Art Basel was huge, and I’m only showing a tiny portion of what I saw. So huge that I’ve split my visit into three parts. This post is part two. If you want to start at the beginning, here is part one.
After seeing a piece by El Anatsui at The Broad, I watched an Art21 (PBS) piece on his work, which I highly recommend. I have recently seen his work at The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, The Princeton University Art Museum, and I was delighted to see that the Seattle Art Museum recently acquired a piece. They are hard to miss as they are huge!
I’m a sucker for wax (and resin), but this is probably not an ideal piece to own if you have a dog.
I walk by my daughter’s dollhouse every day on the way into my basement studio. My friend Kathleen told me she had recently packed up her daughter’s dollhouse. We both made dollhouses, with the help of our husbands, when our girls were young. We tiled, carpeted, wallpapered, shingled, moulded, painted, stained and even electrified them. Our girls loved going to a small dollhouse store in Madison, New Jersey (pre-Internet) to pick out new furniture. The houses were a labor of love and while Kathleen has always been more organized than me, I just can’t quite bear to pack it away. Now, when I walk by the dollhouse, I think about this piece I saw at Art Basel and am kind of sorry I gave away my green glass collection.
Sometimes art descriptions can be hard to find at the large fairs. I however knew exactly whose work this was, as I had seen a much larger version by Pia Camil at Desert X in the Coachella Valley, CA this past February. I’ll be sure to post pictures in a future post about Desert X.
I first starting paying attention to Sterling Ruby as I liked his glazes on his ceramic work, and was thrilled when I saw a show, Sterling Ruby: Ceramics, at the Museum of Art and Design in 2018. His glazes and basin-like forms are really wonderful in person. I’ve become enamored with his ability to use a wide range of materials. The most memorable piece I’ve seen of his was at Desert X, a huge fluorescent orange monolith called Specter, placed in the desert. I thought it was the best piece at Desert X.
I always visit Luhring Augustine gallery when I am in New York City as I often learn about artists with whose work I am unfamiliar. This past April, I got my husband to take a day off work and we spent an entire day looking at museums and galleries. We both became Christina Forrer fans, and I was thrilled to see work of hers at Art Basel.
I didn’t see a description of this Simone Leigh piece (as I was so taken by the Christina Forrer pieces nearby), but her work is immediately recognizable by anyone who has recently walked along the High Line in NYC. Brick House is on view there through September 2020.
I was quite surprised this was a Motherwell, as it certainly doesn’t look like his work that is so often seen in museums and galleries.
The Survey booths at one end of the Art Basel show were dedicated to 16 precise art historical projects. I was smitten with the one presented by Parker. Ceramic artists included: Robert Arneson, Clayton Bailey, Viola Frey, David Gilhooly, Sandra Shannonhouse, Richard Shaw and Chris Unterseher.
Work by Manuel Neri was featured in a Survey gallery by Hackett Mill. There were six bees shown, and I can’t remember which number this one was. The size varied, but mostly in the 2.75″ x 6″ x 2.75″ range. “Shortly after he began teaching at the University of California-Davis, Manual Neri purchased an abandoned church in the waterside town of Benicia, halfway between San Francisco and his new job at the University. During his renovations to create a living space and a new studio within the church, Neri had the building fumigated, and he returned to find hundreds of dead bees on his studio floor. This experience, combined with some inspiration from his new living quarters, compelled Neri to confront the idea of death and resurrection. He created the Dead Bees for inclusion in a group faculty show at the University of California, Davis. It was Neri’s intention that these bees lay humbly on the gallery floor, challenging the notion that all art within a formal exhibition space should reside on a plinth or pedestal and be treated like a precious object. As with all of Neri’s work from the Funk Art period, improvisation and resourcefulness were regarded as the highest forms of creativity, disregarding a focus on the finished product. As Neri said ‘When sculpture got too clean, it lost its magic’ (Hackett Mill).”
For those wondering, Manuel Neri is Ruby Neri’s father. What a talented family.
Purvis Young (1943-2010) was a self taught Miami artist. These pieces, Good Bread Alley, were executed on the side of abandoned warehouses in Miami from 1971-1974. He painted hundreds of individual paintings on found plywood, and other discarded items, and adhered them to the side of the buildings. These pieces were recovered from the buildings.
I first saw work by William Kentridge in 2010 when the Museum of Modern Art had a large scale exhibition, William Kentridge: Five Themes, that surveyed three decades of his work. I remember sitting and watching his animated films that are based on charcoal drawings. Simple imagery, yet brilliant. At the same time the Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present show was also going on at the museum. Abramovic was there sitting on a chair in the main room in a red long dress, staring at another person in a chair for hours on end. I definitely remember having to walk through a narrow doorway between two nude people on either side. It was a stellar museum visit. There are Art21 episodes on Kentridge and Abramovic.