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Art Basel Miami Beach held its VIP preview and vernissage Wednesday, and as usual the Miami Beach Convention Center was buzzing with collectors, artists, curators, and art enthusiasts. The international fair boasts a whopping 269 galleries from 33 countries—and visitors are going to need more than a couple hours to get through it all. We recommend not skipping Meridians, a new sector for the fair curated by Magalí Arriola with works by Fred Wilson, Adam Pendleton, Theaster Gates, and John M. Armleder. Galleries, including 20 first-timers, brought their A-game, and overall we saw a large representation of artist rosters, rather than solo or thematic presentations.
At Casey Kaplan, we were struck by Jordan Casteel’s painting of a child falling asleep on her parent on the New York City subway. That was accompanied by pieces from Jordan Kaplan, Sarah Crowner, Jonathan Gardner, Hannah Levy, Hugh Scott Douglas, among others.
At Canada, we were drawn to Katherine Bernhardt’s large-scale work featuring the Pink Panther peppered by a few R2D2s. Robert Janitz’s blue and orange abstract piece made from oil, wax, and flour on linen was complimented by Luke Murphy’s Tower / Piece of Work made from LED matrix panels.
Jack Shainman’s booth—where we saw a few of the artists he represents during the preview—is showing a new work from Kerry James Marshall, depicting a vase with sparkling singing flowers. Also fairly fresh is Becky Suss’s House on Dal Lake in the Valley of K, from her upcoming series of paintings of interiors from some of her favorite children’s books. Other highlights included pieces by Hayv Kahraman, a surprising landscape by Barkley L. Henricks, a stunning charcoal on paper piece by Charles White from 1978, and a 1956 photo by Gordon Parks.
Galería OMR greets fairgoers with a rainbow of rebar made by Pia Camil, under which a ceramic cactus stands in a small pile of sand by Gabriel Rico. OMR also has works by Jorge Mendez Blake, Artur Lescher, Atelier Van Lieshout, and a tapestry by Yann Gerstberger.
DC Moore’s booth is hard to miss, with Joyce Kozloff’s Targets (2000), a walk-in globe made in 24 sections, each painted with an aerial map of a place bombed by the US between 1945 and 2000, including Colombia, Libya, Sudan, Iraq, Laos, and Congo.
New work from Sam Gilliam in watercolor and acrylic on washi paper, as well as Loie Hollowell’s Standing in water, caught our eye at Pace. And at Perrotin new work from Cinga Samson, Elmgreen & Dragset’s Marble Kissing Heads, and Jean-Michel Othoniel’s Oracle (Mirror) were also of note.
Tina Kim is showing work from Minouk Lim, Suki Seokyeong Kang, Gimhongsok, Kim Yong-Ik, Davide Balliano, Wook-Kyung Choi, Suh Seung-Won, and Kim Tschang-Yeul. The gallerist commissioned Gimhongsok’s figurative sculpture carved from Styrofoam and cast in bronze that stands in the middle of the booth. Paintings from the early 1970s by Kim Tschang-Yeul may surprise visitors familiar with the South Korean painter. They were made during his time in New York in the early seventies on a Rockefeller grant, and have never previously been exhibited. Gallerist Kim discovered the pieces on a recent studio visit and knew they had to be shown—their gestures still quite contemporary.
And we are still thinking about Kabinett’s presentation of Purvis Young covering an exterior wall within the fair. The late Miami born artist was self-taught, and known for his 1971-4 Good Bread Alley mural made on the side of abandoned warehouses from hundreds of individual paintings in Miami’s Overtown neighborhood. The installation is reminiscent of that mural, and a fitting tribute to the city we’re all celebrating this week.