Advisor Sharón Zoldan’s Art Basel Miami Beach Finds
At this year’s iteration of Art Basel Miami Beach, we saw growth and development in newer, younger artists and their expanding bodies of work. Seasoned, established artists maintained their impressive stride, captivating us with their sustained productivity and inventive prowess. Presented below are select artists and artworks that commanded the attention of art advisor Sharón Zoldan at the vibrant fair.
Barbara Chase-Riboud at Hauser & Wirth
Paris-based writer and artist Barbara Chase-Riboud fabricates sculptures that have the striking perception of spanning time and material. Her pieces combine luminous metals with textured coils of silk, wool, and string to feel both innovative and ancient. While these bronze, gold, and cotton sculptures appear to be abstract celebrations of material, volume, and form, they also reference portraits of thought leaders, such as Malcolm X—the effigy is the approximate height of the six-foot-four civil rights activist. As plinths, they also take inspiration from ancient and classical funerary stele.
The octogenarian had her first acquisition by MoMA (a woodcut) at the age of 15. She was the first Black female candidate to graduate Yale’s MFA program in the late 1950s. She came to acclaim then, but fell into obscurity in recent years. Historians are now reclaiming her, as part of the interest in representing women and people of color to rectify historical record.
Sharón Zoldan’s Art Basel Miami Beach Highlights: William Brickel at Michael Kohn
London-based artist William Brickel’s figurative paintings of elongated, exaggerated, sometimes tangled male bodies remind me of the hulking Renaissance figures of Michelangelo or the delicate Mannerist stylings of Jacopo da Pontormo. Carefully rendered interiors, akin to stages, complement the figures, with color choices enhancing emotional narratives.
Sharón Zoldan’s Art Basel Miami Beach Highlights: Doris Salcedo at White Cube
Colombian artist Doris Salcedo’s sculptures using found objects always cut to the core. In this work, a stack of plaster-dipped white shirts has been impaled by a metal rod once used in hospitals to support cradles and cots. Part of her “actions of mourning” series, the visceral sculpture references the massacres of banana farmers throughout Colombian history—wives watched as their husbands were pulled out of bed and murdered. The starched white shirts are a typical funeral attire for the men of Columbia, while the plastered, starched forms allude to the domestic work of the women who watched on in horror. This seemingly quiet moment was tucked away in a corner of White Cube’s booth but is a masterful sliver of the artist’s oeuvre.
Siji Krishnan at Michael Kohn
Siji Krishnan creates ethereal, glowing compositions of watercolor on layers of rice paper. Based on her childhood in the countryside of Kerala, India, the pieces portray a tapestry of relationships that extend beyond just family. The motley crew of characters she depicts represents a diverse array of figures, possibly neighbors, acquaintances, or even strangers brought together by a shared sense of community—the interconnectedness and interdependence among people formed through shared traditions or cultural practices. In her work, Unknown Families (2022), each figure seems to be connected to another, and, in turn, they all appear as if they were tethered to the tree. The patina rendered on these seemingly aged artworks ends up resembling something close to a precious treasure map.
Tacita Dean at Frith Street
Tacita Dean’s large-scale, reverse negative, hand-colored photographs brought a piece of Los Angeles to Miami—specifically, the annual Jacaranda bloom that the British artist photographed while in Los Angeles. In reversing the negative, the typically purple blooms appear an otherworldly shade of green. Fitting, as these works come out of a commission the artist had from the Royal Ballet of London for the set of Dante’s Divine Comedy. The surreal colors and reversed image represent the ghostly in-betweenness of Purgatory.
Sharón Zoldan’s Art Basel Miami Beach Highlights: Ron Gorchov at Vito Schnabel
It was exciting to see an entire booth devoted to the late Ron Gorchov, an undervalued artist associated with the likes of Frank Stella, Ellsworth Kelly, Richard Tuttle, and others who sought to expand painting beyond the traditionally square format of the medium. Surrounded by the mini-survey of his shield-like shapes, viewers could take in the hand-formed concave canvases, in addition to their painterly surfaces, marked by biomorphic-shaped interruptions in the color field. Gorchov’s canvases, at first glance, appear to be entirely abstract, but often they reference the curves and torsos of the very first Greek sculptures, the kouroi (sculptures of standing male youths) and korai (female youths). The large-scale white painting at center stole the show.
Antonio Tarsis at Carlos/Ishikawa
Like his predecessor, the Brazilian modernist Lygia Pape, the young Brazilian artist Antonio Tarsis carries on in the tradition of the found and readymade object through his compositions made of matchboxes commonly seen in the favelas of Salvador, where the artist grew up. Tarsis dismantles, dissects, and dyes the matchstick boxes to create a stunningly diverse body of work full of socio-political context on poverty and class, as well as art historical references to the Modernist grids of Agnes Martin. The wall-hung works were paired with assemblage sculptures referencing the improvised fire or coal-burning stoves commonly found in Brazil.
Charles Gaines at Hauser & Wirth
The presentation of work by Charles Gaines at Hauser & Wirth included an extravagant Plexiglas trees triptych to bring attention to the artist’s exciting current and upcoming exhibitions. A solo presentation of over 60 works from the 1990s to today, debuted at the ICA Miami the same week as the fair. This piece is a peek into next year’s show of newly commissioned work featuring Arizona cottonwood trees at the Phoenix Museum of Art. The vibrant colors of the cottonwood trees in the Hauser and Wirth booth stood out as one of the masterpieces of the entire fair. He has perfected his formula for the gridwork required for these monumental pieces, creating harmonies in color that truly sing.