Every year, Art Basel Miami Beach offers a huge selection of strange and amazing things to look at, both in the form of spectacular works of art and pieces cynically created for their potential to go viral. In previous years, duct-taped bananas have stolen the show. In 2022, similar attempts were made, including an ATM by Brooklyn art collective MSCHF that displayed users’ photos alongside their bank account balances. But our favorite pieces and exhibits grabbed attention for a more interesting reason: namely, they’re just plain good.
Ceysson & Bénétiere Gallery Presenting Daniel Firman
Entitled Attitude Jade #3, this piece by Daniel Firman had many visitors hesitantly approaching, afraid they were about to experience a jump scare or a performance piece a la Marina Abramović. It appears, at first, like perhaps a young woman is taking a long time gazing at some kind of artwork mounted on the wall and shrouded by a piece of fabric. But the whole thing is actually a hyperrealistic sculpture made of resin, clothing, a wig, and shoes. It was definitely among the most Instagrammable pieces in an event designed to produce Instagrammable pieces.
The Future Perfect at Design Miami/
If you’ve ever thought that furniture design was boring, even momentarily, take in this booth by The Future Perfect like a shot of espresso for your brain. Presented at Design Miami/ 2022, a collectible furniture fair exhibited as part of the larger Art Basel Miami event, the booth includes an alluring array of fascinating works, including a wool carpet by Claudy Jongstra, a Chris Wolston bronze coffee table, and boucle-and-aluminum club chairs — get all the details about every last element in this photo here.
Leandro Erlich Retrospective
Presented at the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) is Leandro Erlich: Liminal, the first monographic exhibition of Argentinian artist Leandro Erlich’s work in North America. The exhibition features 16 works spanning more than two decades throughout PAMM’s special exhibition galleries. The works are arranged to create a narrative storyline as visitors make their way through the gallery, encountering reality-shifting interactive installations like Swimming Pool, originally created in 1999.
Mark Grattan at Design Miami/
Also at the Design Miami/ fair, furniture designer Mark Grattan’s sexy mirrored bedroom display was like 1980s cocaine culture softened up for 2023, its hard chrome edges contrasting with soft, curving lavender upholstery. Located in the booth by T&C O.G. Cristina Grajales, the display served up an aesthetic we didn’t know we were craving.
Perrotin Presenting Hernan Bas
Miami native Hernan Bas captured both the attention of festival goers and an excellent sum for his painting, titled Conceptual artist #15 (Performance based, along with a troop of hired actors he takes residence in ‘fixer upper’ homes and feigns nefarious occult activity to stir up the neighbors). Presented by Perrotin, the piece sold for $450,000. The title alone might be worth the price.
Savannah College of Art & Design Collaboration with Cerámica Suro
The Savannah College of Art and Design booth was an unexpected revelation at this year’s Art Basel, displaying works created in collaboration between SCAD students and Cerámica Suro, a Guadalajara-based studio known for pushing the boundaries of what artisanal ceramics can be. Founder José Noé Suro evolved his family’s manufacturing business into a globally renowned powerhouse through partnerships with leading contemporary artists. The vibrant collections of glazed tiles were created by SCAD alumni artists Nicolas Barrera, Lauren Clay, Gonzalo Hernandez, Cory Imig, Abel Macias, and Nikita Nagpal.
Thaddaeus Ropac Presenting Georg Baselitz
One of this year’s highest-selling works at Art Basel was also one of its most striking. London-based dealer Thaddaeus Ropac sold an abstract oil painting by Georg Baselitz entitled Emilio macht das Licht Aus (2020) for $1.4 million. The painting depicts a nude figure partially concealed within black and white brush strokes.
Sikkema Jenkins Presenting Maria Nepomuceno
Who doesn’t love to look at weird, slightly fleshy textile sculptures? Okay, maybe not everyone, but there’s no denying that Maria Nepomuceno’s work pulls you in to look closer and marvel at its complexities. Her display of colorful, organic forms was beautifully presented at Art Basel 2022 by gallery Sikkema Jenkins. This is just a taste of what the gallery has staged using Nepomuceno’s creations, so make sure to check out their previous exhibitions for more elaborate displays.