Saturday, September 10, 2011

Two Miami artists launch first Burst Art Fair Miami Beach during Art Basel

A work by Yaro (courtesy of Burst Project Art Fair)
Two Miami artists staked their savings on a bet they could launch a new Miami Beach contemporary art fair during Art Basel Miami Beach (1 – 4 December).

To some it may appear a long shot in the wake of Pulse, Art Miami, Nada, and Design Miami.

But Burst Project Art Fair´s inaugural show promising at least 12 new or emerging artists of various contemporary genres forges ahead confidently.

The fair runs from 30 Nov. to 5 Dec, its chief organizer Gabriela Sanchez-Vegas told me in a phone interview this week.
Burst co-organizer and Miami artist Rudolf Kohn in his studo (photo courtesy of Burst Project Art Fair)
Her partner Rudolf Kohn, a Miami painter, joins her in this effort started in late July, according to public records.

Burst is a creature of its chief sponsor, GSVV Design LLC in Miami, which is solely owned by Sanchez-Vegas.

Can Burst emerge along with its artists?

While Burst Art Fair looks like a shoestring effort, it may well succeed on its own economies of artistic scale.

Burst has locked in an Art Deco District “chic pavilion,” said Sanchez-Vegas.
While the duo writes their own news releases and juries applications, there appears no lack of interest.
“We´ve received more than 150 applications,” Caracas-born artist said.

And of these, about 20 percent are galleries, the balance individual artists in this open call, which ends 20 September.

The pair of artists, who exhibited as part of the Synergy Group at Art Basel Miami Beach in 2008, has already selected nearly half of their talent, including Kohn, who will exhibit.

One of Rudolf Kohn´s "Ozotron" series (Image courtesy of the artist)
Sanchez-Vegas, known as a concept concrete sculptor, said she´s simply too busy putting the fair together to exhibit.

Getting into the black with new satellite art fairs happens, although it´s difficult.

At least one pundit, Jonathan Neil of the Art Newspaper, wrote last year:

“By the time the doors, open, the fair organizers-cum-event promoters are in the black (hopefully); ticket and concession sales are gravy (and with $5 espressos, it´s rich gravy indeed).

“In the end, the risk is the galleries’ own.”

Neil also noted, however, “Satellite fairs…require heat, in the form of audience and buzz, which they cannot generate on their own.”

So far, Burst organizers said David Gil, Yaro and Mariana Thome join Kohn as certain to exhibit at Burst.

The heat Sanchez-Vegas said she has in store comes after her fair opens.

“We´ve got a couple of great surprises for people.”

She keeps us guessing. Call it "buzz."

Sanchez-Vegas encourages more people to apply online to show paintings, surreal pop art, sculptures, street art, mixed media, photography and short independent films.

Meanwhile, Burst´s closest competitor, Verge Art Fair (1 – 4 December) continues its open call to artists, which closes 15 September.

Again, you can apply online.

Verge´s third annual art fair deadline for galleries was 15 July

Verge Art Fair began as a Michael Workman ´s the Bridge Art Fair, which in 2009 he downsized and transformed into Verge.

Verge, which unlike Art Basel Miami Beach discloses its selection jury, will not name the jury until after selections are announced in October.

What does it cost to exhibit at Burst and Verge?

“…A mere $7,000 for an average 350 square feet of exhibition space,” according to a recent Verge news release.

However, Verge´s contract´s states a “standard room” (14’ X 11’) costs $5,500.

That´s 154 square feet.

You´re exhibiting in a hotel room.

To that you add a “marketing fee” of $1,500.
If you need to clear the room of furniture, you pay. At the end you pay $300 for cleaning.

The exhibitor must deposit $3,000 with you’re the application. Verge keeps $500 if you´re rejected.

Art fair agreements usually require the exhibitor to pay in full at least a week before the fair´s opening.

My favorite Verge section (“DEFAULT AND/OR BREACH”) says if the exhibitor defaults or breaches any condition in the agreement, the show promoter is entitled to essentially punitive (“liquidated”) damages of 120 percent of “all fees.”

Burst´s contract shares with Verge´s a common denominator.

The exhibitor pays and takes all the risks, and if you´re damaged by the promoter, you´ve signed away most if not all your rights.

But it appears a little cheaper at Burst: space rental between $15 and $18.50 a square foot.

A flat $1,500 for space in the sculpture garden.

Both agreements are totally one-sided but as long as you know and understand that before you sign up and pay, Miami´s a high energy place.

Burst and Verge hope to create their own magic and energies, capitalizing on the expected 50,000 Art Basel Miami Beach viewers who will be only a couple blocks away from these much smaller venues.

Rock on and practice peace and love.
Stefan, the ArtTraveler ™

ArtTraveler notes:

After living at the Hotel Queen Mary in Budapest (3.5 stars), I heartily recommend it: old on the outside, otherwise totally modern (23 rooms); 

The owner and staff are affable and speak English and German. Tel: 0036-1-413-3510;;

Check out a sculpture or mosaics workshop or walking tour in our beautiful mountains. 

"Walking the Walk," near Canillas de Albaida, Andalusia Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2007)
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