Art Basel Miami Beach, 2009 - Part II
There are different categories of exhibitors at Art Basel, very well-established galleries, along with new galleries showing fresh and cutting-edge art. Among the newbies, I loved the James Fuentes gallery who showed the sculptures of Agathe Snow, with such diverse references as Homer Simpson and Barack Obama. There is also Art Nova (previously known as SuperNova), a showcase for brand-new art, from established and younger artists, right out of the studio and exhibited for the first time. For me, one of the stars of Art Nova was located at the Farias-Fabrega booth, who was featuring Venezuelan artist Jose Gabriel Fernandez. I was also blown-away at Ingleby by the fun and satiric neon wall text by artist Peter Liversidge that said “Miami Beach is where neon goes to die”. It was a double-dose of irony since this is also a quote from Lenny Bruce, who was referring to the garish dress of Miami Beach visitors in his day, which was forty years ago!
Within the blue-chip, established galleries, my favorite booths (note that I say “booths” and not galleries or artists) which stood out were:
- Victoria Miro (London) for the Yayoi Kusama’s portraits. Her Portrait of Xot, disappeared mysteriously early on in the fair, most likely because it was sold, not surprising since it was a stand-out.
- White Cube (London) with a wonderful and colorful selection of some of the most famous and controversial contemporary artists including Young British Artists Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst as well as Andreas Gursky and Marc Quinn’s marble sculpture of Thomas Beatty, the famous (or infamous?) pregnant man.
- Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art (New York) because of the unbelievable selection of Basquiats.
- Sperone Westwater (New York) whose artists had the most buzz: the sculptures of the South African-born Evan Penny, particularly the work, Female Stretch, which (reportedly) sold for $300,000.
- Perry Rubenstein Gallery (New York) for the super eye-catching floor created by Richard Woods.
- Helly Nahmad Gallery (New York) which exhibited a striking, sober, beautiful and elegant selection of carefully curated Calder mobiles.
This year at Art Basel, size definitely mattered. Everything—sculpture, photography, paintings—the scale was large, and because of that, the impact was big too. These bold, pieces triggered a more emotional response than smaller works . And by the way, you don’t need to live in a museum or in a palace to have big, bold pieces of contemporary art in your walls. You just have to know how to place them and what to buy and even a unique and daring work of art is way more accessible than you think!