Tis the season to shop for really, really expensive artwork. Art Basel officially kicks off in Miami Beach today for its 15th edition, with over 250 galleries from 29 countries participating from around the world. They’re showcasing films, paintings, sculptures and even little wooden purses you can’t use but look awesome in your foyer.
Since it’s considered the premier art show in the Americas, and we love a good excuse to get tan and have beachside cocktails, you know we were there in a heartbeat. Last night we got a sneak peak at the Official Art Basel show in the Miami Convention Center, and found no shortage of artistic brilliance. Amongst heavy hitter pieces from Miro, Dubuffet and Pollack paintings were gems from new and groundbreaking artist. If you’re down here for the weekend, here are five of our must-see-this-right-now booths.
Next Level Mixed Media
When you view the work of contemporary artist Max Hooper Schneider at High Art gallery booth, you immediately get the sense that something weird is going on. Your mother’s favorite cassette tapes are stacked in a fishbowl to your right. A baby incubator has turned into a terrarium to your left (with both real, fake and petrified plants). And way in the back corner is a caged sculpture that looks exactly like the monster you once saw under your bed as a kid. (Turns out, it’s made of baby alligator claws that were discarded at purse making factories.)
Max’s approach to this collection is whimsical, nostalgic, and ripe with humor and a stand out piece amongst the Positions collection at Basel.
Films With A Giggle
There’s a lot of cheeky humor in the art booths this year, and quite a bit of it can be found in the video installations and short films. At the Magazzino gallery booth, artist Daniele Puppi takes a look at the original Hitchcock film Psycho and compares the scenes to Gus Van Sant’s 1998 version. Here’s a spoiler, they are very, very similar. And the artist highlights this fact in a way that makes you feel like you’re watching a ping pong match between the two directing styles. You have never watched a movie like this.
Nor have you seen anything like Jillian Mayer’s I am Your Grandma short film from 2011. If you can score a seat at the festival’s film booth (aka. the perfect break if your feet are getting tired), be sure to check out this one minute clip that Mayer records for her unborn grandchildren. Where Gaga may have left off with costumes for her latest album Joanne, Mayer picks up the crazy torch and brings an out of this world fashion game with an SNL level of levity.
Pop Culture Art with a Side of Celeb
We were at this booth for all of thirty seconds before Diddy wandered by in his bright pink bomber, and stood right infront of the photograph we were seriously jonesing on. But it’s not a surprise this pop-art filled booth that features a picture of Batman lurking in the moonlight is one of the most popular booths at the convention. Gagosian Gallery features some of funniest, wackiest art of the show. Hangout for a minute and have your camera ready for any quick, celebrity sightings that might happen.
The Diamond in the Rough
There are two Sally Mann photographs at Art Basel this year. We repeat — there are two Sally Mann photos at Art Basel. They are stunning, moody, and everything we love about this legendary photographer and mother. And speaking of motherhood, yes one of the photos is of her child in that highly controversial, yet beautiful, style she is known for. Swing by the Edwynn Houk Gallery booth and check it out for yourself.
People of Color
Art has been around for… how many years now? Since the beginning of forever? And we’re hunting for brown, asian, latino and black faces in an international art show? Unfortunately the answer was a big fat yes at Basel this year. While the Stephen Friedman Gallery does have a ginormous Kehinde Wiley piece on display, the overall show was seriously lacking in visual diversity this year. Which is why we couldn’t help to notice the two galleries that had it in spades.
Spend time at the Rhona Hoffman booth, and check out artist Derrick Adams’ floater paintings. They remind of what could have happened if Paul Gauguin spent time at a black pool party in Atlanta instead of all that time in Tahiti. They are fun, vibrant and they need to be on our apartment wall already. Zanele Muholi is a visual activist features at the Stevenson booth. In her self portraits, she confronts the politics of race and pigment, creating a series of moving photographs that arrest the eye from across the convention floor. They are absolutely breathtaking — be sure to ask the gallery curators for a copy of the publication that explains the indepth meaning behind her work.
Best In Show
This was probably the first exhibit we saw in the night, and to our surprise, nothing else topped it’s pure, beautiful mayhem. If you have any desire to drop you jaw, and be completely awed and walk into a room covered with warm spaghetti, velvet and stuffed chickens, then you want to be at the Fondation Beyeler collaboration with Toiletpaper Magazine exhibit. There are no words for how off the walls this turned out to be, other than we could have spend another two days there just trying to figure out what in the hell is going on here. It’s just that awesome.
Make sure you’re following us on Instagram to get live updates throughout the weekend. We’ve got parties to attend and artist to meet. Don’t miss the inspirational weekend!