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How To Learn Sign Language

Art Basel Miami Beach 2019 | Highlights

The fair feels great this year. We’ve come through the end of a multi-year renovation
of this building. The show’s really vibrant,
there’s a lot of color and texture and materiality
coming through the works. A lot of larger-scale
sculptures, painting, interesting photography, a wide-ranging
generation of artists. And it’s a very
internationally diverse show. Christina uses oil paints, so there’s a real plasticity
to the texture. It’s kind of
about borders and boundaries and things that aren’t binary, that are fluid and meshing
somehow together. I think it’s kind of beings
finding themselves. How do boundaries get crossed? What is the boundary of a body? What is the boundary
of a gender? What is the boundary of race? I think she’s one of
the strongest painters I’ve seen come up
in a very long time. It’s a presentation of a
cocktail party as he sees it. It’s a bit of a
caricature, cartoon, elements are exaggerated and none of the figures are actually
interacting with one another. Today we are obsessed
with observing people, and this is an opportunity
to really stand back and observe a kind of
frozen moment in time. We’re deeply supportive
of our younger galleries, both within
the project-specific sectors, like Positions or Nova. But also in helping
support galleries come up through the ranks
in the main sectors of the fair. This year at Art Basel we’re presenting
a solo booth of Tau Lewis. And it’s an ongoing narrative
of works that she’s doing that relates to the ideas
of ancestry through the cosmos. I think the fact
that she is self-taught creates an interesting
lens for her. I think she takes risks
that maybe artists who have maybe a more formal
approach to their practice wouldn’t take. If you spend time
with these pieces, you can really see the
personalities coming through. They’re very special. I’m happy
to say they’re all my friends.Hand Circle,from 1996,
is phosphorus-based bronze, which has copper in it, which gives it this
high level of naturalism. It almost seems like the hands are covered
in mascara or makeup. These are his hands
that are repeated, and in this kind of
circular configuration he’s exploring various gestures. The finger in the hole – very suggestive of a kind of
human sexual experience, but it could also be
a sleight of hand or abstract sign language. Someone once said that experiencing
Bruce Nauman’s work is like getting
hit over the head with a baseball bat from behind. And yet this piece has this
more contemplative, more mysterious quality,
more abstract quality. ‘Force comes from motion. It serves three purposes: to
pull, to push, to immobilize.’ The aim of Juan Carlos Romero
withViolenciawas to shove the spectators
into realizing that violence was the only way to fight the
oppressor’s violence. This is what he called
‘emancipatory violence.’ The work started about a little
over three years ago, where Julie
had just traveled to China and observed these beautiful
cave paintings. This one isLuminous Appearance,andTransmigration,
Transmutation,andLast Breath.One of the things
we’re most proud of that happens in parallel
with the shows is our Conversations program which this year bring together
over 50 different speakers, whether curators, artists,
museum directors, collectors, activists, writers
from all over the world. All of these talks
are available online. I remember growing up and
hearing about Lorenzato’s work, and it was sort of
a hidden secret. He developed his own technique
because he had these tools. So he would kind of
comb the paintings. I love this from 1994. It feels
to me like a New Year’s Eve, where you can see the sky
lit by these flowers of fire. She cuts and manipulates
and embellishes and really uses beauty as a tool
to seduce you in to what looks like this very
glorious and beautiful image, but it’s really about serious
disenfranchisement of underprivileged
and minorities and violence against black
and brown bodies. One thing that we’re incredibly
proud of at Art Basel is the extent to which artists
themselves are engaged with what happens here. The notion that art fairs are
an isolated, commercial sphere, separated somehow from the
studio and from artist practice, is no longer
really the case whatsoever.

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