Along with thousands of others, Insurancebet made the annual pilgrimage to Miami for Art Week, where the biggest draw is Art Basel. This year, 77,000 people visit the show, including high end collectors, curators and celebrities — and of course plenty of curious art lovers.
Sponsored by BMW, the 2016 edition featured 269 top galleries from across the globe, who reported healthy sales. The fair featured everything from fine art to funky new creations by emerging artists. To say there is something for everyone at Art Basel in an understatement. Across from a booth that boasts Picassos and a Miro, you can find cutting-edge video art or an abstract sculpture created with found materials.
While it’s hard just to pick a few pieces, especially because art is so subjective, we pulled together a collection of some of our favorites and pieces that drew attention.
Large pieces by Jeff Koons are always large and splashy and this big one, called The Diamond, was presented by the Gagosian Gallery. Created in the early 2000’s, it is available in several other colors and is composed of mirror-polished stainless steel with a transparent color coating.
Among the masterpieces on display was this colorful Picasso. Admiring it in such close proximity is better than a museum and one of the big perks of attending Art Basel. That and dreaming that you could buy it…
Pieces that make a political statement or are protest against a topic or issue are widely found at Art Basel. This year, there were plenty of pieces related to the U.S. presidential elections, as well as statements on current society. This one is by Jack Pierson, who works in several areas but is best known his work with commercial signage and large-scale vintage lettering.
Rodney McMillian’s American flag features a story sticked in red thread, about a Vietnam vet who could not pay $900 in fines. The artist is known for installations made with discarded objects such as mattresses, filing cabinets, wood paneling, chairs, bookshelves, and other found materials. His works often recreate f historic moments, focusing on references to domestic life, education, civil government, and race relations.
Installations were very popular among visitors at the fair, including this one by Brazilian artist Ana Luiza Dias Batista, called “Panel. Created in 2015, it features giant advertising keys and replicas made in MDF.
We think this is like a modern take on the old “sampler” concept from embroidery. The letter art with added figures is created on printed pages.
Artist Becky Kolsrud creates figurative painting where the faces are physically obscured by the painted grid. In a story by Artsy.net, the artist says that she crates aims “to create meaningful works that comment on the challenges females face by physically obstructing their bodies.”
This is a two-sided piece by French-born artist Bertrand Lavier. Known for appropriation art, he is known for his pieces that covering everyday industrial objects such as refrigerators, tables, pianos, and furniture with an impasto layer of paint.
Superstar fashion designer Helmut Lang also creates art, such as this untitled work. His recent pieces feature abstract sculptural forms.
Gavin Brown’s Gallery presented this large four-panel work, done in an impressionist style, which pulls you in to have a closer look at the meticulous micro-components that make up the larger design.
The simplicity of black and white belie the complexity of this work by Leonardo Drew. The American-born artist creates sculptures from found natural and handmade materials that evoke urban living another concepts. Drew’s background of growing up in a public housing project underlies his world. He pays homeless people to collect wooden scraps and objects from condemned housing and other sites for use in his works.
Bright and glittery, this piece by Lynda Bengalis is called DOS (Shy Five). The artist is know for “her instantly recognizable sculptural language of undulating, oozing biomorphic forms,” says Artsy.
This bright work is “South American x 3 at root 2 yellow” by Mark Bowling.
Rebecca Warren uses painted bronze, raw clay and welded steel. “She works with an eye to extremes – monstrous excess, alarming paucity – creating a variety of objects that exist somewhere on the continuum between pure fleshiness and pure cartoonishness,” according to the Matthew Marks Gallery.
London’s Mazzoleni Gallery showed this piece by which achieve a look of graphic texture using convex and concave protrusions as well as shadow and light. It was created by Enrico Castellani and is titled “Superficie Bianci.”
Moira Dryer’s “The Debutante” is a colorful work that is typical of the artist’s creations, mainly abstractions, on wood, but also on paper.
Italian artist Paola Pivi may be known for her feather-covered bears, but we adore this textural wall piece. “Animals, often in bizarre or surreal settings, frequently figure into her work due to their associations with the human condition,” writes Artsy.
Repetition of small items was a frequent technique we saw. Fresques craies by Pascal Martine Tayou uses chalk to create a striking tableau.
The late Italian artist Alberto Burri often used non-traditional materials, including burlap, wood, tar, plastic, zinc oxide, pumice, kaolin, PVC adhesives, cellotex and fabric. He began doing this in the late 1940s, however his work is very appealing today as well.
A lighthearted painting of a fox by Sean Landers stood out among the heavy, meaning-laden works. The artist was recognized in the early 1990s for work related to his “confessional outpourings, densely covering paper and canvas with imagery of breasts, chimpanzees, and clowns.” Landers also shows extreme style shifts by creating cartoons, busts, videos, and figurative paintings of animals and humans.
“Half and Half” is by Susan Rothenburg, who is best known for her large-scale paintings of horses that she did between 1973 and 1980. The New Mexico-based artist’s more recent works focus on her studio and the natural area around her rural Pacific Southwest U.S. home.
A huge wall installation in the Thomas Dane Gallery was a big draw thanks to its vibrant color. Created from a variety of paper and plastic goods, it was particularly interesting because of its placement across a corner.
Bright and colorful, this great piece is by Tom Wesselman, who is considered one of the major pop art masters of New York. Hisil on cut-out aluminum.
Leading contemporary German artist Tobias Rehberger is known for producing visually confounding objects that question how art is defined.
The Gallery Very Small Fires presented a solo exhibition by Amy Yao. The booth focused on “the artist’s continued investigation into the aesthetics of industrial and domestic spaces and objects from the perspective of access, gender, and identity,” writes the gallery.
White Cube Gallery’s piece features a melange of buttons, offering a visual burst of color and texture.
Artist Gao Ludi crated this installation of simulacra bead slices. The work is named”Alice.”
If anything, Art Basel surprises, shocks and inspires. You’ll find plenty of ideas and options for art that can enrich and enliven your space. Remember, art is like beauty — in the eye of the beholder.