MIAMI — The Art Basel 2016 season is in full swing and once again Latin American artists are blooming in the lush tropics of Miami. But this year, the work of many of our most exciting artists will stay on our walls way after the last private jets leave our airspace.
Latin American artists are individually and collectively hitting their stride. They're creating work that defies personal or geographic borders without forgetting the traditions that colored their world view, and galleries, museums and collectors are taking notice.
Latin American artists can be found throughout Art Basel at major galleries. Galerie Lelong represents the incredible work of the late, brutally unflinching late artist Ana Mendietaas well as the canvas contorting feminist Zilia Sanchez and the perceptive Alfredo Jaar. These artists could not be more different. yet the reaction to their work has been immediate and consistent.
Hernan Bas is a standout at Lehman Maupin with his stunning "Night Swimming in Biscayne Bay." And Galerie Peter Kilchman juxtaposes the gorgeous photographs of Mexican Teresa Margolles with the slick mass speaker of Cuban artists Los Carpinteros playing a never ending stream of speeches and music that come from the Island.
At CIFO Afro-Cuban artist Carlos Martiel presented his performance “Basamento”. Inviting several undocumented Hatian immigrants from Miami’s little Haiti to prepare typical Haitian dishes that would be enjoyed by guests, Martiel spent the time on his knees, becoming the fourth leg to the large table.
During the meal, a video shows the food being made while Martiel talks about the phenomena of immigration to the United States, showing the symbiotic relationship between natives and fellow immigrants.
In this work he emphasizes what we should all always remember, we’re all in this together in the fruits or our labor and the price we pay to be able to do it here.
PINTA is celebrating their 10th anniversary with the confidence of a veteran and the coolness of a millennial. Whether it’s a classic Picasso print or a modern geometric abstractionist, every generation and country is represented.
Mexican GE Galería features 16 Cuban Artists in Primera Revancha. Curated by Omar-Pascual Castillo, Ariel Cabrera’s primal sensual series of old and water colors sit comfortable across from Geandy Pavon’s playful political paintings, which are just to the left of Ernesto Pujol’s religious large format photographs.
The Pérez Art Museum of Miami, known as PAMM, has quickly become one of the hippest museums in the States. But it’s the fact that they are of Miami and not in spite of Miami that their exhibits are one hit after the other. They smartly anticipated who would be two of the most compelling artists at Basel this season.
First the young Colombian Carlos Motta is blowing people away at P.P.O.W at Basel and his museum show, Histories for the Future. His homoerotic explorations of religion and ancient cultures are at once primal and elegant, ultimately revealing the solitude and cross contamination of ecstasy and agony using small gold figurines or large video light boxes and photographs. By addressing the smaller contingents within our lager communities, he reminds us of the mortality behind spirituality and desire.
Then PAMM goes in the opposite direction with the first North American Museum show for the acclaimed Argentinian artist Julio Le Parc. A retrospective, "Form Into Action," take guests through the playful kinetic master’s creations at all his stages of development.
From a large installation work that show off the artist’s ability to manipulate light and perception to works on paper that jump off the wall, Le Parc makes guests participate in his work by not letting them look away for fear that they'll miss a moment of his creation.
The fact is there are too many fantastic Latin American artists creating interesting and compelling work to list. And in Miami they shine that bit brighter. The explorations of the dreams, fears, politics and loves seem all too familiar because they are. Our artists are making us proud.
Mi gente, if you're in Miami, go see their work and thank them by seeing yourself in their creations.