Highlights from Art Basel in Miami

December 15, 2017
Mariam Nihal

The 16th edition of Art Basel in Miami Beach concluded with strong sales and high praise for the new floor plan and show design. Founded in 1970 by gallerists from Basel, Art Basel today stages the world’s premier art shows for Modern and contemporary art, sited in Basel, Miami Beach and Hong Kong. Defined by its host city and region, each show is unique, which is reflected in its participating galleries, artworks presented, and the content of parallel programming produced in collaboration with local institutions for each edition. ¬†

Art Basel‚Äôs 16th edition in Miami Beach closed this week following strong sales across all levels of the market and robust attendance from international collectors and institutions. The show, whose Lead Partner is UBS, featured 268 premier galleries from 32 countries, who presented outstanding works, ranging from Modern masterpieces to contemporary painting, sculpture, performance, photography, works on paper and film ‚Äì some of which were created specifically for the fair. ¬†Across the five show days, the fair attracted an attendance of over 82,000, including influential collectors, directors, curators, trustees and patrons of leading international museums and institutions such as: Albright-Knox Art Gallery, New York; The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Baltimore Museum of Art; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; de Young Museum, San Francisco; Detroit Institute of Arts; Fridericianum, Kassel; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Mus√©e d’art contemporain de Montr√©al; Museo de Arte de Lima; Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland; Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto Canada; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas; New Museum, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Serpentine Galleries, London; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate, London; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. ¬†As a result of the ongoing renovation of the Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC) ‚Äì due to be completed in 2018 ‚Äì the 2017 show featured a completely redesigned exhibition layout, comprising a new floor plan, 10 percent more exhibition space, wider aisles, a broader range of booth sizes and larger lounge areas. The fair presented 10 galleries that graduated into the main sector of the show this year, and introduced 20 new exhibitors who were part of Art Basel in Miami Beach for the first time, including: A arte Invernizzi, Anat Ebgi, Antenna Space, Applicat-Prazan, Ceysson & B√©n√©ti√®re, Chapter NY, David Lewis Gallery, d√©pendance, Galeria Jaqueline Martins, Hales Gallery, Inman Gallery, Isla Flotante, M√∫rias Centeno, Offer Waterman, Patron, Ricardo Camargo Galeria, Richard Saltoun Gallery, Takuro Someya Contemporary Art, Taro Nasu and Tyler Rollins Fine Art. ¬† ‚Äú2017 was an important year for our show, as well as for the city of Miami Beach. We were thrilled to introduce the enhanced show design and new floor plan, and it was the first year that Philipp Kaiser curated our Public sector in Collins Park. Additionally, with the launch of The Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami and the re-opening of The Bass, Miami continues to grow its world-class presence as an arts and culture destination,‚Äù Noah Horowitz, Director Americas, Art Basel, commented.

This edition of the show featured 198 of the world’s foremost galleries in the main Galleries sector, presenting the highest quality of painting, sculpture, drawing, installation, photography and video works. A strong list of returning exhibitors was joined by 47 Canal, Bureau, Garth Greenan Gallery, Kalfayan Galleries, Galeria Leme, Peres Projects, Galeria Plan B, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Jessica Silverman Gallery and Tokyo Gallery + BTAP, who graduated from the show’s Nova, Positions or Survey sectors.   Highlights in the Galleries sector included a wall installation of works on paper by Sol Lewitt and floor sculptures by Carl Andre at Paula Cooper Gallery, a solo presentation by Ugo Rondinone at Galerie Eva Presenhuber and Ellsworth Kelly’s ‘Sumac’ at Lévy Gorvy. Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art’s booth featured a large-scale multimedia painting by Robert Rauschenberg that was originally commissioned by the National Endowment for the Arts in 1979. Galerie Thomas Schulte presented an immersive hanging of Allan McCollum’s ‘Each and Every One of You’ from 2004, which consists of an inventory of male and female first names taken from the United States census, printed with ink on paper and installed in the order of popularity.  Poignant works engaging with politics, race, gender and social issues had a strong presence in the Galleries sector. Works widely commented upon included a new painting by Peter Saul entitled ‘Donald Trump in Florida’ at Mary Boone Gallery, works by Carolee Schneemann and Betty Tompkins at P.P.O.W., several strong works by LaToya Ruby Frazier at Gavin Brown’s enterprise and a video work by Fiamma Montezemolo at Magazzino. Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects offered both a large-scale painting and a wall installation made from 28 stacks of plastic cups and wooden shelves by Pope.L, while Goodman Gallery featured an installation by Zimbabwean artist and activist Kudzanai Chiurai.

This year‚Äôs edition of Public was centered around the theme ‚ÄòTerritorial‚Äô and showcased works by Frida Baranek (b. 1961), Yto Barrada, Daniel Buren (b. 1938), Abraham Cruzvillegas, Philippe Decrauzat (b. 1974), No√´l Dolla (b. 1945), Cyprien Gaillard, Daniel Knorr, Harold Mendez, Manuela Viera-Gallo and Brenna Youngblood. Additionally, Jim Shaw and his D‚Äôred D‚Äôwarf band premiered the much anticipated progressive rock opera ‚ÄòThe Rinse Cycle’. For his first year curating the Public sector in Collins Park, Philipp Kaiser selected 11 ambitious site-specific installations by both established and emerging artists.

The Public sector is supported by MGM Resorts Art & Culture.   Film David Gryn, Director of Daata Editions and London’s Artprojx, once again curated the show’s Film program, which brought together works that examine the diverse and global language of dance, including short films by Jibade-Khalil Huffman (b. 1981) and Jen DeNike (b. 1971), as well as a new immersive sound work based on electronic dance music by Hans Berg (b. 1978).

Returning to the show for her third year, New York-based film curator Marian Masone selected the feature film ‘Boom For Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat’ (2017) directed by Sara Driver (b. 1955), which was screened at the Colony Theatre on Friday during the fair.  Conversations  Art Basel’s celebrated Conversations program, which attracted over 1,000 visitors throughout the course of the show, offered dynamic discussions between artists, gallerists, art historians, writers, museum directors and collectors from across the globe. Exhibitions during Art Basel in Miami Beach Visitors to the Miami Beach show had the opportunity to view exhibitions at South Florida’s leading museums and private collections, who organize their strongest exhibitions of the year to coincide with Art Basel. ICA Miami inaugurated its new building in the heart of the Miami Design District with ‘The Everywhere Studio’, which explores the evolution of the artist’s studio from the post-war period to the present day. Additional exhibitions on view at ICA.

Art Basel‚Äôs engagement has expanded beyond art fairs through a number of new initiatives. In 2014, Art Basel launched its Crowdfunding Initiative, in collaboration with Kickstarter. This initiative presents jury-selected art projects to potential benefactors, which include Art Basel‚Äôs vibrant audience and the Kickstarter community. The initiative has catalyzed much-needed support for outstanding non-commercial art projects worldwide and so far has helped pledge over $2 million to creative projects around the world. For Art Basel Cities, launched in 2016, Art Basel is working with selected partner cities to develop vibrant and content-driven programs specific to the individual city. Connecting them to the global art world through Art Basel’s expertise and network, Art Basel Cities supports its partners to develop their unique cultural landscape. For further information, visit

Compiled by Mariam Nihal

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