Top Picks For Art Basel 2017

Photographs by Barry Fellman

Large statements, bold colors, in-depth solo presentations and social commentary were big themes at this year’s Fair at the newly renovated Miami Beach Convention Center.

Here are our top picks:

  • A brilliant solo Survey of William Turnbull’s poetic paintings and sculpture revealing the tension between his soft geometric curves and richly saturated colors. This important but underappreciated British artist is featured at Offer Waterman Gallery.
  • A new room sized installation by Ernesto Neto where a waterspout of hand woven netting rises to the ceiling and spreads across the entire room like a cloud – web. At Beyeler Foundation.
  • A museum quality presentation contrasting two seminal cubist and modernist sculptors who worked in Paris between the wars – Jaques Lipchitz and Julio Gonzalez. Over two dozen bronze figures and rarely seen drawings take over the entire booth at Marlborough.
  • Hammer Galleries pulls out all the stops with a thematic “Artist and Model” exhibition transplanted from their NYC Gallery. Features some of the fair’s best classic Modern paintings – by Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, van Dongen, and a killer Bonnard installed in a quiet corner alcove with group of three intimate Renoir portraits.
  • A solo Kabinett show of colorful silhouette figures and animals by African American outsider artist Bill Tryalor at Hirschl & Adler. It’s treat to to see such a large group of high quality drawings outside of a museum exhibition.
  • Anish Kapoor reshapes visitors as they approach his mirror polished stainless steel totem titled Non-Object (Door) at Lissson Gallery.

Some of the most provoking works at this year’s Art Basel Fair commented on political and social issues that have boiled up across the globe:

  • Tania Candiani’s assemblage of hundreds of identical paper hats worn by workers at an American fast food chain creates a sweeping and breathing installation at Brasil’s Vermelho Gallery. Paper caps were worn by artisans in the eighteenth century as a symbol of labor status; today they signify the the lower rung of workers that form the labor force of America’s food and service businesses.
  • Gender bending couple Eva and Adele from Berlin, perennial fair-goers seen here in front of Jack Pierson’s ARRIVE HERE at Thaddaeus Ropac’s booth, couldn’t be more relevant to the daily sexual harassment revelations we are witnessing.
  • The artist duo Tercerunquinto at Proyectos Monclova in the Nova section are creating a wall painting in the tradition of Mexican muralists during the run of the show. They are painting images from their archive of political campaign posters that appear on walls in public spaces throughout the country, layered one on top of another.
  • Tony Oursler’s oracle speaks silently as he winks – at Galerie Hans Mayer.

After visiting the Fairs we recommend taking a a break for some fresh air and open spaces at Collins Park, in front of the newly renovated and expanded Bass Museum. There you should check out the this year’s Public sector- site specific installations.

  • Especially impressive after sundown is the grove of palm trees transformed by artist Noël Dolla into a luminous realm with LED lights that change with the humidity.
  • And don’t miss Yto Barrada’s assemblage of plumbing pipes and fixtures sourced from flea markets in Tangier titled Syrinx. The installation and lighting turn discarded construction remnants into a majestic forest of gleaming silver. There’s more to explore around the park with works by ten other artists, all listed in the brochure you can pick up at the visitor booth.