines graphic symbols from
diverse cultures to form a personal style evoking the human condition explained through
universal and specific themes: family, gender, politics, culture and Identity.



Jeannette Herrera c/o Alida Anderson Art Projects

little virgin
pussy wagon

a.k.a. Blue Face Killer, Jeannette L Herrera is an acrylic/oil painter, whose
subject matter includes day of the dead and religious iconography, mixed with
a colorful sense of humor; a certified picture framer whose handmade frames
correlate to the textures and subject matter of her work.



Joe Brubaker c/o Seager Gray

Joe Brubaker's wooden carved figures echo Spanish colonial Santos, Egyptian tomb figures
and Buddhist stone carvings, crossing cultures from indigenous peoples all over the world.

Scraps of metal and found materials are incorporated to create a cast of puppet-like characters
each with its own personality. "I almost imagine myself as channeling some soul that's out there
and wants to come back", he says. "It's really an eerie...Geppetto moment".

Seager Gray Gallery also reps:

Cathy Rose

like an eerie kibuki doll in the forest come to life, Cathy Rose's sweeping sculptures
seemed right at home with the transient mime who posed somewhat possessed


Kenji Sugiyama
c/o Standing Pine

scenes from an art gallery, cleverly displayed on a mirror reflecting the minute sculptures
created on a vertical column below the eye level. brilliant art-chitecture.


Carlos Aires c/o Mario Mauroner Contemporary Art

"Face to face with death II"
93 vinyl records and plexiglass

a plethora of cut-out phonograph records that must be seen up close
to appreciate the detail and genius behind the undertaking



Porkchop c/o Parlor Gallery

skeletal artwork within the skeletal marlin
was a
cartoonish joy to behold

NJ's Parlor Gallery also represents (although not represented at the fair)
the wonderfully whimsical art of:

Mike Egan

Mike Egan's fantastic artwork is full of colors and friendly evils: skeletons, devils and clowns,
part of a geometric landscape of lines, leaves and lustre.

Johnny Chiba appreciates the way
Mike Egan's artwork animates and
transmogrifies. click for a full-on
phantasmagorical display



Nunzio Paci c/o Officine dell'Immagine

Oil, Enamel, Resins, Tar And Encausto On Canvas

Signore Paci's paintings are revealing skeletal homages
to animals, plants and the human body, intense and extreme





Laura Lima c/o Hardcore Art

indelibly drawn futuristic designs over classical paintings, Laura Lima is represented
by Hardcore Art, yet her own website is not to be found! these fine pieces below were
discovered via google searches as was this interesting video piece on the well-versed artist

also repping:

Carlos Gamez de Francisco
with a short, brilliant video, Black Portraits of Pomegranate Eaters

watch on youtube

Carlos Gámez de Francisco appropriates the opulent and decadent atmosphere of the days of the last French monarchs to create a parable of absolute power. Black humor serves as the narrative thread linking pictorial
scenes in which the bloody and the absurd converge with ostentatious fashion.



Seung Mo Park c/o Blank Space

stainless steel and wire mesh
brilliantly used to conjure facial realism


Peter Demetz c/o White Room Art System

wood carvings belie the three dimensions where angles and contours meet,
the use of color help the sculptures stand out and create spacious pleasantry


Tom Haney c/o Red Truck Gallery

click for links to video snippets

moving marionettes you don't want to meet in an alley, spooky cool carnival-like.



Sungchul Park c/o Kim Jae Sun Gallery

Style-gaga - Aluminum,F.R.P

lady gaga? Metallic pop art? opulent!




Soody Sharifi

Soody Sharifii is an Iranian/American artist based in Houston. Her work deals with the paradoxes and contradictions inherent in living between two cultures, exploring the notion of Muslem youth identity
and what it means to participate in two cultures from both an outsiders and insiders perspective.

Sadia Jamal

Asser Series
- steel wool figures represent individuals imprisoned in their own selves

each figure is boxed in, unable to explore and survive, to transform internal fears and external plight
into a flight to freedom. below they are animated (c/o Johnny Chiba) to further their caged endeavor.


Yuriko Yamamoto c/o Gallery G-77

Inner Calling

cleverly placed lamps illuminate glass to form shadowy facial expressions,
best seen on the gallery image at right



Fay Ku c/o Uprise Art

Paper Tiger Army

known for her works on paper, Fay Ku assembled a small army of adorable origami beasts,
representing the artist's Chinese zodiac symbol (born in the year of the tiger), Chinese cultural history
and the funerary ritual of burning Joss paper (paper money). Paper Tiger Army is also influenced by
First Emperor Shihuangdi’s terracotta army necropolis.

Uprise Art also repped:

Pratima Bjorkdahl

I'm a sucker for Pee Wee Herman, Gumby and the Marshmellow man,
represented as artwork for safety matches



Balint Zsako c/o The Proposition

the remarkably quirky, sinister drawings of Hungarian-born Balint Zsako emanate a strange
combination of innocence, perversity and cruelty. Nudity, body fluids and sex are construed
into a wonderfully macabre balance of surrealistic life and death and pop culture.

a short interview with



Alexandre Arrechea c/o Magnan Metz

Twisted architecture, warped buildings and skyscrapers concocted out of context,

the Cuban-born Arrechea's work reveals a profound interest in the exploration
of both public and domestic spaces, including an upcoming solo exhibition,
the Park Avenue Mall Project in NYC in 2013. muy interesante!



Ron van der Ende c/o Ambach & Rice

Volcano and Brimstone
Bas-relief in salvaged wood

A sculptor living in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, van der Ende specializes in wall mounted
bas-reliefs constructed from found wood. The original color and texture of the wood is utilized
to form a gripping and realistic mosaic, further enhanced by the perspective built into the relief.




Federico Solmi c/o Luis de Jesus Los Angeles


brilliant animated movies resembling video games of a futuristic military-ruled earth,
with America the final battlefield. Humoresque and grotesque, bloody and bold,
signore Solmi's short animated films are nightmares of a foreboding future.

Federico was also repped by JEROME ZODO Gallery from his home country of Italy


a huge horizontal piece with enclosed animations of a seemingly endless military line and American takeover

click for video nugget
- 3 heads of state with animations built in

more Solmi snippets from youtube

Alexander Gorlizki
c/o Galerie Martin Kudlek

a veritable wall of intense art, Martin Kudlek has represented Alexander Gorlizki in the past,
and thankfully retained the artist when he separated from his gallery partner of many years

Alexander Gorlizki was also well-represented at Art Basel by Berggreun Gallery



Mark Wagner c/o Pavel Zoubok Gallery

Stealing from the Bees

Using countless fragments of actual currency, Mark Wagner creates collages that speak to the cultural, social, political and symbolic roles that money plays in our society. Working exclusively with the monochrome of the
U.S Dollar, Wagner has proved that the single dollar bill is a truly ripe material.

I could barely make out the full dollar bill until I saw it in the camera lens. A bees-eye-view of the dollar
as honeycomb, all elements created out of the bills themselves. One of the most creative pieces of the week!

Pavel Zoubok also repped:

Lisa Nilsson

Canis lupus familiaris

Meaty canine under glass - mulberry paper, a
life-size piece
represents a midsagittal section of the head of a greyhound


Mounir Fatmi c/o Conrads Dusseldorf

Casablanca Circles

something about Casablanca and Humphrey Bogart/Lauren Bacall, with geometrial patterns
blanketing the stars, seems highly out of place, but I could not stop looking at it and thinking about it.
and isn't that the purpose of art?

a trio of casablanca circles animated by Johnny Chiba made a tad more sense


Sadegh Tirafkan c/o Nuova Galleria Morone

Iraqi-born to Iranian parents, Sadegh Tirafkan's photo-collages seek to bring together
disparate classes of people from his countries' division of men/women and religions;
seeing the pieces up close reveal throngs of folks, from afar they form a focal unity.A
Art = Peace



Daniel Rozin c/o Bitforms Gallery

Twisted Strips - video snippet

a kinetic sculpture of perceptual illusion, inspired by Op Art from the 1950s and 60s.

Breaking the picture plane into a black field and twenty-one motorized vertical strips, the sculpture produces rhythmic waves of movement. The animated pattern shifts in arc and frequency, as the two motors on each strip continually rotate in and out of phase. Using an approach visually analogous to the tape loop structures found in minimal music and phase music, new shapes constantly flow through the composition, which are perceived by the eye as a singular picture in motion.

New York-based artist Daniel Rozin creates interactive installations and sculptures that have the unique ability to change and respond to the presence of a viewer. In most of his pieces the viewer takes part, actively and creatively, in the performance of his art. Known for his longstanding investigation of image creation – be it in response to woven fabric, stone mosaics or today’s pixel – Rozin studies the very nature of modern structure.

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