Fairs
Fairs
Fairs

Emphasis is on the Americas at this year’s Art Basel in Miami Beach

2015 edition has more art from the Midwest to Mexico

by Melanie Gerlis  |  27 November 2015
Emphasis is on the Americas at this year’s Art Basel in Miami Beach
The Brazilian gallery Mendes Wood's 2014 booth at Art Basel in Miami Beach featured works by Cibelle Cavalli Bastos and Patricia Leite. Photo: © Art Basel
For its 14th edition, Art Basel in Miami Beach (3-6 December) is emphasising its “Americas” credentials, encompassing the length and breadth of its vast home turf. Noah Horowitz, who in July was poached from directing New York’s Armory Show to fill Art Basel’s new position of director Americas, defines the region he represents as “from Canada to South America”.

The subtle shift seems to be reflected in the varied list of newcomers to this year’s edition. Of the 11 new galleries from the Americas, relatively few (five) are New Yorkers. Three come from Los Angeles: François Ghebaly and Thomas Duncan in the Positions section and Hannah Hoffman in the Nova section, with a booth dedicated to new works by the Los Angeles artist Matt Sheridan Smith. Others come from San Francisco (Jenkins Johnson in the Survey section), Curitiba in Brazil (Sim Galleria in Positions with the local artist Romy Pocztaruk) and Mexico City (Arredondo\ Arozarena in Positions with the Mexican artist Fritzia Irizar).

Los Angeles also comes to the fore in this year’s talks programme. The evolution of the city’s art scene will be discussed by the artist Alex Israel, the curator Hans Ulrich Obrist and the author Bret Easton Ellis, whose first novel Less Than Zero (1985) centred on LA’s decadent night life (4 December, 6pm).

The presence of Latin America continues to be felt at the fair, although the proportion of galleries from the region is always surprisingly low (6% of the 267 galleries in the main section and 11% of the 76 galleries in the fringe sections this year). Exhibitors from elsewh ere wisely show their Latin American artists in Miami, however, with dealers expecting enthusiasm for Cuban art now that diplomatic relations with the US have been restored. 

Zurich’s Mai 36 gallery is bringing works by the Cuban artist Raúl Cordero, while New York’s Galerie Lelong will show works by the Cuban-American artist Ana Mendieta, including her 1979 film Volcán. Other highlights include a 2.2m by 2.2m cardboard and formica work by the Mexican artist Emilio Chapela courtesy of New York’s Henrique Faria Fine Art and an installation of photographs secretly capturing public encounters between gay men in 1970s Bogotá by the Colombian Miguel Àngel Rojas at Espaivisor from Valencia, Spain.

List of Countries by GDP 2010 (Nominal) (2014), by the Mexican artist Emilio Chapela, will be on show at Art Basel in Miami Beach. Photo: Courtesy Henrique Faria Fine Art
List of Countries by GDP 2010 (Nominal) (2014), by the Mexican artist Emilio Chapela, will be on show at Art Basel in Miami Beach. Photo: Courtesy Henrique Faria Fine Art


More Midwest prominence

America’s Midwest will also have more prominence at the fair this year, says Horowitz. As well as a handful of Chicago galleries (including Corbett vs. Dempsey, Kavi Gupta and Rhona Hoffman), the artists on show reflect the region. These include the Illinois-born  artist Larry Bell (Kohn Gallery) and the photographer Edward Weston (Edwynn Houk gallery); Michelle Grabner and her husband Brad Killam from Wisconsin (James Cohan gallery); Michigan’s Titus Kaphar (Jack Shainman Gallery), Dana Schutz (Petzel) and Stanley Twardowicz (Hirschl & Adler Modern); and Iowa’s Ken Okiishi (Pilar Corrias) and Doug Ohlson (Washburn Gallery). 

Representatives are expected from around ten Midwestern institutions, including the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Walker Art Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Art Institute of Chicago.

But beyond reflecting the “local” art scene of America’s 35 countries, Art Basel in Miami Beach is part of the international, commercial art world embodied by its three-continent fair franchise. Newcomers from Asia this year include Beijing’s White Space and Art Now galleries. 

• Art Basel in Miami Beach, Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach, 3-6 December

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