Art Basel Miami Beach: What to Expect This Year
Art Basel Miami Beach takes place at the Miami Beach Convention Center December 8–10, 2023. The international fair features presentations from 277 galleries from 33 countries and territories, including 24 galleries making their Art Basel Miami Beach debut. Veteran visitors to the fair will notice an updated and improved footprint for easier movement across five distinct plazas.
Hear from Vincenzo de Bellis on Art Basel’s Miami Beach Programming
WHITEWALLER: This year’s edition brings together 277 galleries. Who are some of the fair first-timers we should keep an eye out for?
This year, we welcome 25 new participants from Mexico to Poland to Egypt and beyond. To look out for, certainly, are two first-time exhibitors – Galerie Minsky from Paris and Weinstein Gallery from San Francisco – which will jointly present never-before-seen works by Argentinian-Italian surrealist Leonor Fini in our main sector. Manila’s Silverlens will debut in Nova, our sector for galleries presenting new works by up to three artists. Silverns recently opened a space in New York, becoming the first Southeast Asian gallery to do so. Their presentation in Nova focuses on large-scale tapestries and altars by Filipino artist Norberto Roldan. Gypsum Gallery from Cairo will also present new paintings by Egyptian artist Basim Magdy, the first staging of the artist’s paintings in a U.S. context to look forward to.
In Positions, our sector for young galleries showing solo presentations by emerging artists, Dürst Britt & Mayhew from The Hague – the first Dutch gallery to participate in Art Basel Miami Beach – will present new work, hand-carved on native wood, by Mexican artist Alejandra Venegas. Also not to miss: in Survey, dedicated to galleries showcasing artistic practices of historical relevance, is the solo presentation of American artist and activist Karen Finley, presented by newcomer from New York Freight+Volume, centered on the artist’s seminal 1977 interactive installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
Art Basel Miami Beach Strongly Represents the Americas
WW: Over two-thirds of the exhibitors have primary locations in North and South America. Can you share some of the highlight presentations from the Latin American scene at this edition?
VDB: Our show in Miami Beach is a unique platform for the discovery and dialogue of galleries, artists, and new perspectives at the heart of the Latin American scene, from historical showcases to contemporary voices. In our sector for monumental works, Rolf Art from Buenos Aires will present 1968: El fuego de las Ideas (‘1968: The Fire of Ideas’) (2014-2018) by Argentinean artist and human rights activist Marcelo Brodsky, a sprawling display of archival images depicting global public and political manifestations which took place in 1968. Mexico City’s Proyectos Monclova will likewise present 89,911 – An. / 86,054 – Ob. (2021) from Mexican artist Gabriel de la Mora’s ‘Ígnea’ series, featuring large-scale works made of hand-carved volcanic rock.
In Kabinett, I am very excited about A Gentil Carioca’s presentation of new ceramic works and watercolors by Brazilian artist Sallisa Rosa, prepared especially for the fair and part of the artist’s ongoing investigations into memory through materiality. In the Survey sector, visitors will encounter works by Liliana Maresca, the iconic 20th-century Argentine artist, also presented by Rolf Art. There are so many extraordinary projects to discover! Another is Galatea’s presentation of emerging Brazilian artist Allan Weber, whose work treats everyday life in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas and will showcase his new photo series created during the pandemic, when he worked as a food delivery driver; and Pequod Co.’s presentation of new works by Mexican artist Andrew Roberts that explore the ocean as a geopolitical space.
Caribbean Diaspora Artists in the Spotlight
WW: We’ll also see notable presentations of work from the Caribbean diaspora. Could you please share a few highlights?
VDB: The Ranch, a first-time exhibitor at our show, will showcase never-before-exhibited sculptures by Puerto Rican artist Daniel Lind-Ramos (who earlier this year had a solo show at MoMA PS1) inspired by his hometown of Loíza, the largest Afro-Caribbean enclave in Puerto Rico. Another first-time participant from New York, Mrs. will present a solo booth of Jamaican-born artist Nickola Pottinger, whose paper pulp sculptures and wall reliefs are composed of paper archives collected from her immigrant family’s home. She titles her work in Jamaican Patois, as another element that draws her closer to home. Her new sculptures and wall reliefs for the fair explore family history, displacement, and materiality.
Our Conversations program, curated by Emily Butler, also draws inspiration from the city of Miami’s position as a gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean. Our ‘Premiere Artist Talk’ pays tribute to the practice of leading artist María Magdalena Campos-Pons, from her childhood in Cuba to her acclaimed retrospective on tour in the U.S., currently on view at The Brooklyn Museum. The artist will be in conversation with Franklin Sirmans, Director of Pérez Art Museum Miami, and Crystal Williams, President of Rhode Island School of Design.
WW: This year will have an improved visitor flow with five distinct plazas. Can you share more about that experience for visitors?
VDB: We are excited to present an enhanced show layout, with the organization of five distinct plazas. The plazas are adapted for better visitor flow and more seating, eating, and drinking rest points in the fair hall. It is very important to us that we deliver the best possible visitor experience, without compromising the exhibitor footprint of the fair.
Surprises in Store at Art Basel Miami Beach
WW: You’ve said that “Visitors to our Miami Beach show this year will be met with surprise.” What are some of those surprises you have in store for 2023?
VDB: Every element of our show, from our main and curated sectors to our programming, is as inspired and ambitious as ever this edition. We continue to raise the bar on the quality and breadth of the work on view, and the offering around our show and across Miami’s museums, private collections, and cultural partners is remarkable. The local scene in Miami is bristling and the visitor experience is nothing short of magical.
WW: How does this year’s program extend beyond the fair like never before?
VDB: Beyond the fair halls, we are collaborating with a host of partners for an expanded program of exhibitions and events in Miami Beach throughout the week. Together with ARTNOIR and UBS Art Studio, we will present a new video work by Julianknxx on the façade of Soundscape Park WALLCAST. We are also partnering with Tribeca Festival to bring a series of musical performances to the Miami Beach Botanical Garden and talks with leading talents across the worlds of art, music, and film.
WW: Can you tell us about this year’s edition of Meridians, featuring large-scale projects curated by Magali Arriola. Were there any site-specific commissions or particularly new pieces?
VDB: Curated for the fourth year by Magalí Arriola, Mexico City-based curator and Director of Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporaneo, Meridians this year features 19 monumental projects that speak to nature, to the land, and to how we negotiate our built and cultural geographies. With Miami-based Spinello Projects, artist Reginald O’Neal debuts his first sculptural installation, The Cellist (2023), a ten-foot-tall reproduction of a small jazz cellist figurine in an environment which replicates scenes from the artist’s ‘Entertainer’ painting series. I’m also incredibly excited by Ja’Tovia Gary’s new installation in the sector, presented by Paula Cooper Gallery, which features a 26-minute film composed of vintage Hollywood imagery, direct animation, original super8 footage, and documentary elements, as well as a recreated domestic environment, responding to Toni Morrison’s 1970 novel The Bluest Eye.
WW: Outside of the fair, what are you looking forward to seeing and doing this week in Miami?
VDB: Miami boasts some of the most exceptional museums and private collections in the world, which are integral to the strength of the local art scene. Outside our fair halls, a truly exceptional cultural program is unfolding across Miami this year, from shows of Hernan Bas, Anne Duk Hee Jordan, and Etel Adnan at The Bass, to Charles Gaines and Tau Lewis at ICA Miami, to Gary Simmons at PAMM, and much more.