Art Basel Miami Beach 2015

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 12.46.16 PM Public: 26 international artists will transform Collins Park with 27 site-specific installations and performances.

For the 2015 edition of Art Basel’s show in Miami Beach, Nicholas Baume, Director and Chief Curator of Public Art Fund, returns for his third year curating the show’s Public sector.

Under the theme ‘Metaforms’, 27 large-scale and site-specific installations and performances by leading and emerging artists from over 11 countries will turn Miami Beach’s Collins Park into an outdoor exhibition space.

Produced in collaboration with the Bass Museum of Art for the fifth consecutive year, the sector will include significant works by Olaf Breuning, James Capper, Tony Cragg, Melvin Edwards, Sam Falls, Sylvie Fleury, Katharina Grosse, Matt Johnson, Jacob Kassay, Kris Martin, Rubén Ortiz Torres, Athena Papadopoulos, Ishmael Randall-Weeks, Sterling Ruby, Michael Sailstorfer, Tomás Saraceno, Tony Tasset, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Francisco Ugarte, Timm Ulrichs, Marianne Vitale, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Hank Willis Thomas, Robert Wilson, Yan Xing and Xiao Yu.

The Public sector of Art Basel, whose Lead Partner is UBS, will open on Wednesday, December 2, with a special evening performance program featuring Xavier Cha (b.1980, United States), Ryan Gander (b. 1975, United Kingdom), Pope.L (b. 1955, United States) and Yan Xing (b. 1986, China). Nicholas Baume’s curatorial premise, ‘Metaforms’, will consider how art making is, at its core, a process of transformation.

The manners in which artists conceptually and physically re-imagine objects or symbols will be explored, and in doing so add new layers of significance to what was once familiar in order to reveal unexpected truths. Several of the works will be participatory. Jacob Kassay’s (b. 1984, United States) ‘Untitled’ (2012-2015) is designed to provide a place for individuals to gather together in conversation.

‘Healing Pavilion’, a gemstone-encrusted sculpture by Sam Falls (b. 1984, United States), will similarly provide communal seating, in this case enhanced with metaphysical properties through minerals such as amethyst, orange calcite, jasper, lapis lazuli and rose quartz. Other work will convert inanimate objects into ‘moving beings’, as with ‘Mountaineer Prototype’ (2015) by James Capper (b. 1987, United Kingdom). Widely known for his large-scale, man-operated machines, Capper’s brightly-colored kinetic sculpture will walk around on four telescopic legs, remotely operated via a control panel.

Power, manipulation and structures of oppression will be implied themes in several works. ‘Ukpo.Edo’ (1993/1996) is a stainless steel installation by Melvin Edwards (b. 1937, United States) comprised of large metal links, a poignant symbol of both the history of slavery and oppression, as well as the interrelation between people and cultures. Matt Johnson’s (b. 1978, United States) ‘Twisted Jersey Barrier’ (2015), evocative of a warped concrete highway divider, and Sterling Ruby’s (b. 1972, Germany) ‘Big Yellow Mama’ (2013), based on the notorious Alabama electric chair, both reference objects designed to exercise control.  Robert Wilson’s (b. 1941, United States) tall, slender chairs from the original 1976 production of ‘Einstein on the Beach’ will evoke a trio of elevated figures standing in judgment.

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