Flavorwire’s Top 10 Picks from Art Basel Miami Beach


There’s no other art fair in the world that gets as much buzz as Art Basel Miami Beach. From star-studded parties and delightful dinners to major concerts on the beach, pop-up promotions for the best fashion and alcohol brands, and spontaneous art performances, ABMB is always at the top of the heap. There’s so much happening that people sometimes forget what it’s actually all about — the art! With an eye toward the new and whimsical, we combed the endless aisles of the massive fair to find the latest trends.

Although the art world remains pluralistic, assemblage — with its roots in Dada, Beat, and Pop art — is still a favorite form for current artistic play. Ironically, Wim Delvoye made a pig from a Persian carpet and Peter Coffin constructed a fruit frame for a photo and presented it as a photo, while Brad Kahlhamer attached funky, handmade birds on a wooden ladder and Yinka Shonibare stacked luggage atop a mannequin clad in African garb to capture poetry in the plight of the homeless.

Appropriation continues to see revitalization, especially when it’s dealt with in lowbrow or high-tech ways. Andrea Bower turned an iconic May Day illustration into a symbol for the Occupy movement using only markers on patched pieces of found cardboard, while Kon Trubkovich digitally manipulated historical imagery to make striking new canvases that have the look of a faulty video display and Barry McGee mixed 36 small paintings of patterns, signs, and cartoon characters to make a large, energetic piece.

Of course, what would a contemporary art fair be without its fair share of photography and video? We picked LaToya Ruby Frazier, who revisits growing up in impoverished areas of rural Pennsylvania for her poignant black-and-white photography, and Tim Davis, whose clever video Counting In, time depicts amateur bands performing just opening counts — 1, 2, 3, 4 and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 — hypnotically, one after the next.

And, taking the past into the future and back again, Keltie Ferris show us why abstraction can reference history and now while, simultaneously reinventing new colors and forms that speak to tomorrow. Working intuitively, Ferris fashions paintings that should be seen at art fairs, galleries, and museums for many years to come.

See all of the works mentioned above in our slideshow.

Wim Delvoye, Bidjar, 2011. Polyester, iranian carpet, and pig hooves. Courtesy Bernier/Eliades Gallery, Athens

LaToya Ruby Frazier, In Gramps’ Pajamas, 2010, from the The Home Body Series. Silver gelatin print. Courtesy Galerie Michel Rein, Paris

Barry McGee, UNTITLED, 2012. Mixed media (36 elements.) Courtesy Cheim & Read, New York

Tim Davis, Counting In, time, 2012. Video. Greenberg Van Doren Gallery, New York

Yinka Shonibare, MBE, Homeless Boy, 2012. Mannequin, Dutch wax printed cotton textile, leather suitcases, globe, and metal base. Courtesy Stephen Friedman Gallery, London

Kon Trubkovich, Set all of it down and set fire to it before you set off, 2012. Oil on linen. Courtesy the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York © Kon Trubkovich. Photo credit: Jason Wyche

Peter Coffin, Untitled Fruit Border Photo, 2012. Courtesy Herald St, London

Andrea Bowers, A Garland for May Day (Illustration by Walter Crane), 2012. Marker on found cardboard. Courtesy of Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Photo Credit: Robert Wedemeyer

Brad Kahlhamer, Bowery Bird Roost (detail,) 2012. Mixed media. Courtesy Andréhn-Schiptjenko, Stockholm

Keltie Ferris, R–E–A–C–H, 2012. Oil and acrylic on canvas. Courtesy Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York