Feminist Spin on Art Basel Miami Beach 2022 (Video + Top Picks)

Art Basel Miami 2022 brought together numerous meaningful works this time. After finishing this short write-up, I realized that most of the artworks below are created by women. How encouraging!

(Center) Kiki Smith, Sleeping Alice with Resting Sheep, 2005, cast iron 12.7 x 53.3 x 33 cm (woman), 11.4 x 25.4 x 11.4 cm (sheep), edition of 4. (Left) Tracey Emin, The Tidal Wave Went Over Me, 2022, acrylic on canvas, 182.5 x 120.1 x 3.4 cm / 71.9 x 47.2 x 1.34 in. (Right) Rachel Whiteread, Wall (Apex), 2017, papier-mâché, 214 x 228 x 9 cm / 84.3 x 89.8 x 3.5 in. Showing with Galleria Lorcan O’Neill. Image courtesy of Artefuse Magazine.

1) Innocence of Kiki Smith’s tranquil Sleeping Alice with Resting Sheep is beautifully juxtaposed with the violent eroticism of Tracy Emin’s large-scale monochromatic canvases. In summation, the works bring in age-old archetypes about a woman’s nature – an innocent child who grows into an erotic creature enabled by her passion. Innocence transforms into seduction while both states remain tangible.

Frida Kahlo, Frida Kahlo’s Corset, c.1950, dry plaster and mixed media, 40 x 33 x 14 cm, 15.7 x 13 x 5.5 inches. Showing with Galerie Sur, Punta Del Este. Image courtesy of Artefuse Magazine.

2) Frida Kahlo corset from the 1950s – symbolism of Frida’s enchantment with communism is poignant. We know what communism has achieved in the country where it was worshipped and we also know how much pain Frida has suffered. Seeing this corset encapsulated in a glass cage at the center of Art Basel was somewhat jarring. Pain brought into a marketplace.

Kat Lyons, Shepherd, 2022, oil on canvas. Each canvas: 157.8 x 121.9 x 1.6 cm | 62 1/8 x 48 x 5/8 in. Overall: 157.8 x 243.8 x 4.1 cm | 62 1/8 x 96 x 1 5/8 in. Image courtesy of the artist and Pilar Corrias, London. 

3) Kat Lyon’s, a young, Brooklyn-based artist, has always been enigmatic with her intuitive meditations on the ethics between human and animalistic. Her stories have an eerie, almost disturbing quality, evoking archetypal memories from Lascaux caves, but bringing more recent dilemmas about how we treat our ecosystems.

Andrea Bowers, Political Ribbons, 2022. Andrea Bowers’ Political Ribbons stood out with their simple, but powerful messages. Showing with Kaufmann Repetto. Image courtesy of Artefuse Magazine.

4) Andrea Bowers’ Political Ribbons stood out with their simple, but powerful messages. The artist uses a multicolored medium of traditional feminine pastime. Viewers are encouraged to take one home and consider what it means to be a woman in the XXI century and how we fight patriarchy from here. The ribbon I got is of a vibrant red color and it says: My body is not your business.

Janine Antoni, I unfold, I infold, 2019, mixed media gilded with 24 karat gold leaf Installed: 12 3/4 x 24 3/4 x 7/8 inches (32.39 x 62.87 x 2.22 cm), Flat: 12 3/4 x 28 1/4 x 7/8 inches (32.39 x 71.76 x 2.22 cm) Commissioned by The Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY. © Janine Antoni; Courtesy of the artist, Luhring Augustine, New York, and Anthony Meier Fine Arts, San Francisco. Photo: Christopher Burke.

5) Janine Antoni, I unfold, I infold – another outstanding artist who works with the legacy of feminism. A woman’s palm is stretched outward – a traditional gesture of the Virgin Mary sending out her grace into the universe. But then the second part of the gold-encrusted diptych returns the grace and the power to the woman’s body. Traditional iconography is twisted to affirm the new reality.

Aki Sasamoto, Squirrel Door #4, 2022, wood, shoji paper, sponges, rulers, sunglasses, chimes, aluminum foil, bottle caps, machined plastic, markers, clothespins, and LED tube lights, 69 x 33 3/4 x 3/4 in (175.3 x 85.7 x 2 cm). Showing with Bortolami Gallery. Image courtesy of Artefuse Magazine.

6) Aki Sasamoto’s Squirrel Doors, inspired by the traditional Japanese shoji screens, is a meditation on the nature of barriers, what is on the inside and on the outside, surface and interior, real and imagined. Sponges, fishing lures, protractors, plastic caps, and wind chimes are trapped in between the wood and layers of shoji paper. We see the outline, but not the functionality. Form, but not the embedded meanings. The connection between the two is tenuous at best.

Vickie Pierre, You Be the Moon and I’ll Be the Earth (Gaia), 2022, acrylic, metallic paint, decorative paper collage, and glitter on canvas, mounted on panel, 66 x 45 inches. Showing with Fredric Snitzer Gallery. Image courtesy of Artefuse Magazine.

7) Vickie Pierre – You Will Be the Moon and I Will Be the Earth (Gaia) – Haitian American artist uses mixed media to look deeper into self-identity, cultural politics, Haitian mythology, and more. Yet, it is just delightful to look at her anthropomorphic figures who are like clouds floating in the ether.

Hew Locke, Souvenir 2 (Edward VII in Masonic Regalia), 2019, mixed media on antique Parian ware, 55 x 38.5 x 22 cm | 21 5/8 x 15 1/8 x 8 5/8 in. Showing with Hales Gallery. Image courtesy of Artefuse Magazine.

8) Hew Locke – Souvenir comes from the artist’s research into so-called Parian busts of Queen Victoria, first presented at the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, held in London in 1851. Locke takes this traditional representation of European aristocracy and turns it around to confront colonial and post-colonial discourse.

Kiki Smith, Kiki Smith Untitled (Head with Coins), 1998, bronze with silver nitrate, 10 × 6 × 6 in | 25.4 × 15.2 × 15.2 cm. Showing with Timothy Taylor Gallery. Image courtesy of Artefuse Magazine.

9) Kiki Smith presented by Timothy Taylor – another enigmatic work of a master. A person shut out from the world by her own accord or by the will of the surrounding materiality. Like every big artist, Smith stands for ambiguity and complexity. Only spending more time in her presence can land some personal answers.

Lucio Fontana, Crocifisso, 1950-1955, ceramics, glazed, 19 2/3 x 13 3/4 x 7, in. Archivio Fontana #4156/63. Showing with Galerie Karsten Greve. Image courtesy of Artefuse Magazine.

10) Lucio Fontana, Crucifixion, 1950-1955 – beautiful, fluid rendering of a figure we all know. But the rage, instead of the commonplace serenity, is palpable. The outcome of Fontana’s story could be different than expected.


Article by Nina Mdivani

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Nina Mdivani

Nina Mdivani is Tbilisi-born and New York-based curator, writer, and researcher. Over the past seven years, Mdivani has participated in various projects, panels, critiques, and juries connected to the contemporary visual arts with a focus on women artists, Eastern Europe, intergenerational trauma, and the erasure of culture. She has curated over ten exhibitions in New York, Germany, Georgia, and Latvia. Mdivani’s articles have been published in The Brooklyn Rail, Hyperallergic, The Art Newspaper, JANE Magazine Australia, NERO Editions Italy, Eastern European Film Bulletin Berlin, XIBT Contemporary Art Magazine Berlin, White Hot Magazine New York, Arte & Lusso Dubai, and others. Her books include: “Anna Valdez: Natural Curiosity” (Paragon Books, Berkeley, CA 2019), “King is Female: Three Georgian Artists” (Wienand Verlag, Berlin 2018), “Lechaki: Photography of Daro Sulakauri” (ERTI Gallery, Georgia 2018), “The Science, Religion, and Culture of Georgia A Concise and Illustrated History” (NOVA Science Publishing, New York 2017). In September 2022 Mdivani became Senior Director at Black Wall Street Gallery, Chelsea.

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