It has been a fraught year in American politics, with the recent controversial presidential election sending shockwaves through much of American society and the world. Art has always been a medium through which artists can express feelings, and taking a look at this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach, it is clear that the art world has responded to recent events with with a collection of both overt and subtle political statements. HausMag investigates this year’s exhibition..
At the focal point of the Blum & Poe gallery is a large, illuminated sign emblazoned with the words ‘End White Supremacy”. This work by artist Sam Durant dates back to 2008, its inclusion at the forefront of the convention centre is a telling sign of the more political theme which this year’s Art Basel showcases.
Blum & Poe Associate Director, Servia Jasso, comments; “It was very important for us to take this as an opportunity to express how we are feeling, how a lot of our colleagues are feeling, our clients, and our artists. Even before the election we had an idea in mind for how the booth would reflect the current situation and after the election it made more sense to really push it further.”
Printed for the Art for Hillary campaign earlier this year, Barbara Kruger‘s special edition print was for sale at the Mary Boone gallery for $100,000. In the passing of the presidential election, Kruger’s message is more poignant than ever.
Exhibiting at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, artist Rirkrit Tiravanija work was composed by gathering pages from the New York Times the day after the election to make his own headline directed at the political turmoil in the United States. “The Tyranny of Common Sense Has Reached Its Final Stage” obscures the despondent headlines and articles of the mass consumed newspapers, in an attempt to reach the simple bottom line of the issue.
“Artists have always responded to politics, whether directly by being involved in protests or indirectly by making art and expressing themselves through whatever their chosen medium might be. And even walking around the fair you get the sense that people are engaging on an artist level in politics in a very direct way,” says Emily Bates, assistant director at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise.
Miami Art Basel is known for showcasing the best of Latin American artworks, and this year was no different. The Pérez Art Museum held a remarkable retrospective, entitled Form into Action, celebrating the works of Latin American artist, Julio Le Parc. Exploring the artist’s sixty-year career, the retrospective takes a look into how his works seek to ‘demystify art’, breaking down barriers between the museum, artist and viewer. Delving into the artist’s groundbreaking innovations in the fields of light, movement and perception; Form into Action takes guests on a hallucinogenic journey through the master of kinetics’ creations, from hypnotic light formations to perspective defying installations.
I might see one thing in them, but every person has permission to see whatever they see.
– Julios Le Parc on his artworks.
This piece by John Baldessari from Galerie Greta Meert is from the artist’s latest series Scene () / Take (), which draws from an imaginary film archive. Taking inspiration from American Film Noir, slapstick comedy and European directors, each piece juxtaposes a monochromatic image with a fragment of a film script. Through the symmetrical organisation of space, which is equally allotted to both the textual and visual components – resulting in a sense of irony. The double meaning of the French word cliché perfectly suits this series of Baldessari’s work, which portrays a photographic image and a phrase which has been used so often it has lost its originality.
“On one hand I think the older an image is the more it is exhausted of meaning – where it is a cliché. It’s dead. Because clichés are dead. I like the idea of playing Dr. Frankenstein and reinvesting the dead, a metaphor, with life again. Because clichés are true – they have just lost their meaning. I can pump another kind of meaning back into it, but you are still aware of the source and where I’m directing the traffic.” – John Baldessari.
For me, the Miami show is a set of experiences that follow one another. It’s an ensemble of discoveries, sensations, and experimentations for the visitor to live.
– Julio Le Parc.
With special thanks to Art Basel Miami for holding this inspiring event and providing images and press information.