Art & Culture

Art Basel is Back

People from throughout the world descending on Miami Beach for Art Basel, the show that has transformed the area into an internationally recognized cultural destination -- and one that, in pre-Covid 2019, pre-immersive art days, attracted 88,000 attendees.

de la Cruz Collection

Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz for several years hosted VIP opening receptions for Art Basel at their contemporary Key Biscayne residence. Then their private collection grew well beyond a Salvador Dali portrait of Carlos's mother who de la Cruz Collection Director Melissa Wallen said commissioned it when she and the avant-garde artist were 1950s Manhattan residents. 

The de la Cruz Collection these days fills a 30,000 square foot Design District public gallery. As for show VIPs who also outgrew the de la Cruz digs: They are among a crowd eight times the population all of Key Biscayne.

Art Basel, the show that has transformed Miami and Miami Beach into an internationally recognized cultural destination, for VIPs this year takes place over an extended Tuesday through Saturday, Nov. 30 to Dec. 4. International galleries as part of the show are exhibiting carefully curated collections at the Miami Beach Convention Center for the first time since a pre-Covid 2019 show attracted 88,000 people.

Art Basel Superblue

Art Basel Superblue - Immersive technologies such as the mirrored labyrinth, transcendent digital environment and light-based Ganzfeld work of Superblue, which opened a first location in Allapattah, are among the topics to be addressed during Art Basel’s “Conversations” programming sessions. Photo compliments teamLab

The excitement is palpable.

"It's a highlight for every gallery, and every gallery wants to show," said Angie Gonzalez, manager of the Piero Atchugarry Gallery, a first-time exhibitor with Miami and Uruguay locations.

Piero Atchugarry last year went through the rigorous application process that is required for Art Basel's juried entry, got placed on a waiting list, and the show canceled because of Covid-19, Gonzalez said. 

The Little Haiti gallery is this year showing in the Survey section for works created before 2000 a solo exhibition of the late Maria Freire, a painter, sculptor and critic who in her native Uruguay became a leading figure in the development of concrete and non-figurative art.

Art Basel Freire

Art Basel Freire - Piero Atchugarry, a first-time Art Basel gallery entry from Little Haiti, is showing the works of the late Uruguayan artist Maria Freire, who Gallery Director Angie Gonzalez said was underrepresented throughout her life and is getting "overdue recognition".

Speaking with a reporter for Arte Al Dia about creations that included polygons in a reductive palette, Freire said, “I felt that artists cannot be the slaves of an idea, a trend, nor can they be unfaithful to the transformations of their thinking, their feelings, their conceptual attitude."

Piero Atchugarry is one of more than 250 galleries showing at Art Basel the works of 4,000-plus artists in seven sections that also include Galleries, or leading galleries, and Edition, for pieces made to be reproduced on a limited scale.

Art Basel’s Meridien section for large-scale projects would typically appeal to Cuban-American artist and sculptor Jorge Pardo, a Mexico resident known for using vivid colors to create eclectic patterns on murals, supersized fabrications and more.

Pardo, the subject of the book, “Jorge Pardo: Public Projects and Commissions 1996-2018” by his Petzel Gallery representatives in New York City, is instead participating in one of several events that Art Basel is hosting outside of the convention center: a Thursday unveiling at the new Norwegian Cruise Lines terminal at the Port of Miami that is a Miami Dade County Art in Public Places effort.

Saturday Brunch & Book Signing

Art Basel is also hosting a Saturday Brunch & Book Signing with Cuban-born Miami Artist Julio Larraz. 

“Julio Larraz: The Kingdom We Carry Inside,” the artist’s first museum retrospective and the title of a book that the is signing, takes place at the Coral Gables Museum.

Art Basel’s convention center events compliment gallery exhibits and are in keeping with the de la Cruz Collection's visionary “There Is Always One Direction” exhibit at the Design District gallery.

Art Basel Larraz

Art Basel Larraz - Julio Larraz is participating in an Art Basel-hosted Brunch & Book Signing at the Coral Gables Museum to celebrate his first museum retrospective, which includes the oil on canvas, “Two Hundred Years in Power”.

Conversations, as the events are known, delve into topics such as non-fungible tokens, or NFTs that, through blockchain technology, track artwork ownership and sales. The discussions also address immersive technologies that have helped bring more widespread attention to Monet and Van Gogh, which helped create Superblue, the experiential art venue that opened its first location in Allapattah in March.

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