Art Basel Miami Beach: Slideshow and Commentary

by Will Brand and Corinna Kirsch on December 6, 2012 · 3 comments Art Fair

Gerhard Richter provided the background for this lovely (unedited) tableau.

Art Basel Miami Beach is, as always, an overwhelming experience. There is art, impossible amounts of it, shiny and glossy and kinetic. There are people, hidden within the silicone husks of slightly younger people, who all seem to be terribly important. There are many kind words but few kind looks.

Basel’s not as bad as it might be, really. This year the fish are biting, and the quality of the work overall is fairly high. There is, in the depths of its 250-odd galleries, art worth looking at. We’ll have a fuller report later today; in the meantime, here are 29 samples of what’s on show, with our comments.

Just to get this over with: This is an art fair, so here's the Julian Opie at Lisson Gallery. What would Art Basel be without Julian Opie? Better.


Friedrich Petzel brought a strong booth, anchored by this pairing of Joyce Pensato and Dana Schutz.


Pace put some thought into this little corner, which features Josef Albers's "Homage to the Square" (1971), a 2001 Sol LeWitt, an Elizabeth Murray, and a Donald Judd. Two almost identical Judds, from the same series, were on display at other booths in the fair.


Pace also brought this very nice Adolph Gottlieb, on left. On right, a Robert Mangold.


One of the great things about Basel this year is the relative dearth of Erwin Wurm, but Jim Shaw's doing his best to replace him here. Other than these boots—which, if you're wondering, are terrible—Metro Pictures brought a predictable booth, with large works by Cindy Sherman (left over from her May show) and Robert Longo.


B. Wurtz painted some tinfoil catering pans for Metro Pictures. We like them.


These shoppers at Thaddeus Ropac have a strong gag reflex. From left, Marc Quinn, some Damien Hirst butterfly paintings, and Terence Koh's "Big Black Cock". Religious visitors might want to avoid this booth, just in case an angry art god strikes it down.


On the other hand, this silver bag-with-frame-sticking-out by Sylvie Fleury, also at Thaddeus Ropac, seemed fitting.


This alabaster Anish Kapoor, at Gladstone, is the first work like this we've seen from the artist. No shiny reflecty stuff here, just stone looking as sexy as stone can look. Big fan.


Karl Haendel, on left, and Julia Dault, on right, at Harris Lieberman. Dault was on display at two or three galleries in the fair, and looked good at all of them.


Salon 94 dedicated their booth to a solo show of Jon Kessler's kinetic gee-whiz bro art. This is a robotic boy inside a box spinning a wheel that spins an iPad, above, so that the iPad keeps doing the landscape-portrait flippy thing that everybody was impressed by two years ago.


Here's some more of Jon Kessler's bro art, also at Salon 94. This one has a sparrow wearing a helmet and holding something that looks like a rocket launcher; as the bird spins, the screens below show its point of view.


This Evan Penny self-portrait, at Sperone Westwater, helped make up for the fair's lack of Erwin Wurm sculptures.


We weren't blown away by any of the work in Team Gallery's booth, but it was well laid-out and pretty much crap-free. This pairing of Santiago Serra and Cory Arcangel had a nice opposites-attract thing going on.


Part of Regen Projects's booth. Clockwise from bottom, a very nice Rachel Harrison air conditioner sculpture, a Doug Aitken work, and a set of "Self Portraits at 27" by Gillian Wearing, achieved through one of her masks.


Neuger Riemschneider brought the Fun Zone Photo Tunnel again this year, so maybe Kodak Moments-as-business-model is working out for them. In any case, every single person at the fair had to get a photograph of themselves sticking their head in one of these.


Cady Noland was absolutely everywhere at Art Basel this year; we spotted her work in at least five booths. Here she is at D'Amelio Gallery, with bullets in urethane.


Marianne Boesky brought these three paintings by Kon Trubkovich, which can be summed up as "Gerhard Richter, if Gerhard Richter based his paintings on TV instead of photographs." We're a fan.


Here's a close-up of one of those Kon Trubkovich paintings at Marianne Boesky.


Eleven Rivington brought Katrin Sigurdardottir (foreground), and Michael DeLucia (background), along with Hilary Berseth. The only progress DeLucia's particleboard sculptures seem to have made over the last two years is that he's now tearing bits of them away to give the distressed look visible at bottom-right here. It does make them look better, though. Good call.


Here's some more of Eleven Rivington's Michael DeLucias. If you can't tell, this is a largish geometric sculpture in front of a flat particleboard painting.


Nicolai Wallner brought the same representative set of works as always, showcasing the Northern European neo-Conceptualist humor they seem to specialize in. The basketball hoop is Elmgreen and Dragset, the bench is Jeppe Hein, and the Mao is Jonathan Monk. To the right, out of the frame, was a set of twenty or so fun little David Shrigley drawings.


Jonathan Monk's "Andy Warhol's Chairman Mao Hand Made in The People's Republic of China (Large)", at Nicolai Wallner. Monk sent a JPEG off to China to have this painted by an oil-painting-to-order company, which, now that he's done it, seems like the most obvious thing ever. We approve.


Mitchell-Innes and Nash brought a lot of quality; we particularly liked this Virginia Overton.


More of Mitchell-Innes & Nash's booth, with a Sarah Braman sculpture (foreground), five photographs by Catherine Opie (right), and a Virginia Overton sandbag work (background). We picked Braman and Overton as two of our five rising art stars earlier this year.


Overduin and Kite, one of the stronger galleries in Art Nova, paired Ei Arakawa and Nicholas Gambaroff. We saw these paint-on-torn-newsprint Gambaroffs at the Independent two years ago, and liked them; these, though, don't look much different from what we saw then, save for the fact that one of them is now a Jasper Johns reference.


From bottom left, Tatiana Trouve, Nathan Hylden, and Katharina Grosse at Johann Koenig. Grosse has been a rising star the last year or two, but this was one of only two of her paintings we spotted in Miami Beach; the other was in the back room of Galerie nächst St.Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder. She did, however, have a couch (!) at Johann Koenig.


Katharina Grosse's couch, at Johann Koenig, along with works by Justin Matherly and Annette Kelm, on left.


David Zwirner had a roomful of Francis Alÿs, including this charming self-portrait. One of the guns uses a refried beans can as a chamber.


Donald Frazell December 6, 2012 at 5:30 pm

The near total absence of rich color, in both people and ‘art”, is quite revealing.

Donald Frazell December 6, 2012 at 5:31 pm

In other words, another show with no Soul, as always from our precious museo/academic/gallery system of investment and parties for the tacky nouveau riche.

Max Czertok December 7, 2012 at 9:18 am

At the PoolArtFair,Miami Today December 7th until December 9th you can
pass by and have a look at the amazing artists

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