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Highlights from Art Basel Miami Beach 2017

By Ashley Knight

Art Basel Miami Beach, the premier art fair in the Americas, will open at Miami Beach Convention Center on December 6th. Now in its 16th edition, the show gathers more than half of the participating galleries having exhibition spaces in the region.

The Miami Beach Convention Center, Art Basel’s home since its first edition in Miami Beach in 2002, is now in the second phase of a major renovation, which began in late 2015. Scheduled for completion in 2018, the construction will result in modernized exhibition halls, providing state-of-the-art facilities for exhibitors and visitors.

Brian O'Doherty, Yellow Light 21, on view at Survey sector. Courtesy of the artist and Simone Subal Gallery.

Brian O'Doherty, Yellow Light 21, on view at Survey sector. Courtesy of the artist and Simone Subal Gallery.

Art Basel Miami Beach is organized in several sectors: Galleries, Edition, Nova, Positions, Survey, Kabinet, Public and Film. This year, the Galleries sector features outstanding presentations of painting, sculpture, drawing, installation, photography and video works, presented by 198 of the world’s leading galleries. On this occasion, a strong list of returning participants is joined by 10 galleries which have previously participated in the show’s Nova, Positions or Survey sectors: 47 Canal, Bureau, Garth Greenan Gallery, Kalfayan Galleries, Galeria Leme, Peres Projects, Galeria Plan B, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Jessica Silverman Gallery and Tokyo Gallery + BTAP. One gallery-Applicat-Prazan-is completely new to the show while Konrad Fischer Galerie and Fergus McCaffrey are both returning to the Galleries sector in Miami after a hiatus.

The Edition sector presents 11 global leaders in the field of prints and editioned works: Alan Cristea Gallery, Crown Point Press, Gemini G.E.L. LLC, Sabine Knust, Carolina Nitsch, Pace Prints, Paragon, Polígrafa Obra Gráfica, STPI, Two Palms and ULAE.

Art Basel Miami Beach 2016, installation views. All images are courtesy of Art Basel.

One of the most interesting sectors is Positions that allows art professionals, collectors and visitors to discover new talents from across the globe by providing a platform for galleries to present one major project by a single artist. This year, the sector will feature 14 solo booths. At Antenna Space’s booth, Xu Qu will display a new series of ceramic pot sculptures and typographic prints that examine how religious activities have influenced society in his native China. Ceramics will also be on view in an installation by Norwegian Carl Mannov at Christian Andersen. Arredondo\Arozarena will present a daily performance by Mexican artist Israel Martínez. Minneapolis-born Adam Gordon will transform Chapter NY’s booth into a performance installation-a document vaguely describing the performance will entice visitors to identify an anonymous woman who wanders the fair in close proximity to the booth for the duration of the show. African-American Jibade-Khalil Huffman will present a new body of work at Anat Ebgi that focuses on the black male figure in art history, film and literature, while Houston-based Jamal Cyrus will explore the cultural politics of Black American music and the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s at Inman Gallery. Los Angeles-based Jill Mulleady will treat Freedman Fitzpatrick’s booth as a stage for a social drama enacted through a set of six new paintings that create a mise-en-scène. Further, Patron gallery will present sculptures, wall constructions and a large-scale mural by Chicago-born Harold Mendez, and Galeria Marilia Razuk’s booth will feature an extension of the studio of Brazilian Rodrigo Bueno. Brooklyn-based Dan Herschlein will present a grouping of sculptures that together create an eerie domestic interior at JTT, while Canadian Nicolas Ceccaldi will build on his interest in analyzing religion as a contemporary social phenomenon through new paintings and take-away brochures at Real Fine Arts. Sector highlights also include a collage-like hanging of monochrome paintings by Argentinian Mariela Scafati at Isla Flotante; a configuration of new works that disrupt the boundary between the domestic and the natural worlds by New York-based interdisciplinary artist A.K. Burns at Callicoon Fine Arts; and figurative paintings by Japanese Koichi Enomoto at Taro Nasu.

Sandra Gamarra, There Are no Straight Lines in Nature, 2017, on view at Galleries sector. Courtesy of the artist and Galeria Leme.

The Nova sector provides galleries with a platform to present new work by up to three artists, and will feature 29 exhibitors this year. First-time exhibitors include: Dépendance featuring drawings, sculpture, painting and film by German Peter Wächtler, along with British artists Ed Atkins and Gillian Carnegie; David Lewis Gallery presenting works by Dawn Kasper and Lucy Dodd; and Tyler Rollins Fine Art staging a never-before-seen installation by Filipino multidisciplinary artist Manuel Ocampo reflecting on current global political events.

Nathaniel Mary Quinn, Uncle Dope, 2017, on view at Galleries sector. Courtesy of the artist and Rhona Hoffman Gallery.

There will be a number of curated booths addressing various political and social issues. Prometeogallery di Ida Pisani will show work by Spaniard Santiago Sierra, Guatemalan Regina José Galindo and Berlin-based Hiwa K., exploring notions of communities and their transformative power. Miami-based David Castillo Gallery will present works that raise urgent questions about representations of race, sexuality and gender in today’s society, including a live performance by Kalup Linzy, as well as photographs by Lyle Ashton Harris and Xaviera Simmons. At Tanya Leighton, Russian Sanya Kantarovsky will display a new body of work juxtaposing the celebratory atmosphere of an art fair with the increased erosion of civil rights around the world, while Brazilian Rosângela Rennó and Mexican Teresa Margolles will present a project about memory and violence at Mor charpentier. At Proyectos Monclova’s booth, Tercerunquinto-a Mexican collective established in 1996-will stage a performative work, painting Mexican political campaign murals directly onto the walls. This performance will be accompanied by a new video that creates a visual and conceptual link between campaign wall painting and Mexican Muralism as an artistic expression of modernism.

Further highlights at Nova sector include: German Dara Friedman at Supportico Lopez, whose exhibition at Art Basel in Miami Beach will coincide with her current retrospective at the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM); Portuguese Alexandre Estrela at Travesía Cuatro, painter and graffiti American artist Barry McGee at Ratio 3, Brooklyn-based Torey Thornton at Essex Street, Los Angeles-based Carolina Caycedo at Instituto de visión; Sascha Braunig and Sara Cwynar at Foxy Production, Alex Hubbard and Emily Sundblad at House of Gaga and Ishmael Randall Weeks and Andrea Galvani at Revolver Galería.

Jaume Plensa, Duna's Dream, 2015, on view at Galleries sector. © Jaume Plensa. Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co.

For its part, Survey will welcome 10 new exhibitors to the sector this year, seven of which are completely new to the Miami Beach show, including: Ricardo Camargo Galeria, Ceysson & Bénétière, Hales Gallery, A arte Invernizzi, Galeria Jaqueline Martins, Richard Saltoun Gallery and Offer Waterman. For their first presentations at the fair, A arte Invernizzi will mount a specially curated project devoted to the alternative and innovative forms of painting that emerged in Milan during the 1950s and 1960s, with works by Rodolfo Aricò (b. 1930, d. 2002), Dadamaino (b. 1930, d. 2004) and Mario Nigro (b. 1917, d. 1992), while Hales Gallery will examine the career of Guyana-born British painter Frank Bowling with a focused display of works produced during the artist’s formative years (1968-1973). The gallery’s presentation will coincide with a major solo exhibition of Bowling’s monumental paintings, curated by Okwui Enwezor, at the Haus der Kunst in Munich.

Honor Fraser will recreate a 1981 installation of unique artist books by American Alexis Smith, which will be exhibited for the first time in decades, while Simone Subal Gallery will present rarely seen sculptures, paintings and drawings by Irish artist and writer Brian O’Doherty. The booth will feature a set of key works created in 1966 based on an electrocardiogram that O’Doherty-a trained doctor-took of Marcel Duchamp’s heartbeat. O’Doherty then translated this medical data into a suite of artworks, including a kinetic sculpture that ‘reanimates’ Duchamp’s heartbeat as well as accompanying works on paper.

Xaviera Simmons, Overlay (Image Nine), 2017, on view at Nova sector. Courtesy of the artist and David Castillo Gallery.

Several galleries in Survey will feature strong political presentations, including The Box who will show early drawings and paintings by Judith Bernstein an artist who explores political landscapes and elements of power and aggression in society. The Box’s presentation will coincide with an exhibition at The Drawing Center in New York City of new drawings created by Bernstein in response to the Trump administration. Espaivisor will present a solo exhibition on the seminal Chilean artist Carlos Leppe. Developed during Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile, Leppe’s works speak to the construction of a culture of democratic opposition, foreshadowing the country’s political transition. Richard Saltoun Gallery will dedicate its booth to Argentinian artist Edgardo Antonio Vigo, a vital figure in the Latin American avant-garde movement. Vigo, who lived through the years of the ‘Dirty War’ (1974-83) and under severe dictatorship, was a constant critic of the system he endured, and his strong critique of Western capitalist culture is inherent throughout his work. Featuring woodcuts, screen prints, lithographs, multiples, magazines and performance documents, the gallery’s presentation will offer a wide selection of Vigo’s artworks that are representative of the artist’s politically charged oeuvre.

Art Basel’s Kabinett sector includes thematic group exhibitions, art-historical showcases and solo presentations by both established and emerging artists. Highlights in Kabinett from Latin America include Galerie Lelong & Co’s presentation of works from the mid-1950s by Brazilian artists Hélio Oiticica and Ivan Serpa produced during their involvement with the Rio de Janeiro based collective Grupo Frente. Mai 36 Galerie’s Kabinett will present five paintings by Cuban artist Flavio Garciandía, which are indicative of his ironic and satirical engagement with both Western modernism, as well as stereotypical artistic notions of ‘Cubaness’ or ‘Caribbeanness’.

Kurimanzutto’s Kabinett will feature a salon-style hanging of paper collages by South Korean artist Haegue Yang, which will be displayed against a backdrop of ‘Grid Bloc A3′, a publication that Yang created in collaboration with illustrator Jeong Hwa Min in 2013. Kalfayan Galleries will exhibit new work by Greek-Egyptian artist Farida El Gazzar that reflects upon the socio-political aspects of everyday life in the artist’s birthplace of Alexandria. Franklin Parrasch Gallery will present recent paintings by Joan Snyder, which embody the artist’s use of both abstract forms and found objects and materials to engage with varied issues from gender to human relationships to violence.

Dan Herschlein, Ignore Him, 2017 (detail), on view at Positions sector. Courtesy of the artist and JTT.

This year, the Public sector will transform Collins Park into an outdoor exhibition space. It has been framed around the theme “Territorial,” curated by art critic Philipp Kaiser. Commenting on “Territorial” Philipp Kaiser notes, “Since time immemorial, sculpture has been territorial, commanding and authoritarian. Even when sculpture is presented with utmost restraint and elegance, it asserts its own physical space that we inevitably must share with it.” The works selected for Public address this aspect of sculpture as the pieces claim space or territory through size, scale, intensity and sound, among other artistic practices. The theme is also a reference to a specific historical discourse from the 1960s in which artists of different nationalities became interested in new sites for their sculptures that existed outside of traditional art institutions. The sector includes 11 site-responsive works by artists Frida Baranek, Yto Barrada, Daniel Buren, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Philippe Decrauzat, Noël Dolla, Cyprien Gaillard, Daniel Knorr, Harold Mendez, Manuela Viera-Gallo and Brenna Youngblood. In addition, Jim Shaw and his D’red D’warf band will present the premiere of ‘The Rinse Cycle’, a progressive rock opera ten years in the making.

For this year’s screenings at SoundScape Park on the 7,000 square-foot outdoor projection wall of the New World Center, curator David Gryn has selected films that engage with the diverse and global language of dance, as well as the connection between movement and music. This year’s program will present films by artists Jibade-Khalil Huffman, Jen DeNike and Tin Ojeda, as well as a series of short films drawn from the Chicago Film Archives collection. In addition, Marian Masone, New York-based film curator, has selected ‘Boom For Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat’ (2017), directed by Sara Driver, for a special screening.

Visitors to the Miami Beach show will have the opportunity to visit South Florida’s leading museums and private collections, who organize their strongest exhibitions of the year to coincide with Art Basel. Following a large-scale renovation, The Bass-Miami Beach’s contemporary art museum-reopened last October to present several major solo exhibitions timed with the fair, featuring artists Pascale Marthine Tayou, Ugo Rondinone and Mika Rottenberg. The Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (ICA Miami) will inaugurate on December 1st its new building in the heart of the Miami Design District with “The Everywhere Studio,” which explores the evolution of the artist’s studio from the post-war period to the present day and features works by renowned artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Bruce Nauman, Carolee Schneemann, Matthew Barney, Rosemarie Trockel, Neïl Beloufa and Yves Klein, among others.

For its part, Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) will open the second chapter of its comprehensive, three-part survey on contemporary Cuban art titled “On the Horizon: Contemporary Cuban Art from the Jorge M. Pérez Collection,” as well as the first major retrospective of the work of Dara Friedman. NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale is exhibiting a retrospective of Frank Stella’s career.

Frida Baranek, Reflections on the Horizon, 2017, on view at Collins Park, Art Basel Public sector. Courtesy of the artist and Galeria Raquel Arnaud.

Exhibitions on view at the city’s renowned private collections include: “Triángulo: Works by Loló Soldevilla, Sandu Darie and Carmen Herrera” at the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO); “Force and Form” at the de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space; “Pop Art: Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, James Rosenquist, George Segal, Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselmann” and “Sculpture, Painting, Video: David Claerbout, Federico de Francesco, Anselm Kiefer, Rosy Keyser, Imi Knoebel, Emil Lukas, Hugo McCloud, Olaf Metzel, Ernesto Neto, Diana Fonseca Quiñones, Sue Williams” at the Margulies Collection at the Warehouse and “Still Human” and “Allison Zuckerman: Stranger in Paradise” at the Rubell Family Collection.

Founded in 1970, Art Basel today stages the world’s premier art fairs for modern and contemporary art, sited in Basel, Miami Beach and Hong Kong. Defined by its host city and region, each show is unique, which is reflected in its participating galleries, artworks presented, and the content of parallel programming produced in collaboration with local institutions for each edition.

Art Basel Miami Beach takes place at Miami Beach Convention Center. 1900 Washington Avenue. Miami Beach, FL 33139.


Preview: Wednesday, December 6, 2017, 11 am to 8pm (by invitation only)

Vernissage: Thursday, December 7, 2017, 11am to 3pm (by invitation only)

Public Days

Thursday, December 7, 2017, 3pm to 8pm

Friday, December 8, 2017, 12 noon to 8pm

Saturday, December 9, 2017, 12 noon to 8pm

Sunday, December 10, 2017, 12 noon to 6pm

Ashley Knight is an arts writer based in Miami, FL.