It's Here: Art Basel Miami Beach 17th Edition

Get Ready For Crowds, Art, And Shiny Things

LEFT: The Modern Institute (Art Basel Kabinett section)<br>
Tony Swain, Upside on Ease, 2017 <br>
Courtesy of the artist and the gallery<br>
RIGHT: Altman Siegel (Art Basel Galleries section)<br>
Trevor Paglen, Agathla Peak Hough Transform; Haar, 2018<br>
Courtesy of the Artist and Altman Siegel, San Francisco


LEFT: The Modern Institute (Art Basel Kabinett section)
Tony Swain, Upside on Ease, 2017
Courtesy of the artist and the gallery
RIGHT: Altman Siegel (Art Basel Galleries section)
Trevor Paglen, Agathla Peak Hough Transform; Haar, 2018
Courtesy of the Artist and Altman Siegel, San Francisco

Irene Sperber

The swirling twirling maelstrom that is Art Basel Miami Beach has arrived. Even if you don’t give a hangnail about modern art, the all immersive seasonal activity will affect your life in and around Miami-Dade. Listen up, because there will be over 70,000 visitors in your sightline.

Appearing with the fairs en masse are events, parties, traffic, people watching, copious pop up shops, restaurants and galleries that render Miami nearly unrecognizable for one delirious week of high brow culture and low brow street life awash in champagne and truly great outfits. Toss in myriad talks, lectures, video or digital art to round out the experience. There is so much happening in the space of one short week that to write a truly comprehensive article this piece would be longer than the tome "War and Peace."

The best way to handle all the hoopla without losing your mind is to focus. Decide where your interests lie and take time to do some homework. We will not judge if ignoring anything more creative than the next shiny object is your preference. However, as long as the best of the best in Modern and Contemporary art is on the doorstep, why not take full advantage? If you don’t like crowds, go on the final day Sunday, Dec. 9. Everyone else will be catatonic by then.

Galerie von Braunbehrens, Peter Anton (Art Miami)<br>Choco Tower with artist<br>Courtesy of Art Miami


Galerie von Braunbehrens, Peter Anton (Art Miami)
Choco Tower with artist
Courtesy of Art Miami

I realize facts are not all the rage this year, but I added a few informational and helpful, um, facts anyway:

Over 200 leading international modern and contemporary art galleries are bringing artworks by over 4,000 artists of all disciplines into the convention center. There is a wide swath of   “pieces by young artists to museum-caliber masterpieces.” Don’t get confused, Art Basel Miami Beach at the convention center is the main event and everything else pirouettes around it. If someone says they are showing at Art Basel, it’s entirely possible they could mean at a local restaurant during the Art Basel dates.

Known collectively as Miami Art Week, the seventeen plus satellite fairs, innumerable galleries and pop up events populating Miami-Dade mix together into one glorious, pulsating week of art related intensity that the world flurries around like moths to a flame.

Art Basel Miami Beach is in the jazzy newly renovated $620 million Miami Beach Convention Center by collaboration of Fentress Architects and Arquitectonica, a fitting backdrop for such an august event.

Visitor Information:

1901 Convention Center Drive

Miami Beach, FL 33139

Public Hours:

Thursday, Dec. 6, 3 to 8 p.m. through  Dec. 9, 2018, noon to 6 p.m.

Not many Miami galleries have graced the halls of the convention center during this show of shows. This year, for the first time in over ten years a second Miami gallery, David Castillo Gallery, has been invited into the special Galleries Section of Art Basel Miami Beach. I asked Castillo two questions:

  1. When the name David Castillo Gallery is mentioned, what ideas and images would you most like to come to mind?
  2. How has your projected vision changed over the life of the gallery?

David Castillo: “The gallery has remained steadfast in its commitment to developing the careers of the artists it represents. Specifically the gallery’s conceptual focus on identity has been at the core of the artists we show from the very beginning to the present. The identification, development and presentation of ground-breaking artists of color, women artists, and queer artists has remained essential to gallery’s role in the art world.”

Design Miami

The fourteenth edition of Design Miami is an Art Basel sanctioned fair and a top “must-see.”Billed as "the premier platform for collectible design,” this event is located a mere hop from the convention center on Meridian Avenue and 19th Street,  Miami Beach. It includes influential international collectors, gallerists, designers, curators and critics heralding design culture and commerce.

Calico Wallpaper <br> Photo credit James Harris


Calico Wallpaper
Photo credit James Harris

Thirty four exhibitions encapsulate Design Miami, composing "eleven Curio presentations representing venues from twelve countries,” according to organizers. Design trends include the use of industrial materials and processes, 3-D printing and robotics.

Founded in Brooklyn, N.Y., the artisanal Calico Wallpaper company exhibition titled "The Color and The Shape" focuses on the firm’s bespoke wallpaper envisioned by London designer Philippe Malouin in collaboration with Nick and Rachel Cope.

“The idea originated out of experiments in creating shapes by tearing paper by hand,” explains Rachel Cope, co-founder and creative director at Calico Wallpaper. “We then began to overlay the resulting organic forms to create a large-scale collage.” Materials range from from Tyvek and paper to mesh. The full collection will be available after the show.

Burgundy Chair, Kasmin Gallery (Design Miami)<br>Courtesy of Design Miami


Burgundy Chair, Kasmin Gallery (Design Miami)
Courtesy of Design Miami

The 2018 Design Miami/ Visionary Award is presented to fashion designer Carla Fernandez and contemporary artist Pedro Reyes. Their collaborative exhibition “will identify the graphic identity for the fair”…and underline “fundamental concerns of our time and facilitate human exchanges…”

Design Miami:

Wednesday, Dec. 5, noon to 8 p.m., through Sunday, Dec. 9, noon to 6 p.m.

Venue and schedule:

Listen Up

Most fairs and especially the main sites have lectures and panel discussions that add layering to the experience. Planning is key.

Art Basel:

Design Miami:

Art Miami/Context

The 29th edition of Art Miami (the original art fair in Miami, also scheduled during Art Week) along with the seventh edition of its sister fair Context (emerging and mid career artists) is held in downtown Miami: One Herald Plaza on Biscayne Bay between the MacArthur and Venetian Causeways. It is an odds on favorite of many fair-goers.

Art Miami:

Follow Art Miami with Artsy. Click here.

Alex Katz, Shoppers (JW Marriott)<br>Courtesy of Art Miami


Alex Katz, Shoppers (JW Marriott)
Courtesy of Art Miami

Art Miami has also organized a special offsite exhibition at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami and Hotel Beaux Arts Miami in conjunction with their fairs. Included are works by Federico Uribe and a selection by Brooklyn artist Alex Katz, Shopper series. In 2007, Katz was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy Museum, New York

I asked Miami’s in-demand artist Federico Uribe the importance of showing during Art Week. His sculptures, built mostly from household objects, consistently captivate audiences:

“As Art Miami gets bigger and better, my presence at the fair has also grown. This year, I am proud to exhibit my biggest presentation yet, including a large-scale 'Giraffe' made out of bullets on display in Art Miami, as well as my life-size 'Panda Bear' in the lobby of the JW Marriot Marquis."

Uribe continues: "In these new pieces made out of bullets, I want to encourage people to discover, beyond the sole function of an object, an underlying symbolic and aesthetic reality where life overcomes death and beauty supplants destruction. In Eastern cultures, the Panda Bear is symbolic of peace, friendship, and harmony. I like the idea of juxtaposing this gentle giant with humanity's most destructive invention, bullets. The combination has the potential to stir political debate; however, my intention is to spread a message of hope that life can overcome tragedies and destruction.”

Other Fairs

If your feet haven’t worn down to nubs by now, you may consider catching other fairs running concurrently that include Scope, Pulse, Aqua, Spectrum, NADA, Untitled, Red Dot, Pinta, Prizm and Superfine.

During your week of large and boisterous art fairs it may be of interest to stop by the wildly updated and incredibly upmarket Design District. While there, quiet down with Miami’s always surprising nearby Locust Projects.

On Tuesday, Dec. 4 from 6 to 8 p.m., they’ll be hosting a Meet the Artists Reception at their gallery on 3852 North Miami Avenue, Miami, 33127

Exhibiting artists Bethany Collins, Michael Loveland and Jibade-Khalil Huffman will be on hand.

Huffman’s installation"_______________" MEANS "I LOVE YOU" IN ITALICS is touted as a loud (hence the caps) mini documentary about Miami's nightlife/music scene, which he's currently shooting in Florida, and will be screened on the back of a truck driving around the Design District.

Or perhaps, take in artist Bethany Collins's "America: A Hymnal Performance, The Litany" on on Thursday Dec. 6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.. If you miss it, it shows through Jan. 26, 2019.

I asked Locust Director Lorie Mertes what went into Locust Projects choice of Bethany Collins and Jibade-Khalil Huffman, and what strengths were immediately obvious in these two young artists :

LM: “I saw Jibade's work for the first time last December at Art Basel in the Positions section at Anat Egbi Gallery. I knew Anat from when she lived in Miami in the 1990s, but it was Jibade's work that stopped me in my tracks. Bethany Collins is an artist I have followed for a few years, she was among the first on my list to hope to work with when I came to Locust. The relevance of their work to our current moment is why I felt compelled to invite them to use Locust as a platform to experiment and try something new. Both deal with language in interesting ways, Bethany in erasing or obscuring text, explores how race and language interact, and Jibade, who started out as a poet, uses images to construct phrases addressing slippage in memory and language, particular to race and visibility. Through erasure or presence, we can't help but pay attention, maybe slow down and consider how words build the world around us.”

General Announcements

No more Art Public program in Collins Park, Art Basel’s free outdoor showcase. Instead, a free program will be inside one of the convention center’s large new ballrooms, featuring a live performance by Mexican conceptual artist Abraham Cruzvillegas. The Soundscape Park film program is also history.

From Friday, Dec. 7 to Sunday, Dec. 9, Wynwood from 20 Street to 29 Street along NW Second Ave will be pedestrian only. Suggestion: Pack sneakers.


Watch for miamiartzine's complete day by day guide to Miami Art Week coming up this week.



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