The weekend for Basel

Arts / Article

Nir Hod’s “snow globe” at Paul Kasmin gallery, Art Basel Miami Beach.

The weekend awaits for all the Art Basel fair-going that you haven’t done. So, time for a quick run-down of what you may or may not want to see in a limited amount of time. At the main Art Basel fair at the Convention Center on Miami Beach, there’s some surprisingly fresh offerings from top international artists. Check out the great new video from William Kentridge, for instance, at the Goodman Gallery from Johannesburg. On three screens, a figure leaps across pages from a book in a mesmerizing installation. At Jack Shainman gallery, there are new holographic works from Hank Willis Thomas — look into the “mirror” and rather than a reflection of yourself, an image of the artist in cowboy hat stars back at you from the blue-tinted plexi. There’s also a great sculpture from Nick Cave, his figure donning a coat made of buttons and his head formed from a wild bouquet of flowers. At the Sean Kelly gallery, you almost can’t miss the video on the outer wall from Leandro Erlich: emanating out of a broken window are bursts of a thunderstorm, with soundtrack.

Also in the Convention Center, local gallerist Fred Snitzer is featuring big, bold new paintings from Michael Vasquez, who was just picked for an upcoming group show at the Smithsonian (www.artbasel.com/en/Miami-Beach).

Staying on the beach but moving on to the sand, the Untitled fair has a lot to offer. One of the special projects is a sculptural installation of wax-covered wheels from JPW3. They look in various stages of decay and corrosion — they once were mechanisms for speed, and now are still. He also has a piece at an under-the-radar Miami gallery, Michael Jon, in the same fair (www.art-untitled.com).

Over on the mainland, the long rows of tents of art fairs in Midtown could keep you occupied for the next 48 hours non-stop. Centered on Art Miami (www.art-miami.com) and bookended by the CONTEXT and Miami Project tents, there’s something there for everyone, from more familiar 20th-century art to hyper-contemporary works from all across the globe.

Move south, and all the activity around the walls of Wynwood makes people-watching as interesting as entering most of the art spaces. Down at Pulse in the Ice Palace (pulse-art.com), there are many more galleries that feature all forms of contemporary expression — one highlight here, the grassy courtyard conducive to sitting and evening reclining completely after all that viewing effort. Not too far away is the Perez Art Museum Miami (www.pamm.org) on Biscayne Bay, just opened to the public this week (and free to Miami-Dade residents this week as well). Even if you are too tired to see more art, it’s a splendid stop just for the view of the city and the bay, and of the incredible design of the building with its “hanging garden” plants and wide veranda. Good place to end our tour.