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Our Fair Share: Gearing Up For Basel

What to Expect During 2019 Art Basel Miami Beach


Irene Sperber

You may or may not have failed to notice Miami-Dade is again being painted, buffed, fluffed and stuffed into submission for the moment the international world’s influential contemporary art population wafts into our teeny tip of turf. Art Basel Miami Beach will blow into town Thursday, Dec. 5 through Sunday, Dec. 8 (VIP and invitation only Wednesday, Dec. 4 and Thursday, Dec. 5). 

So tiptoe carefully around the untidiness while maintaining a lid on your more exuberant verbiage until the unveiling of our airbrushed version reveals. Expect some thought provoking new additions to the main fair and beyond with much to explore and dissect as we all hang on to a tempestuous planet in transition.

P.P.O.W Portia Munson, The Garden, 1996 | © P.P.O.W - Look for it in the Meridians Sector of Art Basel Miami Beach.

Photographer:

P.P.O.W Portia Munson, The Garden, 1996 | © P.P.O.W - Look for it in the Meridians Sector of Art Basel Miami Beach.

Art Basel Miami Beach is considered one of the premier art fairs on the planet. But what does it represent beyond the hype and hyperbole when you peel away the Miami Beachiness of it’s showy exterior?

A number of world affairs have exerted considerations for the art market as our modern climate shifts in response to events such as Brexit and trade wars; or keeping art safe in a surge of threatening natural disasters, nudging concerns along with industry transfigurations.

Edwynn Houk Gallery |Diane Arbus, A Family on their Lawn One Sunday in Westchester, NY, 1968 | ©Estate of Diane Arbus/Courtesy Edwynn Houk Gallery. Look for it in the Galleries Sector of Art Basel Miami Beach.

Photographer:

Edwynn Houk Gallery |Diane Arbus, A Family on their Lawn One Sunday in Westchester, NY, 1968 | ©Estate of Diane Arbus/Courtesy Edwynn Houk Gallery. Look for it in the Galleries Sector of Art Basel Miami Beach.

Several art fairs of some solemnity precede ours in the calendar year, throwing hints into managing expectations of successes, trends and zags in the market. There appears to be more wiggle room with galleries willing to ride lesser known artists (and estates of deceased artists) into the top tier in hopes artists reputations grow in league with collectors interests.

Works addressing issues facing both the ecological and economic world are in abundance as we grapple with myriad changes and assaults to the ebb and flow of life. Answers are less forthcoming but dialog is there to be approached on a conceptual level. Because of the exceptional times we are experiencing, this very well may be an exceptionally thoughtful Art Week as artists from over the globe grapple with extremes affecting the world, trickling down to the contemporary art market, some doing well, some struggling in hopes of the boat righting itself at the end of the day.

Galleries from North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia are exhibiting masters of Modern and Contemporary art in myriad medium. Painting, sculpture, installation, photograph, film, and editioned pieces of international acclaim will grace the main 500,000 square foot exhibition floor. 269 leading galleries challenge viewers to consider the import of art, well beyond it’s ability to please, inviting us to contemplate the very idea of what art is. What is accepted or rejected in traditional art can be addressed in tandem while pursuing the depths of contemporary art. 20 new galleries will participate this year, including Central Fine of Miami Beach along with the Beach’s David Castillo Gallery returning in the Galleries Section.

Nanzuka | Masato Mori, Landscape with one cloud seen, 2017 | © Masato Mori / Mustone, Photo by Toshihiro Hayashi, Courtesy of the artist and Nanzuka. Look for it in the Nova Sector of Art Basel Miami Beach.

Photographer:

Nanzuka | Masato Mori, Landscape with one cloud seen, 2017 | © Masato Mori / Mustone, Photo by Toshihiro Hayashi, Courtesy of the artist and Nanzuka. Look for it in the Nova Sector of Art Basel Miami Beach.

Nine separate Sectors meld to make up Art Basel Miami Beach. There is a formidable new sector, Meridians, in Art Basel Miami Beach for 2019. Pre Fair press has piqued attention as Noah Horowitz, Art Basel’s director for the Americas, whets ones appetite for more: “It allows us to really grow the show for the first time since inception to allow our galleries to do the types of projects they never previously could have done.” It is the “most significant update since the fair launched 18 years ago...” Meridians will be contained in the impressive new 60,000 foot Grand Ballroom of the grandly reimagined Miami Beach Convention Center.

Curated by MagaliÌ Arriola, Director of Museo Tamayo, Mexico City, Meridians focuses on 34 large scale installations, videos and performances previously too big to show here. 30 artists have been selected, including the largest exhibit by Isaac Julien, a nine-screen film installation "Lina Bo Bardi - A Marvellous Entanglement" (2019), which  explores the visionary modernist architect and designer Lina Bo Bardi’s most iconic buildings and their legacy. Theaster Gates, always a thoughtful presenter (WhiteCube Gallery) will exhibit a 35-minute video. We are informed that “Several of the installations have strong local ties.”

SCAI The Bathhouse | Moon and Jeon, Anormally Strolls II, 2018, installation view at Tate Liverpool | © SCAI The Bathhouse Look for it in the Galleries Sector of Art Basel Miami Beach.

Photographer:

SCAI The Bathhouse | Moon and Jeon, Anormally Strolls II, 2018, installation view at Tate Liverpool | © SCAI The Bathhouse Look for it in the Galleries Sector of Art Basel Miami Beach.

Another newbie on tap, Collins Park will host Disruptions, an exhibition which is part of the AB cities partnership with Buenos Aires this year. Sculptural works curated by Diana Wechsler and Florencia Battiti will address “concepts of context and site and its potential to interfere with everyday life.” Since Art Basel Miami Beach is itself interfering with the ebb and flow of our everyday life I think we can all clearly understand this particular postulate.

Born in Buenos Aires, Agustina Woodgate, moved to Miami in 2004...making her a perfect fit for participant in the Disruption exhibition along with artists MatiÌas Duville, Graciela Hasper, Marie Orensanz, Pablo Reinoso, Marcela Sinclair.

Art Basel will feature talks to further explore the interruption and obstruction these works will explore in the world around us:

  • Dec. 5, 4 to 5 p.m.: Marcela Sinclair and Agustina Woodgate in conversation with Florencia Battiti and Diana Wechsler
  • Dec. 6, 2:15 to 2:45 p.m.: Pablo Reinoso; 4:15 to 4:45 p.m.: Matías Duville
  • Dec. 7, 2:15 to 2:45 p.m.: Graciela Hasper, 4:15p.m. to 4:45 p.m: Marie Orensanz

Make a plan...

"Conversations" menu: https://www.artbasel.com/miami-beach/conversations-show

"Conversations" takes place Thursday, Dec. 5 to Saturday, Dec. 7 in the auditorium of the MBCC. These talks always augment understanding and create depth in the art fair experience.

Art Basel Miami Beach tickets

Online or at the box office in the West Lobby of the Miami Beach Convention Center, beginning Dec. 5, 2019.

Art Basel Miami Beach 2019

Miami Beach Convention Center
1901 Convention Center Drive
Miami Beach, FL 33139

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