This year's fair is no exception, with exhibits focused on themes of violence, experimental music, tabloid culture, and progressive politics.
Check out our favorites after the jump.
A seriously disturbing exhibit is Marko Mäetamm's Walking in My Hunting Ground, presented by the Temnikova & Kasela gallery, Tallinn, Estonia. The exhibit features a life-sized person wrapped in a carpet, as well as a series of poems and illustrations. We spoke with Mäetamm about the disquieting nature of the exhibition. "Basically, the family and the domestic stories have been my interest for the past six or seven years," he says. "I find family life is something like a small community. It's protected, yet isolated. It's very fragile and that can have very dangerous implications: a huge possibility for violence. You never know when you'll become violated or the violator."
While the exhibit is quite disturbing, it does have a rather humorous aspect to it. Some of the individual animations are reminiscent of a cartoon-like Jack Nicholson in The Shining, but funny. According to Mäetamm, "I think it's important when it comes out it's half funny, half terrible. I think this is why it's accessible."
One of the more overtly political exhibits, presented by Essex Street, is Fred Lonidier's work. A man in his 70s, Lonidier gave up the art world in the 1970s to get involved in the labor movement. For years, he only showed his work in union halls. About one or two years ago, he began showing in galleries again. We asked Maxwell Graham of the Essex House why he would suddenly jump back in. Is it due to the current political climate? "I guess the time was right. In some ways the union conflicts came to a standstill. But, Lonidier would want me to say that Clinton was very bad for labor in America."
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A piece that catches your ear is José Lerma's Parallelogram exhibited by Roberto Paradise. The painting, which is an interpretation of Tintoretto's Paradiso, is situated on top of a keyboard set to parallelogram. The weight of the painting provokes the sound: it catches your ear as you walk past. Lerma has recently been making waves in the art world -- he's had about 30 reviews this year. His work has even been purchased by Lord Saatchi and has been featured in the Saatchi gallery.
One of the more poetic -- and sad -- pieces is exhibited by Churner and Churner. Anthony Campuzano's Self Portrait With Lenora McDuffy tells the true story of the artist's firsthand experience witnessing a murder. In the work, Campuzano writes out his story with meticulous little strokes, then flips it over to tell it again. He worked at a newsstand as a child and has always had a fascination with tabloids and the ways in which different sources relate a story. According to Campuzano, "I would read the way different news organizations would report on the same event. There were always different variations between them. That's why I like to use a reflective property in my work. There's always going to be a skip or a hiccup." Campuzano admits it was a tough story to write, but it also served as a means of healing from the experience.
Noticeable pieces -- unsuitable for epileptics -- being exhibited by JTT, are Borna Sammak's Untitled Video Paintings. The 'paintings' which are on continuous, seamless, 15-second loops, are made from a compilation of footage: movie trailers, found footage, television backgrounds. Sammak, who was really into the noise stimulation of post-punk movement in Philadelphia, uses the videos as visual representations of such. The footage is has been highly manipulated, but it takes small pieces from backgrounds to combine them together. All elements of the display are incorporated as part of the art: including the the cords and electronic features. This is the second year that the gallery has shown work at Art Basel. JTT used sales from last year's project booth to open the gallery in March 2012. This is Sammak's first time showing in Miami.