At the Art Basel in Miami Beach press conference on Wednesday morning, Dan Gelber, mayor of Miami Beach, likened the 18th edition of the fair to a teenager “coming of age.” That may be true in many respects: This year’s presentation at the Miami Beach Convention Center expects collectors from over 70 countries, and features 269 galleries from 33 countries. Yet the fair is still youthful enough to accept a good prank. One of the most talked-about artworks is a banana duct-taped to a wall. The piece is by none other than Maurizio Cattelan and aptly titled Comedian (2019); two of three editions were sold by Perrotin by the end of the VIP preview, each priced at $120,000. Below, we share some of our non-biodegradable favorites from the fair.
Positions, Booth P13
With works by Manal AlDowayan
In a presentation titled “Watch Before You Fall,” Saudi artist Manal AlDowayan “tries to heal herself” from the changes her society is undergoing, according to Sabrina Amrani co-owner Jal Hamad. A sculpture, The Emerging (2019, $17,000), resembles a series of bent knees emerging from the floor, while canvases ($7,000) depict the same bodily imagery. This motif signifies women’s fraught emergence into Saudi Arabia’s public sphere: The country only recently began to allow women to drive and leave their homes without a hijab, and their freedoms are still tenuous
AlDowayan placed porcelain scrolls, which look like paper to the unalerted eye, atop cloth-covered totems (the scrolls are sold in groups, for figures between $5,000 and $12,000). Each scroll features Arabic texts taken from religious books. “She wanted to take these words which are really nonsense, and put them in a physical medium that she could crack with her own hands as a strong woman,” said Hamad.
Nova, Booth N8
With works by Raúl de Nieves and Cajsa von Zeipel
Raúl de Nieves and Cajsa von Zeipel have created what might be Art Basel in Miami Beach’s most spectacular booth. Bubblegum-pink shag carpeting coats the floor. Von Zeipel’s figurative sculpture My Feminine Energy (2019) hangs from the ceiling amid balloon-shaped lights; the mannequin-like form resembles a punk queen dressed in shiny, punch-colored pants and leopard-print heels. She sits on a furry pink throne, wielding a plastic gun. De Nieves, in keeping with his exuberant, craft-based practice, has created a series of beaded sculptures. One representative work, Try cry try (2019), features what the wall label calls “artist worn shoes.” The sculpture is a pair of legs from the knee down, posed in bead-covered high heels that rope around the calves. They stand on a stained glass–esque, turquoise-and-pink lightbox. Altogether, the works undermine gender norms and suggest a glitzy, wild party.
Galleries, Booth F2
With works by Marina Abramović, Vanessa Beecroft, Enrico Castellani, Michele Guido, Alfredo Jaar, Donald Judd, William Kentridge, Joseph Kosuth, Marzia Migliora, Giuliano Dal Molin, Luca Monterastelli, Ugo Mulas, Thomas Ruff, Haim Steinbach, Gian Maria Tosatti, Tobias Zielony, and Gilberto Zorio
Lia Rumma presents the third in a series of artist-curated fair booths. Following a Frieze London presentation organized by Joseph Kosuth and an Artissima booth helmed by Alfredo Jaar, Haim Steinbach took the reins in Miami Beach. Steinbach’s curation ranges from a Marina Abramović self-portrait, Victory (1997, €95,000), to a Donald JuddDonald JuddAmerican, 1928–1994FollowDonald Judd, widely regarded as one of the most significant American artists of the post-war period, is perhaps best-known for the large-scale outdoor … box (Untitled, 1984, €1.2 million). The artist situated works a winding maze of floor-to-ceiling metal supports, creating an immersive viewing experience.
“It’s about architecture in relation to painting,” said the gallery’s Elisa Porta, connecting the grid-like exhibition structure to the grids that often serve as backdrops or organizational schemes in paintings. The grid can also be a cage, Steinbach suggests, with his inclusion of Marzia Migliora’s photograph A Dora D. (2018)—an image of a woman’s bare torso that appears to be trapped by lines and squares of light and shadow.
Kabinett, Booth E16; Meridians, Booth M33
With works by George Boorujy, Hilary Harkness, Judith Linhares, Gerald Lovell, Portia Munson, Erin M. Riley, Carolee Schneemann, Allison Schulnik, David Wojnarowicz, and Martin Wong
Portia Munson’s giant mixed-media installation The Garden (1996) may be coming to a hotel near you. P.P.O.W is presenting the work—an ornate representation of a woman’s bedroom, full of faux flowers, floral fabrics, and a bed topped with stuffed animals—in the fair’s new Meridians sector of large-scale and new media art. The gallery has sold the piece for $225,000 to Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown, the owners of the art-filled 21c Museum Hotels. In its fair booth, P.P.O.W is also showing a more maudlin work by Munson, titled Her Coffin (2016, $150,000), which features heaps of found pink plastic objects inside tempered glass.
P.P.O.WView Slideshow5 ImagesDon’t miss the delicate plein air paintings by Hilary Harkness, nor her finely wrought oils that imagine the pulpy romance of a Civil War general who transitions and begins an affair with a woman. P.P.O.W co-founder Wendy Olsoff noted that she’s received a lot of interest in painter Gerald Lovell, whose work she first saw on social media. The 27-year-old’s canvases feature his friends and family in casual settings (prices range from $6,500 to $14,000). “Gerald paints his friends and relatives with a disarming honesty and directness,” Olsoff said. “His thick, impasto paint captures the essence of his sitters, striking an immediate intimacy with each viewer. If all people had this level of empathy perhaps we would live in a world without racism—but of course this is impossible.” P.P.O.W will give Lovell a show in the spring, and his work will be on view in a group show at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture in Charlotte, North Carolina, until April 12, 2020.
Alison Jacques Gallery
Galleries, Booth E10
With works by Amy Bessone, Lygia Clark, Dan Fischer, Fernanda Gomes, Sheila Hicks, Birgit Jürgenssen, Takuro Kuwata, Robert Mapplethorpe, Ana Mendieta, Gordon Parks, Betty Parsons, Dorothea Tanning, Lenore Tawney, Erika Verzutti, and Hannah Wilke
Alison Jacques Gallery mounts a thoughtful presentation of modernist art by women who re-imagined craft and femininity. In a small room, sectioned off from the rest of the booth, there is a sculpture by Lygia Clark amid drawings and a tapestry by Lenore Tawney.
The sharp hinges of Clark’s steel and aluminum “Bichos” (1960/1984) mirror Tawney’s precise red lines and the kissing triangles of her linen wall hanging Union of Water and Fire (1974). If the folds and voids in these works lightly suggest female anatomy, Hannah Wilke’s Untitled (1977)—painted ceramics that resemble change purses without zippers—doubles down on that theme. Ana Mendieta’s photographs of volcanoes, Volcán (1979/1997), feature their own natural orifices and eruptions. By the end of the fair’s first day, the gallery sold Sheila Hicks’s Esmeralda (Emerald Forest) (2019) for $550,000.
Survey, Booth S2
With works by Faith Ringgold
In the 1970s, artist Faith Ringgold wanted to make her paintings more portable. “She didn’t want to go on heaving them around [and depending on] a man to move the paintings—because they’d been getting much larger,” explained Pippy Houldsworth, who’s exhibiting a presentation of five Ringgold artworks, made between 1964 and 1997, in her gallery’s booth. Inspired by Tibetan thangkas—paintings on fabric—Ringgold decided to paint on unstretched canvases, and her mother helped her sew on borders of patterned fabric.
Faith Ringgold at Pippy HouldsworthView Slideshow2 ImagesThree of these revelatory, mixed-media pieces are on view at Art Basel in Miami Beach. Each features a nude African American woman amid brightly hued leaves. In the works—titled Slave Rape #1: Fear Will Make You Weak, Slave Rape #2: Run You Might Get Away, and Slave Rape #3:Fight to Save Your Life (all 1972)—Ringgold’s subjects are strong, capable women. The trio of paintings was in storage for 50 years, before being featured this year in a major Ringgold retrospective at the Serpentine Galleries. The works will go straight back to Europe after the fair ends, as the survey travels to the Bildmuseet in Umeå, Sweden. The three “Slave Rape” pieces, in addition to Ringgold’s painting The Flag is Bleeding #2 (American Collection #6) (1997), all sold before the fair opened to a private museum, for an undisclosed price.
Bergamin & Gomide
Kabinett, Booth D4
With works by Miguel Rio Branco, Sergio Camargo, Marcelo Cipis, Antonio Dias, Paulo Roberto Leal, Amadeo Luciano Lorenzato, Anna Maria Maiolino, Mira Schendel, Amélia Toledo, and Tunga
In 2014, Bergamin & Gomide exhibited work by the late unsung Brazilian artist Amadeo Luciano Lorenzato in a show that coincided with the São Paulo Biennial. “He was always an artist’s artist, or even an artist’s artist’s artist,” said gallery co-founder Thiago Gomide. “He was so obscure. Nobody ever talked about him.” The exhibition introduced Lorenzato to the international art world. Artforum published a review, and soon, curators and collectors were clamoring for glimpses of the work. Fellow Brazilian gallery Mendes Wood DM is currently showing Lorenzato’s paintings in its Brussels outpost, and the artist’s works also line its booth at Art Basel in Miami Beach.
Bergamin & GomideView Slideshow5 ImagesLorenzato’s canvases feature a variety of subjects: Brazilian life, landscapes, and colorful abstractions. Gomide compared one composition of a tree-lined path to the late style of David Hockney. Despite the disparate subject matter, each painting shares in common a highly textured surface: The artist scratched into his paint with combs and forks, producing light and shadow within his own strokes. Just hours after the fair opened, Gomide had already sold two canvases to two different private collectors, one in New York and one in São Paulo. Prices range from $35,000 to $65,000.
Tina Kim Gallery
Galleries, Booth E15
With works by Davide Balliano, Wook-Kyung Choi, Gimhongsok, Suki Seokyeong Kang, Minouk Lim, Seh Seung-Won, Kim Tschang-Yeul, and Lee Ufan
For her first-ever presentation at Art Basel in Miami Beach, Tina Kim selected a handful of Dansaekhwa (Korean minimalist) works in addition to stranger, more contemporary fare. A sculpture resembling an upside-down nightstand, Six Legs – long #19-05 (2019), by this year’s Venice Biennale participant Suki Seokyeong Kang, stands across from an abstract, blue-striped canvas, From Line (1981, $800,000), by the established Korean minimalist and Mono-ha leaderLee Ufan. Four of Kang’s works sold on the fair’s first day, for figures between $10,000 and $20,000.
Tina Kim GalleryView Slideshow5 ImagesMinouk Lim offered another funky highlight: a sculpture titled Camel’s Ocean (2015, $40,000), made from wood, an octopus net, squid bones, sea snail shells, blue sugar, and various other materials. Two paintings by Kim Tschang-Yeul (the artist whose work is featured at Kim’s New York space through December 7th), featuring bold, graphic, bulbous forms, also sold for $150,000 and $320,000, respectively. “It was important to show some of the artists I’ve recently shown in New York,” said Kim, adding that through the booth, she also wanted to maintain her reputation as a Dansaekhwa guru.
Galleries, Booth A7
With works by Alma Allen, Milton Avery, Ali Banisadr, William Copley, Ian Davenport, Stuart Davis, Walton Ford, Jane Freilicher, Robert Indiana, Alex Katz, Lee Krasner, Les Lalanne, Matvey Levenstein, Robert Motherwell, Robert Polidori, Elliott Puckette, Robert Ryman, Jan-Ole Schiemann, Bosco Sodi, Keith Sonnier, Bernar Venet, and Andy Warhol
Six lovely Milton Avery landscapes, directly from the artist’s estate, are on view at Kasmin’s booth. Parade of Trees (1956) veers into abstraction, depicting a brushy, forest-green triangle amid an orange field; a seafoam green background enhances the picture’s soft unreality. Quivering Trees (1954), with its blue sky, green earth, and thin tree trunks, is much more straightforward. Avery created all of the exhibited canvases in the last decade or so of his life when, gallery representative Molly Taylor explained, his “expertise as a colorist solidified.” Prices range from six figures into the millions, she noted.
KasminView Slideshow4 Images“The colors and forms feel very contemporary—you wouldn’t know they were created last century until you look at the label,” added Sean Avery Cavanaugh, Avery’s grandson, who runs the artist’s estate. In 2021, the largest retrospective of Avery’s work to date will open at the Royal Academy.
Galleries, Booth C8
With works by Ruth Asawa, Mel Bochner, Louise Bourgeois, Frank Bowling, John Chamberlain, Ed Clark, Helen Frankenthaler, Sam Gilliam, David Hammons, Glenn Ligon, Brice Marden, Kenneth Noland, and Alma Thomas
Mnuchin has mounted a small tribute to Ed Clark, who passed away in October at age 93. Against a cobalt blue wall, the gallery is showing lush, abstract paintings and works on paper made between 1960 and 2004,which feature Clark’s wide, voluminous brushstrokes. Within hours of the fair’s opening, three had already been sold to private collectors for figures between $150,000 and $175,000,while two others were on reserve. “This is a celebration of the show and his life,” said gallery partner Sukanya Rajaratnam, referring to Mnuchin’s 2018 survey of Clark’s work, which was the first in New York since 1980.
Mnuchin GalleryView Slideshow4 ImagesClark’s work hangs across from pieces by Alma Thomas: a painting that sold for $1.25 million, and a drawing priced at $250,000. And David Hammons, who recently made headlines for a major new commission by the Whitney, is also represented in the booth. The gallery is showing his African-American Flag (1990, sold for $1.5 million) and Orange is the New Black (2015, $1.25 million), an orange mask with threads dangling from its chin. The gallery also sold a Helen Frankenthaler painting, White Joy (1981, $1.65M) and a Frank Bowling painting, Irv Sandler’s Visit (1977, $275,000). In other words, Clark is in good company among fellow luminaries of modern and contemporary art.