This year, ahead of the ever-larger presentation of Art Basel Miami Beach (ABMB), we made a point of pin-pointing the strongest voices from blue-chip to emerging artists. It’s crucial to start conversations with clients before the fair even opens, to ensure access and sales! It’s fun to study up and learn about newcomers. Overall, I’d say the main fair at the convention center was quite strong! Here’s a recap of that along with a handful of highlights at concurrent fairs and exhibitions. — Sharón Zoldan, SZ | ADVISORY
Giuseppe Penone at Marian Goodman, ABMB
At first glance, this monumental work by Giuseppe Penone appears like an enlarged body print, but upon closer inspection, the grooves and ridges of the lips reveal that the swirling image is created with thousands of individual acacia thorns. The Arte Povera master, with a current survey at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, explores the connection of humanity to nature. The image of lips is connected to breath and the life force—just as we breathe, so do acacia trees. Just as people may “develop a thicker skin” after hardship or trauma, acacia trees regrow more prominent thorns once cut as a defense. A similarly commanding motif resides at the entrance of Italy’s National Gallery in Rome.
Milano Chow at Chapter NY, ABMB
The fantasy-world-building of Milano Chow’s pencil-on-paper and photo-transfer collages is astounding—they feel a bit like glimpses into an incredibly sophisticated, monochromatic dollhouse. Inspired by Magritte’s “Empire of Light” series, in which night and day coexist in one picture plane, Chow’s highly detailed works similarly suggest a logic or illogic unto themselves.
Charles Gaines at Max Hetzler and Berggruen, ABMB
Although the artist defers to a formulaic approach to generate his work—a mathematical algorithm to determine the numbers and colors within a grid—the resulting motifs are dynamic and vibrant. Subjects like trees and faces are composed utilizing a system chosen to elevate his artwork above the subjective and the personal. His “Palms,” especially, read more like bursting fireworks than resplendent flora. Max Hetzler had a unique work-on-paper on view, while Berggruen Gallery showcased a suite of editioned Plexi-encased California palms on resale.
Rachel Whiteread at Luhring Augustine, ABMB
Rachel Whiteread’s sculptures draw attention to the spaces and places that typically go unnoticed. Instead of the spines of the actual books, we only see the lifted pigment that the plaster cast has picked up. The sculpture is at once a ghostly remnant while also making something solid and concrete out of empty space.
El Anatsui at Edward Tyler Nahem, ABMB
The Ghanian-born, Nigeria-based El Anatsui is an international icon and his tapestry-like constructions made from upcycled trash are always a show stopper. Addressing colonialism as well as current society, his work is an apt emblem of today’s increasing globalism. From afar they appear like magnificent weavings and, up-close, the handiwork of assembling the found materials together with copper is equally astounding.
Minjae Kim at Nina Johnson Gallery, Little Haiti, Miami
Former architect Minjae Kim’s whimsical and functional pieces have a distinct visual language that bridges Western and non-Western; design and high art. My favorites were his wall-mounted lights made from quilted fiberglass coated in resin that resemble a full-size hanbok (traditional Korean robe), a nod to his Korean heritage, while the fiberglass borrows from affordable American mid-century design.
Michael Buhler-Rose, New Discretions, NADA
The sheer technique of Michael Buhler-Rose’s contemporary wood inlay bookcases stood out. The trompe l’oeil marquetry pieces are a contemporary take on the Met’s Studiolo from a Ducal Palace in Gubbio, Umbria, Italy (c. 1479-82). Just as the 15th-century Duke sought to present himself as a learned man of arts, sciences, and letters, Buhler-Rose, by nature of the objects represented on these bookshelves (rare records, books, devotional objects related to his practice as a Hindu Brahmin priest), suggest a self-portrait of sorts through a collection of personal mementos.
YoYo Lander at Zidoun Bossuyt at Untitled Art
Self-taught artist YoYo Lander explores the beauty of the figure in portraits created with a distinct collaging technique. She stains watercolor paper that is then layered together like a mosaic, recalling the works of the late Chuck Close, but with a feminine warmth. Gradients of beiges and eggshell intermingle with deeper hues of mud, stone, and khaki. The prismatic portraits emanate both strength and vulnerability and hint at the multifacetedness of her sitters. Her Luxembourg-based dealers, Nordine Zidoun and Audrey Bossuyt, just recently opened spaces in Paris and Dubai in addition to their central-European headquarters.