Beyond Art Basel Miami Beach

12/01/2016     Modern & Contemporary Art


During the first week of December, the art world descends upon Miami Beach for Art Basel, one of the world’s premiere art fairs. Yet Art Basel is but one of many fairs and other art exhibitions and installations (not to mention galleries and museums) worth visiting throughout the city, from now until this Sunday.

Here are some quick takes on several of the more prominent fairs and assorted events to be seen this week:

Now in its 16th Miami edition, Scope has pushed an excellent program of emerging Contemporary Art. The always outstanding Mexico City gallery Fifty24MX returns to the fair with a collection of new works by Pop Surrealists Fidia Falaschetti, Mars-1 and others.

Further north in Miami on Indian Beach, Pulse runs a forward-thinking program focusing on a worldwide selection of galleries. Winston Wachter Fine Art (spaces in New York and Seattle) will highlight sculptural works by Annie Morris, Ann Gardner and others from their impressive roster.

The first of the Miami fairs to take residence on the sands of South Beach, Untitled is a more recent edition to the Art Basel roster. They’ve quickly established themselves as a must-see, with an incredibly strong Contemporary Art program. The brilliant and clever gallerist Eric Firestone will be showing the works of Miriam Schapiro, an artist who straddled the Pattern and Decoration Movement and hard-edged abstraction.

Art Miami
Predating Art Basel Miami Beach, Art Miami is now in its 27th edition. Covering a larger swath of 20th Century Art than many other fairs, Art Miami typically focuses on Modernism and Postwar. Not to be missed is New York’s Rosenfeld Gallery, which always has an excellent assortment of blue-chip secondary market works, including Keith Haring, Alex Katz, Jean Dubuffet and many others.

Miami Project
Now in its fifth year, Miami Project continues to present an imaginative grouping of important Contemporary galleries. ACA Galleries will highlight a selection of new, fantastical works by Siona Benjamin.

The New Art Dealers Alliance, or NADA, is an indispensable program focusing on many of the best young galleries working today, as well as emerging artists from stalwarts such as Marlborough and Jack Hanley Gallery. New York-based Feuer/Mesler will feature a selection of important artists from their roster, including Matthew Chambers, Brad Troemel, Zachary Armstrong and Conor Backman.

One of the longer-running and more unique fairs on the circuit, Aqua holds court in the Aqua Hotel on South Beach, with each exhibitor taking over a hotel room. The result is a more casual and experiential take on the standard art fair model. The gifted curator Melissa McCaig-Welles will be showing Street Art pioneer Swoon and her intricate multi-media stencil works.

Design Miami
The furniture and decorative arts platform during Art Basel features the world’s premiere dealers and designers. Philadelphia’s excellent Moderne Gallery continues their representation of the best of American Studio craft, including Harry Bertoia, Wharton Esherick and George Nakashima.

In addition to the many fairs, a number of noteworthy events and happenings are taking place around Miami.

• Following up on last year’s landmark Unrealism exhibition, Jeffrey Deitch returns to Miami’s Design District to once again partner with Larry Gagosian. For this second exhibition together, Deitch and Gagosian offer Desire, curated by Diana Widmaier-Picasso. The sexually-charged group exhibit includes works by Cecily Brown, R. Crumb, Tom of Finland, Balthus and others.

• Jaume Plensa will debut a 90-foot public sculpture entitled Looking into my dreams, Awilda in conjunction with the Perez Art Museum.

• In his first American museum exhibition, Thomas Bayrle will debut a massive collection of works running the whole of his career at the International Museum of Contemporary Art Miami.

• Lastly, Mana Contemporary expands upon their already-revolutionary programming with a multi-layered group of exhibitions and installations. Among them is the Mana Monumental show, featuring oversized works by 21 artists including Julian Schnabel, Max Snow, KAWS and Ron Gorchov.

The Miami Art Basel week can be overwhelming to say the least, and the fairs and events listed above represent only a fraction of what is taking place. Should you plan to make the trek, definitely be selective about the exhibits you would most like to see, and create a plan of action. There is simply no way to experience everything – or even close to everything – in only one trip.