With the beach just a few blocks away and parties galore, Art Basel in Miami Beach is where the art world comes to work and play. That makes it one of the most fun and high-spirited of all art fairs. But the real reason this internationally acclaimed event—enjoying its 16th year this December at the Miami Beach Convention Center—draws some 70,000 visitors is the cutting-edge quality of the works on view. It has a well-earned reputation as a place to discover important work by artists young and old, famous and unknown. Finding new favorites and discovering tomorrow’s stars is half the fun. To help you get a head start, here are five noteworthy talents to check out at this year’s fair. — by Ted Loos
Dawn Kasper at David Lewis Gallery (New York)
The Virginia-born, 40-year-old Kasper is an of-the-moment artist in that her quirky installations don’t always scream This is art! You have to take a breath and experience it. At the Whitney Biennial in 2012, she set up her studio inside the museum’s galleries and worked there as she normally would, chatting with visitors along the way—“the nomadic studio,” she called it. David Lewis Gallery will present Lyra (2017), a musical instrument in Greek mythology—in its booth at the fair. The installation features a series of bugles, ropes, and lightbulbs, among other items, messily hanging from a wire. What does it all mean? If you take the time to ask the question, Kasper will feel she’s succeeded.
Dara Friedman at Supportico Lopez Gallery (Berlin)
Although born in Germany, Friedman is based in Miami, so checking out this booth will give you a sense of what’s happening outside the convention center walls. Among her talents, Friedman is an expert manipulator of film and video works. The Supportico Lopez presentation Kukaloris (2017) gets its name from a specialized film term: It’s the shadow cast by an object to break up a blank wall space. Friedman will suspend a series of objects, including a big red feather, and light them so they cast interesting moving shadows, calling into question the way film represents the world and how we interpret it.
Judith Bernstein at The Box (Los Angeles)
Who says you can’t be a hot talent at age 75? Bernstein, a New Jersey native, is a famous feminist who has always been drawn to provocative topics like sex, gender, and the body. The Box is showing Anthuriums, a series of paintings from the early 1980s that are boldly colored, very abstract phallic shapes with Bernstein’s illegibly messy signature. The images pulse with energy and are almost coming apart. As much as they comment loudly and clearly on male-dominated culture, they also show an almost traditional mastery of paint and color that channels the greats like Matisse and Kandinsky. Bernstein is a provocateur, but she has the chops to hold her own on the canvas, too.
Angel Otero at Lehmann Maupin (New York and Hong Kong)
Brooklyn-based Angel Otero is having a busy fall and winter. Works by the 36-year-old Puerto Rican–born artist are showcased in Angel Otero: Elegies at the Bronx Museum until April 29. You’ll find abstract, colorful, rough-edged pieces of painted fabric and oilskin on view there, homages to Robert Motherwell, one of the great masters of collage. At the fair, Lehmann Maupin will be showing similar new works, including At Five in the Afternoon and Wind Water Stone. Between the Bronx show and the fair, you have two chances to get to know a young talent who’s bound to generate a lot of buzz.
Adam Gordon at Chapter NY Gallery (New York)
The 31-year-old Minneapolis native with a Yale MFA now lives in New York, and he has taken the art world by storm with his atmospheric installations. His project for Art Basel in Miami Beach will be a spooky vitrine like tiernan (2016), his project shown at Chapter NY last year. Visitors entered a dim, cavernous space and, through Plexiglas, saw strange objects slowly revealed. This time, the gallery will bring visitors into a booth that feels like a “damp and deadened basement.” Gordon is playing on your expectations: When nothing bad happens, you’ll be disappointed and yet amused by your own emotions. And your reaction is an intrinsic part of the artwork.
This article appeared in its original form in Elliman Magazine.