December 15, 2009 - PULSE Contemporary Art Fair - Wraps Up Successful 2009 Miami Edition
December 15, 2009

Wraps Up Successful 2009 Miami Edition

David Abir, Tekrar Level Four, 2009. Installation view. Courtesy of Cottelston Advisors.

Wraps Up Successful 2009 Miami Edition

PULSE Prize and Debut People’s Choice Award Given to Okay Mountain, Presented by Arthouse

The fifth Miami edition of PULSE Contemporary Art Fair concluded on Sunday, December 6, 2009 following a successful four-day run in its new location, The Ice Palace. The Fair saw robust sales to U.S. and international collectors, as well as a constant stream of visitors enthused by the Fair’s signature programming, including the Miami launch of PULSE Performance. The mood was upbeat and revealed a healthy market, in line with the general mood in Miami this year.

“We are delighted to report another good year in Miami,” says Helen Allen, Executive Director of PULSE. “Besides settling into a new venue, PULSE welcomed several new exhibitors and produced a range of performances and concerts. The response proved overwhelmingly positive and made PULSE a strong marketplace, on par with the best international art fairs.”

Among the guests who attended the Fair over the course of its four day run were prominent collectors and art professionals, including Donald and Mera Rubell; Toby Devan Lewis; Susan and Michael Hort; John and Julie Thornton; Pearl Lam; Bill Arning, Director, MCA Houston; Larry Rinder, Director, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive; Sherri Geldin, Director, Wexner Arts Center; Louis Gracchos, Director, Albright Knox Gallery; Yvonne Force Villareal, President, Art Production Fund; Claire Catterall, Curator, Somerset House; Laurie Farrell, Director of Exhibitions, Savannah College of Art and Design; Carter Foster, Curator of Drawings and Prints, Whitney Museum of Art; Holly Block, Director, Bronx Museum of Art; Dennis Szakacs, Director, Orange County Museum; Paul Morris, Vice President, The Armory Show; Linda Blumberg, Director, ADAA; Amanda Coulson, Director, Volta; Eric Shiner, Curator, The Andy Warhol Museum; and artists, Paul Villinski, Leo Villareal, and David Abir, among many others.

Exhibitors reported steady sales beginning in the first hours of the Private Preview Brunch, where a crowd of established and new collectors snapped up works ranging from new media to painting and sculpture. Conner Contemporary Art, a longtime PULSE exhibitor, had success with a large, colored light wall sculpture by Leo Villareal entitled Sky: three editions of the piece were sold for 75,000 USD each, and the gallery secured a commission for an expanded, 45 ft by 300 ft version for the Tampa Art Museum, to be installed on the façade of the new museum opening in 2010. Museum sales were also reported by Mark Moore Gallery, which sold a large-scale photograph by gallery artist Jason Salavon entitled Portrait (Hals), 2009, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and by Nina Menocal Gallery, which sold a large installation entitled The Crash, 2009, by Martin and Sicilia, to 21C Museum in Kentucky for 16,000 USD.

Photography continued to be a big draw at PULSE. Galerie Stefan Röpke, sold an early Polaroid by Robert Mapplethorpe for 55,000 USD, and Yossi Milo Gallery reported steady sales of Simen Johan’s digitally manipulated photographs of farm animals, ranging from 14,000 USD to 20,000 USD.

Sculptural work in a wide range of media also did well: Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery sold out early on a series of fifty illuminated book sculptures by Airan Kang for around 4,500 USD each, as well as a larger LED-lit sculpture by Kang depicting a stack of books by Edgar Allen Poe, which sold for 45,000 USD to a Miami-based collector. More low-fi, yet nonetheless intricate, sculptural techniques could be found at Davidson Contemporary, which sold a sculpture by Kiel Johnson entitled Boom Boom, depicting an oversized boom box surrounded by cassette tapes crafted from cardboard, priced at 9,000 USD. P.P.O.W sold a sculptural comprised of a large glass tank filled with found green objects by Portia Munson, entitled Green Sarcophagus, to a private collector for 38,000 USD.

Among other highlights: Galerie Anita Beckers sold a room-sized installation by Teresa Diehl to a Midwest museum. The installation, comprised of hundreds of small airplanes carved from glycerin soap and hung from the ceiling by threads to create a spherical shape, accompanied by sound and light components, sold in the range of 30,000 USD. The gallery also exhibited the work of artist Maria Jose Arjona, who presented a four-day endurance performance throughout the fair. Pavel Zoubok Gallery saw extraordinary response to Mark Wagner’s Liberty, a monumental wall collage depicting the Statue of Liberty and comprised of 81,895 pieces cut from 1,121 U.S. dollar bills. Interest in the piece has generated several commissions for large-scale works by the artist. Torch Gallery also reported notable sales, stating this year’s fair was “stronger than last year’s.” The gallery sold large figurative painting by Terry Rodgers for 80,000 USD to a board member of the Art Institute of Chicago on the first day of the Fair.

Diana Lowenstein Fine Art, one of several Miami galleries exhibiting at PULSE, commented on what she considered a great new venue and remarked that in the last few years, “PULSE has positioned itself as one of the most important fairs and provides an excellent experience for visitors and galleries alike.” The gallery enjoyed sales of Carlos Betancourt’s computer-manipulated floral prints at both its PULSE booth and its nearby gallery.

PULSE Prize & People’s Choice Award
The Miami 2009 PULSE Prize was awarded to Okay Mountain, an Austin-based artist collective presented by Arthouse. As recipients of the PULSE Prize, the group received a 2,500 USD cash grant, which was presented during the PULSE Miami 2009 Party at Plunge on the roof of the Gansevoort South hotel. The runners-up in the PULSE Prize were Andrea Galvani, presented by ARTERICAMBI, and Brian Dettmer, presented by Packer Schopf. This year’s PULSE Prize was awarded in honor of Adriaan van der Have, Founder and Director of Torch Gallery, who was an inspiring force in the art world for his dedication to the promotion of emerging artists.

Okay Mountain was also named the winner of the debut PULSE People’s Choice Award, announced on December 9, 2009. Also chosen from among the exhibitors in the IMPULSE section of the fair, the People’s Choice Award winner was selected by visitors to the fair. Voting was conducted via Twitter in conjunction with the launch of Artlog Live, which served as a web-based guide for the Miami fairs.

PULSE Programming
PULSE Miami 2009 featured a wide array of special programming, including the Miami debut of PULSE Performance. The series featured daily performances and concerts by emerging artists such as Maria Jose Arjona and Danny Baskin. Musical talents such as The Vivian Girls, The Blow, Exene Cervenka, Teepee, and Little Beard, were among the other highlights, drawing crowds to PULSE’s outdoor lawn space for their evening concerts. Additionally, PULSE presented its signature program of large-scale sculptures and installations throughout the Fair’s exhibition halls and lawn, as well as the PULSE Play> video lounge curated by João Ribas, Curator of Exhibitions at the MIT List Visual Arts Center in Cambridge, MA.

PULSE New York will take place March 4 through 7, 2010.

For more information about PULSE Contemporary Art Fair, please visit or call +1 (212) 255-2327.

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PULSE Contemporary Art Fair
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