Art Basel Miami 2021 | The Top 5 Must-See Exhibits This Year
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Art Basel Miami 2021 | The Top 5 Must-See Exhibits This Year

December 1, 2021 Share

This year, the Art Basel Miami 2021 edition will run from the 2nd to the 4th of December at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

It is the annual apex of the art scene. Art Basel Miami 2021, the art show of the year, is finally here.

While exhibiting contemporary work is Art Basel’s first and foremost function, the fair is also known for its events. Lavish parties, live performances, and masterclasses are just some of the extra festivities held at each fair.

Art Basel Miami 2021
Courtesy of Art Basel

Held once a year in three host cities—Basel in Switzerland, Miami Beach in Florida, and Hong Kong in China— Art Basel gives hundreds of galleries a prestigious platform to present and sell art.

Paintings, sculptures (including outdoor pieces), works on paper, photography, digital art, video art, and installations make up most of the works featured year after year.

However, in a couple of days time, the annual art event of the South Florida art scene that puts Miami at the forefront of the art industry is back.

“I think people should be excited, I think they should feel giddy. We have a lot to look forward to” said Marc Spiegler, the Global Director of Art Basel.

“This year over 253 galleries from 36 countries are set to take centre stage across the Miami Beach Convention Center. Including the new arrival of digital NFT exhibits,” says New York Times.

Art Basel Miami 2021
Courtesy of Art Basel

According to a recent press release, “in addition to showcasing exceptional art within its Galleries, Positions, Nova, Survey and Edition sectors, the fair will also present 16 large-scale artworks in Meridians.”

The gallery spaces are white cubes that form a family of exhibition spaces that span across interconnected open spaces. 

But, the unlimited white-walled booths are the place where big works come to thrive. Here are the top five must-see exhibits at this year’s Art Basel Miami 2021:

Brendan Fernandes titled Contract and Release (2019–2021)

Art Basel Miami 2021
Nicholas Knight. Copyright The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, NY / ARS.

This exhibit is a site-specific installation and a performance-based activation of six body devices presented by Monique Meloche. 

The artist Brendan Fernandes, who works at the intersection of dance and the visual arts, brings six dancers together to perform Contract and Release.

According to his vision, “in addition to dancers intervening in the space, the space itself is reconfigured in collaboration with architecture and design firm, Norman Kelley; chairs fabricated by Jason Lewis, and costumes by Rad Hourani.”

Art Basel Miami 2021 Meets Moving Up (2021) by Yinka Shonibare and CBE.

Art Basel Miami 2021
Yinka Shonibare, CBE, Moving Up, 2021 © Yinka Shonibare CBE 2021. Courtesy the artist and James Cohan, New York. Photo by Stephen White & Co. Courtesy Art Basel

This is an installation presented by the James Cohan Gallery capturing the vertical movement of six million African Americans from rural Southern states to the cities of the North, Midwest, and West from 1916 to 1970, known today as the Great Migration.

Nicholas Galanin, The Value of Sharpness: When it Falls, (2019)

Nicholas Knight. Copyright The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, NY / ARS. Courtesy Art Basel 

Presented by the Peter Blum Gallery, this work of art captures a single-work exhibition by Sitka-based Nichola Galanin (Tlingit/Unangax̂). 

The Value of Sharpness: When It Falls reprises a recurring medium and format that the artist uses to engage questions around the authenticity, commodification, and responsiveness of Indigenous culture in the face of colonialism’s legacy.

Jacqueline de Jong titled De achterkant van het bestaan (The backside of existence) 

Jacqueline de Jong, De achterkant van het bestaan (The backside of existence), 1992
Courtesy of the artist and Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London. © Jacqueline de Jong (2021). Courtesy Art Basel.

In 1992 a monumental double-sided painting was presented by the Pippy Houldsworth Gallery. Now it is back in Art Basel Miami 2021 as a significant highlight. 

In the Kabinett Sector Ghanian artist, Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe Presents A Series Of New Paintings 

Courtesy Roberts Projects

Roberts Projects’ presentation of community-based portraits by Ghanian artist

Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe will present a series of new paintings exploring the relationships between identity, materiality, and race, which mark a critical evolution for the artist.

Art Basel can be described as an accumulation of unconscious art that is hidden inside people’s minds. These ideas spill out into forms of art that come in all shapes and sizes. 

Some could be masterpieces, while others could be questionable. Ranging in all shapes and sizes, the gallery spaces transform you into physical walk-through installations to simply admiring static wall or floor sculptures.

The beauty of it all is that it is entirely up to your interpretation.

For more information, visit the Art Basel Miami 2021 website here.

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Author: Michelle Laver
Art Basel Miami 2021
Beach Convention Center
Brendan Fernandes
Jacqueline de Jong
Marc Spiegler
Nicholas Galanin
Otis Kwame Kye
Yinka Shonibare