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10 Must-Do Art Basel Miami Beach Experiences

By Michael Muzquiz | December 6, 2019 | Lifestyle

The big Basel show... the satellite fairs... the museum exhibitions... and all those VIP dinners and parties during Art Week are a must, of course, but here are 10 cultural experiences also worthy of your attention.


“Nomad” by Sanford Biggers

1. Together Again

David Castillo is taking no chances this Art Week. At his eponymous gallery on Lincoln Road, the gallerist (one of the few Miami creatives with presence at the actual Art Basel show) will be showcasing the work of Sanford Biggers, the prolific artist who works in film, video, installation, sculpture, music and performance. “This will be his fourth solo exhibition with the gallery,” says Castillo, “and it will focus on his three-dimensional quilts, a body of work which was exhibited for the first time with the gallery at Art Basel Miami Beach in 2016.” Also included in the show will be new sculptures and quilt paintings. Dec. 2-Jan. 31, 420 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, 305.573.8110


“Eva and the Moon” by Irina Dakhnovskaia-Lawton from Between the legible and the opaque: Approaches to an ideal

2. Food for Thought

The Bakehouse Art Complex has made a name for itself with cerebral exhibitions that delve deep into its subjects. This December, curator Adler Guerrier is doing that again with Between the legible and the opaque: Approaches to an ideal (through March 31), an exploration of abstraction as “both a formal and conceptual framework to render perceptions of place.” Just as in-depth in scope is Archeology of memory: The site and sound of ceramics (through March 31), curated by Morel Douret, which examines the history and use of materials in their raw form. 561 NW 32nd St., Miami, 305.576.2828


Trenton Doyle Hancock in front of “Mound #1 and the Color Crop Experience”

3. Trenton Takeover

Locust Projects’ annual contribution to Art Week is always multifaceted. This year, director Lorie Mertes is pretty much handing over the reins to artist Trenton Doyle Hancock to transform the Locust space as he sees fit. The gallery’s renovated storefront will feature a toy store with artist-edition dolls for sale. Then, an installation of handpainted floors will lead visitors to the main gallery where Hancock’s “Mound #1 and the Color Crop Experience,” a massive fabric sculpture, will rise up to the ceiling. Locust’s new screening room will feature videos and animations curated by the artist, and the project room will be converted into a comic book shop, given that so much of Hancock’s work is inspired by the genre. Through Feb. 8, 3852 N. Miami Ave., Miami, 305.576.8570


“Luna Con Perro” by José-Maria Cano from Luna

4. Lunar Liaisons

It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that José-Maria Cano is obsessed with the moon. The former member of the Spanish pop band Mecano has been making the astronomical body his muse since the group separated in 1992. He even composed an opera titled Luna (Moon), which he recorded with Placido Domingo. For the last 20 years, Cano has devoted himself to painting, garnering much acclaim for his visually engaging resin technique. Luna at the Gary Nader Art Centre will showcase these works and the alchemy and fluidity that have made them so renowned worldwide. Dec. 1-March 1, 62 NE 27th St., Miami, 305.576.0256


“Untitled” by Eugenio Espinoza from Good Blue Day

5. Out of the Box

Venezuela’s Eugenio Espinoza was celebrated in the 1960s and ’70s for his radical works, and it’s that fearless spirit that curator Claire Breukel wants to celebrate in Good Blue Day, an exhibition of new works by the artist. Incorporating sculpture, paintings, installation and performance, the works showcase the layered tension and duality of his practice (control and uncontrolled, formal and informal) as an entry point to understand Espinoza’s dynamic trajectory. Dec. 1-Feb. 1, Piero Atchugarry Gallery, 5520 NE Fourth Ave., Miami, 305.639.8247


A rendering of Leandro Erlich’s “Order of Importance”

6. Auto Focus

There is nothing subtle about conceptual artist Leandro Erlich’s contribution to Art Week. Order of Importance is a colossal installation (Erlich’s largest to date) that consists of 66 life-size sculptures of cars and trucks covered in sand in a 21st century traffic jam. While playful in tone, the beachside installation (curated by Ximena Caminos in association with the City of Miami Beach) is Erlich’s answer to our serious environmental issues. “Apart from its surreal beauty and poetry, Order of Importance is like an image from a contemporary Pompeii or a future relic,” says Caminos. “It alludes to our fragile position in the large universal canvas and interacts with the climate crisis facing the world.” Dec. 1-15, beachfront at Lincoln Road, Miami Beach


“Nation of Islam-Historic Overtown” by Johanne Rahaman from On the Road II

7. Linked by Art

The similarities between Miami and Detroit may not be obvious to everyone, but when it comes to art, curator Larry Ossei-Mensah sees both cities as active incubators for “new ideas, new talent and creative exchange, pulsating to their own unique rhythms activated through language, spirituality and ritual.” It’s with that mindset that he organized On the Road II, a group show of 11 artists from both cities that demonstrates that artistic link. “The show affords me an incredible platform to share works by a number of truly exciting visual artists,” says Ossei-Mensah. “Each artist brings a unique point of view that engages a variety of topics.” That means everything from Tiff Massey’s use of gingham to imagine a world without colonization to Monica Sorelle’s poetic portraits of a Little Haiti that’s slowly disappearing. Through Dec. 15, Oolite Arts, 924 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, 305.674.8278


“Compound” by Juan Raul Hoyos from Ciudades

8. City Limits

Alicia Restrepo, the curator and owner of Etra Fine Art, doesn’t see cities as just centers of modern living, but rather symbols. As she puts it, “Cities are descriptors of today’s sacrifice of natural resources, centers of communication, synthetic containers of our history, a confluence of religions, languages and ideologies, technological and alienation coming from it, social iconography, migration, selfishness and egoism.” To prove her point, she has gathered a number of artists from all around the world for Ciudades, an exhibition that brings together paintings, installation work, sculptures, photography and videos. The show will be enhanced by a soundtrack featuring the tango music of Astro Pizolla and excerpts from the poetry of Elizabeth Rogers. Dec. 1-Jan. 28, 6942 NE Fourth Ave., Miami, 917.370.2907


“Venus VHS” by Joshua Keeney from Within Interdependence

9. The Body Politic

The artists that go through the YoungArts program usually move on to bigger and brighter things, so we’re betting Within Interdependence, an exhibition featuring the works of YoungArts award winners from the past 15 years, is likely to yield an art world star or two. Curated by Deana Haggag, president and CEO of United States Artists, the exhibition focuses on the artists’ “bodies and their connection to ecological, metaphysical and social changes.” Through paintings, installations, photography, sculpture and mixed media, the works offer deep investigations on identity. “One of my favorite things about YoungArts is how much they understand community,” says Haggag. “I was eager to gather works that touched on connection, intimacy and togetherness.” Through Dec. 13, YoungArts Gallery, 2100 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, 800.970.2787


Installation view of 10–A Decade at Dimensions Variable

10. Celebrating Community

Ardent supporters of Miami’s art scene for years, gallerists and artists Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova and Frances Trombly have seen their Dimensions Variable gallery move due to a variety of reasons, but their commitment to homegrown talent has never waned. For their 10th anniversary, they’ve gathered the work of five artists they’ve worked with before and five artists they’ve always wanted to collaborate with. The result is 10–A Decade, a group show bound together by the respect they all have for each other’s work. Previous collaborators in the show include Felice Grodin, Fabian Peña, Jamilah Sabur, Tom Scicluna and Agustina Woodgate. New to DV artists include Nathalie Alfonso, Yanira Collado, GeoVanna Gonzalez, Francisco Maso and Christina Pettersson. “We went from an unfunded upstart to a community voice for championing projects of up-and-coming and under-recognized artists with well-respected work,” says Rodriguez-Casanova. “With our 10th anniversary, we want to continue to push the boundaries of what a cultural space is and how it can better serve its artists and community.” Through Dec. 30, 101 NW 79th St., Miami, 305.607.5527

Tags: art

Photography by: Photos courtesy of the venues, galleries and exhibitors