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Art Basel Miami Beach: Art Positions

Quisqueya Henriquez. Collage Made According to the Laws of Change, 2008. Collage on paper, Courtesy David Castillo Gallery

Art Basel Miami Beach announced its Art Positions program for this year. Twenty young galleries will present their special exhibition projects in converted shipping containers, located by the beach at Collins Park between 21st and 22nd Streets. Art Positions counts participating galleries from USA, Italy, Mexico, Germany, Austria, Great Britain, Norway, Austria, Spain and Denmark, chosen by the Selection Committee from over 120 submitted applications. Many of the artists have dealt directly with the architecture of the shipping container, using it as a starting point for their projects.

In cooperation with Art Radio WPS1.org, Art Basel Miami Beach will also present the futuristic structure ULTRA by Federico Diaz and the Czech design collective E-Area at the entrance of the Art Positions site, redefining the public space and presenting a topology shaped for sitting, relaxation and interaction. The lounge, cafe, and Art Radio WPS1.org broadcast booth will be transformed by undulating waves and extrusions and will host the Art Sound Lounge curated by David Weinstein. The Art Positions Radio Space Station and ULTRA environment is curated by P.S.1 Director Alanna Heiss, P.S.1 Project Director David Weinstein, and P.S.1 Project Consultant Antoine Guerrero.

The concurrent Art Perform program at the Art Positions site, curated by Jens Hoffmann (Director Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts San Francisco), presents daily performances by four artists invited to conceive and present specially commissioned pieces: Christian Jankowski (Germany), Yoshua Okon (Mexico/United States), Adriana Lara (Mexico), and Jordan Wolfson (United States).

Participating galleries are the following, Andersen’s Contemporary (DM-Copenhagen), Blow 111 (UK-London), Broadway 1602 (US-New York), David Castillo Gallery (US-Miami), Sorcha Dallas (UK-Glasgow), Galería Salvador Díaz (SP-Madrid), Galerie Andreas Huber (AT-Wien), Iris Kadel Galerie (DE-Karlsruhe), Mary Mary (UK-Glasgow), Proyectos Monclova (MX-México D.F.), Newman Popiashvili Gallery (US-New York), Redling Fine Art (US-Los Angeles), Daniel Reich Gallery (US-New York), Renwick Gallery (US-New York), Rivington Arms (US-New York), Franco Soffiantino Arte Contemporanea (IT-Torino), Standard (NO-Oslo), T293 Gallery (IT-Napoli), Steve Turner Contemporary (US-Los Angeles), Galerie Eva Winkeler (DE-Frankfurt).

For their Art Positions project, Blow 111 Gallery (London) presents “Bar La Parada,” a project by Federico Herrero (born 1978), which serves as a platform  for the artist’s work and the work of other artists of the gallery. The presentation will include paintings by Federico Herrero, music by Los Super Elegantes, a sculpture by Marcelo Krasilcic, a neon sign by Stefan Bruggemann, and drawings by Carla Zaccagnini.

Martin Soto Climent (born 1977) transforms the container of Gallery Broadway 1602 (New York) into a huge version of an office pendulum toy for adults. The piece consists of a row of low-hanging colored foam balls, stretching throughout the length of the container, which is open both at the front and the back, like a tunnel. The visitor can hit the balls on one side to generate a chain reaction, which ideally runs through the row and makes the last ball at the end of the container kick out in a playful swing. As the balls are of soft material, however the installation will not work as expected and the balls will jump and play in irregular and unpredictable ways.

In the solo presentation at Sorcha Dallas Gallery (Glasgow), Charlie Hammond (born 1979) creates an installation referencing the dynamic of a cafe situation. For this installation, Hammond produces a series of new sculptures and paintings corresponding to the characters, customers or furniture to be found in a cafe.

The installation “Score Settlings” by Mexican artist Teresa Margolles (born 1963) at the container of Galeria Salvador Diaz (Madrid) presents jewellery works emerging from murders committed by drug traffickers in Mexico. Margolles has collected the glass fragments resulting from windscreens broken in revenge killings. Those glass fragments have been reassembled by a jeweller and used like precious stones in bracelets or rings. The container will appear like a hybrid between a jewellery store and a mausoleum.

For his installation and opening performance Raul de Nieves (born 1983) will throw an ice cream party at Newman Popiashvili Gallery (New York) titled “Ice Cream You Scream We all Scream for Ice Cream.” The container will be shaped like a large banana-split sundae sculpture from the outside. Inside will be an installation with sculptures and paintings. Guests are invited to eat ice cream.

In the project for Redling Fine Art (Los Angeles), Drew Hitzler (born 1972) focuses on the decay of the dying palm trees of L.A. The trees, most of which were planted early in the 20th century, are succumbing to age and fungi infestation. Hitzler will transport one of these large trees to Miami and install it at the Art Positions site, removing the icon from its aging status as the international icon of Hollywood and repositioning it as a drippy stand-in for darker Los Angeles.

Sean Raspet (born 1981) shows a new installation at Daniel Reich Gallery (New York) presenting a film that can only be watched by one person at a time - inspired by films produced for the purpose of brainwashing or conditioning the viewer. Like the protagonists in films such as “The Parallax View” (1974) or “Clockwork Orange” (1971), the viewer is exposed to brainwashing films, which confronts images with terms. As the tempo of the film increases, images from one category appear in another, in order to confuse the viewer and change his or her perception.

Mexican artist Jose Davila (born 1974) transforms the container of Renwick Gallery (New York) into a sculpture by slicing it into equal-size pieces, subtracting some and leaving others in place to ultimately create a sculpture similar to the iconic Donald Judd stack sculptures. The shipping container, as an object, represents the transitional and transitory nature of Miami Beach. By borrowing Judd’s purity in forms and combining it with the raw material of the container, Davila comments on the illusionism of the city of Miami Beach.

The artist collective My Barbarian presents “Hysteria-Theater” at Steve Turner Contemporary (Los Angeles) reconfiguring the interior of the shipping container into an imaginary space of the theater as a womb. Entering this dark red velvet tunnel leads the viewer to projected images of masked players with instruments. Performers in sculptural costumes that refer to ancient theater chant, play music and dance with snakes occupying the space as living specimens from a lost world.

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