Art Basel in Miami Beach | Top 6 Highlights

Artwork: Derrick Adams, Floater 31 (three birds), 2016. Acrylic paint on paper. 30 1/2 × 30 1/2 in. Courtesy of Rhona Hoffman Gallery.

So much art, so little time, it seems every time you think you’ve made the rounds, a mystery aisle pops up out of nowhere. Crave went the distance and combed the fair for some of the best work at Art Basel in Miami Beach.

Also: The Full Showcase of Stories for Art Basel in Miami Beach

Derrick Adams at Rhona Hoffman Gallery

Make a splash without saying a word with American artist Derrick Adams as he dives into a pool of color, light, and pleasure with his Floater series on view at Rhona Hoffman Gallery, featuring a delightful cast of African-Americans enjoying a dip in the water. The paintings are bright, bold images of a world without care, mesmerizing meditations on the necessity of rest, relaxation, and self-care.

Derrick Adams, Floater No. 2, 2016, Acrylic paint and collage on paper, 55 × 55 in., courtesy of Rhona Hoffman Gallery.

Gert & Uwe Tobias at Rodolphe Janssen

Romanian artists and twin brothers Gert & Uwe Tobias never fail to captivate with their strange, lyrical scenes of beauty and horror that are rendered as elegiac scenes. Untitled (GUT/H 2466/02) on view at Rodolphe Janssen offers a glimpse of the strange and surreal undertow that is always present wherever we go.

Gert & Uwe Tobias, Untitled (GUT/H 2466/02), 2016. Colored woodcut on canvas, 94 1/32 x 78 ¾ in. 2+1 AP – #2/2.

Bethany Collins at Richard Gray Gallery

“I am interested in the unnerving possibility of multiple meanings, dual perceptions, and limitlessness in the seemingly binary,” American artist Bethany Collins reveals. She deftly deconstructs the space that language occupies in Southern Review, 1985 on view at Richard Gray Gallery. The work is made up of 64 elements, each a page torn from the journal and obscured with opaque black that both hides content while drawing attention to our dependency of words to make sense out of the complexities of humanity.

Collins explains, “For me, racial identity has neither been instantly formed nor conjured in isolation. Rather, identity entangles memory: actual and revisited, cultural and historical, individual and collective. Through the dissolution of dichotomies and exploration of language, this work recalls moments in the formation of my racial identity as Black and Biracial. And each re-worked mark is yet another attempt to navigate the binary paradigm of race in the American South.”

Bethany Collins, Southern Review, 1985 (Special Edition), 2014-15. Charcoal on paper, sixty-four elements, 57 ½ x 104 in.

Bethany Collins, Southern Review, 1985 (Special Edition), 2014-15. Charcoal on paper, sixty-four elements, 57 ½ x 104 in. (detail)

Vik Muniz at Sikkema Jenkins & Co.

The work of Vik Muniz is always a joy, whether is reconstructing the canon on Western art history or simply playing with form and color itself. Untitled (Crumpled Chromatic Scale), Handmade on view at Sikkema Jenkins & Co. falls into the latter category, providing the timeless pleasure of gazing upon color and tone, on its own and in relation to one and another. There is something musical about the work that invokes scales and harmonies, temperate rhythms that climb and build into an explosion of energy.

Vik Muniz, Untitled (Crumpled Chromatic Scale), Handmade, 2016. Mixed media. 61 × 96 in. Courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York.

Sanford Biggers at Marianne Boesky Gallery

Sometimes it is said: “You cast a long shadow,” like it is a bad thing. Instead of looking at what the light shines upon, people focus the traces they leave behind, projecting on to the projection until it all becomes an abstract idea of the mind.

American artist Sanford Biggers embraces and subverts this practive, making the shadow a regal creature in its own right. His work, Witness, at Marianne Boesky Gallery, looms larger than anything else at the fair. Standing nearly 14 feet high, the shadow is an opaque black that glitters and glows with personality, sequins illuminating the faces and giving each of the shadows their own identity.

The crew of five is so captivating, it takes a moment to remember the source of the shadow itself: a group of 20 inch sculptures that quietly keep to themselves. And, in this, you recognize America today, so caught up in the appearance of things that it rarely looks to the fact of the matter for verification.

Sanford Biggers, Witness, 2016. Sequins, canvas, fabric, tar, polystrenne, aquaresin. Wall dimension: 165 x 66 in. Sculpture: 20 x 16 ½ x 9 ½ in.

Everett Gee Jackson at Hirschl & Adler Modern

After a full day of scouring the fair, a young man approached me and began to chat. I asked him is favorite pied, seeing himself in the work. I, too, had been struck by Everett Gee Jackson’s painting, Big Jim, at Hirschl & Adler Modern, taken in but the subject’s cool, collected, and composed vibes, enjoying the sheer pleasure of a classic portrait thtat was not consumed by style,technique, or message. Instead it simply was what it is: a tribute to a man who knows himself.

Everett Gee Jackson (1900-1995), Big Jim, about 1927. Oil on canvas, 23 ¾ x 23 ¾ in.

Miss Rosen is a New York-based writer, curator, and brand strategist. There is nothing she adores so much as photography and books. A small part of her wishes she had a proper library, like in the game of Clue. Then she could blaze and write soliloquies to her in and out of print loves.


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