Will Geisai Miami bite the dust? Your guess is as good as mine.

17 12 2007

Maria Adelaida Lopez’s doll house covered with vacuum cleaner dust. Photo from: Critical Miami

I was really excited when I found out that the popular, bi-annual, Japanese art show, Geisai, was coming to the States. The talented Takashi Murakami has been on the grind the last few months. Geisai Miami, the first edition of the Geisai art festivals in the country, appears to have been a dollar store of unknown art. But alas, nothing is as good as the original. There was more reporting done a few months ago about the artists being selected than reviews of the event itself. My advice to Takashi: Keep Geisai in Japan.

Geisai was started six years ago by Murakami to give young Japanese art students a stage to present their art. The word “geisai” is derived from the Japanese word meaning “art festival.” Last September’s Geisai #10 seemed to be a blast. About 800 artists sitting on the floor. One large hall at the Tokyo Big Sight exhibition center. Truck loads of cheap, creative art. Prizes and contests. What is there not to love?

Somehow this free-for-all worked in Japan.

Geisai Miami was from December 5-9, and it was hosted by the PULSE Contemporary Art Fair. Amongst all the other Art Basil festivities , the exhibition was lost in the mix. I just think that during its leap across the pond that the show lost its charm. I wasn’t impressed by the artists’ lineup. Their pieces just didn’t seem fresh enough for me. In comparison, I thought the “GEISAI Artists at Giant Robot” exhibit was much more exciting and well put together. All of the artists featured were Japanese and had won awards at past Geisai shows. They were handpicked by Takashi and Eric Nakamura from GR. I’m not trying to “hate” on Takashi for the effort in Miami, but some things are only kaiwaii in Japan.

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