Miami — Many of the private collectors who open their doors to the Art Basel crowds graciously feed them coffee and pastries, small bites that keep the energy level up. The Rubell Collection made an art of hospitality — literally. Jennifer Rubell, daughter of collectors Mera and Donald, turned a deserted house in a lot behind the family museum into a food installation based on “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”
In a series of bare rooms, she arranged piles of ceramic bowls, a pile of silver spoons, crock pots of porridge (oatmeal), boxes of raisins and a pile of sugar packets, in ways that recalled Pop Art, Minimalism and so on, to create a wandering do-it-yourself brunch.
Son Jason exhibited his personal collection as well. The bulk of the space, however, was turned over to “How Soon Now,” which brought together the elder Rubells’ new acquisitions and related work to explore themes of the handmade object and materiality. Examples: Karen Kilimnik/Rosemary Trockel and El Anatsui/The Starn Twins. A grotesque sexuality, exemplified by video artist Nathalie Djurberg, pervaded. Unfortunately, her videos (still at left) were presented with the sound muted, which seemed to us a disrespectful presentation.
The Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation continued its tradition of inviting outside curators to create an exhibition for Art Basel Miami Beach. Simon Baker and Tanya Barson, both from the Tate Modern in London, created the tightly focused “Inside Out: Photography After Form.”
The curators highlighted mid-century modernist Latin American photographers, many of whom were new to us — among them Pedro Fonseca, German Lorca, Leo Matiz and Paulo Pires — and juxtaposed their work with European and U.S. peers and contemporary artists. The spare, rigorous installation was an antidote to the art overload of the fairs.
Three of the highlights came from Winkleman Gallery. Shaun Hope blends science and nanotechnology in dense, neon photographs (left) of molecular shapes that required his writing computer codes to vivify. The “Genretron,” a diorama that puts visitors inside a 17th-century Dutch still life, was a witty entry from the pseudonymous Chadwicks. We also admired Janet Biggs’ NASCAR video.
Also on our list: Anthony Goicolea, at Postmasters, showed a different side of his oeuvre in a trio of works on nature themes: a nocturnal landscape drawn on mylar, an eerie video of shadowy figures in pup tents, and a landscape painting. Martin Wilner, at Hales Gallery, exemplifies an art-fair trend with his intricate, fine-line ink drawings combining image and text.
Our finds at the NADA (New Art Dealers Alliance) satellite fair:
Hans Broek at Newman Popiashvili Gallery. This Dutch artist makes paintings that are like Russian dolls: grisailles of film stills from Stanley Kubrick’s “Barry Lyndon,” whose sets were inspired by Dutch Old Master paintings. Art from art from art.
Franciso Infante-Arana and Nonna Gorunova at GMG Gallery. The Russian octogenarian’s 1980s photos, which combine Constructivism and landscape, could have been made today.
Chiharu Shiota at Rotwand Gallery. The Japanese artist has enveloped a stairway in a cat’s cradle of black yarn.