Art What! Arts Preview

Art What!: Art Basel announces further highlights of its upcoming show in Miami Beach

The 2021 edition of Art Basel Miami Beach – Art Basel’s first in-person fair in Miami Beach since 2019 – will feature 253 leading galleries from around the globe presenting the highest quality of works across all media, from rare and historical masterpieces to new pieces by today’s emerging artistic voices. In addition to showcasing exceptional art within its Galleries, Positions, Nova, Survey and Edition sectors, the fair will also present 16 large-scale artworks in Meridians; 25 carefully curated exhibitions as part of the Kabinett sector; as well as 10 panels as part of the fair’s renowned Conversations series.

‘There is enormous excitement within the artworld on both sides of the Atlantic about Art Basel Miami Beach 2021,’ says Marc Spiegler, Global Director of Art Basel. ‘Not only because it’s our first fair in two years in the Americas, but also because the show has never before featured such a diverse range of voices.’


Meridians, Art Basel in Miami Beach’s unique platform for large-scale projects, provides galleries the opportunity to showcase monumental works that push the boundaries of a traditional art fair layout, including large-scale sculptures and paintings, installations, video projections, and live performances. The sector, which will newly be staged in a dedicated space on the main show floor, will once again be curated by Mexico City-based Magalí Arriola, Director of Museo Tamayo.

Meridians highlights include:

  • A new work by Maxwell Alexandre as part of the artist’s ‘Pardo é Papel’ series presented by A Gentil Carioca.
  • A site-specific installation and a performance-based activation of six body devices by Brendan Fernandes titled ‘Contract and Release’ (2019–2021) presented by moniquemeloche.
  • Todd Gray’s ‘Sumptuous Memories of Plundering Kings’ (2021) presented by David Lewis,a 14-part work exceeding 30 feet in length, exploring the history and enduring impact of European colonialism, slavery, and the African diaspora.
  • A monumental double-sided painting by Jacqueline de Jong titled ‘De achterkant van het bestaan’ (The backside of existence), (1992), presented by Pippy Houldsworth Gallery.
  • Howardena Pindell’s iconic ‘Sweatshop’ (1998–1999), an expansive canvas presenting advertising cutouts of quotidian objects: combs, scissors, glasses, and other items, presented by Garth Greenan Gallery.
  • ‘Moving Up’ (2021) by Yinka Shonibare, CBE, an installation presented by James Cohan Gallery capturing the vertical move of six million African Americans from rural Southern states to the cities of the North, Midwest, and West from 1916 to 1970, known today as the Great Migration.

Magalí Arriola, curator of Meridians, says: ‘Many of the works included in Meridians question the traditional representations of class, race and power to resist social conventions, and to bridge the physical and cultural boundaries that surfaced in our society in recent times.’


Providing galleries with an opportunity to present curated exhibitions in separately delineated spaces within their booths, this year’s Kabinett sector will include 25 presentations by established and emerging artists.

Kabinett highlights include:

  • Jorge Mara – La Ruche’s presentation of Ellen Auerbach, Grete Stern and Horacio Coppola, three influential figures of Avant Garde photography who established themselves as visionary modernists in Europe and South America during the 1930s.
  • Sies + Höke’s presentation of rare early drawings by Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter, which trace the differences as well as the common ground in their artistic approaches.
  • Mayoral’s presentation of works by Manolo Millares, one of the most important Spanish artists of the post-war European Informalist movement.
  • Roberts Projects’ presentation of community-based portraits by Ghanian artist Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe, a series of new paintings exploring the relationships between identity, materiality, and race, that mark a critical evolution for the artist.


Art Basel’s renowned Conversations series offers a platform for the exchange of ideas on topics concerning the global contemporary art scene. This year’s program features 10 panels bringing together leading artists, gallerists, collectors, art historians, curators, museum directors and critics from across the world discussing diverse issues from the rise of the NFT art market, to questions of resilience post-pandemic and the need to re-invent the museum.Conversations will be curated for the second time by Art Basel and private art dealer and author Edward Winkleman. The program will be free to the public, running fromWednesday, December 1st to Saturday, December 4th in the Auditorium (Grand Ballroom). All panel discussions will be live-streamed on Facebook and recorded.

For further information, visit artbasel

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