Art Basel Miami Beach 2015 January 06 2016

The 14th edition of Art Basel Miami Beach edition was held this past Dec 3 to 6, 2015. As in previous years, 267 galleries from 32 countries were present and the show attendance was a record 77,000 over it's five days. Satellite fairs this year were up to 22 as well we several off-site projects and pop-up performances. Collectors from over 110 countries attended the show, with first-time collectors coming from Cambodia, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Romania, Togo and Zimbabwe. It was a wet week, where rain poured relentlessly which, paired with unfinished street work, made traffic a challenge. According to the Guardian's Jason Fargo: "It’s the western hemisphere’s biggest and most ostentatious art fair, and if you can get past the bling there are gems to be seen, many hailing from Latin America" and read the headline of his piece on the fair. Trends noted this year were softer colors and textiles woven or mounted on boards.

By: Carmen Ferreira & Kanae Maeda | Photos: Esteban Terenzio

Unbuilt: Design Miami/Harvard GSD Pavilion
Design Miami's entrance was covered with a canopy of 3D models milled by students of Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). They are experimental, unrealized designs that were suspended on steel supports.

 

Moss People, by Kim Simonsson
Ceramic sculptures depicting Nordic fairytale characters all colored in monochromatic green, as if covered with moss. In Norse mythology, moss people are fairy or forest folk, specifically elven girls who lived in moss affected areas. Although they appear sweet, tending to young fawns and bunnies, Simonsson instills a darkness within their hard exterior: his self-described “unsightly” works examine the diseases of modern society. Jason Jacques Gallery, New York, USA.

 

Nanda Vigo is one of Italy's most sophisticated and respected architects, both in terms of her history and her artistic and aesthetic creations. Erastudio Apartment-Gallery presents works that were created by the architect during the peak of her illustrious career of architecture and art, where she actively collaborated with some of the most celebrated architects & artists, namely Giò Ponti, Lucio Fontana and Enrico Castellani.
Erastudio recalls the influences of a past atmosphere where the design works were contextualizes. Erastudio Apartment Gallery. Milan, Italy.

 

Madevilla 3 by Richard Tuttle, 1998. Color aquatint, 24 x 22", edition of 40. As printmaking grows as an art so does the quality of what we find at Art Basel's Editions Section, in it's second year and looking good.  Crown Point Press, San Francisco, USA.

 

 

El Proceso y el Azar V, by Asier Mendizabal
ProjecteSD, Barcelona, Spain

 

 

Textiles as canvas and weaving was prominent in several galleries. Below a beautiful piece in several shades of red we saw at NADA. Lisa Cooley Gallery, New York, USA

 

We were introduced to Rafal Bujnowski, at Raster Gallery at NADA and were immediately hooked on his work and the depth and beauty of his paintings. A painters painter. His bio at the gallery's website sums up his work pretty well: "Rafal Bujnowski is one of the most radical and intelligent contemporary painters. His works are a brilliant blend of two seemingly remote artistic disciplines - painting and conceptual art. The theme of the Bujnowski's successive projects - paintings, videos, objects or actions - are the conventions linked to the social functioning of the artist and the works of art, as well as the conventions present in the art itself. Rafal's paintings are an example of fully aware conceptual painting - his objects, disclosing and changing meaning depending on the surrounding in which they are placed, are peculiar models of an artwork. They reveal a tension between the process of artistic production and consumption. At the same time, the unquestionable and outstanding visual talent of the artist causes his works to be treated as "self-sufficient works" - very good paintings, to put it simply." Raster Gallery, Warsaw, Poland.

Rafal Bujnowski, oil on canvas, 2015.

Perspective Trap by Rafal Bujnowski, oil on canvas, 2015.
Raster Gallery, Warsaw, Poland.

 

One of our favorite fairs, NADA first launched its fairs with the Miami Beach edition in 2003, with 35 exhibitors in a vacant space located off of Lincoln Road near the Convention Center. For the next five years NADA Miami Beach was held at the Ice Palace in Miami, where the roots of the fair began to expand.  In 2009, the fair moved to the historic Deauville Beach Resort in North Miami Beach. For the 13th edition of the fair, NADA Miami Beach remains committed to a selected presentation of exhibitors with this new venture at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. We love its lobby's bow-tie designed marble floors and glamorous chandeliers.

 

Margin of Terror by Walter Robinson, 2015, Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36". Robinson’s work investigates the mechanics of cultural and social anthropology. Using text and the strategies of appropriation, conflation, and dislocation, he uncovers the subconscious and biological human imperatives hidden beneath social, political, religious, and capitalist packaging. Catherine Clark Gallery, San Francisco, USA.

 

Julian by Elizabeth Peyton, 2004, Monoprint on Twinrocker handmade paper. Peyton lives and works in New York and Berlin. Gagosian Gallery, New York, USA

 

Kaisertag by Kai Althoff, 2002, Boat lacquer, fabric on canvas, collage, watercolor, lacquer, and varnish. Althoff was born in 1966, Cologne, Germany where he lives and works. Saatchi Gallery, London, UK.

 

6 x 6 An Improvisation by Larry Bell was exhibited at White Cube’s off-site project in the Design District. The sculpture, a single work, is composed of over 30 glass panels that form standing units. Larry Bell, a major figure of the California Light and Space movement, approached the installation with no preconceived plan, letting the space and its natural conditions – the windows, the symmetry of the space, the light – dictate the final outcome. The result was breathtaking. White Cube Gallery, UK.

 

Unframed - Ellis Island by JR. Photographs of the first art exhibition ever shown at the island's abandoned hospital complex at Perrotin's off-site show at the Design District. JR pasted archival images of 19th and 20th century immigrants on the facility's crumbling walls, then shot De Niro walking amid the ruins, with a poignant script about a migrant turned away from America. The 14-minute film Ellis is a compelling must-watch. Emmanuel Perrotin Gallery, Paris, France

 

Untitled (SF 58-298) by Sam Francis, 1958. Ink & watercolor on paper mounted on cardboard. American painter (1923-1994). "The painterly abstraction of Sam Francis is most often associated with the American Abstract Expressionist movement. His most iconic works are characterized by saturated splashes of color that populate the edges of the canvas in order to emphasize the luminous white void in the center. This contrast between the vibrancy of Francis’ color palette and the austere white picture plane demonstrate the artist’s concern with relationships of space, color, and light, as opposed to the psychologically expressive tendencies of contemporaries such as Jackson Pollock." (bio: Artsy). Van de Weghe Fine Art. New York, USA.

 

Kim Hiorthoy. Standard (Oslo) Gallery, Oslo, Norway

The rain this year didn't go unnoticed and the trash cans at the Convention Center doubled as an umbrella stands!

 

We visited Art In Public Spaces at a particularly beautiful end of day at the park in front of the Bass Museum (which, by the way, is closed for renovations till next year). The the light was just right and the rain paused. We were so lucky!

 

Deer by Tony Tasset, is a 12 foot-high sculpture of a white-tailed doe, peacefully grazing. "It is fashioned of painted, steel-reinforced fiberglass on an enlarged scale. However, if placed in a proper setting, the size does not become apparent until the viewer approaches the sculpture. In addition to the spectacle of the scale shift, the work comically references our current environmental concerns, in which nature and humans are out of balance." Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago, USA.

 

Untitled (Don't Shoot the Messenger) by Rirkrit Tiravanija is a "one-sided, portable and changeable-message LED character matrix, identical to those found on highways that alert drivers of changes in traffic and other disruptions. The sign is self-powered by solar panels integrated in the design. While the artist uses a readily available road sign, he deviates its messages beyond those related to traffic." Rirkrit was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and lives and works in New York. Gavin Brown Gallery, New York, USA.

 

Eternity Now, by Sylvie Fleury. Sylvie has often created seductive neon signs that re-contextualize status symbols, luxury goods and brand slogans to produce commentary on consumer society and cultural desire. Eternity Now is a new site-specific neon sing on the facade of the Bass Museum of Art. While the museum is closed for a year-long renovation, this glowing text amplifies the museum's present state and infinite future, while also speaking to the visitors of Miami Beach. Sylvie lives and works in Geneva, Switzerland. Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach, USA

 

Ernest and Ruth, 2015 by Hank Willis Thomas. Hank Willis Thomas's work delves into the social, political, cultural and often subjective nature of truth, and the importance of looking at things from different perspectives. Here he utilizes the familiar shape of a cartoon speech bubble to form a bench where people are invited to sit on. By engaging with the installation, the viewers stand in for language, completing the speech bubble, and in so doing, become the physical manifestation of truth. This open form can also be viewed as a reference to the porous nature of truth, encouraging an opening of mind and dialog. At the same time, the bench serves as a site of reflection and contemplation, and a respite from the fast pace of the art show. Jack Shainman Gallery. New York, USA

 

Soft Landing by Joshua Meyer, Oil on board, 20 x 14". "Since studying art at Yale University and the Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem, Joshua Meyer’s figure paintings have lingered between order and chaos. One of the delights of his work is the transformation of the physical material of paint into seemingly living breathing figures inhabiting an interior life. His energetic swipes of paint are layered with a palette knife and reveals the artistic process while involving the viewer in each artistic decision along the way. Born in Lubbock, Texas, Meyer is now based in Cambridge, Massachusetts." (bio from Rice Polak's website). Rice Polak Gallery, Provincetown, USA

 

Untitled by Gabriel Schmitz, Oil on canvas. "Gabriel Schmitz was born in Germany (1970), trained in Scotland and lives in Barcelona, Spain since 1995. The human figure is the central theme of his work. As he understands it, the body represents a potent means of expression. Given this, he draws his inspiration from a variety of fields: contemporary dance, cinematographic imagery, or travel, both real and imaginative, always attracted by the “other”, the “not-yet-known”, trying to come to an understanding of it through painting. “You should look as you would listen. When I am painting I am listening to images, not pronouncing them." Gallery Ramfjord, Oslo, Norway

 

Worship the Good Glue, by Liu Dao, 2015
"I worship at the blessed shrine of industrial-strength cleaning supplies and feather dusters. My prayers take place at the alter of synthetic smells resembling fruits, flowers and laundry on a spring day. To kneel at this holiest of places though, one needs a good strong glue. There are countless bumps and nudges and accidental drops that occur when one is in the midst of a cleaning bonanza. As much as I appreciate a nice natural glue (containing bones, starch or fish organs) I prefer the hard-tack, no-nonsense practicality of cyanoacrylate-based glues, the main ingredient in any respectable synthetic glue. To make this type of glue you have to start with a nice Low Molecular Weight Epoxy Resin, add a dash of Aluminum powder, your standard Amorphous silica, Sodium carbonate (and of course a touch of Sodium chromate), finish it off with a bit of Polyaminoamide and viola! You’re ready to fix and trinkets you’ve shattered from incessant, and non-stop dusting, wiping and polishing. Just remember to put the cap back on when you’re finished." (Artist's statement at Island 6's website). Island 6 Gallery, Shanghai, China.