An installation by Diego Montoya
An installation by Diego Montoya
Courtesy of Superfine! House of Art and Design

Eight Artists to Watch During Miami Art Week

Oh, Basel. Despite popular belief, doing Miami's infamous art weekend right isn’t just about getting into the best parties, but a chance to gain firsthand knowledge of who's who in the contemporary art world. With countless galleries putting their best foot forward at over 20 satellite fairs around the city, the thought of trying to squeeze it all in is even more exhausting than the weekend itself. And that doesn't even take into account the local galleries that forgo the fairs in favor of doing their own thing, putting the spotlight on our homegrown talent and ushering in a new wave of emerging artists.

Since you can't be everywhere (and we know you've tried) we thought we might take the pressure off your Basel planning with a comprehensive guide – local or international, barely known or practically a celebrity, these are the artists were most excited to see during Miami Art Week 2015.

Costume designer and visual artist Diego Montoya will be presenting a large-scale installation at the first-ever Superfine! House of Art & Design, a satellite fair spawned by New York creative collective FAME. Montoya, a Little Haiti native who currently lives in Brooklyn, specializes in fantasy costumes and immersive, 3-D installations. His 3,000-square-foot-sculpture, Ascend With You will be the centerpiece of the weekend's events, which include performances by Vampire Weekend's Baio and local bands Krisp and Millionyoung.

The Future Was Written, by Daniel Arsham (Installation, chalk and blackboard paint)
The Future Was Written, by Daniel Arsham (Installation, chalk and blackboard paint)
Courtesy of Daniel Arsham

YoungArts alum and Instagram celebrity Daniel Arsham has been perpetually in the spotlight ever since his collaboration with Pharell. But even a meteoric rise to the top doesn't keep Arsham away from Miami for too long: his solo show at YoungArts this year was the event of the summer, and he'll appear there once again for "The Future Was Written," an interactive exhibition of new work curated by PAMM's newly appointed director Franklin Sirmans. Nearly 2,000 objects made of chalk will invite viewers to participate with their own markings and drawings throughout the week.

The Rubells have a history of collecting unknowns and avant-garde works, and their shrewd eye has launched the careers of many an emerging artist. In No Man's Land, the Rubell Family Collection will present works by hundreds of female artists, rotating works throughout phases of the exhibition to present the entire scope and depth of work being made by female artists. While guests can definitely plan to see more established artists like Cindy Sherman, Sue Williams, and Deborah Kass, the Collection is also highlighting the work of local artists Cristina Lei Rodriguez and Cara Despain, who works in a variety of media including painting, drawing, and sculpture.

Women seem to be at the center of the fanfare this year during Basel, a welcome departure from the typically male-dominated art world. Spinello Projects will present "Littlest Sister," a faux invitational, all-female art fair Spinello first created in 2009 as a way to attract attention from the fair to his gallery, thereby closing the gap between the international art fair crowd and the wealth of talent being shown here in Miami. But Littlest Sister has an additional, bad-ass female twist: none of the artists presented in Littlest Sister boast gallery representation, a malady Spinello hopes to cure by shining a light on the lack of female representation in the arts community. Look out for works by multimedia performance artist Tara Long, otherwise known by her Poorgrrrl moniker, along with pieces by Cara Despain, AdrienneRose Gionta, Jessie Laino, Ana Mendez, Nun (Jessica Martin and Deon Rubi), Jamilah Sabur, Reed van Brunschot, Juana Valdes, and Clara Varas.

Martha Friedman at Locust Projects
Martha Friedman at Locust Projects
Courtesy of Locust Projects

And speaking of PAMM, everyone is talking about Nari Ward's "Sun Splashed," the artist's largest exhibition to date. Featuring found-object sculptures Ward sources from the streets near his current home in New York, Ward's work comments on African-American culture and Caribbean diaspora by referencing his own Jamaican influence and experience. Alongside Ward, PAMM will also present Firelei Báez, a former student of Ward's whose exhibition "Bloodlines" features labor intensive works on paper exploring similar themes.

Last year, Locust Projects transformed its tiny Design District gallery into an excavation site filled with old TVs and stereo sets cast in crystal and volcanic ash. This year, the gallery metamorphoses again with "PORE," a site-specific installation by Brooklyn-based artist Martha Friedman. For her first major show in Miami, Friedman created four brightly hued sheets of rubber – which she made by pouring 1,000 pounds of material onto the Locust Projects' floor – along with metal sculpture and an accompanying performance piece by artist Silas Reiner.

Miami Art Week begins Tuesday, December 1.

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