Political art stays peripheral at Art Basel in Miami BeachDecember 8, 2023
Marcela Cantuária: ‘I want to make life from the painting’December 8, 2023
Now we’ve seen it all: a popstar-primate collab
Iconic retro-funster band the B-52s—”it’s 15 miles to the Love Shack!”—are doing their bit to help the animal kingdom this week in Miami. The band members Kate Pierson, Fred Schneider and Cindy Wilson collaborated with chimpanzee artists from the Save the Chimp sanctuary in Fort Pierce, creating a collection of paintings based on the lurid colours of the group’s most popular album covers. But how did the B-52s help make these simian works? The band members painted the canvases in various background colours, selecting the combinations for the chimps to finish each piece of art.
“Boy, can some of those chimps paint! I am honoured to collaborate with the artists among them,” Pierson says. The collection of 52 works is on show at the Spectrum Miami art fair.
Summoning the spirit of Marina
Wherever you are in the world today, you can be sure to find a Marina Abramović event nearby. Miami is no exception, as Haada gallery presents a series of chairs at the Design Miami fair designed by the godmother of performance art. The Chairs for Human and Spirit Use, drawn from her Transitory Objects series, include one for people and a smaller one for—yes—a spirit, the gallery says. Naturally, performances have been held at the fair, during which a participating artist sits on one of the chairs, while a visitor sits opposite for a minimum of ten minutes, caught up in a moment of contemplation—which all sounds like a mini version of the artist’s show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2010, when visitors sat opposite the artist, looking into her eyes.
Funk mothership lands at the Pérez
George Clinton brought the house down at Miami Art Week’s biggest bash, held at the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) on Thursday night. The artist and funk maestro took to the stage late in the evening and delivered a riproaring headline set on the museum’s riverside terrace. The jubilant crowd—many of whom had endured a lengthy queue to see the great man—whooped, cheered and danced (awkwardly) as the group reeled through hits including We Want the Funk and Atomic Dog. Sensational music wasn’t the only thing on offer, either. Guests also enjoyed free drinks and late-night access to the museum, which recently opened the major retrospective Gary Simmons: Public Enemy.
Pickleball goes pink
Sporty art installations are popping up in Miami this week. Cj Hendry’s HOOPS Tree basketball sculpture is a slam dunk in the Wynwood art district, while pickleball is all the rage at the Scope Art Show thanks to the German artist Tomislav Topić. Fairgoers have been playing the game on the lush pink court, created in partnership with the café chain Joe & The Juice, all week. Famously fiery tennis player Nick Kyrgios even turned up, hosting an interview session on the court. But what will happen to the sporty installation once the crowds move on? “It will probably be painted over. Maybe it could be sold for millions of dollars—I didn’t sign it!” Topić says.
Things are looking up at Perrotin
Sometimes we need to look at things from a different angle—it always helps to see things from a new perspective, after all—which is why the artist Emma Webster is encouraging fairgoers to lie down and view her works from the floor up at Perrotin’s Art Basel in Miami Beach stand. “I wanted all of the paintings to have an element of terror,” she tells us, “and what is more terrifying than an avalanche coming down on you [in her work Swallowed]?” Perhaps all works should be viewed prostrate in the future.
Taking the long road to Miami
Artists are flying in from all corners of the globe for Art Week in Miami, but one of them is making his way by rather unconventional means. Elberto Muller is showing works at Nada Miami with Entrance gallery of New York and is currently in transit—via freight train. “Elberto is a self-proclaimed drifter and travels everywhere by freight train and also hitchhikes,” says Louis Shannon, the gallery owner. “He creates mosaic pieces which are very personal and tinged with a sense of humour. He sees the seedier parts of our reality. He’s now got a huge following as a folkloric traveller.” Shannon says he asked Muller if he needed a plane ticket to get to Nada. “He says he was hopping on a train and hoped to be in Miami in about four days.” Did Muller arrive? Watch this space…
Bond star not just a licenced killer
Visitors to Art Miami were shaken (and stirred) by the appearance of James Bond legend Pierce Brosnan this week. The silver fox has works of his own at the fair: five paintings at Olea Art which range from a portrait of Picasso to a sea-themed, semi-abstract work. Yesterday, he was spotted turning his Golden Eye on the rest of the event’s offerings, showing up at Aktion Art’s booth to admire work by American artist Kevin Hees, Keith Haring and Andy Warhol. Brosnan has heritage as a selling artist: his painting of Bob Dylan sold for €1.4m in 2018 at the AmfAR charity gala in Cannes. Could it be that, for Pierce, the (art) world is enough?
Murakami goes K-pop
The Japanese superstar artist Takashi Murakami is launching a collaboration with the K-pop girl group Blackpink, bringing a pop-up experience to Miami. A 19-piece collection is in the pipeline including a character named “Pandakashi” inspired by Blackpink’s inimitable musical style. The NTWRK platform promises that the capsule collection is “both colourful and whimsical featuring apparel, accessories and other collectables emblazoned with the Pandakashi”. Murakami fans should head to Alchemist Miami in the Design District this weekend for the K-pop treats (join the rush).