I‘m back in Reno after a week in Miami, where Art Basel drew 76,000 visitors. The fair began in Switzerland in 1970, launched a Miami Beach event in 2002, and is now the epicenter of the annual Miami Art Week—an utter frenzy of blue chip artists, shark-level collectors, more than a dozen major satellite fairs, and countless spinoff events—ranging from yacht parties and an exclusive Cardi B concert to late-night DJ parties and DIY art shows all over town.
I was in the balmy beach metropolis tagging along with a Reno crew installing their own satellite show, and I spotted Nevada art-world connections all over town. (If you know of any more, please let me know and I’ll be sure to get the word out about those, too.)
Reno’s Zoe Bray at Untitled
Reno portrait artist Zoe Bray makes a habit of painting a self portrait once a year. “They help me reflect on who I have become,” she explains on her website. This year in Miami, Bray was one of the artists in a project called Lonely Rocks, wherein 13 curators each selected artists who make self portraits—some in video form, some digitized specifically for this show.
Lonely Rocks was on view at Untitled, one of the major Art Basel satellite events. This fair showcases hundreds of artists and galleries including emerging artists, young galleries, and nonprofits, many of which come from cities outside major art hubs.
Rose B Simpson at the official Art Basel
New Mexico artist Rose B Simpson’s Nevada connections include her 2021/22 solo exhibition Rose B. Simpson: The Four at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno and a related performance at Nuwu Art + Activism Studios in Las Vegas. She was also part of Ah’-Wah-Nee, UNLV’s 2021 symposium and exhibition on Indigenous women artists.
Two of Simpson’s sculptures, “Heights 1” and “Sip A,” were part of “Cosmic Bodies,” a group show at the official Art Basel event presented by Jessica Silverman Gallery from San Francisco.
A lone ‘mountain’
Ugo Rondinone’s “Miami Mountain” is a single, 41-foot totem just like the ones that make up his “7 Magic Mountains,” in Jean Dry Lake Bed just south of Las Vegas. The Las Vegas installation was commissioned by the Nevada Museum of Art. The Miami version is owned by the Bass Museum of Art and is permanently installed in neighboring Collins Park in Miami Beach. I caught a glimpse from the Uber on the way to Art Basel.
Temporary activations from Reno
When Pan Pantoja—founder of the Potentialist Workshop and manager of Savage Mystic Gallery, both in Reno—first started using the word “Potentalist” 10 or 12 years ago, he was trying to describe a vision he had for a type of out-of-the-mainstream art exhibition, but he didn’t yet know the words for it. The term, he’s since learned, is “immersive art.” It’s less about discreet objects on a wall or pedestal and more about creating environments that mix maximalist curation, a DIY fun-house vibe, and character-based performance art.
For Art Week, Pantoja—along with several artists from Potentialist Workshop, the Generator, and beyond—set up an immersive installation called The House of Infinite Potential at Space Park, an outdoor venue near Miami’s Little Haiti.
Here are a few glimpses. (Disclosure: I helped haul sculptures and support the crew, along with my husband Jerry Snyder.)
You saw them first in Black Rock City
Downtown Reno’s “Believe” sculpture, fabricated by Renoite Jeff Schomberg and designed by Californian Laura Kimpton, is one of many pieces made up of giant steel block letters that have debuted at Burning Man, spelling out words like “love,” “ego,” and “dream.” I spotted two of them in the Magic City Innovation District.
Photos: Kris Vagner