Our Team at Art Basel- Miami
Due to the nearly overlapping private preview days of Art Basel Miami and Miami Art Fairs 2022 and the ending days of the Biennale d’Arte 2022 in Venice, I was unable to attend both, although I was in both places, virtually. Virtually is, of course, not the same. Installations, sculptures nor paintings cannot be appreciated or fully viewed online, due to the often large dimensions they present. Certainly that was the case with the art work offered in Miami.
Consequently, The New Art Examiner/Art Lantern sent the intrepid press team: Elizabeth Ashe, Sandy Bellamy and Anna Gav to appreciate, view and document the artwork there and enjoy the camaraderie of art world aficionados in Miami Beach and the City of Miami.
Sandy Bellamy, who concentrated on the Design show documented art made by indigenous artists from Africa, finding that the art public is beginning to deem Africa worthy of purchase. Display at the Design Fair deems it crafts, although it does not fit the definition of useful objects, i.e. craft. This racist definition of clearly fine art produced in Africa elevates fine art from other parts of the world and demotes African art to craft, without it fitting the craft definition. The images of work witnessed by Ms. Bellamy clearly define African art in Miami as fine art.
Elizabeth Ashe was drawn to feminist art, of which there was a plethora of work. Especially focused on Judy Chicago, whose work was hung in the most prominent place, facing the exit from the escalator, Ashe interviewed Chicago about her latest work dealing with birth. In an earlier pre-pandemic project exhibited at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, she focused on death, so this work was clearly an optimistic turn. Granted, the show was in Miami, land of surf and sun, but the artwork clearly showed a sunny, post-Pandemic side as you will glean from Ashe’s writing and images.
The work in Miami was also concerned with political and social issues rather than projecting an effort to startle or amuse as in past fairs. It shared with Biennales an effort to educate the public and that is welcome, as art has many purposes: to delight, to imbue the world with beauty but also to inform creating awareness of situations and issues that must be exposed. The work chosen for review by Elizabeth Ashe and Sandy Bellamy fits all those parameters and is concerned with topics of concern to all, birth and indigenous culture, here of South Africa.
In the work reviewed by Bellamy, we see the realm of possibility, what may become from the Xhosa and other African culture, but also what was, the constant and an exploration to deal with the consequences.
Similarly, in the work of Olafur Eliasson, reviewed by Ashe, we see possibility. We see ever changing colors, no longer the constant of his early work slowly becoming the turning silver mirrored spheres resembling the changes of the shape of the moon shown at the Château of Versailles, or the flow of water from a bar of ice in the early Weather Project. Going back to his beginnings, Eliasson recalls the Weather Project, his deep concern with the environment. Miami’s colored spheres refer to the desert’s ever changing light and colors, an outside environment rather than the repeating chandeliers in Versailles’s Hall of Mirrors where he installed more mirrors to make the originals seem never-ending and installed slowly turning mirrors whose edges created the differing phases of the moon, to account for light and time changing. Slowly Eliasson has begun with a constant, dealt with the consequences produced and explored possibilities for positive change not unlike Judy Chicago’s exploration of the person created from inception to birth.
Herein is the similarity of the 2022 Art Basel Miami shows, the Scope show in Miami and The Milk of Dreams, the Biennale d’Arte 2022 in Venice.
Cecilia Alemani, Curator of the 2022 Biennale d’ Arte Venezia chose a theme The Milk of Dreams from a book written by surrealist painter Leonora Carrington. Consequently, the parts of the exhibition chosen by the Alemani, the artists’ work in the Arsenale Giardini and the collateral exhibits largely addressed possibility amid changing circumstances, and change itself. Surrealism is beyond realism, what is in our limited world. Whether presenting different forms of humans, or culture or worlds, the Biennale was an exploration into what may be, bringing together different viewpoints of different artists and creators from around the world.
Those creators used art as a basis for interaction, a starting point for explorations and conversations to make a better world for all.
Following are Sandy Bellamy’s and Elizabeth Ashe’s reviews of the fairs in Miami during Miami Art Week. Enjoy!