This year's Art Basel and Design Miami events reinforced their position as a cultural meeting point for significant collectors, influential creatives, and an experience- hungry crowd from the US, Latin America, and beyond. The shows closed on Sunday, December 8, 2019, amid reports of robust sales and drew collectors from 76 countires, with an overall attendance of 81,000 people. On the fringe of the shows, brands have become critical players in capturing the hype drawn by the events' aesthetic cachet and luxe-minded attendees. During the events, Fashion Snoops combed the galleries and popups to reveal the standout concepts and artists. Read on for more insight into the noteworthy artists, happenings, and the five trend takeaways.
Mickalene Thomas is a contemporary artist, most notably known for capturing African-American women and celebrities through mixed-media collages. She often addresses topics on femininity, race, and beauty, intertwined alongside personal histories and memories. This year, she held an immersive art experience called Better Nights, which included an installation, performance space, and bar at the Bass Museum.
The Fake History of Humanity by Octavio Abúndez is an installation of 256 paintings. It is part of a more extensive series entitled Hi(stories) in which the artist creates and explores new timelines based on a compendium of lies—a jumble of historical, cinematographic, fictional, and personal events. In this exercise of dark-humor, Abúndez explores the post-truth world we are living in today.
Max Dorn is a Dutch artist, known for his use of layered brown packing tape and acrylic glass to create sepia-tone art. His work often sites film noir and writers from The Lost Generation, particularly Salinger and Hemingway.
While we have featured artist Shawn Huckins before, his exploration of ideas from past and present and merging of figurative painting with digital culture remain relevant and continue to draw a crowd.
The purpose of Artists in Residence in Everglades ( AIRIE) is to enhance the arts and cultural heritage of the Everglades ecosystem through creative residency and public programming. AIRIE hosts artists to promote preservation and conservation of the Everglades through visual, performance, and literary work.
Futurescape Miami: Skyline to Shoreline
This year, the Facebook Art Department presented Futurescape Miami: Skyline to Shoreline, a public exhibition and series of activations on South Beach to provoke conversations on climate change and rising sea levels. Visitors were encouraged to consider the idea of futurescape as one that includes not only the shifting skyline but the shifting shorelines on urban environments. Participating artists included Miami-based Xavier Cortada, Louisiana-based artist and scientist Brandon Ballengée, and Facebook designers in residence Cody Blocker and Sean Suchara.
Pink Beasts - Fernando Laposse
The Miami Design District chose Fernando Laposse, a London-based Mexican designer for their 2019 neighborhood commission. Dubbed Pink Beasts, Laposse’s pink sisal hammocks with long tassels and a family of oversized sloths were hung from trees and arches throughout the neighborhood to invite visitors to slow down and rest.
Levi's Haus Miami for Art Basel
Levi's Haus Miami is a studio, art gallery, and outdoor lounge space opened in Miami's scenic Wynwood Arts District. The pop-up experience will host artist collaborations with appearances from Shepard Fairey, Gianni Lee, and Futura, interactive workshops, tech innovations, and more.
Jasmin.com Phone Booth Pop-Up
Jasmin.com is a sex-positive and safe destination hosting empowering and educational conversations on love, sex, and dating with the help of social media personalities. During Art Basel, the platform hosted a pop-up phone booth connecting fans with influencers IRL, which offered tips and discussions on sexual wellness.
The Space Miami
Recently opened in Miami Design District, The Space Miami is a colorful, multi-brand concept store featuring emerging global designers, one-of-a-kind gifts, homeware, and art. The shop, which specializes in good taste, is the brainchild of British personality Victoria Baker-Harber.
TOP FIVE TREND TAKEAWAYS
This year artists explored sensuality in all its forms – delving into pleasure, eroticism, and intimacy. Although, the unapologetic flesh of their subject matter was met with shyness from Art Basel attendees. Painter Jesse Kase saw viewers snapping sly, embarrassed iPhone photos of her sexually explorative works. Yet, artists seemingly insist that this topic move forward, encouraging the deconstruction of sexual taboos.
The ocean and its evocative blue hues held a strong presence at Art Basel. Artists across disciplines found inspiration in oceanic photography, water type abstracts, and monikers of ocean preservation. Conceptual artist Sang-Sik Hong created multiple sculptures out of plastic straws to elevate plastic from disposable waste to a viable art medium.
Consumerist critique remains a strong theme at Art Basel as artists investigate the power, status, and value of money and the implications of luxury goods in late-stage capitalism. Conceptual artist Jonathan Meyer collected signed dollar bills from nearby Miami bars and displayed them in his booth—calling attention to people's interaction with money. Stephen Wilson upcycled used fashion boxes, noting that they otherwise sit unused, to create works that question the favorable nature of keeping boxes as a status symbol.
Textural Interest - Craft Elevation
Textile and fiber arts gain attention as tapestry, embroidery, patchwork, and knitting are explored by a variety of artists – often drawing attention to the craft of women’s work in developing countries. Most impressive were textile portraits of women and the seemingly conflicting subject matter of sports or technology hand weaved into artworks.
Undoubtedly, technology has been the major disrupting force in modern visual culture — mass producing images and art at unprecedented speeds. This year Art Basel showcased artists rebelling against the machine made by clearly displaying the human hand and artistic process used in works. Clio Newton’s intricate graphite sketches display minute details of subjects, a technique that, no doubt, takes considerable time to complete. Painter, Dave Pallot, purchases existing oil paintings and recontextualizes them with modern references. By showcasing their process, artists are bringing importance back to time spent creating art in an age of instant results.
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