ART BASEL 2009 GALLERY HIGHLIGHTS: PACE WILDENSTEIN GALLERY, MARLBOROUGH GALLERY, HOWARD GREENBERG, JAMES FUENTES LLC, RICHARD GREY GALLERY, MAXWELL DAVIDSON, i8 GALLERY
From December 3 through 6, 2009, Miami Beach, Florida was host to the 8th annual Art Basel international art fair. Featuring more than 250 galleries from North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa, works from over 2,000 artists of the 20th and 21st century were shown. Prominent guests from around the globe flock to the fair to view paintings, drawings, sculptures, installations, photography, editions and videos from well established galleries and dynamic new artists. This year the layout was extensively re-designed to include larger spaces the Art Positions sector, focused on special projects by young artists and galleries. The festival is comprised of several sectors Art Kabinett, Art Nova, Art Positions, Art Projects, The Oceanfront, Art Video, Art Perform, Art Film, Art Basel Conversations, Art Salon, Museums and Private Collections.
Indira Cesarine, creative director of XXXX Magazine, held interviews with several of the galleries and artists showing their works at this years Art Basel. Starting with James Lindon representing the PaceWildenstein Gallery of New York. Founded in 1960 as a tiny gallery on Newbury street in Boston, the PaceWildenstein Gallery has grown to include three locations in New York City and represents some of the great artist of the twentieth century. This year they presented a large sculptural work by Los Angeles based artist, Sterling Ruby. The large staligimite sculpture is created out of dripped eurothane and portrays a large cobra in the desert, representing a metaphor for America, it’s underlying social structures and power struggles within the political systems. James also showed us pieces by Claes Oldenburg and Keith Sontay.
Becky James of the James Fuentes LLC hosted our tour through the gallery’s booth. They chose to exhibit one solo artist this year and presented the installation work of Agathe Snow. The entire piece was created by the New York based artist one month before the madness of Art Basel and was all done on top of a skate ramp tucked inside a secret recreational room in Miami. The neo-renaissance piece was inspired by pop culture and payed tribute to Americana through the use of graffiti art, sculptural work and mixed media assemblage.
Founded in 1963, The Marlborough Gallery of New York has become widely recognized as one of the World’s leading contemporary art dealers. They are continuously expanding and in addition to the long-established outposts in London, Madrid, Monte Carlo and Santiago they have recently created International Public Art Projects. Owner Pierre Levai gave us a guided tour through the pieces they chose to present at the fair. A painting by Francis Bacon, paintings by up and coming artist Steven Charles and sculptures by Will Ryman were all perfectly chosen pieces covering a wide range of medias.
Formerly a photographer, Howard Greenberg founded the Howard Greenberg Gallery of New York over 20 years ago and has been one of a select group of gallerists, curators and historians responsible for the creation and development of the modern market for photography. Originally known as Photofind; the gallery was the first of it’s kind to exhibit photojournalism and street photography – now well known and important components of photographic art. In his goal to extend an awareness of and appreciation for fine art photography, Howard chose to show works by Allen Ginsberg and Robert Frank.
Cristopher Canizares of the Richard Grey Gallery based out of Chicago, gave us a wonderful look into the inspiration behind the works of Mark Swanson, whom had several artworks displayed at this years fair. Swanson is best known for his rhinestone encrusted animal head sculptures; which reflect his childhood growing up in rural New Hampshire and the integration of glamour in his now cosmopolitan life.
The New York based Tanya Bonakdar Gallery presented the mixed media sculptures of Argentinian born artist Tomas Saraceno. The sculptor’s piece “Galaxies Forming Along Filaments, Like Droplets Along the Strand’s of a Spider’s Web” was a highlight at Art Basel Miami. Internationally recognized for his architectural proposals, his work involves the conception of environments that anticipate new social-cultural platforms for interacting and experiencing our surroundings; pushing the boundaries of architecture and art.
With over 40 years in the business Maxwell Davidson, founder of the Maxwell Davidson Gallery in New York City knows a thing or two about art. His gallery specializes in kinetic sculptures (sculpture capable of motion) and this year he chose to present a survey of kinetic art over the past 80 years. Pieces from several acclaimed artists were shown including a sculpture by architect turned sculptor, Tim Prentice, who creates sleek kinetic stainless steel aluminum sculptures. A colorful geometric piece by George Rickey was also on display. Rickey was the first to introduce the notion of kinetic sculpture to America in the mid-twentieth century.
The last Gallery we visited was the i8 Gallery based out of Reykjavik, Iceland. Being the only gallery from the country they offered a truly unique installation work by Igal Saebjornsson titled “5 Boxes”. The work, composed of video projected onto four wooden boxes, incorporates mechanical sounds created with the use of the boxes, making the installation a type of musical instrument.
INTERVIEWS by INDIRA CESARINE
VIDEO EDIT by INDIRA CESARINE, assistant editor JOHN PAUL ZUVIATE
TEXT by KATIE THURBER