Art Basel’s Miami Beach Public brings the work of 24 artists to Collins Park
Curated under the theme ‘Social Animals’ by Nicholas Baume, Director and Chief Curator of Public Art Fund, the artworks selected for this year’s Public sector will transform Collins Park into an outdoor exhibition space.
Public, a sector of Art Basel’s Miami Beach show, features over 30 large-scale sculptures and installations by leading and emerging international artists, including Olaf Breuning, Sam Falls, Jeppe Hein, Thomas Houseago, Alicja Kwade, Richard Long, Santiago Roose, Oscar Tuazon, and Ursula von Rydingsvard. For the third straight year the sector is produced in partnership with the Bass Museum of Art. A selection of artworks will continue to be installed in Collins Park through March 2014. The Public sector’s opening night on Wednesday, December 4 will include a special program of performances, free of charge and open to the public.
The theme ‘Social Animals’ has its origins in Aristotle’s observations about the nature of human beings. Set within the cityscape of Miami Beach, this year’s edition of Public seeks to turn a grouping of separate works by multiple artists into a temporary community of its own, with works in conversation and in dialog with each other – such as Sam Falls’ powder-coated aluminum installation with a master work by Charlotte Posenenske – as well as with the location – evident in Michelle Lopez’s towering site-specific structure.
Drawing on his experience of injecting public art within the urban landscape, Nicholas Baume’s selection works to activate the public park as a place for social interactions and as an extension of the diverse exchanges that take place in the environment of the art fair. In this context, Public presents Phil Wagner’s diptych of opposing chairs, large-scale sculptures by Mark di Suvero and Oscar Tuazon, and two urban structures built from concrete, wood, and metal mesh by Santiago Roose. Alicja Kwade’s large-scale steel sculpture reimagines the border lines between time zones as a global electrocardiograph.
The sector’s title likewise links to the hand-worked surfaces and textures of many of the work’s figurative and organic forms. The varied works of Huma Bhabha, Olaf Breuning, Aaron Curry, Tom Friedman, Thomas Houseago, Matthew Monahan, Tony Tasset and Pascale Marthine Tayou incorporate figurative elements, at times alluding to Modernist and ancient totems. The use of natural materials is seen in Carol Bove’s open-form sculpture in petrified wood and steel, Jeppe Hein’s series of ‘rooms’ shaped by water, and Richard Long’s 12-foot-diameter installation in Dartmoor Granite, while Ursula von Rydingsvard’s composition of cut, stacked and sculptured cedar beams transforms solid material into gestural form. Mungo Thomson’s audio recording of professional musicians imitating the sound of crickets is played on outdoor speakers.
Symbols of popular culture are reused and repositioned to engage with the audience, as in Scott Reeder’s three-dimensional installation of the words ‘Real Fake’ and Matias Faldbakken’s adaptation of the original Peterbilt 281 big rig truck which appeared in Steven Spielberg’s first feature film ‘Duel’ (1971). Maarten Vanden Eynde’s composition of oil peak sculptures in bronze is based on the production rates of individual oil wells and the combined production rate of a field of related oil wells.
A selection of works from Public will remain installed in Collins Park for an extended run through March 2014 via tc: temporary contemporary. The city-wide temporary, public art program was initiated by the Bass Museum of Art in partnership with the City of Miami Beach in 2012. It seeks to activate the urban landscape with art and engage with residents, visitors and passers-by to encourage interactions with the city and its communities. tc: temporary contemporary is made possible through the support of The City
of Miami Beach, ArtPlace, National Endowment for the Arts, Knight Foundation and Funding Arts Network, Inc.
For Public Opening Night on Wednesday, Kate Gilmore has created ‘Only One Like You’, a new performance that builds on themes introduced in her 2011 Public Art Fund project. In this large-scale performance, lining both sides of the central axis through the park, performers, who will share a number of physical characteristics, will stand on individual pedestals, wielding sledgehammers, and pounding metal cubes, creating in the process a series of destroyed sculptures. Taking the basic elements of human presence and bodily movement as his raw materials, Ryan McNamara’s new performance ’Uncanny Liquidity’ intends to tweak perceptions and provoke curiosity. Two performers are placed in Collins Park, dressed to blend into the crowd. Their subtle movements betray the fact that something is not quite right, prompting visitors to observe them more closely. As the night goes on, their difference from the rest of the crowd grows more acute. For ‘Smoke Grid’ Olaf Breuning will simultaneously set off smoke canisters to create a sea of colored smoke. The installation transforms its environment into a swirling painterly mass of color and movement, generating unique visual effects as the smoke and pigment erupt and disperse. A new sound installation by Mungo Thomson will be created that evening. Four musicians playing different instruments – clarinet, flute, violin and percussion – will imitate the song of crickets. Recordings of the performance will be played in Collins Park throughout the rest of the week. For the fourth performance of the evening, entitled ‘Santa Confessional’, David Colman installs a classic Catholic confessional within Collins Park for people to confess their sins and ask for absolution. Instead of the booth being fully enclosed like a classic confessional, open-air windows cut into the design, creating a tension between yesterday’s private practice of confessing in secret and today’s more performative and secular version of confession.
Public Opening Night, which is free and open to the public, takes place in Collins Park on Wednesday, December 4, from 8.30pm to 10pm. The Public sector is also free of charge and open to the public from December 4 to December 8.
Collins Park is located between 21st & 22nd Street, in close proximity of the exhibition halls within the Miami Beach Convention Center and adjacent to The Bass Museum of Art.
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