From the hand of a curator, a tour of the largest sample of contemporary art in the United States, ending at sundown on Sunday, December 9
There are many ways to visit Art Basel Miami Beach, the most important contemporary art exhibition in the United States. You can go one day and exhaust, section by section, with some breaks to regain strength, since 268 galleries are too many. You can go on different days and go through Galleries first, and by the way Kabinett; then Nova, then Survey. You can mix everything, following the map randomly according to the impulse of the public tide. You can also take a guided tour.
Although it is a separate cost (USD 30 to USD 50), there are some very interesting ones, particularly the one that is offered, according to individual criteria, by different curators: Curator’s Choice. For the closing of the 2018 edition of Art Basel Miami Beach, Infobae made one of the visits that the organization prepares with the publication ArtNexus. They were offered in English and Spanish, and on request in Mandarin, Russian and German.
In the main access corridor, between the works of Joan Miró, Mark Rothko and Pablo Picasso in the Helly Nahmad gallery and the (false) bishop who took confession between the golden walls with quotations from the Divine Comedy (“For me so he goes to the city of tears / for me he goes to eternal pain “) at the Fondation Beyeler (work of the Thai Rirkrit Tiravanija) , Dermis León, an expert in Cuban-based art living in Berlin , warned that he would not dedicate his time to the stands striking
She, he said, would show less visible gems, by minors or by controversy, or by origin or by materials, or by history or by chance, or for a thousand reasons. “The spectacular will see, without doubt, anyway.”
The first scale of this graduate of the universities of Havana, Costa Rica and Bard College, which works as a curator since 1991 and writes regularly on art, was a sculpture by a pioneer of feminist art, Louise Bourgeois. He highlighted his unconventional materiality, the strength of his themes and the different perspectives he allowed, as people turned around to look at him, the couple’s embrace.
If someone had not heard her when she appeared, when she arrived at the work of her compatriot Alexandre Arrechea, she repeated it in a confessional tone: “I am Cuban. ” The artist, who is recognized in Miami for having integrated the Los Carpinteros group (which he left in 2013) and whose work was highlighted by different critics during this edition of Art Basel, loves it. “The watercolors resemble fingerprints of the fields labeled and parceled, like an infinite panorama”, he described them.
Elias Sime, a novelty for Chileans, Argentines, and Cubans who took that tour in Spanish, had also been for the curator. “I discovered it here, it fascinated me”. The Ethiopian artist works with materials that come from electronic waste: cables, keyboards, chips. “His work seems both a tapestry and an aerial view of a city,” said León. “And it’s mostly a social comment because a lot of the garbage in the world goes to Africa.”
“We are on B-17,” he said suddenly. Some of the people in the group had been lost, delayed by the huge number of people who descended on the beach convention center over the weekend. Soon everyone gathered, oriented from the headphones with which they listened to the comments of the expert.
Leon stopped in front of a work by the Chinese Xu Zhen, a conceptual artist who focuses on the market as much as he takes it as an object. “Vanity, vanity, everything is vanity: we look in a mirror,” he said.
Indeed, the silhouette of each one was reflected in the barely visible dark glass, covered by inscriptions in gold and silver, in its vast majority of the collection of commonplaces – Xu Zhen is considered a detector of clichés – taken from social networks. It is a very Instagram-able point of the sample, and it shows by the number of people waiting to take a picture.
For the first time since this edition of the fair began, the curator managed to reach the end of one of the main corridors: “It’s just that time goes by, I do not know how … There’s so much fascinating, and I keep talking,” he said. about herself. As they turned, the aisles of Survey began the section dedicated to individual samples of rare materials by well-known artists.
Once again, instead of going to the showy – the work of the Polish Maryan, in this sector, began with the gallery of Sabrina Amrani, who brought work by the Egyptian Chant Avedissian for his debut at Art Basel. The gallerist specializing in Middle Eastern art spoke about the artist who died a short time ago at the age of 66.
“It is still unknown in the West,” Amrani explained about the textile works, which represent the last decade of the son of Armenian refugees in Cairo, who previously made drawings, photographs, and paintings. His claim to abstract art in the East is rare. He made an artistic research file that challenged the appropriation of Kazimir Malevich’s black square: “The black square is present in China, in Japan, in architecture, in design, in fashion: it is a form of weight in the East”, he quoted gallerist
A few steps away, also within the Survey section, Leon stopped at the booth of the Jaqueline Martins gallery, where Regina Vater’s work is. A Brazilian work of 1981, “Give me your time”, anticipated the current explorations of postcards, that vanished object of daily life since the massification of e-mail.
The way she explored the female image for export of Brazil, the stereotypes about the country and the Tropicália: women who are part of the landscape, waves, curves, fragments of anatomy, always without a head.
At the stand of Ruth Benzacar – “one of the most important galleries in Argentina”, he said, to be corrected by Argentine enthusiasts who considered it the best – he stopped in front of Leandro Erlich’s “Traffic Jam”, a work made in sand, properly for Miami Beach.
To follow the line of ephemeral materials, León took the group to the piece of Cuban-American Teresita Fernández made with bits of coal embedded in the wall. When he explained that at the end of Art Basel the work is destroyed, there was a small controversy in the group: “And they do not sell it?” Someone asked. “Or do they sell the photo and send the certificate that you have the idea?” Asked another person.
“Everything is sold here, everything, everything, everything, but this work ends with the show, if someone buys it, the artist goes to her house and assembles it,” the curator explained. In fact, according to Miami media, Fernandez had sales of around USD 250,000 in Art Basel. “She lately works with ephemeral materials, like coal, in this case, it’s a subtle but strong commentary that creates a beautifully poetic, this ephemeral commentary, of the ephemeral work, of the ephemeral material .” Her work is subtle and complex ”
Felix Gonzalez Torres and Teresa Margolles were part of the conversation (he in absence, she with work) to the exit. “I want to show you an Ai Wei Wei, it’s inevitable,” Leon said, in a hurry. “But at the same time, it is a very important work in itself”. The “Perspective Study (1995-2011)” shows a hand with the middle finger pointing to different landscapes. “It’s a prospective study, really,” the expert argued. One of those that are made since the Renaissance, but does not use the neutral thumb as the center.
With this greeting “irreverent, as always”, by Ai Wei Wei, the guided tour ended. Leon regretted leaving many things out. He named Tiffany Chung, El Anatsui, the Haas brothers, Maha Malluh (whose work of 996 recycled cassettes he comments), the artist of Cherokee descent Jeffrey Gibson and the Pace gallery.
“And I’m going to let you explore, now you can go and see the spectacular ones, which you see on your own, ” she added, and hurriedly left. Another group was waiting for her, instead of the late lunch with which she had speculated.