The Big Show, Gravitating toward the Known

The anchor of our Art Week is Art Basel Miami Beach (ABMB), as always. Over two hundred and fifty galleries from thirty-six countries present exhibits of artworks including painting, sculpture, photography, and digital art. This year’s fair was truncated, not open on Sunday. Constant Companion and I got in one very long afternoon of viewing. He was able to return two more times for small takes. As is our practice, we made our way through the galleries separately, meeting from time to time to come up for air in the lounge, to compare notes, and to get a Nespresso.

My first destination was one of the Conversations. I look forward to this feature of the fair, promoted as “stimulating panel discussions on topics concerning the global contemporary art scene … that offer unique perspectives on producing, collecting, and exhibiting art.” I listened to three somewhat new museum directors speak about a current topic following the COVID-19 shutdown, Re-inventing the Institution. This year’s panels are posted on the Art Basel YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/artbasel).

My usual tack with shows like this is to work my way from one side of the huge hall to the other, simply strolling up one aisle and down the next. This pattern is foiled at ABMB because the gridwork of aisles is not drawn so simply. Looking right and left at the intersections, artwork in other booths catches your eye, drawing you off your carefully planned path.

After my usual stops to admire the masters of modern art, stops along my meandering path seemed to take me past the works of lesser known artists, and some with whom I was not familiar.

Red Grooms, Flatiron Building, 1995

Al Anutsui, Metas II, 2014
Nick Cave, can you see the nunber 9?
Can you see the number 3 in the larger flowers?
Sheila Hicks, Reaching for a Grander Horizon, 2021
Keith Haring, this large painting was one of at least three that filled entire walls
Veronica Ryan, Soursop and Breadfruit, 2021
Nicholas Galanin, The Imaginary Indian, (Totem Pole), 2016
Nicholas Galanin, Things are Looking Native, Native is Looking Whiter, 2012

If you look at the background of Galanin’s work above, it is wall paper designed by William Morris, associated with the British Arts and Crafts Movement. Galanin’s art comments on the affect of colonization on indigenous populations.

Jeffrey Gibson, People Like Us, 2016

The Galanin’s gallerist directed me to see one more of his works in the Meridian section of the fair. So, I ended my incomplete rambling through this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach there.*

*Two days later, at my insistence, Constant Companion found Meridians and was more than satisfied with the artworks.

This year’s Meridian included sixteen large-scale commissioned and historic works. Connecting these museum quality works organized* by Magali Arriola, director of the Tamayo Museum in Mexico City, was the theme “These links of north and south.” Arriola wrote, “I’m thinking about the context of Miami as a hub between the US and Latin America.” All were evocative and effective statements about some of the polarized political situations facing our nation. Here’s a few.

*Hmmm, the verb “curated” seems to be no longer used, artwork is now simply “organized.”

Hank Willis Thomas, Freedom 2021
Maxwell Alexandre, Untitled (New Power Series), 2021
Nicholas Galanin, The Value of Sharpness, When It Falls, 2019
Yinka Shonibare, Moving Up, 2021

You might have noticed it has taken two days to write this contribution to Creativelyannette. My state of visual saturation is reflected in how I am slowing down. Wow, there is just so much to see, so many places to go, and simply too much in the short period of Art Week. More will follow as the week is not yet over!

2 comments

  1. Thank you, Annette, am so happy that you have shared photos and current explorations of the Miami and Miami Beach art scene. Very, very enjoyable!

    Though I do not comment often, I also appreciate your writings on food and culture.

    Liked by 1 person

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