The 15 Best Booths at Art Basel in Miami Beach

Alina Cohen
Dec 6, 2018 5:37PM

This year’s edition of Art Basel in Miami Beach features 268 galleries from 35 countries, located in the newly reconstructed Miami Beach Convention Center. While many hewed to typical fair conventions—pristine white walls and a concrete floor—the more ambitious presentations ran wild. From a bodega to a backyard, artists’ imagined spaces dramatically altered the mood, infusing a sense of fun and intimacy into the behemoth of a building. Below are 15 of our favorite presentations.

Josh Lilley

Nova, Booth N24

With works by Derek Fordjour

Installation view of Josh Lilley’s booth at Art Basel in Miami Beach, 2018. Photo by Nicholas Knight. Courtesy of Josh Lilley.

Josh Lilley transported five tons of pea gravel to the convention center in order to transform his booth into a faux-backyard lot. Rusty metal siding lines the walls. A pair of sneakers hang by their laces from a beam above the booth. Together, these elements transform the typical, white-walled booth space into a gritty, atypical art venue within which New York–based artist Derek Fordjour has mounted highly textured paintings that depict cheerleaders, marching band members, and tailors. A sculpture, Burden Cycle (2018), consists of an elevated and light-studded steel wheel. Altogether, the presentation is both raw and celebratory, carnivalesque yet thoughtful. It also subtly considers ideas of labor—such as the divides between people who erect siding or lay gravel, and those who make and sell paintings.


Kabinett, Booth E16

With works by Carolee Schneemann, Martin Wong, Ellen Cantor, and David Wojnarowicz

Installation view of P.P.O.W.’s booth at Art Basel in Miami Beach, 2018. Courtesy of P.P.O.W.


In 1993, artist Ellen Cantor curated “Coming to Power,” an all-women exhibition at David Zwirner. The included artists ranged from Alice Neel and Nicole Eisenman to Yoko Ono, Louise Bourgeois, Nancy Spero, and Carolee Schneemann. Each used sexual imagery, complicating typical ideas about women’s desires. Such themes are present, too, in Cantor’s own artwork. In a light pink–painted booth, P.P.O.W features her drawing and painting. One canvas, American Dream (1990), depicts nude women fanning out from the center of the composition.

“Her work often deals with marketing of female sexuality and romance through cinema…and re-examining those histories to make them more personal and authentic,” said gallerist Trey Hollis. As of Tuesday afternoon, the gallery had placed works by Cantor ($12,000), along with David Wojnarowicz ($10,000–$300,000), Betty Tompkins ($6,500–$43,000), Robin F. Williams ($12,000–$35,000), and Ramiro Gomez ($35,000).


Kabinett, Booth F17

With works by Nairy Baghramian, Daniel Guzmán, Haegue Yang, Jimmie Durham, Sarah Lucas, Gabriel Orozco, and Abraham Cruzvillegas

Installation view of Kurimanzutto’s booth at Art Basel in Miami Beach, 2018. Photo by Mark Blower. Courtesy of Kurimanzutto, Mexico City and New York.

Everyday objects rest against Kurimanzutto’s booth wall, each painted half-pink and half-green: a pair of skis, a shovel, an oar attached to a gardening implement, a bundle of sticks. It’s difficult to tell, however, if some of the pieces are actually functional. Altogether, the objects comprise one cohesive sculpture, autokonßtrukschön (2018), by artist Abraham Cruzvillegas (who will also stage a performance throughout Art Basel’s duration). The artist’s early life inspired the work. “His family moved to Mexico City, to an empty place. They started building up their house out of nothing, finding different materials,’” explained gallerist Daniela Zárate. The work celebrates such scrappy making—whether in architecture or fine art. A much flashier aesthetic prevails in Exacto (2018), a wild sculpture by Sarah Lucas that comprises a red office chair with LED beams shooting out of it.

Pace Gallery

Galleries, Booth D8

With works by Peter Alexander, Robert Irwin, Christo, James Turrell, Mary Corse, Larry Bell, John McCracken, and Craig Kauffman

Installation view of Pace Gallery’s booth at Art Basel in Miami Beach, 2018. Courtesy of Art Basel.

Pace Gallery’s elegant booth presents work by eight West Coast Minimalists in a presentation entitled “Lightness of Being.” Each sculpture and installation considers light, space, and surface (“finish fetish”). Mary Corse’s Untitled (Electric Light) (1968/2018) consists of a bright, light-filled plexiglass cube atop a plinth. It quietly buzzes and flickers, making art out of energy. The James Turrell piece on view, VARDA (03) (2017), is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. At first glance, it resembles an oval of pink light against the booth’s wall. As the viewer walks closer, it becomes clear that there’s actually a hole in the wall (of indeterminate depth), out of which the light radiates. As with much of Turrell’s work, it’s less about optical illusion than about staring into the abyss.

The gallery, said Pace Gallery senior director Ben Strauss-Malcolm, wanted to “shape a highly curated booth that allows people to stop, look closely, and truly perceive the work in front of them—a breath of fresh air at an art fair.” Each of the included artists were “creating at the forefront of new materials and exploring light in profound and truly pioneering ways.”

Petzel Gallery

Kabinett, Booth B15

With works by Joyce Pensato, Maria Lassnig, Jorge Pardo, Corinne Wasmuht, Dana Schutz, Dirk Skreber, Allan McCollum, John Stezaker, and Yael Bartana

Installation view of Petzel Gallery’s booth at Art Basel in Miami Beach, 2018. Courtesy of Art Basel.

This winter, Petzel Gallery will debut new artwork by Dana Schutz in New York—the artist’s first exhibition at the gallery since her 2016 painting Open Casket became the center of controversy in the 2017 Whitney Biennial. The gallery teases that upcoming show with one new Schutz canvas, entitled Presenter (2018). In the powerful and disconcerting picture, a female figure stands, her pants down, over a red spotlight. Her breasts are highlighted in a blue box, and a giant hand clamps at her mouth—she’s being censored, sexualized, and humiliated.

Around the corner (in its designated Kabinett section), Petzel has mounted cheeky canvases by British artist John Stezaker. Stezaker finds old paintings—of rivers, ships, and verdant hills—and distorts them via incisions and other techniques. The works in the booth all look like they’ve been ruined with gaping holes. If the value of these found works was questionable to begin with, Stezaker imbues them with significant humor (and a rejuvenated price tag). By Wednesday evening, the gallery had sold work by Maria Lassnig, Jorge Pardo, and Corinne Wasmuht, in addition to a few Stezaker canvases.

Thierry Goldberg Gallery

Positions, Booth P9

With works by Tschabalala Self

Installation view of Thierry Goldberg Gallery’s booth at Art Basel in Miami Beach, 2018. Courtesy of Art Basel.

28-year-old artist Tschabalala Self has turned Thierry Goldberg’s booth into a bodega. A checkerboard floor lines the ground, and a round, convex mirror—generally used to catch shoplifters and thieves—hangs in the back corner. In keeping with the theme, Self has created two medium-density fiberboard sculptures that resemble milk crates, one blue and one red. A painting on the wall, entitled Racer (2018), depicts a man crouching in front of a shelf full of Tide bottles. (His jacket itself features a Tide bottle on its back.) It’s a neat trick, as Self makes a small space within the bustling art fair resemble your average corner shop and egg-and-cheese purveyor. Of course, her work costs a bit more than a stack of Maria cookies. And yet the gallery has done brisk business; within the first hour of opening, it had sold everything on offer, with one painting heading to the Art Institute of Chicago.

Peter Blum Gallery

Survey, Booth S16

With works by Joyce J. Scott

Installation view of Peter Blum Gallery’s booth at Art Basel in Miami Beach, 2018. Courtesy of Art Basel.

MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient Joyce J. Scott turns beads—generally decorative elements—into powerful, frightening sculptures. Peter Blum Gallery held an exhibition of her new work at its New York space last month and wanted to show, in its Miami presentation, how the Baltimore-based artist’s practice has progressed over her long career. The booth features Scott’s work from the 1970s through 2000s. Mammie Wada III (1978–81) resembles a witchy doll. A dark face protrudes from a woven green body, decorated with batches of multicolored beads—and bone. A horn emerges from the end like a tail. Mammie Wada IV (1978–81) features actual hair. A later work, Perfect Piece (1991) (the name itself a play on language that objectifies women) situates a beaded female form atop a hunched, beaded mountain.

Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects

Galleries, Booth H11

With works by Sean Duffy, Liz Glynn, Raffi Kalenderian, Esther Pearl Watson, Jedediah Caesar, Hayv Kahraman, Karl Haendel, Monique van Genderen, Kim Dingle, Genevieve Gaignard, Stanya Kahn, Samuel Levi Jones, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Ruben Ochoa, Rodney McMillian, Andrea Bowers, Arlene Shechet, Hugo McCloud, Sadie Benning, and Ellen Berkenblit

Installation view of Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects’s booth at Art Basel in Miami Beach, 2018. Courtesy of Art Basel.

If artists aren’t typically at home in the art fair setting, Genevieve Gaignard has gone ahead and created her own little domestic nook. In a corner of Susanne Vielmetter’s booth, she has placed a floral sofa atop a light brown rug. A sculptural white cat sits on top, completing the sense of coziness. Gaignard has also installed wallpaper and added a shelf, birdcage, and two photographs—self-portraits of herself with an impressive 1960s haircut, wearing a matronly pink dress. In her exhibition, Gaignard effectively creates a new persona via a fabricated domestic setting.

In the shelf and birdcage, viewers will find two ceramic figures. To make them, Gaignard spliced together the heads and bodies of different dolls—one intended to be African-American, the other white. Gaignard repainted their skin so they’d look African-American: She’s amending the fact that, too often, only white women see themselves reflected in dolls. “She’s a mixed-race person, so to me, a lot of the work is about passing,” said gallery director Ariel Pittman. “Not just in terms of racial identity, but also class and cultural identity.”

Galerie Nathalie Obadia

Galleries, Booth G15

With works by Shirley Jaffe

Installation view of Galerie Nathalie Obadia’s booth at Art Basel in Miami Beach, 2018. Photo by Dawn Blackman. Courtesy of Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris / Brussels.

The prize for loveliest solo painting presentation goes to Galerie Nathalie Obadia, which is exhibiting a sizeable Shirley Jaffe retrospective. Twenty-two canvases that span 1956 through 2007 tell a colorful story of a New Jersey–born artist whose aesthetic significantly shifted from gestural abstraction to blocky, geometric compositions. A 1964 painting, The Red Diamond, features multicolored shapes and brushstrokes soaring diagonally across the composition—a turning point between Joan Mitchell–esque fields and more geometric work. During a trip to Berlin in the early 1960s, Jaffe “discovered the whole Bauhaus,” said associate director Charlotte Ketabi-Lebard—a revelation that informed her later style. The last canvas, Squares (2007), features two rectangles at the bottom, boxed in by interconnecting brown lines—paintings within paintings.

Annely Juda Fine Art

Kabinett, Booth B6

With works by Christo & Jeanne-Claude, Naum Gabo, Darren Lago, Anthony Caro, Tadashi Kawamata, André Kertész, Leon Kossoff, David Nash, Yuko Shiraishi, Suzanne Treister, David Hockney, Nigel Hall, Jannis Kounellis, and Kasimir Malevich

Installation view of Annely Juda Fine Art’s booth at Art Basel in Miami Beach, 2018. Courtesy of Annely Juda Fine Art.

Darren Lago presents some of the fair’s most fun, Pop-infused artworks at Annely Juda’s booth. Stealing a page from Marcel Duchamp’s playbook, he takes everyday objects—a vacuum, a blender—and combines them into assisted readymades. Blender Balloon (1999), for example, looks like a bright-red balloon with a plug and a blending attachment. Electrolux Guitar (2006), whose materials are listed as “vacuum cleaner and electric guitar,” features playable strings down the appliance’s handle and body. Lago makes his Duchamp worship clear with Fountain (2000), which merges a urinal with a vacuum cleaner—another likely art historical reference, this time to Jeff Koons’s 1980s Hoovers.

Casey Kaplan

Galleries, Booth C27

With works by Sarah Crowner, Kevin Beasley, Matthew Ronay, Simon Starling, Matéo López, Kevin Beasley, Hugh Scott-Douglas, Giorgio Griffa, Geoffrey Farmer, Garth Weiser, Haris Epaminonda, Jordan Casteel, Liam Gillick, Judith Eisler, Jason Dodge, and Matthew Brannon

Installation view of Casey Kaplan’s booth at Art Basel in Miami Beach, 2018. Courtesy of Casey Kaplan.

Casey Kaplan is exhibiting three sculptures by New York–based artist Kevin Beasley, who will have a solo presentation at the Whitney Museum of American Art this winter. Two are large-scale mixtures of resin; raw Virginia cotton; altered housedresses, kaftans, and T-shirts; and nylon fasteners. The old clothing contributes texture and color to the work—like brushstrokes made of fabric—and looks fossilized under the shiny resin finish. Beasley transforms sartorial items into gestural marks as he chips away at hierarchies that separate fashion and art, sculpture and painting. (The works are also impressive simply for their literal heft.) Nearby, Matthew Ronay offers a lighter counterpart with small, brightly painted sculptures that suggest surreal, miniature worlds of lumpy trees, hills, and valleys.

Gladstone Gallery

Galleries, Booth E5

With works by Keith Haring

Installation view of Gladstone Gallery’s booth at Art Basel in Miami Beach, 2018. © Keith Haring Foundation. Courtesy Keith Haring Foundation and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels. Photography by Andrea Rosetti.

Installation view of Gladstone Gallery’s booth at Art Basel in Miami Beach, 2018. © Keith Haring Foundation. Courtesy Keith Haring Foundation and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels. Photography by Andrea Rosetti.

Gladstone has built a temple to Keith Haring: a red-and-black room located off its main booth, a yellow lantern dangling from its ceiling. Some of the Haring works on view inside have been seen since their 1980s making. One black plinth supports a yellow terracotta vase, held up by sculptural red crocodiles. Another supports a four-part paper screen: Against a yellow background, fish swim in the sea, and figures with mermaid tails and wings fly through the air. Each artwork features Haring’s trademark thick, black-lined doodles. From a window outlined with red snakes, viewers can peer back into the main fair. The presentation posits Haring’s energetic iconography as an almost spiritual, mystical language. On Wednesday, the gallery reported that it had sold all of the works, for prices ranging from $300,000 to $1 million.

Galerie Jocelyn Wolff

Galleries, Booth D19

With works by Katinka Bock and Miriam Cahn

Installation view of Galerie Jocelyn Wolffe’s booth at Art Basel in Miami Beach, 2018. Photo by Katinka Bock. Courtesy of Galerie Jocelyn Wolffe.

Katinka Bock’s minimalist sculpture is a spare reprieve from Art Basel’s glitz and spectacle. The German artist creates objects that fuse ceramics with other elements, often literally elevating a material that’s historically used to make bowls. In Frida und Friedrich, Paris (2018), for example, a hollow steel rectangular prism supports two wilting, hollow ceramic tubes. The title implies some romance, albeit very abstracted: two commingling bodies, perhaps, resting on an upturned bed? One darkly funny piece, Warm K-Karpfen (2018) features a bronze bird lying, as though dead, atop a radiator. The Miami audience, not in much need of home heating, will hopefully get the joke. “Katinka is quite known in Europe, but not so much on this side of Atlantic,” said her Parisian gallerist Jocelyn Wolff. The winning work spotlighted here could change that.

Tiwani Contemporary

Nova, Booth N25

With works by Zina Saro-Wiwa

Installation view of Tiwani Contemporary’s booth at Art Basel in Miami Beach, 2018. Photo by Celeste Ricci. Courtesy of Tiwani Contemporary.

If you want to look at pictures of food, search Instagram. If you want to watch people eat, go to the Tiwani Contemporary booth. There, you’ll find television screens playing British-Nigerian artist Zina Saro-Wina’s video series Table Manners Season 1 (2014–16) and Table Manners: Bush Tales #1 (2018). In the films, members of Nigeria’s indigenous Ogoni group eat corn, fish, and food less familiar to a Western audience, such as egusi soup (made from ground melon seeds). The noshers (a bare-chested man in front of a blue background; a woman in a brightly patterned top) all look directly at viewers as they chomp away. The audience watches a simple daily ritual—consumption—transformed into art.

Sies + Höke

Kabinett, Booth F13

With works by Sigmar Polke, Ajay Kurian, Claudia Wieser, Julian Charrière, Marcel Dzama, Michael van Ofen, FORT, João Maria Gusmão + Pedro Paiva, Henning Strassburger, Federico Herrero, Talia Chetrit, Gilbert & George, Gerhard Richter, Konrad Lueg, Naufus Ramirez Figueroa, and Julius von Bismarck

Installation view of Sies + Höke’s booth at Art Basel in Miami Beach, 2018. Courtesy of Art Basel.

Gilbert & George came up in the ’60s, and they said that they are the sculptures. They made themselves sculpture,” said gallerist Tine Lurati. In its Kabinett presentation, the Düsseldorf-based gallery has mounted an exhibition of sculptures by the pair, as well as work by Konrad Lueg, Sigmar Polke, and Gerhard Richter. All explore that same dictum—that humans themselves can be art. For his part, Richter created a mirror, Spiegel (470-1) (1981)—the viewer’s reflected body becomes part of the artwork itself. A particularly fun Sigmar Polke sculpture (Rennende Schere, 1996) features a pair of small scissors mounted upright, with high-heeled legs instead of blades. And Gilbert & George imply how simple it is for artists to take an object, skew it, and turn it into art with As used by the sculptors (1972)—simply a wine glass with a bent stem.

Alina Cohen

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to Associate Director Charlotte Ketabi-Lebard, of Galerie Nathalie Obadia, as “gallerist Charlotte Ketabi-Lenard.” The text has been updated to reflect this change.