Vanity Fair, Carrie Carlisle, V.F.`s Guide to Art Basel: Jim Drain, 2010


Vanity Fair, Carrie Carlisle, V.F.`s Guide to Art Basel: Jim Drain, 2010
If by chance, you’re on your way to Florida to attend this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach, which opens on Thursday,
you’re a lucky person who’s about to be walloped. Inside the Miami Beach convention center, more than 250
galleries will present their best, newest, or most salable works to tens of thousands of buyers, artists, dealers,
curators, journalists, and members of the art-loving public. This might be barely manageable, if only the neatly
ordered booths were the sole attraction. During the first week of December, fleeting opportunities—intellectual,
social, and hedonistic—pop up all over town. There are smaller art fairs (such as Scope, Pulse, and Nada) and the
biannual Design Miami fair, which this year will cohabitate with Basel at the convention center.
Across Biscayne Bay, in Wynwood (the city’s principle gallery area), the Design District, and elsewhere, museums,
private collections, and galleries open exhibitions and stage special events. In Miami Beach, hotels accommodate
not only fair workers and visitors but also temporary art installations, parties, concerts, and promotional events,
ideally outside by the pool. Well-funded public-art projects crop up everywhere. And there’s always Miami Beach’s
warm aqua surf.
You’ll undoubtedly miss many wonderful things, for lack of time, stamina, or inclusion on certain guest lists. But to
make sure it’s not for lack of knowledge,we sought counsel from five longtime inhabitants of the art world—artist
Jim Drain, editor Ingrid Sischy, curator Vito Schnabel, artist Jennifer Rubell, and gallerist David Maupin—who told
us about their projects in Miami and made suggestions for what to see, where to go, and what to think of the week.
Born in Cleveland, mixed-media artist Jim Drain has lived in Miami for five years.
“I’m working on a couple of things that will be up during the fair. One is a giant outdoor public artwork, a piece of
vinyl 455 feet long, that’s being installed on a fence in the Design District. The idea for it started with these
melted-crayon drawings I used to make growing up. What you do is put paper on a hotplate and apply crayons,
and then make drawings with the wax as it seeps into the page. The paper becomes translucent, and we used to
put the drawings in our kitchen window.
Last January, I did that for the window of a store in Los Angeles called Ooga Booga, and it spurred all these
different ideas, remembering being a kid making these things. Long story short, with the fence project, it’s a tiling
of crayon drawings I made recently with high-school students, mixed and matched with photographs of the site,
and printed on a piece of vinyl that spans the entire block. It kind of looks like weird stained glass.
I installed actual crayon drawings, and large rectangles of colored transparencies, in the giant front windows of a
nonprofit space called Locust Projects, for my solo show ‘Saturday’s Ransom.’ The windows face south, so they get
really nice light, in the morning and at night as the sun sets.
During Basel most things are geared around Miami Beach or the Design District. Jeffrey Deitch’s party on
December 1 at the Raleigh is going to be fun. On Saturday at seven p.m., there’s a performance by the band Skint,
these really awesome ladies from New York who play music that’s mysterious and galactic and dark. It’s at a
nonprofit gallery where I’m co-director, the Bas Fisher Invitational, in the Design District. There’s also an art project
on this island within Biscayne Bay that Shamim Momin, of LAND, is curating, and really good artists are involved.
You have to take a boat to get to it, so it’s very exclusive, it seems. There are so many great projects that come
down here during the fair. It’s sort of like I get spoiled.”

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