Miami Beach Gets a New Satellite Art Fair Named Satellite
Only the wildest projects are welcome.
Just when you thought the early December art calendar in South Florida—pegged, of course, to Art Basel in Miami Beach—couldn’t possibly get more packed, plans for an innovative new fair, cheekily titled Satellite, have been unveiled by Brian Whiteley, the founder of the now-defunct SELECT Fair.
Creative differences between Whiteley and his former fair partner, Matthew Eck, were said to have prompted the split.
Similar to the approach of SELECT, which featured interactive and performance elements, Whiteley is still aiming to break away from the traditional fair model. For starters, Satellite will not be limited to one venue but will instead be spread across four currently vacant spaces in North Beach—two blocks from Miami Project.
Whiteley told artnet News over the phone that he negotiated for the spaces—which together comprise 30,000 square feet of space—with the property owner. They range from a former pharmacy to an old steakhouse, a 39-room Art Deco hotel, and an amphitheater.
“They’re not your typical white box and booth setup,” Whiteley said. “Each one of these kind of feels like a little bit of a satellite fair and I like playing off that. I want to have an overarching theme. However each space is curated or sub-curated by a different arts organization.”
Whiteley said he hopes the organizations “bring their craziest projects here.”
The curatorial committee so far includes: Manon Slome of No Longer Empty; Juan Puntes of WhiteBox; Sam Hillmer of Trans-Pecos; Tiger Strikes Asteroid; and Whitely himself. More curators will be announced in the weeks to come.
“The idea of these individual spaces is that they would be in complete control of these art organizations,” says Whiteley. For the amphitheater on 73rd Street, “I’m talking to different people about activating it with performance during the day and then in the evening transitioning it into somewhat of a musical platform.”
We asked Whiteley what he sees as the limitations of traditional art fairs and what he wants to improve on. “I think after doing the fairs after three or four years, there’s a lot of great things, but just the general cost fatigue and stress of the sales means a lot of pressure both to the people experiencing the fair and also the people exhibiting the works. Everyone is tied down to the dollar sign.”
Whiteley continues, “I just think it was time, even if it’s just this one iteration. Maybe I’ll expand and do more galleries for the future ones ones.”
Asked why he settled on the North Beach area, he said when he was looking to move the Miami version of SELECT last year, “I was encouraged by the Miami Beach tourism department to choose North Beach. This part of the beach had not been utilized before and was less touristy, and more of a community.”
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