Another year come and gone, another sojourn for the global art community to the southern tip of Florida for a week of fairs, exhibitions and parties on the streets of Miami and Miami Beach, all centered around the sprawling US hub of the Art Basel fair franchise, and spreading out across the city’s streets and parks, boardwalks and beaches.
At the center of the week’s proceedings is, of course, Art Basel Miami Beach, the mega-fair that will take over the Miami Beach Convention Center’s newly renovated halls. Some things remain the same, of course, namely the packed lineup of 268 galleries from 35 countries around the globe (including 29 first-time exhibitors), and the focus on high-profile, blue-chip works alongside more adventurous curatorial projects and pieces. At the David Zwirner booth, one will be able to browse work by Jason Rhoades, Harold Ancart, and Ed Ruscha, among many others, while Regen Projects will bring work by Kader Attia, Walead Betty and Marilyn Minter. Cardi Gallery will also be on hand, showing works by Jannis Kounellis, Lucio Fontana and more.
Yet there are sure to be some new twists and tweaks to the fair this year as well. With the completed redesign of the Convention Center, the fair is focusing on utilizing its space for booths, trading off on resources previously devoted to other parts of the fair. Gone is the annual Public section of the fair, a popular draw that spread sculptures around Collins Park outside the Bass Museum, as is the Film sector, replaced instead with a single large-scale performance sculpture by Abraham Cruzvillegas. The work, Autorreconstrucción: To Insist, to Insist, to Insist…, is built from salvaged material and will be activated by dancers swinging from suspended pieces of the work. The work will be on view for free to all passerby, offering a unique visual spectacle for those interested.
On the other side of Biscayne Bay, The New Art Dealers Alliance will also return to South Florida with NADA Miami, its annual event in the city. The 16th edition of the fair, to be held December 6–9, 2018 at Ice Palace Studios, is dedicated to showcasing new art and to celebrating the rising talents from around the globe, with a particular focus on younger galleries and a trend-setting perspective towards curatorial projects and new art. This year, Detroit-based artist and creator of the Heidelberg Project, Tyree Guyton will present a new tree sculpture in the garden area; Miami’s Fringe Projects will present a painted automobile cover by artist Keith Allyn Spencer parked on North Miami Avenue, and Los Angeles gallery AA|LA will present new hanging rawhide works by artist and writer Rindon Johnson installed across the palm trees.
Back in Miami Beach, UNTITLED Miami Beach brings its own take on the Miami fair experience straight to the beach. An international, curated art fair founded in 2012 that focuses on curatorial balance and integrity across all disciplines of contemporary art, UNTITLED innovates the standard fair model by selecting a curatorial team to identify, and curate a selection of galleries, artist-run exhibition spaces, and non-profit institutions and organizations, in dialogue with an architecturally designed venue. The result is a show that focuses more on unified concepts and interlinked ideas than most other fairs on hand, and often presents booths more as works in and of themselves rather than as a site for the featuring of lone objects or a series of pieces.
The week will also see a string of exhibitions and parties opening around the Bay. On Tuesday, the ICA Miami in the Design District will open its show dedicated to the work of Judy Chicago, with a public reception that will also allow guests to view the recently opened shows of work by Larry Bell and William Copley. That same night, Jeffrey Deitch and Larry Gagosian will co-host their annual collaborative exhibition at the iconic Moore building, Pop Minimalism, Minimalist Pop, exploring the intersections and legacies of two major American art movements of the 1960s—Pop art and Minimalism—and the ways in which features of Minimalism have been incorporated into a variety of contemporary art practices.
Two nights later, the Perez Museum will host its annual exhibition party, celebrating its show on the archival materials and concepts behind Christo and Jean-Claude’s famed Surrounded Islands project. The evening’s proceedings feature performances by Brooklyn Afrobeat collective Antibalas and musician/designer Kilo Kish. At the Bass Museum, a reception on Wednesday night will celebrate the work of the Haas Brothers and their new show, as well as recently opened exhibitions on the work of Aaron Curry and Paola Pivi.
Also of note is the Faena Hotel’s first entry of an ambitious art exhibition project, the Faena Festival, which will run the length of the week and feature a broad range of performances and projects. Launching December 3rd with a Grand Opening celebration on the beach outside of the hotel, the exhibition will feature a string of installations and special performances that draw on notions of identity, belonging and nationality, united under the phrase THIS IS NOT AMERICA, from the Alfredo Jaar installation A Logo for America. Highlights include a performance by Wu Tsang and Boychild, as well as a large-scale installation by artist George Sánchez-Calderón, which will include a ritual burning event December 4th on the beach. The Rubell Collection will also open an exhibition this week, mixing a curated show of new acquisitions to the museum collection, among them pieces by Janiva Ellis, Martha Jungwirth and more, alongside a survey of the work of artist Purvis Young, who spent the entirety of his life living and working in the City of Miami.
Of course, what would the week be without a series of special exhibitions and parties, as galleries court dealers and let some steam off at the end of a long year. At the Nautilus Hotel, Suzy Kellems Dominik will be presenting INVISIBLE, a series of soft-sculpture totems that surrealistically present the female body and investigate the social and cultural implications of beauty and age in monumental form. The hotel will also host a party with Half Gallery & Harper’s Books featuring rapper Fab Five Freddy on December 4th, and will showcase a new rooftop awning designed by David Salle.
At the EDITION, Hank Willis Thomas’s For Freedoms project will unveil a specially designed Christmas tree. The hotel will also host a December 6th Monograph launch for hometown hero Daniel Arsham, and will host a bowling tournament December 5th at its BASEMENT Nightclub and bowling alley. The usual festivities of Aby Rosen’s annual party at the W Hotel also returns after a year off, making a comeback as a fitting comedown to a bustling week.
— D. Creahan