by Sammi Skolmoski (MFA 2016)
From December 3–6, art collectors, enthusiasts, artists, and curators gathered to pour over work from internationally renowned and emerging stars alike at this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach. More than 100 SAIC alumni and faculty participated in Art Basel and the surrounding fairs as both gallerists and featured artists, and many more alumni, staff, and faculty members were in attendance as fairgoers.
SAIC's presence at the fair has been amassing, and this year was the biggest yet. Friday, December 5, was the busiest day for the School with SAIC in Miami—a day of activities beginning with a visit to SAIC/SF, a group show of work by South Florida SAIC alumni on display through January 5 at BridgeRed Studios. The show was curated by Kristen Thiele (BFA 1995). The exhibition includes: John Bailly (1987), Yanira Collado (1995), William Cordova (BFA 1996), Hugo Michel Hernandez (BFA 1997), Peter Hosfeld (BFA 1998), Brookhart Jonquil (MFA 2010), Natalya Kochak (BFA 2005), Juana Meneses (BFA 1998, Post-Bac 2003), and Thiele.
An increasing number of artists have been settling in Miami in recent years, due in no small part to Art Basel's influence—which reverberates through the art community even in the off-season—combined with the city's own seductive international flair. One alum who lives and works there, Sheila Elias (BFA 1969), invited the group into her studio for brunch and an artist talk.
Following brunch, Lisa Wainwright led a tour through the UNTITLED. Art Fair that took place on the beach in a large white tent with a clear back flap to allow a seamless view of the ocean from the show. This event alone featured more than 20 SAIC alumni and faculty members, including alumni Shannon Wright (MFA 1994), Francois Bucher (MFA 1999), Samantha Bittman (MFA 2010), Robert Burnier (Post-Bac 2013, MFA 2015), John Opera (MFA 2005), Siebren Versteeg (BFA 1996), Carson Fisk-Vittori (BFA 2009), Andrew Holmquist (BFA 2008, MFA 2014), Amanda Valdez (BFA 2007), Sofia Leiby (BFA 2011), mAtT Nichols (MFA 2010), Josh Reames (Post-Bac 2010, MFA 2010), Diane Simpson (BFA 1971, MFA 1978), Elise Ferguson (BFA 1987), William Cordova (BFA 1996), David Hartt (MFA 1994), Carol Jackson (MFA 1992), Jennie C. Jones (BFA 1991), Martin Puryear (HON 1992), Lilli Carré (BFA 2006), and Rachel Owens (MFA 1999) in addition to SAIC Faculty members Michelle Grabner, Jason Lazarus, and Latoya Ruby Frazier. Alumni-run spaces Threewalls, moniquemeloche, and LVL3 attended as well.
The evening concluded with a packed reception at the Sagamore Hotel, put on in conjunction with Gallery Weekend Chicago (GWC) and EXPO Chicago. SAIC President Walter Massey was among the lively guests, along with many distinguished members of the Chicago art community. The reception also featured visual work by Vincent Uribe (BA, BFA 2013).
SAIC in Miami at Art Basel 2014 highlighted SAIC's impact on the international art community, and it was clear our presence at the fair will only grow larger in the years to come.