Art Basel Miami Repurposed

Filed in Design Finds, Homepage, Interiors by on December 12, 2013 0 Comments

 

I recently returned from Art Basel Miami and the impossible task of covering the mother ship of all shows plus 18 associated fairs, 51 exhibitions, 27 special events, and 44 art spaces. I tried my best to sample all spectrums of the art world from the contemporary artists with rock star status to those making a name for themselves mid-career and emerging artists. For one week each year, Miami Beach becomes the center of the universe in the art world with Art Basel as the big international draw.

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Design Blogger Karen LeBlanc at the Phare No. 1—9 lightwork installation by Simon Heijdens presented by Perrier Jouet at Design Miami/

The range of 20th and 21st century artworks blows the mind and stirs the soul. It’s a fabulous place to people watch in this mashup of celebrities, eccentrics, art collectors, art dealers and design cognoscenti. It’s also easy to suffer from sensory overload after walking through miles of neutral white exhibit space. Art is a very personal experience—what speaks to me can be quite the opposite of what speaks to you. Personally, I’m drawn to works that find beauty in the overlooked and discarded. In our throwaway culture, artists who repurpose the things we no longer want or need always intrigue me. Dare I say that in the U.S. there is an endless supply of refuse ripe for creative repurposing.  Regardless of whether you view these works as social commentary, there is something very provocative about them—the ability to see beauty in the mundane and the sheer self-discipline and attention to detail to create them. Here’s a look at some of my favorite artists at Art Basel Miami doing amazing work with ordinary objects.

 

Benjamin Rollins Caldwell in his Binary Room at Lady Gaga's artRave on November 10, 2013 in Brooklyn City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Benjamin Rollins Caldwell)

Benjamin Rollins Caldwell in his Binary Room at Lady Gaga’s artRave on November 10, 2013 in Brooklyn City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Benjamin Rollins Caldwell)

Designer Benjamin Rollins Caldwell caught Lady Gaga’s attention with his Binary Chair made of computer parts that later became an icon of Lady Gaga’s ArtPop album campaign.

 

Lady Gaga seated on The Binary Chair by designer Benjamin Rollins Caldwell. The Binary Chair is featured in Gaga's ArtPop album campaign.

Lady Gaga seated on The Binary Chair by designer Benjamin Rollins Caldwell. The Binary Chair is featured in Gaga’s ArtPop album campaign.

 

Known as the RE-INVENTOR, Caldwell’s studio is a storehouse of old computers that he reincarnates into furniture.  It all started when Caldwell came across of 11 pallets of old computers and thought what a shame to see all this refuse end up in a landfill. Instead, where others saw trash, Caldwell saw color, texture and structure that became the basis of his Binary Collection.

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Just three weeks after creating an installation for Lady Gaga’s artRave party where Caldwell created an entire room from computer parts—the walls, flooring, furniture and rugs— the designer brought his Binary Collection to Design Miami. Industry Gallery out of Washington D.C presented the works of Benjamin Rollins Caldwell at Design Miami.

Benjamin Rollins Caldwell's Binary Room at Lady Gaga's artRave on November 10, 2013 in Brooklyn City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Benjamin Rollins Caldwell)

Benjamin Rollins Caldwell’s Binary Room at Lady Gaga’s artRave on November 10, 2013 in Brooklyn City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Benjamin Rollins Caldwell)

 

The living room suite features a Binary Sofa made of computer towers, a collage of motherboards and seat cushions made from computer ribbon cable.

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Design Blogger Karen LeBlanc and Designer Benjamin Caldwell Rollins in his Binary Living Room Suite at Design Miami presented by Industry Gallery

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Binary Coffee table by Benjamin Rollins Caldwell at Design Miami presented by Industry Gallery

A side chair is made of interwoven Ethernet cable and a collage of motherboards.

Benjamin Rollins Caldwell's Binary Room at Lady Gaga's artRave on November 10, 2013 in Brooklyn City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Benjamin Rollins Caldwell)

Benjamin Rollins Caldwell’s Binary Room at Lady Gaga’s artRave on November 10, 2013 in Brooklyn City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Benjamin Rollins Caldwell)

Caldwell says the wiring for the chair took three weeks to create.  All pieces are one-of-a-kind and range in price from $600 to $25, 000.

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Binary by Benjamin Rollins Caldwell at Design Miami presented by Industry Gallery

 

 

At Aqua Art Miami, a show dedicated to mid career and emerging artists, I discovered the altered book art of Brian Dettmer on display at the Toomey Tourell Fine Art Gallery exhibit.

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Encyclopedia of Science, 2013, hardcover books, acrylic varnish, 16-3/8 x 15 x15 inches by Artist Brian Dettmer, photo courtesy of TOOMEY TOURELL FINE ART

 

Dettmer meticulously cuts and layers the text and images of books into sculpture. His juxtapositions communicate philosophical, economic or political agendas. Dettmer describes his technique: “After a book or series of books is sealed into a solid form,I cut into the surface, reading with my knife one page or layer at a time. Fragmented images, words and ideas emerge to expose and create new relationships within the book’s internal elements.”

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The World of Mathematics, 2013, 12.75 x 11 x 11″, Hardcover Books, Acrylic Varnish
Retail: $10,500 by Artist Brian Dettmer, photo courtesy of TOOMEY TOURELL FINE ART

 

What intrigues me about Dettmer’s work is this idea that the tangible book as we know it, is becoming obsolete in our technological and cultural shift towards electronic books. I think of Dettmer as a preservationist recording and cataloging this artifact for future generations in a way that encapsulates and comments on our current life and times. Dettmer’s work  is in many private and public collections. It’s quite literally another way to “read” a book.

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The Library of American History, 2012, 99″ x 19″ x 19″ , Hardcover Books, Acrylic Varnish, Internal Steel Structure by Artist Brian Dettmer, photo courtesy of TOOMEY TOURELL FINE ART

Indian designer Gunjan Gupta sources materials for everyday routines in her native New Delhi.

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Limited edition chair made of indian food pots by Gunjan Gupta presented by Erastudio Apartment Gallery at Design Miami photo courtesy of Erastudio Apartment-Gallery

To create this limited edition chair, Gupta repurposed Indian food pots made of aluminum and brass.   Gunjan Gupta’s work was presented by Erastudio Apartment-Gallery out of Milan.

The work of Aiko Hachisuka, a Japanese artist living in Los Angeles, relies on clothing as both canvas and moldable material to create sculptures of bounded fabric hand-stitched and silk-screen painted. This piece is called Untitled 2013 and was on exhibit at NADA (New Art Dealers Alliance) Miami Beach show by Eleven Rivington Gallery.

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Untitled, 2013 by Aiko Hachisuka, silkscreen on clothing and foam presented by Eleven Rivington Gallery at NADA Miami Beach Show

 

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