Founded in 1970, Art Basel stages the world’s premier modern and contemporary art shows, held annually in Miami Beach, Basel and Hong Kong. Each event spotlights premier galleries and their artists by offering visitors the most compelling works across all mediums and movements of the last 11 decades.
Art Basel is strongly rooted in the principle that galleries play an essential role in the development and promotion of visual arts.
As there was one hell of a lot of art on display, I’m just going to give you a little tour of my highlights, from pieces that I enjoyed and found interesting to those that I found ridiculous (Ry found most of it ridiculous). Our first stop was Hall 3, where we were greeted by a huge piece created out of human hair by Gu Wenda.
It was such a shame that most of the pieces didn’t come with descriptions, so you’ll just have to bear with my face-value opinions and little snippets of information that I found online!
We rounded the corner to find an insightful mirror.
Play-20121117 (2012) – Xu Zhen
Neither of us had seen Yoko Ono’s art before, but after seeing a few of her works, we can safely say that we’re not fans. This is ‘touch me (edition), 2008.’ From what I can tell online, this is a miniature version of a large canvas that covered the entire width of a gallery with openings cut into it. Viewers are then invited to insert body parts through to rethink a personal connection to the current situation that many women are facing, such as isolation, exposure and vulnerability. The viewer then has the option to photograph themselves and their photos will be displayed together on another canvas with the participant’s thoughts written underneath the photo.
This Yoko Ono number is ‘Confession in Black’ (2004). The description reads: “You may contemplate this black canvas to search for a relevatory message directly from Yoko Ono to you.”
I personally think that she’s just seeing what she can get away with calling art…
Heads Will Roll (1969-1997), 2014 – Jonathan Monk.
The giant 50p coins remind me of home! Plus they look pretty rad against the pastel pink background.
Of course, no modern art exhibition would be complete without big blobs of paint on a canvas.
Living in Seclusion at Tiantong Temple 2 (2012) – Zhu Jinshi
Untitled (1991) – Nam June Paik
I have no idea how this made it into the gallery as ‘one of the most compelling works over the last 11 decades,’ because, quite frankly, it’s not. I’ve seen better drawings in GCSE art classes.
Chinese Student (1989) – Duane Hanson
Hanson’s realistic sculpture expresses a vision of the everyman and everywoman. He did not idealize nor romanticize his subjects, but worked carefully to present them as they might exist in real life.
Dog Days (2008) – Damien Hirst
It’s depressing how much money this is worth.
I do enjoy a bit of Andy Warhol, though 🙂
Still Life with Lobster (1995) and Lite (2009) – Gavin Turk.
Pressed Flower White (2013) – Ron Arad
“Rather than manipulate materials to render them functional or render digital models towards a functional object, here I ‘reverse’ perfectly functional objects and render them useless”.
What a waste of a Fiat 500! However the smashed car is used to symbolize what materialism means to us and the sentimental attachment to something that will someday be forgotten, neglected and thrown away.
Thanksgiving Day (1973) – Helen Frankenthaler
I have no idea what this has to do with Thanksgiving…
Mappa (1984) – Alighiero Boetti
We were both really impressed with the embroidery on this!
White Straws (2014) – Francesca Pasquali
Pasquali’s research is based on the observation of the natural animal or plant organism through the microscope, which becomes the theme of her biomorphic works.
Open Ended (2014) – Iván Navarro
Gran 16 planos (2014) – Elias Crespin
The wire grid structures are controlled by moving threads triggered by a computer program designed by the artist, adopting new forms and patterns.
The Uncrossable Upswept Bridge (2011) – Keiichi Tanaami
Tanaami’s work played a significant role in introducing pop art and psychedelic culture into Japan. The subject matter of his work is deeply rooted in his experience of the Tokyo bombings through World War 2, where “dreams and reality are all jumbled up in my memories.” These half-dream, half-memory visions appear in his work as grotesque creatures. Furthermore, standing on the verge of death at the age of 45 with medications that gave him hallucinations; Taanami’s creative energy and awareness of the fragility of life was renewed. This close encounter with death also brought him the idea of the bridge as a connection between this world and the next, as well as a metaphor for the journey of life itself.
Another Hotel 1 (2011) – James White
Ry’s favourite piece 😉
Initially we thought that it was just an unimpressive photograph, however we were stunned to discover that it was painted using oil and varnish on aluminium!
Fortune (2013) – Doug Aitken
I really liked this!
Cotton (2013) – Hassan Sharif
An 8 minute video of a man creating a big ball out of cotton and glue, with the finished result to keep you company.
We were just confused here…
Emerging Space Amidst Branches (1978/2013) – Kishio Suga
Ibiza (Spain) & Countryside (Loiret, France) (2007) – Zao Wou-Ki
Stone and Light (1989) – Tatsuo Kawaguchi
Automated Colour Field (Variation V) (2014) – Rebecca Baumann
Angelina (2013) – Mel Ramos
This was my favourite piece from Hall 3; I’m a big fan of Ramos’s work!
Monica in Robe with Matisse and Pillow (1986) – Tom Wesselmann
Sorry, I forgot to pop down the name of this metal barbecue or bike structure.
Rose-Marie (2013) – Andrew Miller
Coqueiro Chorão (2014) – Rodrigo Matheus
After the games console, this plant was Ry’s second favourite piece 🙂
Untitled (2012) – Ramin Haerizadeh
If you know me, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of collages…
So, that’s my highlights from Hall 3!
Stay tuned for MORE ART from Hall 1 😉