For 2019, in the newly opened 60,000+ sq ft Grand Ballroom at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami Beach (MBCC), Art Basel will launch the inaugural edition of the Meridians sector, a platform dedicated to large-scale sculptures, paintings, installations, film and video projections that promises to disrupt the usual art fair layout.
Curated by Magalí Arriola, Director of Museo Tamayo, Mexico City, Meridians will include 34 large-scale projects on display by renowned and emerging artists, like John M. Armleder, Sam Francis, Isaac Julien, Theaster Gates, Tina Girouard, Luciana Lamothe, Candice Lin, Ana Mendieta, Mario Merz, Portia Munson, Woody De Othello, Adam Pendleton, Laure Prouvost, Torey Thornton, and Oscar Tuazon.
Of course, I will be making a beeline first for the Theaster Gates directed and produced video ‘Dance of Malaga’ (2019) that addresses the complex and intertwining issues of race, territory, inequality, and sexuality in the recent history of the United States.
Then on to Laure Prouvost’s immersive installation ‘DEEP TRAVELS Ink’ (2016-ongoing), a pseudo-functional Miami travel agency complete with water coolers, plants, posters, office desks, waiting area and corporate infomercials. Hopefully it will not cause flashbacks to some of my earlier jobs in the corporate alternate universe.
Also of on my list to see are the works from younger artists like La Charada China (Tobacco Version)’ (2019) by Candice Lin, utilizing symbolically and
historically significant materials to reflect on the global histories of exploitation and colonial violence; ‘Cool Composition’ (2019), an installation by Miami-born artist Woody De Othello that touches upon the anxieties around global warming as well as the aesthetics of the African diaspora; the ‘Ishmael in the Garden: A Portrait of Ishmael Houston-Jones’ (2018) video by Adam Pendleton; and a new painting on wood panels by Torey Thornton.
With it’s strong focus on artists and works from the Americas, Meridians is a welcome vaccine against the xenophobic, anti-immigrant distemper that has plagued us these past three years.
I am really looking forward to being immersed.