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Streets Dept’s Top 15 Artworks from Art Basel 2018

December 10, 2018

So excited to visit Art Basel (and Miami) for the first time this last week, and I wanted to pull together a list of some of the artists and artworks that caught my eye!

A few caveats here, namely that I did not go to every single Art Basel event because I was only there for 3 1/2 days and there is so, SO much to do and see and traffic was bananas. So for that reason this is not a complete review of Art Basel, per say, but of the 4 big shows I did get to see, shows that came highly recomended by firends of mine who’ve been going to and participting in Art Basel for many years: Scope, Untitled, Pulse, and the Juxtapoz Clubhouse. Also, there are so many artists I enjoyed that haven’t made this list just solely to keep this list a reasonable length. It could truly be Top 50 and maybe next year I’ll do that.

Hope y’all enjoy this little peek at Art Basel 2018…

15) Hilda Palafox – Juxtapoz Clubhouse, special all Mexico City group show

“Hilda Palafox, ‘Poni,’ is on of those illustrators whose drawings could be a poem. She grew up and is based in Mexico City, she has an bachelor’s degree in Integral Design and since 2006 has been spreading her beautifully crafted dolls around her home country. Her illustrations carry an air of pureness and at times, a very elegant apathy. She creates gentle balances amongst colors and black and white. She enjoys mixing and matching techniques, for each piece the results are always held together by gracefulness. Subtle suggestions of expressions and emotions held together by light bodies and romantic surroundings. In recent years she’s embarked on bringing her work into delicate ceramic pieces. She has illustrated for magazines, singers and several national and international brands. Apart from her illustration work she has been commissioned to adorn murals from the paradisiac island of Holbox in Quintana Roo to crusty walls in Mexico City rooftops. Her characters fit in, they invite you to watch, from their pupil-less glances to their doe eyed stares, a seduction that could only be a vision.” (from Ivonne Alcántara of Juxtapoz)

14) Dennis McNett, Paradigm Gallery + Studio (Philadelphia) – Juxtapoz Clubhouse

“Dennis McNett has been carving surly block prints for over 20 years. His encouragement as a kid came from his blind grandfather, who told him over and over again that his drawings were good. Later influences came from the raw high-energy imagery pouring out of the early 80’s skateboard and punk rock scene. His graphic aesthetic and love for narrative work has been translated in many ways and has been displayed internationally. Dennis’s work ranges from larger than life Viking ship performances/parades (Manhattan, Philladelphia, Kansas City, St. Louis,) to resurrecting Nordic giants on West Broadway in Manhattan, Dragon slayings in Oklahoma, masks, installations, performance, sculptures, unique hand-carved wood carvings, traditional relief prints, and graphics.” (from Pratt Institute)

13) Okuda San MiguelScope

“Prismatic, mystical, and infused with color, Okuda San Miguel’s murals, street art, sculptures, tapestries, photographs, installations and more vibrate with an energy that is impossible to ignore. Laden with enigmatic imagery and highly pigmented geometries, his multi-disciplinary work both suggests and challenges themes of spirituality, modernity, environmentalism and the human condition.” (from Design Boom)

12) Folkert de Jong, DENK Gallery (Los Angeles) – Untitled Art Fair

“Folkert de Jong’s figurative installations combine a touch of ironic Old Master tableaux vivant-style composition with a strong dose of the macabre. His polyurethane foam mannequins have an arresting life-like quality, which makes their dirty and broken down facture all the more affecting.” (from Saatchi Gallery)

11) Bisco Smith, TREASON Gallery (Seattle) – Scope

“Bisco Smith is a contemporary visual artist with roots in music, graffiti, and street art, currently based in Brooklyn, New York. Bisco works in a variety of formats, including canvas and large outdoor murals, and is known for his ‘visual freestyle’—characterized as a blend of graffiti deconstruction, gestural abstraction, and lyric-based stylewriting. Made predominantly with a black and white color palette, his art visually captures the rhythms of music and the energy of the moment through its spontaneous marks and abstracted text.” (from Bisco Smith)

10) Del Kathryn Barton, Albertz Benda Gallery (New York) – Untitled Art Fair

“Del Kathryn Barton is an Australian painter best known for her whimsical depictions people and animals. Her psychedelic environments are created using sequins, markers, gouache, and glitter. “All I can say is that the work does mean everything to me and it is like a life source,” she explained.” (from Artnet)

9) Devan Shimoyama, De Buck Gallery (New York, Antwerp, and St. Paul de Vence) – Untitled Art Fair

“Devan Shimoyama is a visual artist working primarily in self-portraiture and narratives inspired from classical mythology and allegory. Shimoyama seeks to depict the black queer male body as something that is both desirable and desirous. He explores the mystery and magic in the process of understanding his origins and also investigates the politics of queer culture. His work showcases the relationship between celebration and silence in queer culture and sexuality. Shimoyama’s composition is inspired from the canons of the masters Caravaggio and Goya, though adding a more contemporary expression and sensuality. With the usage of various materials: splattered paint, stencils, black glitter, rhinestones, and sequins, Shimoyama creates pieces that capture the magical spirit of human beings.” (from De Buck Gallery)

8) Christian Rex van Minnen, Gallery Poulsen (Copenhagen) – Pulse

“It looks almost traditional, an oil on panel, meticulously glazed. But really, it’s a portrait of European and American History as a colorful tumor. It’s as if the Dutch Painters had ingested some magical psychoactive that allowed them to see the full scope of history ahead — American Colonialism, the Genocide of Native Americans, the seeds of racism and social injustice, the prison systems, the ghettos, the rich history of oppression beginning in those first celebratory brush strokes… Everything, all at once.” (from Gallery Poulsen)

7) Ann LewisPulse

One in Five of Us is a hanging installation that represents the statistic that 1 in 5 American women will be raped in her lifetime. Fifty pair of women and girls’ underwear hang from the ceiling. Forty of which are untouched, the other 10 are stained, torn, shredded, and otherwise destroyed to represent the trauma of rape experienced by this subset of women.” (from Ann Lewis)

6) Faig Ahmed, Sapar Contemporary (New York) – Untitled Art Fair

“Faig Ahmed’s surreal sculptures incorporate ancient carpet-weaving techniques from his native country of Azerbaijan into forms that anyone would identify has hyper-contemporary. His intricately patterned weavings are mounted on architectural structures, fabricated in wood or plastic. Sometimes the stark contrast between white form and traditional tapestry is startling enough on its own; other times, Ahmed alters the patterns to suggest digital manipulation, pixelation, and distortion.” (from Artsy)

5) Lucy Sparrow – Juxtapoz Clubhouse

“It’s never been a critique of consumerism at all. It’s a celebration of how much everyday objects and brands that we love can bring someone so much joy. Someone can be in the hospital and you bring them their favorite chocolate bar, and instantly their mood is lifted… I think people are way too quick to call consumerism evil. I am sure on some meta scale consumerism is bad but we are all making these choices of buying stuff. We have built a society where we can swap money to get things. That’s not to say it’s about expensive things. If I like something, I like it for what it is. It’s about cherishing objects as much as people and I find that special.” (from Vice)

4a) Alberto Borea, Eduardo Secci Contemporary (Florence) – Untitled Art Fair

Free School District runs parallel with the ongoing conversation surrounding gun control. Transforming the exterior of an abandoned school bud into the shape of an AR15, the weapon responsible for the majority of shooting in North America.” (from artist Alberto Borea’s Instagram)

I choose an “a” and “b” here because I like both of these installations that address the same issue for different reasons, and given the scale of the problem of gun violence in the U.S. it seems fitting to keep both of these artworks on this list. Above, I like the simplicity and scale, it reminds me of something that would work really well to gain people’s attentions and thoughts installed outside in a public space. Below, the installation made me see the bodies, the students’s bodies, who might one day soon realistically be expected to wear such protections while getting their education and about how sad and ridiculous that is.

4b) WhIsBe, Castle Fitzjohns Gallery (New York) – Scope

3) Eric Rieger – Scope

“Eric Rieger, known by the moniker HOTTEA (previously), is a graffiti writer turned installation artist whose medium of choice is yarn. With it, he creates colorful large-scale works inspired by the moments, experiences, and people in his life. Whether flowing down from the ceiling of a gallery, or interlaced across the top of a pedestrian pathway, Rieger’s installations always hold a connection to his past and those who helped shape it.” (from Colossal)

2) Bisa Butler, Claire Oliver Gallery (New York) – Pulse

“I have always been drawn to portraits. I was the little girl who would sit next to my grandmother and ask her to go through her old family photo albums. I was the one who wanted to hear the story behind every picture. This inquisitiveness has stayed with me to this day. I often start my pieces with a black and white photo and allow myself to tell the story. My stories are told in the fabrics that I choose, the textures I combine, and the colors that create a whole new composition. My portraits tell stories that may have been forgotten over time. When you see vintage lace and aged satin it tells you the story of delicacy and refinement of times gone by. When you see African printed cotton and mud cloth it tells the story of my ancestral homeland and the cradle of civilization. When you see multi-colored organza and netting layered you are being told a story of something or someone colorful and multifaceted.” (from artist Bisa Butler via Claire Oliver Gallery)

1) Danny Gretsher, Galerie C.O.A (Montreal) – Scope

“Born in 1977 in Jena (East Germany,) Danny Gretscher then moved to Stuttgart where he began doing graffiti at the age of 16. He studied graphic design, but quickly focused on painting. In 2004 he decided to settle his first studio in Berlin without putting his street art apart. To his passion for painting he added his desire to travel. Australia held an important place as he spent many months there between 2016 and 2017, juggling between a show at 19 Karen (Gold Coast Art Gallery,) a residency in Sydney, or even transforming urban spaces like the mural he created for the collective project Elysium in Byron Bay. After his Australian artistic journey, Danny Gretscher went back to Berlin and started working on his show for Galerie C.O.A; There is Enough Light is Danny Gretscher’s first exhibition in North America.” (from Galerie C.O.A)

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 10, 2018 9:14 pm

    #6… the dripping rug… has blown my mind!

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