I like to compare figuring out what to do every year at Art Basel Miami to attempting to drink from a fire hose. It is nearly impossible, completely overwhelming, and always results in a “Basel-breakdown” for me halfway through the week during which I can be found sitting on my floor in tears from sheer exhaustion after trying to see absolutely everything and attend every single event.
In an effort to alleviate some of the pressure, I’ve identified a couple of things that are must-sees and are sure to be highlights of the whole week. While works by Marina Abramovic can often be cringe-inducing for the viewer, putting them in awkward and uncomfortable situations as she tests the limits of her body and mind, there is no doubt that her self-given title of “the grandmother of performance art” is well-deserved. From solo shows at MoMA, the Guggenheim, and the Whitney Biennial, to a Golden Lion Award at the Venice Biennale, she has proven herself to be a seminal artist of our time.
With a body of work spanning four decades, filmmaker Matthu Placek has created a film that documents the history of her work and the lasting impact that her many projects have had on her physical body. This film will premiere on December 3rd for a select group of VIPs at Miami’s new cultural hub- the National YoungArts Foundation’s campus. This premiere event with a panel by Marina herself and film maker Placek, will undoubtedly be one of the hottest tickets at Basel. Luckily, after the premiere, the film will be screening every evening of Basel from dusk until dawn so that everyone will have a chance to see this piece that will serve as a monument to the 40 years of Abramovic’s career, demonstrating her contribution to our culture.
Last year, one of my favorite shows was Design Miami, and from what I’ve heard, this year will be no different. The entrance alone promises to be worth the visit. New York-based architecture practice, formlessfinder, has designed an entrance for the pavilion that will undoubtedly be as awe-inspiring as last year’s Snarkitechture installation, which featured 500 massive inflatable tubes being toyed with by the Miami breeze and sunshine. This year, formlessfinder will craft an entrance to the fair featuring a massive aluminum pitched roof over a spectacular pyramid of loose sand. Having a piece in sand creates an interactive environment- one that invites the viewer to sit, play, rest and relax from the non-stop pace of the fair. It will change and evolve over the course of the week, dependent on viewer interaction and environmental conditions. This will clearly be worth more than just one visit. While these are only two of the many brilliant and exciting shows that will occur during Basel, they are certain to be two that will inspire viewers, expand horizons and be topics of discussion long after the fair closes. Happy Baseling!