A Kabinett of Performance Art

Of the 25 galleries showing at Kabinett, Art Basel in Miami Beach’s sector devoted to concisely curated exhibitions, multiple galleries have chosen to highlight performance art. Offering solutions to effectively exhibiting performance without creating a spectacle, these galleries utilize ephemera, props, and photographs to effectively convey performance art, by some of the genre’s biggest names—including Marina Abramović and Theaster Gates.

On view at Kavi Gupta Gallery is Theaster GatesMigration Rickshaw for German Living, a rickshaw holding a precarious pile of wood, iron, tires, mattress, chairs and rope—effects used for performances in his 2012 Documenta 13 project in Kassel, Germany, 12 Ballads for the Huguenot House. For 12 Ballads, Gates sent raw materials from a house in Chicago’s Grand Crossing neighborhood to Kassel, for use in the repair of Kassel’s Historic Huguenot House. The resulting project was a renovation, a community center, and performance space, merging both sites in terms of materials and individuals. Ultimately the objects, which were built and used for performances in Kassel, were sent back to Chicago as an extension of the project.

Henrique Faria Fine Art shows “Body: Air, Water and Earth”, an exhibition commemorating Yeni & Nan (Jennifer Hackshaw and María Luisa González), pioneering Venezuelan action-based artists of the 1970s and ’80s. Through photographs and video art, the exhibition documents the artists’ spiritual, nature-based “body-art.” Their performances included traversing salt mines, covering themselves in mud, and submerging themselves in water, recreating elements of the life cycle and engaging their bodies with nature.

Never-before-seen works by Marina Abramović will be on view at Luciana Brito Galeria. The São Paulo gallery shows “Places of Power,” a photography series visualizing the results of Abramović’s recent investigations into Brazil in preparation for a project there in 2015. Sean Kelly Gallery also includes a photograph from this series, where Abramović stands at the foot of a majestic waterfall. The self-proclaimed “grandmother of performance art” is also celebrated in A Portrait of Marina Abramović, a 3D film and installation by Matthu Placek that will have its world premiere during the fair.

In addition, performance is interspersed throughout the fair. The opening night of the Public sector offers four performances, including new works by Kate Gilmore and Ryan McNamara. Olaf Breuning will create a sea of colored smoke in his Smoke Grid, David Colman sets ups a traditional Catholic church confessional in Santa Confessional, and Mungo Thomson provides a soundtrack for the evening with four musicians imitating crickets.

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