Hands Across the Ocean: Art Britannia Rules at Art Basel Week Miami

On View through Dec. 21 

Art Britannia facade
Art Britannia facade

During Art Basel weekend we stumbled upon a hidden gem in the Design District on North Miami Avenue called Art Britannia which featured some forty artists representing the best of Contemporary British art.

A labor of love for curator Ben Austin (from London) and producer Karelle Levy (based in Miami), well over eighty works of art (mostly painting infused with some sculpture and video) were shipped from England to Miami.

Featured in the show are established mid-career artists as well as young emerging talent, who already feature in important shows and collections such as the recent ‘New Order’ show at the Saatchi Gallery. Many have been trained at or are currently studying at the Royal Academy of the Arts.

Art Britannia Producer Karelle Levy, Curator Ben Austin and friends
Art Britannia Producer Karelle Levy, Curator Ben Austin and friends

The show, (on view through December 21 at the Miami Design District’s Madonna Building located at 3940 North Miami Avenue) is a welcome anomaly for Art Basel Week – the show’s boldness and tenacity is a breath of fresh air.

Mr. Austin runs, of all things, a public relations company in the U.K. called “Fluff,” and although humorous at times, this endeavor is a far cry from the fluffy.

Watch a video about Art Britannia here: https://vimeo.com/81143516

Video about Art Britannia
Video about Art Britannia

Many of the works are heavily tactile and layered, in particular those of Gordon Cheung.

Solar Cry by Gordon Cheung
Solar Cry by Gordon Cheung

From lush emotional landscapes to a series of playful and historical “bum” illustrations, the show covers a spectrum of temperaments and ideas.

Bum 13 by Charlie Billingham
Bum 13 by Charlie Billingham
Morning by Freya Douglas-Morris
Morning by Freya Douglas-Morris
Stranded by Dolly Thompsett
Stranded by Dolly Thompsett

Art Britannia also includes video and sculpture.

Ripper Tooth Original - Steel Sculpture by James Capper
Ripper Tooth Original – Steel Sculpture by James Capper

The subtitle of the show is “A Special Relationship,” alluding to the Anglo/American relationship shared across the ocean and the dynamics and competition that arise when artworks co-exist in the same space.

Kingfisher with Two Bubblegums by John Roberston
Kingfisher with Two Bubblegums by John Roberston

There was much going on in this show but the charm is that none of it was dull or excessive.

 

 

 

 

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