Recognition never comes too late. In Betty Tompkins' case, the timing is a bit tardy but certainly not unwelcome. For over thirty years, the New York-based artist has created paintings that peel away the taboos and discomforts that surround anatomical painting; specifically, one or more bodies in the throes of sexual pleasure or stimulation. In the 1970's, Tompkins produced visual dialogues that, at the time, belonged exclusively to men. A woman's genitals, a man's expression as his partner satisfies him, or intertwining naked bodies at the moment of orgasm were all images that were proliferated through the male gaze. Tompkins clearly took issue.
So now that Art Basel has passed, the Christmas weight is bearing down and the New Year's taxes are upon us, where on earth could we find anything to challenge our minds without challenging our wallets? How about a stroll into internationally-renowned multidisciplinary artist Xaviera Simmons' first solo exhibition with David Castillo in Wynwood...stimulating, colorful, and free. Everyone wins. Or do they?
Launched in Winter 2005, Pulse was an art fair founded to recognize emerging contemporary programs and their artists from around the world. This mantra rang true for the 2013 edition, as always held at the spacious Ice Palace in Wynwood. With galleries hailing from London, New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Beijing, Havana, Tokyo, Berlin and Milan, Pulse Miami proved its superiority over its sister edition in New York not just for the spectacular weather, but the breathability of the space and the increased diversity of media. A lush paddock outside the pavilion allowed visitors to relax on hammocks and sip refreshments by Perrier. Inside the fair itself, eye-catching work waited around every corner of every booth. Two London galleries, Purdy Hicks and Brancolini Grimaldi, presented outstanding photography from artists Jorma Puranen and Miles Aldridge, respectively. Puranen's elegant double-images of paintings made from the reflections of icy grounds sparkled with deep blues and streaks of sunrise, while Aldridge's vivid Carousel series treads the line between voyeur and fashion cataloguer. Los Angeles-based Martha Otero Gallery delivered bold offerings in the forms of Jen Stark's mind-bending color spectrum wall sculpture, Eric White's altered classic album covers and Tim Biskup's chaotic gods and monsters as a photo-op cutout at the fair's entrance aptly titled Head In The Hole. Other notable programs included Miami's Black Square Gallery, New York spaces Rick Wester Fine Art, Yancey Richardson and Danziger Gallery as well as Tokyo's MA2 Gallery and Lima-based Vertice Gallery.
The stars posing for the cameras couldn't answer questions, or even speak, during this event. They just looked pretty, gave their spectators a chuckle or a healthy roar. A 1972 Dodge Charger accompanied by two Playboy bunnies, the newly-launched V-12 hybrid hypercar La Ferrari and an ancient XJ Jaguar blasting The Champs classic 'Tequila' from a set of jury-rigged woofers in its trunk were only some of the four-wheeled stars rolled out by Adam Lindemann's New York-based gallery Venus Over Manhattan in conjunction with Ferrari USA.