Art Basel Miami Beach

Trends to Expect for Art Basel Miami Beach 2015

Every year, gallery owners, fair organizers, artists, and visitors attend Art Basel Miami Beach and the surrounding Miami Art Week fairs to gauge the hottest trends on the art market. It is a dialectical process, where each tribe within the art world gets its own input, eventually deciding on the big-ticket items and, inadvertently, the big trends.

Though Basel is more than a week away, we thought we'd take a shot at predicting some of the trends for this art season. With organizers slowly trickling into town, South Florida is abuzz with inside scoops and sneak peeks into what's promised to be the next hottest thing that every collector will want. Here to help, we've distilled all the chatter to several trends, themes, and genres that should be on your radar come December 1. 

All-Female Shows 
The push toward a more egalitarian representation of female work in the art world comes as more women seek entry into the establishment. Spinello Projects' new outpost in Little River, along with the Rubell Family Collection in Wywood, will feature only women artists in their latest exhibitions. Spinello will highlight women during its Little Sister art fair, a so-called faux exhibit. Celebrating the gallery's tenth anniversary and its new space, the show will feature an emerging Miami-based curator, Sofia Bastidas, and ten unrepresented Miami-based artists who work in painting, sculpture, design, installation, and new media. 

"No Man’s Land: Women Artists From the Rubell Family Collection," on the other hand, will feature work from more than a hundred female artists of various generations, cultures, and disciplines. These artists will showcase paintings, photographs, sculptures, and video installations that will occupy the foundation’s entire 28-gallery, 45,000-square-foot museum.

Nicole Ehrlich is also planning her third-annual Celebration of Women in Art. As Lady Gaga's producer, Ehrlich brought the art world into popular consciousness. Her Art Basel productions always attract celebrities and fans of some of the most cutting-edge female art in the world. This year, Ehrlich is partnering with Omar's NYC for a special luncheon honoring the women who continue to blaze trails. 

Women have always played an inextricable role in art, but their recent push to the front lines brings a much-needed realization to the masses. Yet it's important to note that while all-female shows might be a hot trend this Basel, female art is anything but seasonal. 

Figurative Painting 
For years, contemporary figurative artists were relegated to the sidelines, forced to watch their work be ignored by the establishment while their fellow abstract, performance, and pop artists reached acclaim. But this season, a joint exhibition by Larry Gagosian and Jeffrey Deitch — "Unrealism," highlighting key figures in the once-shunned genre — could be the jolt of energy figurative painters need. With two of the art world's heaviest hitters on board, the trend has filtered through the satellite fairs and other ancillary projects. 

"There's more of a movement of figurative painters with a narrative," explains Helen Toomer, director of Pulse Miami Beach. As collectors start snatching up high-priced canvases, it'll be interesting to note what goes first. What's certain is there's never been more buzz surrounding these oft-forgotten works. 

Art and Music
Collaborations are what Basel is all about, especially between art-world celebrities and musical heavyweights. This year, Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) is celebrating its second year as a Miami institution with something special: a performance by artist and choreographer Ryan McNamara and new-age R&B musician Blood Orange (AKA Devonte Hynes). For Hynes, it's a way to establish himself as an art-world figure and bring his brand in closer contact with an untapped demographic. For musicians, ties to the art world have boosted perceptions of legitimacy and agency as well as diversified their fan base. 

The Institute of Contemporary Art Miami (ICA Miami) is planning a project with rocker-turned-artist Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth fame. Though Gordon is primarily known for her grunge guitar licks, she's made a name for herself as a contemporary pop artist. Her work has even been acquired by major museums, including PAMM. 

Photography Boom 
The photography market is bigger than ever. With large-scale prints from famed editorial and art photographers fetching upward of five figures, no one ever thought people would pay so much for a photograph. The surge has spurred more commercial and editorial photographers to take notice. While most photographers shy away from exhibiting work at galleries, preferring steady employment and compensation, the influx of cash has set off a crossover. Renowned editorial photographers such as Annie Leibowitz are commanding high price tags for even moderately sized signed prints.

As the medium soars in the art market, a recent Miami transplant, New York photographer David Jay, plans to make his debut on the Basel scene with a solo exhibition titled "Red!... and Other Stories." Jay will also undertake a new series during Basel, Portrait, which aims to catalog the power players and characters of the art world. 

With so much art to view in just one week, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Though trends make the headlines, it's important to look beyond what's hot for the season and, instead, see what the trends tell us about our culture. "All of these trends — women in art, narrative portraits, and the mixture of art and entertainment as most trends — are a reflection of society as a whole," says Nathaly Charria, a local curator whose tastes and influence pervade the local culture. "It is where we are, what we are going through, and where we are heading." 
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Neil Vazquez is an arts and entertainment writer who works at the intersection of highbrow and lowbrow A Miami native and Northwestern University graduate, he usually can be found sipping overpriced coffee, walking his golden retriever, or doing yoga.
Contact: Neil Vazquez