Art Market

The 10 Best Booths at Art Basel in Miami Beach Online

Benjamin Sutton
Dec 3, 2020 7:19PM

Arjan Martins, Sem título [Untitled], 2020. Courtesy of the artist and A Gentil Carioca.

In a normal year, this week would be the art world’s Miami Beach bacchanal, the final bash before the holidays. In the year of COVID-19, though, Art Basel in Miami Beach (ABMB)’s online edition is yet another virtual fair unfolding amid a landscape of uncertainty. And while some events are still happening in person in South Florida, ABMB’s usual rows upon rows of art-filled booths are a wholly digital experience for now. Dubbed “OVR: Miami Beach,” the fair brings together online viewing rooms for 255 galleries and opened to VIPs yesterday. It opens to the general public on Friday, and ends at midnight on Sunday. Here we take a look at some of its must-click booths.

A Gentil Carioca

With works by Aleta Valente, Arjan Martins, Cabelo, Jarbas Lopes, João Modé, José Bento, Laura Lima, Marcela Cantuária, Maria Laet, Maria Nepomuceno, Opavivará!, Rodrigo Torres, and Vivian Caccuri

Maria Nepomuceno, Rede Pai, 2018. Courtesy of the artist and A Gentil Carioca.


Though few of us will be taking a break from this week’s fairs to stroll on South Beach, Rio de Janeiro gallery A Gentil Carioca did the next best thing, taking the works featured in its booth for a visit to the beaches of Copacabana. The sunny presentation is titled “todo poder à praia!” (or “all power to the beach!”) and includes a colorful, multi-person beach chair (priced at $5,000) by the anonymous artist collective Opavivará!; Rede Pai (2018), a hammock-like sculpture filled with faux fruits and vegetables by Maria Nepomuceno (and priced between $25,000 and $50,000); and an untitled, multipanel painting from 2020 by Cabelo that evokes a monochromatic homage to Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights (1490–1500) and is priced between $10,000 and $25,000. The overall effect of the presentation is a welcome dose of the kind of carefree warmth few of us have experienced this year.

“This year, we will approach Rio de Janeiro and Miami Beach through the crossroads of the ocean,” said Márcio Botner, the gallery’s director. “For this year, the inspiration for our special booth is the beach, such a democratic place where people can connect to each other and change what they think about the world through poetics.”


With works by Michael Lin and Heidi Voet

Michael Lin
Untitled, 2020
Heidi Voet
Come play a game with us We have no one to trust Imagine lost at sea Imagine you see me (midnight), 2020

Venerable Shanghai gallery Bank is showcasing the works of both halves of artist couple Heidi Voet and Michael Lin. Their practices are very distinct materially, yet the thematic and chromatic parallels make for one of the best of the fair’s many excellent two-artist presentations (honorable mentions to Paul Maheke and Jesse Darling in the Sultana booth and Regina José Galindo and Zehra Doğan in the Prometeo Gallery Ida Pisani booth).

Bank is showing four pieces (all priced between $10,000 and $25,000) from Voet’s “Come play a game with us…” series of sculpture busts that are based on hacked personal information she accesses online. With that user data, she approximates portraits by combining vintage porcelain vases, concrete casts of sports balls, and wigs, which are in turn enclosed in colorful transparent cubes. The neon tones of these unsettling jewel boxes beautifully complement Lin’s paintings (priced between $50,000 and $75,000), which transpose the colorful patterns of Hawaiian shirts onto canvas to highlight the complex, multicultural legacy of those popping garments.

Ruth Benzacar Galería de Arte

With works by Florencia Rodriguez Giles, Adrián Villar Rojas, Flavia Da Rin, Jorge Macchi, and Chiachio & Giannone

Chiachio & Giannone
Comrades in Jingdenzhen #1, 2018
Ruth Benzacar Galería de Arte
Flavia Da Rin
Sin título (de la serie UnU) , 2020
Ruth Benzacar Galería de Arte

While A Gentil Carioca is proferring a breezy beach experience in its virtual booth, Buenos Aires’s Ruth Benzacar Galería de Arte is showcasing a mood that is probably a lot more familiar for most of us with a presentation titled “Slow-motion Catastrophe.” The works, several of which were made this year during periods of confinement, feature sometimes frank and sometimes funny visions of enforced and seemingly endless domesticity. Jorge Macchi’s austere work Diario de la peste (2020, $18,000) is a collaged diary in which each spread contains a single word clipped from a newspaper, from the poetic (“siempre”) to the ominous (“infierno”). On the lighter side, the booth also includes two photographs (both priced at $6,000) from Flavia Da Rin’s series of tragicomic, Cindy Sherman–esque self-portraits shot during lockdown in March.

“We intended to reflect, through this selection, on the current sociopolitical issues that the pandemic brings up, issues regarding ecology, sexuality, the politics of the domestic, just to name some,” said Valeria Pecoraro, who manages sales at the gallery. “The challenges were to create a strong viewing room while staying away from clichés, choosing only 10 pieces and with little space for texts as theoretical support. The help of curator Leandro Martinez Depietri, who wrote the texts that accompany our presentation, was key to give the OVR its final shape and strength.”

blank projects

With works by Igshaan Adams

Cape Town’s blank projects is showcasing new works by South African textile artist Igshaan Adams (a member of The Artsy Vanguard 2020) in which he’s revisiting an earlier era in his practice, working directly with the tapyt: Afrikaans for vinyl floor coverings, which he sources from working-class households. In these recent works, he uses the flooring’s worn and faded patterns as the basis for his intricate, large-scale weavings. As of this writing, all but one of Adams’s works—C1265A, Kwimdla Street (2019), priced at $34,000—has sold.

Massimo De Carlo

With works by Günther Förg, Carsten Höller, Aaron Garber-Maikovska, Paola Pivi, Tomoo Gokita, Brian Rochefort, Yan Pei-Ming, Rob Pruitt, Nate Lowman, and Jennifer Guidi

Yan Pei-Mind, Le dernier repas rose, 2020. © Yan Pei-Ming. ADAGP, Paris, 2020. Courtesy of Massimo De Carlo.

You’d be forgiven for thinking the theme of Italian dealer Massimo De Carlo’s booth is millennial pink. The gallery’s chromatically unified group presentation is in fact titled “Rosebud” after the central prop in the film Citizen Kane, and addresses the disjuncture between the innocence of childhood and the moral muck of adulthood.

Aaron Garber-Maikovska, Fuscia Roll, 2020. Photo by Marten Elder. Courtesy of Massimo De Carlo.

Carsten Höller, Octopus, 2014. Photo by Andrea Rossetti. Courtesy of Massimo De Carlo.

Some of the works are genuinely gloomy, like Rob Pruitt’s blushing gradient Suicide Painting 14 (2020) priced at $70,000, while others err firmly on the side of fun, like Paola Pivi’s wall-mounted mass of pink plastic pearls TBT (2020), priced at €35,000 ($42,000).

Half Gallery

With works by Natalie Ball

Natalie Ball, Red Head, 2020. Courtesy of Half Gallery.

Natalie Ball, I Bind You, Nancy, 2018. Courtesy of Half Gallery.

In her solo presentation of recent sculptures with New York’s Half Gallery, “Powwow Grand Entry,” Natalie Ball redeploys and recontextualizes iconography typically associated with Native American cultures to propose different narratives of Indigenous life in the United States. Her multilayered assemblages incorporate personal objects like one of her father’s moccasins and materials like porcupine hair and elk teeth to forge works that function like characters, full of stories and inner lives. As of this writing, all but two—Red Head (2020), priced under $10,000, and Queen of Spades (2019), priced between $10,000 and $25,000—have sold.

Installation view of “Powwow Grand Entry,” 2020. Courtesy of Half Gallery.

“Ball’s new pieces explore her ancestors, her communities, her family, and her own American history,” said Erin Goldberger, director at Half Gallery. “It is wonderful that more people are taking the time to study the work, and can educate themselves not just as collectors but as informed citizens.”

Annely Juda Fine Art

With works by Suzanne Treister

Just as some of us spent the early months of the pandemic reacquainting ourselves with the video games of our youth, London gallery Annely Juda Fine Art is looking to familiarize collectors with Suzanne Treister’s works based on vintage arcade games from the late 1980s to mid-’90s. They include compositions reinterpreting pixelated video game imagery (priced from $31,000 to $70,000), paintings executed on cardboard boxes and the floppy discs they contain (priced at $15,600), and stills from software Treister designed herself ($1,500 apiece or $9,000 for a portfolio of seven). The enduring works hit pause on the action of gameplay and prompt viewers to appreciate the often ornate, sometimes abstract beauty of another era’s computer graphics.

“Treister has been a pioneer in the digital, new media, and web-based field since the 1980s and early 1990s, and we’re really excited to present a selection of early works from this period, some of which have not been available for sale before,” said Nina Fellmann, a director at the gallery. “As we all move increasingly online and into the virtual world, and as art fairs currently only exist online, Treister’s musings on possible future ‘realities’ have a special resonance.”

ROH Projects

With works by Kei Imazu and Bagus Pandega

Many in the art world—from artists and dealers to journalists—have spent the past nine months working from home. Taking advantage of these now-vacant work spaces are artists Kei Imazu and Bagus Pandega, who turned part of an empty mall in the Indonesian city of Bandung into a temporary exhibition space where they installed the works in “Tiger Orchid,” their presentation with Jakarta-based ROH Projects. The cavernous, consumerist architecture proved a perfect venue for Imazu’s vast and intricate paintings mixing hyperrealist and gestural elements (priced between $25,000 and $50,000), as well as Pandega’s kinetic light and electronic installations (priced between $10,000 and $25,000).

Michael Rosenfeld Gallery

With works by Norman Bluhm, Jay DeFeo, Beauford Delaney, Sam Gilliam, Michael Goldberg, Norman Lewis, Conrad Marca-Relli, Alfonso Ossorio, Alma Thomas, and William T. Williams

Alma Thomas, Scarlet Sage Dancing a Whirling Dervish, 1976. Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY.

Jay DeFeo, Where the Swan Flies (Loop System No. 5), 1975. © The Jay DeFeo Trust. Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY.

New York’s Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is one of several ABMB exhibitors taking advantage of the lack of physical constraints in online viewing rooms and going big with its presentation, “OVR-Sized: Masterworks of Postwar Abstraction.”

“Once we fully embraced the virtual art fair model, we realized the limitless possibilities it presented, and so for ABMB 2020, we became very excited about presenting the impossible: a selection of over-sized, heroically scaled highlights of post-war abstraction,” gallery director halley k harrisburg said. “We decided to have fun, throw caution to the wind, and share the biggest and the best while staying true to our primary objective: to present the highest-quality examples by artists that we have consistently championed since our founding in 1989.”

The bravura booth features major works by pillars of the gallery’s program, which has sought to tell a fuller story of American art in the second half of the 20th century, including the large Jay DeFeo painting Where the Swan Flies (Loop System No. 5) (1975), priced between $750,000 and $1 million. There are also knockout works by African American artists who were key figures in the development of post-war abstraction, from Norman Lewis’s dramatic crepuscular composition After Dawn (1966), priced at $2 million to $3 million, to Alma Thomas’s crackling crimson canvas Scarlet Sage Dancing a Whirling Dervish (1976), priced at over $5 million (or nearly double Thomas’s current auction record of $2.6 million).


With works by Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi, Serge Alain Nitegeka, Barthélémy Toguo, Mawande Ka Zenzile, Neo Matloga, Frida Orupabo, Portia Zvavahera, and Simphiwe Ndzube

Neo Matloga, Puleng, 2020. Courtesy of the artist and Stevenson.

Serge Alain Nitegeka, Migrant: Studio study XII, 2020. Courtesy of the artist and Stevenson.

While many facets of normal life have been suspended since the onset of the pandemic, Stevenson’s thematic booth, “Suspension,” reminds us of the great potential that exists in these transitory moments. Titled after a Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi video (priced at $10,000) showing young gymnasts in the quiet, intense moments just before or after their acrobatic feats, the presentation also includes powerful paint and charcoal compositions from Serge Alain Nitegeka’s “Migrant” series (priced at $30,000), and a dazzling new painting by Simphiwe NdzubeThe Fantastic Ride to Gwadana (2020), priced at $50,000—addressing issues related to colonialism through a fantastical, magical realist aesthetic.

“The choice to work with the notion of suspension, ‘to hold the tension’ of the present moment, was both a response to the works that the artists produced for the presentation and how they spoke to one another as well as to our current condition,” said Kefiloe Siwisa, an associate at Stevenson. “There were organic threads that touched on and questioned movement, resistance, liminality, and (non)place.”

Browse a selection of works from the 2020 Miami art fairs.

Benjamin Sutton