So far, 2017 has felt more packed with art than a hoarding oligarch’s section at the Geneva Freeport. The jet-setting art crowd has had to showcase its designer shoes and savvy opinions at Herculean shows and fairs in Sharjah, Venice, Hong-Kong, Basel, Kassel, Münster, Paris, London, New York, Abu Dhabi, Turin, Mexico City, New Orleans, Shanghai and countless other places around the globe; exhaustion, whether exhilarating or draining, is the logical consequence of this 11-month marathon.
The conclusion of this busy schedule will have Miami’s white beaches and refrigerated fair halls as a setting; but this time, the program of and surrounding the Donatella Versace of fairs seems at least as busy as the rest of the year: museum (re)openings, satellites, parties and endless Uber drives will keep the glitterati more occupied than ever.
However, first things first: what’s hot at this year’s edition of Art Basel Miami Beach? 20 new galleries join its 2017 roster, eleven of which hail from either Europe or Asia. Among them are Brussel’s very trendy dépendance, bringing the ever-so-popular Ed Atkins, as well as Gillian Carnegie and Peter Wächtler to Florida; the spearhead of Portugal’s gallery scene, Múrias Centeno; Richard Saltoun Gallery, who impressed at this year’s Frieze London with a phallus-heavy solo booth by Renate Bertlmann and will show Edgardo Antonio Vigo in Miami; and Tokyo’s Taru Nasu, who’ll showcase Koichi Enomoto’s funny-yet-creepy paintings for his first edition of the fair. From the Americas, ABMB-virgins include Chapter NY, which already drew some attention this summer in Basel with a solo presentation by Sam Anderson and will possibly surprise visitors this time with works by Adam Gordon; Chicago’s Patron Gallery, who’ll exhibit a local Windy City artist, Harold Mendez; Isla Flotante, a hip venture from Buenos Aires with a poop emoji as website icon; Los Angeles’ Anat Egbi, presenting a solo booth by Jibade-Khalil Huffman; and Ricardo Camargo Galeria from Sao Paulo, who deals with modern art, a potentially very lucrative specialization to have in Florida, given the not always adventurous taste of wealthy Palm Beach residents.
The blue-chip giants of this world are likely to bring a wide array of their most precious – and unsurprising – treasures. You’ll be able to witness the intimate vibe of a Louise Bourgeois, the slick severity of a Donald Judd, the selfie-friendliness of an Anish Kapoor, the playful minimalism of an Ed Ruscha or the mordant humor of an Urs Fischer for sure. But with 268 galleries presenting work by an incredible multitude of artists, boredom is an almost inexistent risk. In a slightly less conventional vein, some highlights we’re looking forward to seeing are the half comedic, half hypnotising paintings of Sanya Kantarovsky at Berlin’s Tanya Leighton; a presentation of sensual conceptualism by Dani Gal, Natalie Czech and Art & Language at Düsseldorf’s Kadel Willborn; the crème-de-la-crème of Middle-Eastern contemporary art – Etel Adnan and Walid Raad, among others – at Beirut and Hamburg’s Sfeir-Semler Gallery; desirable cookiness at Mexico City and LA’s House of Gaga; a solo booth by the fantastic artist-as-activist A.K. Burns at New York’s Callicoon Fine Arts; variations on printing, copy and distortion by Ned Vena at Berlin’s Société; and not-so-naive painterly sculptures – or sculptural paintings? – by the young Danish artist Carl Mannov at Copenhagen’s Christian Andersen.
These aren’t the only ventures sounding a bit more exciting than a white cube filled with the usual six-figure suspects: at NADA Miami Beach, Art Basel’s main satellite, there’s also lots to see, buy and discuss. In fact, a quick scroll through the fairs’ exhibitor list may suffice to excite you, especially if emerging art is more your cup of tea than postwar painting by white men (OK, obviously not the only thing at ABMB, but you know what we mean). While finding out who these young dealers will exhibit demands a non-negligible amount of patience, the few names one manages to excavate certainly offer a stimulating foretaste.
Like last year, New York’s Queer Thoughts will pair up with Detroit’s What Pipeline for what has become one of their specialties: a provocative and well-curated fair booth. Among others, the uber-hip galleries will bring works by Puppies Puppies, Hannah Quinlan & Rosie Hastings, and Nolan Simon to the Ice Palace Studios, where the fair is located this year. Stockholm’s Loyal Galleryselected eight white-hot artists for their presentation, among them Zoe Barcza, Jim Thorell and Jesse Greenberg. Warsaw’s Galeria Dawid Radziszewskichose to pair historical works by Adam Rzepecki with the Kafkaesque paintings of Tomasz Kowalski, blending surrealism with a certain bleakness; Apalazzo Gallery, which is located in Brescia, Italy, will show four fantastic artists from Africa and South America, two of which participated in this year’s Documenta: Em’kal Eyongakpa and Ibrahim Mahama, as well as Daniela Libertad and Edson Chagas. That’s not a line-up you’d expect from a space located in a region where Arte Povera has been steamrolling everything for a bit too long now. The San Juan, Puerto Rico gallerist Agustina Ferreyra, who recently opened a Mexico City outpost, will exhibit works by five artists, of which Cristina Tufiño’s fetching ceramics and Zadie Xa’s hallucinatory canvases appear as particular highlights. NADA also has a “Project” section, where spaces such as Mexico City’s Lulu, New York’s Participant Inc. or another great San Juan space, Embajada, will be given the opportunity to showcase their curatorial profiles.
It goes without saying that Miami institutions also use this week in the calendar to present themselves under their most desirable light. This year marks the reopening of the Bass Museum which, after extensive renovations, will attract visitors with crowd-pleasing shows. The first one is by Swiss art world darling Ugo Rondinone, who can be credited with making stone towers almost as popular at fairs as oil painting. He can’t be reduced to these works though; his ever-expanding and eclectic practice never ceases to surprise anew – check out his solo presentation with Eva Presenhuber at ABMB to convince yourself of that. The second exhibition is dedicated to Pascale Marthine Tayou, the Cameroonian Galleria Continua protégé whose often colorful works seem like a perfect match for the premises. The ICA Miami inaugurates its new and shiny building with an exhibition titled “The Everywhere Studio” and dealing with, duh, the artist studio and its influence on artistic production since 1945. Works by the galaxy's most shining art stars, from Yves Klein to Carolee Schneemann to Neil Beloufa, will be on view. At the Perez Art Museum, a solo show by the videast Dara Friedman, whose breathtaking 2017 Gallery Weekend exhibition “Dichter” at Berlin’s Supportico Lopez still resonates with us, should be able to reconcile even the most skeptical visitors with video art.
The Rubell Family Collection, rich with emerging positions, will stage the post-internet bonanza of the week with “Still Human,” a group exhibition interrogating the ever-growing grip of digital technologies on the conditio humana. The show stars the usual suspects, from Hito Steyerl over Cécile B. Evans to Ed Atkins and Annika Yi, and if you attended the 2016 Berlin Biennale or visited the Julia Stoschek Collection, you might know what’s in store already. In that case, Allison Zuckerman’s show “Stranger in Paradise,” realized during a residency at the museum this summer and comprising brand-new sculptures and paintings, might stimulate you a bit more. At the De La Cruz Collection, “Force and Form” brings together another group of accomplished artists, linked together by their eagerness to explore new materials and media in their practice. Tauba Auerbach and Ana Mendieta are included, but with only eight (!) women out of 46 artists in total, the De La Cruz collection does approximately as bad as the Jamaican parliament in terms of gender equality (according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s data). That seems sorta problematic in 2017, especially for such a top-class collection. Those seeking an antidote to such dated exhibition politics should be headed to the Brickell City Center; there, Zoe Lukov and Anthony Spinello will co-curate Fair., a non-commercial art fair (sic) with works by female artists only, aiming to address the (art) world’s lack of gender equality. While “non-commercial art fair” sounds like a rather obvious oxymoron, experiencing site-specific works by the likes of Pia Camil, the Guerrilla Girls or Jillian Mayer in a Floridian shopping mall actually sounds like a refreshing change of scenery from booths and white cubes.
For the lucky ones among you attending this year’s edition of Art Basel, these issues, works, and exhibitions shall be best discussed while holding a glass of champagne and dressed to the nines at some fabulous party. It’s no secret that the soirees taking place during that week, most of which are very exclusive, seldom orgiastic but packed with semi-celebrities, constitute almost as much of a motive to fly to Florida than the art.
Artist Carsten Höller surely seems to welcome this distinctive feature: Recycling an idea from 2008, he has created the Prada Double Club Miami, an ephemeral, invitation-only and – as you may have guessed – Prada-funded club. Activated only for a couple of nights, this uber-select pop-up disco confirms that if there’s a place where the marriage between insane elitism and contemporary art is a very happy one, it’s Miami.
As you probably know, we cover all the shows in galleries, museums and project spaces (plus some of the fairs) in our app, so let us be your guide to the Miami frenzy.
– Karim Crippa