Highlights from Art Basel Miami Beach 2023 (Video and Favorite Works)

Art Basel Miami 2023 top 10 picked by writer and curator Nina Chkareuli-Mdivani

Art Basel Miami felt strangely invigorating and fresh this year. Many young and not-so-young artists of every tribe through individual ebb and flow showed that even though the reality of contemporary art is very much market-based, a pulsating energy of emotions, cerebral concentration, and hunger is there for us to observe and reflect upon. In a way, we all do know that fairs, their visitors, and participants conscientiously subscribe to the rules of living in a fantasy land where people do not die, where teenagers do not go shooting into the schools where the main concerns revolve around a ‘discovery,’ ‘trajectory,’ ‘narrative’ and ‘space perception.’ Yet, this world is fabulous, beautiful, and transient. Until the next Art Basel Miami 2024.

Works by the Swiss painter Rudolf Maeglin (1892–1971) tune into the mechanics of a Basel dye factory, but somehow also depict larger push-pulls of everyday in laconic, fascinating propositions. Presented by Meredith Rosen Gallery.

A well-presented mini-survey of Leonor Fini (1907-1996) by Galerie Minsky, Paris and Weinstein Gallery, San Francisco once again proves the breadth of this surrealist master who painted portraits of Parisian high society and uncanny furry creatures from her (and our) dreams equally well.

Kenya-based multidisciplinary painter Kaloki Nyamai uses burned strings and photographs from 1920-50s America and more recent Kenyan history to create large, vibrant compositions creating harmonious and multilayered pannos. Presented by Galerie Barbara Thumm, Berlin.

Oladele Ajiboye Bamgboye ‘Defining Self Sufficiency No. 6’, 1993, 72”  Thomas Erben, New York – a marvelous exercise of presence in absence, of poststructural gaze upon oneself beyond aesthetical considerations.

South Korean artist Kyungmi Shin combines old mythological archetypes of her country with more recent photographic archives thus creating a past that effortlessly walks from one dimension to the next. Presented by Sperone Westwater.

Marlene Dumas at David Zwirner presents yet another haunting portrait of solitude as it progresses into loneliness and despair. Her faces are always haunted by their Bergmanesque complexity of emotions.

Ugandan artist Sanaa Gateja creates his striking beads from recycled man-made waste materials moving between tapestry, painting, and sculpture with ease and grace. Presented by Afriart.

Celeste Rapone’s large piece exemplifies the repose and sweetness of summer, looking at this bright, idyllic work I was very much reminded of Elena Ferrante’s youthful maidens as they were growing up. Presented by Corbett vs. Dempsey.

Contemporary Georgian artist Anna K.E. presented by New York-based Simone Subal offers an elegant and deep immersion into experience as defined in two-dimensional spaces. Could life be a quadrilateral or a pentagon?

Detail of a large and intriguing work by Eva Jospin – silk threads on silk canvas bring XiX century aesthetics into the fair one of elegance, pose, and refinement. Presented by Galleria Continua.

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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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