Thursday, December 5, 2013

POST: An insider's guide to Global African Art and Culture at Basel Miami Beach, 2013

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Switcher, 2012. Courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, NYC.
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Text | Ludlow E. Bailey

From the, published December 4, 2013:

The absence of hurricanes so far in 2013 bodes well for a sensational Art Basel Season.

If you plan to attend, make sure you come prepared for a visual feast and a plethora of social and cultural activities.  The 12th edition of Art Basel Miami Beach (ABMB) opened today (Wednesday, December 4th) at the Miami Beach Convention Center, having firmly established itself as the premiere art fair for Modern and Contemporary Art in the Americas. 

Although there are still no black-owned galleries represented in the main show (Miami Beach Convention Center), the African Diaspora audience has increased significantly over the last five years. Art Basel Salon Conversations (a signature feature of ABMB) now consistently incorporate the perspectives of the global African Diaspora. Last year’s Salon Conversations included contributions from Hank Willis and Adam Pendelton. This year’s Salon will feature African American artist Rashaad Newsome, speaking on “Post Black Art.”

The Art Basel Season will also include several satellite events that will highlight the work of African Diaspora Artists or will focus on issues relating to the production of Africana Art. There will be sixteen additional Art Fairs that will include the work of African Diaspora Art.

The official opening of Art Basel Miami Beach on Wednesday centered on the much anticipated opening of the new 220 million dollar Perez Miami Art Museum (PAMM) and the highly coveted Vernissage (6pm -9pm, private invitation only) of ABMB.  Tickets for the PAMM opening are free for Dade County Residence. Invitations for the Vernissage are challenging to come by, but are generally available through the participating galleries or through the major sponsors of Art Basel.

The opening show at PAMM features the work of African-Caribbean (London based), Hew Locke. The provocative installation piece, entitled “For those in Peril on the Sea” will include the construction of several different types of boats hanging from the ceiling in PAMM’s commanding lobby. “With its significant links to the South Florida community, this installation, part of Perez Art Museum Miami’s permanent collection promises a powerful initial experience.”

African Diaspora Art is in some ways very understated at the main show, but can be seen at some of the leading galleries at the Miami Beach Conference Center. These galleries include Jack Shainman, Michael Rosenfeld, Sikkema Jenkins, Tilton Gallery, Fred Snitzer, Goodman Gallery, Metro Pictures, James Cohan Gallery, Alexander Gray and Associates, Sean Kelly Gallery, Stephen Friedman, Victoria Miro, and Rhona Hoffman among others.

Artists to locate in the main show include, inter-alia Yinka Shonibare, Jack Whitten, Mel Edwards, Mickalene Thomas, Lynette Yiadom-Boayke, Hank Willis Thomas, Wangechu Mutu, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Carrie  Mae Weems, Kerry James Marshall, Nick Cave, Lorna Simpson, Julie Mehretu, El Anatsui, Toyin Odutola, Leonardo Drew, David Hammons, Romare Bearden, Theaster Gates, Chris Ofili, Kara Walker, Kehinde Wiley, Derrick Adams, Gary Simmons, and Barkley L. Hendricks.

Ludlow E. Bailey is a cultural curator, writer and an international art broker.

Click here for list of other African centered events on the official Art Basel Calendar

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