EIC’s Picks: Chasing Curatorially Driven Shows at Miami Art Week
With it’s 260 participating galleries from 33 countries showcasing more than 4,000 artists Art Basel Miami Beach, the “main fair,” is North America’s largest art fair. In its sixteen years, attracting some 20 satellite fairs, ABMB has made Miami an art destination for collectors, art aficionados, and party-goers alike. Overwhelmed already? Fair-tigue is a real thing. With my interest in curation, I also travel to the city to see Miami’s museums, private collections, and exhibition pop-ups that offer a respite from the selling frenzy. And, let’s be honest, the parties and the networking opportunities they offer are one of Miami Art Week’s main draws.
What I Liked Seeing
With works on view in seven abandoned storefronts on Calle Ocho and a former bank, the ambitious site-responsive pop-up exhibition “La Bodega y Mas” in Little Havana is a breath of fresh air. “It is important for oxygen to be re-circulated in other directions during Art Basel, to find new avenues and platforms to experience art. Independent curatorial projects are paramount in this discourse,” says Juliana Steiner, part of the curatorial trio Good to Know. Moving beyond solely making and seeing, the exhibition activates artistic discourse on social change in the neighboorhood. The participating artists and one non-profit used discarded materials, plants, and more traditional materials to create new works responding to the American strip mall experience, the area’s gentrification, and immigration. 3663 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33135. 12:00 pm-7:00 pm and by appointment through December 11th, 2018.
Positioning Judy Chicago’s work as modernist, “Judy Chicago: A Reckoning” at the ICA presents painted car hoods, paintings, a selection of intimate diary-style drawings, and a number of flowering ionic plates from the infamous “Dinner Party” (1974-79). As this small but poignant show proves, the work is not in stark contrast to minimalism, but rather Chicago’s artistry runs on a parallel track investigating medium and carving a place for female artists in a male-dominated art world. Institute of Contemporary Art, 61 NE 41st Street, Miami, FL 33137. Open through April 21, 2019.
Some people don’t even bother going to the main fair, Art Basel Miami Beach, I, however, love it. What I keep an eye out for are artworks by major artists with upcoming museums shows, curator-driven booths and new work in “Positions” and “Nova,” and, for fun, spotting works that I’ve seen in show or fairs before (in other words, works that haven’t sold). 901 Convention Center Drive
Miami Beach, FL 33139. Open through December 9, 2018.
What I Want to Buy
Al Freeman’s “Even More Comparisons” from 56 Henry; a series of collages featuring one image of an artwork and a companion image from a non-art. As we are overloaded with imagery, Freeman’s likenesses erase the boundaries between high and low, harmonizing multiple forms of creative production in a tongue-in-cheek manner. Roberta Smith called them: “more than funny; they’re full of feminist barbs and insights into the mind’s reflexive leaps — their pleasures, tells and revelations,” in the New York Times. NADA, Booth 10:17.
Company Gallery’s booth. Raul de Nieves‘s glazed ceramic flower sculptures are exquisite and Hayden Dunham‘s mixed media works, intimate evocations of sensitivity. The real showstopper, however, (not only because she is a fellow countrywoman) was the Swedish Berlin-based artist Linnea Sjöberg’s “Revisit Hello-Goodbye” and “Lerduva” [transl. clay pigeon] (2018). These wall works made from underwires from discarded bras attached to spray-painted woven tapestries, videotape, fur, and other material are an extension of the artist’s preoccupation with blurring the boundaries between herself and her art. They are full of tension communicating beauty, but also portraying her body as obsolete, hunted, and marked. Gallerist Sophie Mörner has impeccable taste for works with conceptual strength and unusual aesthetics that often link to subculture. NADA, Booth 2.13.
Newcomer gallerist Helena Anrather brought a very strong booth. I was drawn in by the intricate patterning and weave of “Slice” (2017), a tapestry by Julia Bland, a Yale graduate. I was also struck by Fin Simonetti’s “First Leg” (2017), made in American marble. NADA, Booth 6.03.
Favorite Watering Hole
The social practice artist Theaster Gates designed Prada Mode‘s pop-up in the Freehand Hotel, one of Miami’s 1930’s Art Deco Buildings. Gates had decked out the luxury brand’s bar with striking black-and-white vintage archival photographs from Johnson Publishing Company – publisher of the magazines “Jet” and “Ebony.” The design served as an outgrowth of his exhibition “The Black Image Corporation” at Fondazione Prada in Milan which presents images from the publisher’s archives, owned by his nonprofit Rebuild Foundation. It was a discreet and tasteful environment populated by the “it-crowd” where branding, social activism, and art intersected. Closed on December 6th.
What I Missed
“AFRICOBRA: Messages to the People” at MOCA and “ALIVE at Satellite!,” Quinn Duke’s, of Performance is Alive, performance programming at Satellite Art Fair. Damn.
Previous: Juliana Steiner, Alex Valls, and Juliana Vezzetti, of the curatorial collective Good To Know, outside of their pop-up exhibition, “Bodega y Mas,” 2018. Photographed by Casey Kelbaugh. Above: Shane Darwent, installation view. La Bodega y Mas. Photograph courtesy of Good To Know.
Paulo Licona, installation view. La Bodega y Mas. Photograph courtesy of Good To Know.
Judy Chicago, Birth Tear, 1984. Macrame over fabric. Photograph courtesy of ICA, Miami.
Al Freeman, Comparisons 56, 2018, collage on paper, 12 1/2 x 19 in (31.8 x 48.3 cm). Photograph courtesy of 56 Henry.
Linnéa Sjöberg, Revisit, Hello – Goodbye, 2018. Weave tapestry, Deutsche Welle videotape, underwires, spray paint, 62.20h x 54.33w in. Photograph courtesy of Company Gallery.
Linnéa Sjöberg, Lerduva, 2018. Weave tapestry, fabric, metal, fur, 68.90h x 32.28w in. Photograph courtesy of Company Gallery.
Julia Bland, Slice, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Helena Anrather, New York.
Fin Simonetti, First Leg, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Helena Anrather, New York.
Theaster Gates for Prada Mode at Freehold Hotel Miami. Photographed by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images.
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Anna Mikaela Ekstrand is editor-in-chief and founder of Cultbytes. She mediates art through writing, curating, and lecturing. Her latest books are Assuming Asymmetries: Conversations on Curating Public Art Projects of the 1980s and 1990s and Curating Beyond the Mainstream. Send your inquiries, tips, and pitches to firstname.lastname@example.org. l igram l website l