Alexander Guerra, co-owner of Hotel Gaythering, is all about art. An artist himself, whose photos of gorgeous male models in red rabbit masks adorn his hotel rooms, Guerra decided three years ago to do a group show for Art Basel called Art Gaysel, a play on everyone's mispronunciation of Art Basel. "They say Art Basil. Basil is a fresh market," Guerra laughs.
Guerra says his Art Basel event tries to incorporate artists that he's found through Instagram, "artists that normally wouldn't have had an opportunity to show during Art Basel Week. We give them that opportunity here," Guerra said.
For year three, called "Ménage à Trois," Art Gaysel incorporated eight rooms at Hotel Gaythering with 10 artists, including four of them from Spain and two featured queer artists of color. More than 20 artists' work were on display in the main library of the hotel downstairs from Dec. 6-10.
Jeremy Lucido (www.jeremylucido.com; www.starfuckermagazine.com), a photographer based in Los Angeles, has been doing Art Gaysel at Hotel Gaythering from its inception three years ago, coming down early every year to help Guerra set up.
"This is actually my favorite trip because I get to come here and meet other queer artists, a reunion of sorts to meet up with people I've been following on social media for a while," Lucido said. "Then I go check out different fairs and art shows around town."
The following were some of this year's featured artists:
Adam Singer, Adam's Nest (www.adamsnest.com), Provincetown, Massachusetts: "I'm doing a pop-up shop here in Miami. I'm in Provincetown during the summer. I represent queer artists, as well as doing graphic T-shirts. A lot of the different graphic T-shirts benefit certain causes and organizations. I met Alex Guerra through Instagram. Alex reached out to me to see if I'd be interested in coming and doing a pop-up. I happened to literally be driving from New York to Miami at that moment, so it was just meant to be."
DePaul Vera (www.depaulvera.com), Cadiz, Kentucky: "I've been following [Alex Guerra's] work for quite some time on Instagram and Facebook and all the social medias. We've been communicating back and forth but this is my first time actually meeting with him. This is my first Art Gaysel, my first time in Miami, my first art fair. It's been nice. I've never been involved with this big of a queer community. It's amazing. I'm in graduate school at the University of Nevada. For my final year, I'm working on these collages that are racially charged about Black oppression within a white society, where I'm using a Black vernacular to talk about racial differences in our country today. Right now I'm more worried about how society handles Black relationships in general and how Black communities are mistreated in our society heavily. And with that I'm adding like a queer overtone to it, as well. So I'm trying to find that balance of how to highlight Blackness, how to highlight queerness in the same realm."
Jonathan Kent Adams (www.jonathankentadams.com), Oxford, Mississippi: "I'm a painter. I do ink sketches. I was invited by Alex the first year he started. He found me through Instagram. This is my third year. He's invited me back each year. It's a really cool, relaxed way to view art, which I feel like art can be very pretentious sometimes. But when you have an environment where it's so laid back and people can just walk in if they're interested or not...it's a really awesome way to see what's going on and people that are up-and-coming artists, which is really cool."
Adam Chuck (www.adamchuck.me), Brooklyn, New York: "This is my first year physically being immersed in the Miami Art Gaysel. My work is based off photographs. None of these are live drawings. They're from social media. I had started doing this work when I was sharing a studio with someone and using it also as a gallery space. The easiest thing to make do was work off my cellphone. I found on social media platforms like Tumblr, Instagram and some of the gay dating web sites people will take, send and post these images. A lot of times there's a certain aesthetic I look for, but these are the ones where somebody took the time to make sure the lighting was really good and the composition is nice. And they're putting these images on the internet to get likes and followers, which is really important in today's society. So I've been taking these "selfies" that are well composed aesthetically and turning them into paintings on a one to one ratio from my cell phone to the canvas. I've always thought painting is inherently kind of fleshy, especially oil paintings. I've always loved painting. I've been drawing and painting since I was a kid. I always knew what I wanted to do was something with the arts, and being gay, it's easiest to paint something that I love like the male body. That's definitely my inspiration."