On Wednesday November 30th, PBT attended the opening of Aqua 2016, sister fair of Art Miami and Context. The fair, located on Miami Beach’s Aqua Hotel on Collins Avenue, is a more relaxed venue than its counterparts. Whereas Art Miami and Context feature more established artists, Aqua provides an opportunity for collectors and aficionados alike to procure work from young and emerging artists. We had a chance to speak with Katelijne de Backer, director of Aqua, who informed us that at this year’s fair some of the rooms were given to individual artists that are not represented by a gallery. “I love one-artist rooms because you can get in and get a feel of what they want to do, the artist is there and you can have a conversation with them, it’s more intimate.” That intimacy is part of what makes Aqua such a unique experience, it’s really an accessible fair for the public, and its layout invites you to interact with the art and the artists in a more organic way.
One of our favorites this year were Marty Goldstein’s Playful Dogs at Raitman Art Galleries. Marty, we were told by Brian Raitman, didn’t start his artistic career until he was 66 years old, after retiring from a life in the corporate world. He took two classes at a local art center where they taught him how to sculpt people, but he found that boring, so he decided to sculpt dogs instead. Each bronze sculpture has its own personality, but they all manage to bring a smile to onlookers. At Grey Space, artist Arik Krunk, had a a glowing bong displayed under UV light, which took two years to produce due to its intricate glass-work. Artist Rena Son from Prak-sis, also dazzled us with her colorful and abstract horses. Signature Gallery from Atlanta offered us lollipops out of a ceramic pig, and we thank you.
Projects Gallery invited artists from around the world to submit to their Square Foot project. The selection process guaranteed a spot on the wall for one hundred applicants. The square-foot format seeks to give exposure to familiar and unknown artists alike, which fits right into Aqua’s vibe. At CASS Gallery our photographer had the opportunity to purchase signed edition prints from artists Shark Toof and Michael Reeder. Aqua provides a great opportunity for new art collectors to obtain art that is more accessible than some of the other fairs, and on opening night we noticed a lot of red stickers going up on the walls.