Film, music and conversations on trends at Art Basel Miami Beach

‘Boom For Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat’, a recently released film by director Sara Driver, is a highlight of Art Basel Miami Beach.

Art Basel in Miami Beach 2016. © Art Basel

The 16th edition of Art Basel Miami brings together art enthusiasts from all over the world to explore the many dimensions of modern and contemporary art. The event features works at 268 premier galleries from 32 countries at the Miami Beach Convention Center. You’ll be able to live-stream lectures on art right into your living room and attend the entire film series for free.

Art Basel exhibitions are presented annually in Miami, Hong Kong and Basel. Each host country’s show is uniquely defined by the surroundings of its host city and region, reflecting the culture of participating galleries, artwork presented, and the content of parallel programming produced in collaboration with local institutions. Each exhibition also includes artwork from artists on other continents.

Anat Ebgi. Jibade-Khalil Huffman. Untitled, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and the gallery

Twenty of the galleries participating in Art Basel in Miami Beach are doing it for the first time this year, including nine from North and South America, eight from Europe and three from Asia. Highlights from new exhibitors include works by the Argentinian artist Edgardo Antonio Vigo, a vital figure in the Latin American avant-garde movement, at Richard Saltoun Gallery, a recreation of Brazilian painter Wesley Duke Lee’s studio at Ricardo Camargo Galeria and a new body of work by Jibade-Khalil Huffman at Anat Ebgi that focuses on the black male figure in art history, film and literature.

Tyler Rollins Fine Art. Manuel Ocampo, Torta Imperiales (detail), 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Tyler Rollins Fine Art
House of Gaga. Emily Sundblad, Jungly Book 2016. Courtesy of the artist and the gallery

In Miami Beach’s Collins Park, audiences will be treated to site-specific sculptures and performances by artists from across the globe organized  by independent curator and critic Philipp Kaiser. Visitors to the Public part of the art fair will experience 11 large-scale works framed around the theme ‘Territorial’, featuring Frida Baranek, Yto Barrada, Daniel Buren, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Philippe Decrauzat, Noël Dolla, Cyprien Gaillard, Daniel Knorr, Harold Mendez, Manuela Viera-Gallo and Brenna Youngblood. On Wed. Dec. 6, Jim Shaw and his D’red D’warf band will present the premier of ‘The Rinse Cycle’, a progressive rock opera 10 years in the making.

Foxy Production. Sara Cwynar Tracy, (Stepping Forward, Stepping Backward), 2017. Courtesy of the artist and the gallery

Art Basel will present a program of film and video works that focus on dance and movement. Selected from the show’s participating galleries by David Gryn, Director of Daata Editions and Artprojx, the 2017 program will present films by artists Jibade-Khalil Huffman, Jen DeNike and Tin Ojeda, as well as a series of short films drawn from the Chicago Film Archives collection dating back to c. 1930. New York-based film curator Marian Masone has selected ‘Boom For Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat’ (2017), directed by Sara Driver, for a special screening at the Colony Theatre on Dec. 8.

Art Basel Miami  promises daily lectures on topics related to current trends, some that threaten its very existence amidst  a major conservative shift in politics and economic change in the Americas, ineffective art business models, declining regional art scenes, dominating digital innovation in the museum world, and the effect of technology on contemporary art.

This year’s exhibitors and audiences will enjoy a more expansive layout as a result of the ongoing renovations at the Miami Convention Center as well as a different vision from the new curator for public art section of the art fair.

There will be outdoor installation pieces, music and theathrical performances, film and gallery exhibitions, as the Miami Beach edition of the art fair opens for private viewings on Dec. 6 by invitation or if you have a press pass. It will open to the general public from Dec. 7 to 10, while the film portion of the event runs from Dec. 7 to 9. The exhibition will open in Hong Kong and then in Basel, Switzerland where it got its start in 1970.

The film program

Screenings of rarely seen footage and new works will be shown in SoundScape Park on the 7,000 square-foot outdoor projection wall of the Frank Gehry-designed New World Center. Curator David Gryn has selected films that engage with the diverse and global language of dance, as well as the connection between movement and music.

The short film program on Thurs., Dec. 7 will feature recent works by Jibade-Khalil Huffman (b. 1981) and Jen DeNike (b. 1971), who both work across various media. Huffman’s works bring together spoken and written language, photography, vintage television and computer animation to pay homage to African-American popular culture. In her films, DeNike stages vignettes of urban and suburban life as lyrical, slow-motion masquerades of joy, pain, and transcendence by blending video, photography, sculpture and performance.

On Fri., Dec. 8, ‘Free Jazz Vein’ (2017) by Tin Ojeda (b. 1982) builds on the artist’s ongoing fascination with the 1970s era, inspired by jazz album covers and movie posters from the period. Shot in the United States, Central America, Australia and Indonesia, the work focuses on experimental surfing while also offering a glimpse into the poverty that exists in the towns next to beautiful beaches. Super 16mm film, with its grainy texture, lens flares and painterly depth of field, lends the film a nostalgic feel, while off-screen dialog and statements connect it to the present moment.

Titled ‘The Reflection in the Puddle is Mine’, the short film program on Sat., Dec. 9 will present a selection of works from the Chicago Film Archives’ collection. Selected by David Gryn and Michelle Puetz, Curator of Collections and Public Programs, Chicago Film Archives and Jim Dempsey, Co-owner, Corbett vs. Dempsey, the films and videos featured in the program provide a rare and fascinating view of life in Chicago from the 1930s to the present. Exploring dance as an abstract form, the program takes its title from a 1961 film by dancer and choreographer Sybil Shearer (b. 1912, d. 2005) and filmmaker Helen Morrison (b. 1901, d. 1984), which documents Shearer’s dance company in a performance that escalates from the mundane world to the abstract and spiritual.

For her third year as Art Basel’s film curator, Marian Masone has selected ‘Boom For Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat’ (2017) for a special screening at the Colony Theatre on Fri., December 8. Directed by Sara Driver (b. 1955), the film documents the life of Jean-Michel Basquiat (b. 1960, d. 1988) from 1978 to 1981, when he was a homeless teenager in New York City. Featuring interviews with rappers, musicians and artists who knew Basquiat personally, ‘Boom for Real’ presents a comprehensive look into the seminal artist’s formative years and how downtown New York City inspired his style.

Transcendental surround sound

Prior to the film program each evening, ‘Trance’ (2017), a new immersive sound work by Swedish artist and music producer Hans Berg (b. 1978), will be presented on the state-of-the-art surround sound system in SoundScape Park. Based on his experiences composing both electronic dance music for clubs and atmospheric soundtracks for video artists, Berg continues to be fascinated by music’s potential to transport listeners into a trance-like state. ‘Trance’ is a hypnotic aural tapestry weaving together rainforest sounds, industrial noises, and synthesizer rhythms.

For the full gallery list for film, visit: Art Basel Miami Beach 2017.

All Conversations panels will be live streamed on Art Basel’s YouTube channel and on the show’s website.

Upcoming Art Basel shows:
Miami Beach, December 7-10, 2017
Hong Kong, March 29-31, 2018
Basel, June 14-17, 2018

by Cherryl Bird – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Twitter @ladycbird | Instagram @cherrylbird

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