Top 10 Artists to Watch at Art Basel in Miami Beach

Molly Gottschalk
Nov 23, 2014 11:00PM

Slipping balmy Miami weather into the first week of December, Art Basel in Miami Beach is the art world’s final gathering of the year—and one last chance to discover new artists before the close of 2014. With the Positions sector, dedicated to solo projects by emerging artists, the NOVA sector, devoted to young galleries and artists, and a large number of works by artists hailing from the year’s hottest shows, Art Basel presents an opportunity to review some of the top up-and-coming—and newly recognized—names of the year. With input from Artsy’s specialist team about the exhibiting artists most sought-after by collectors, the following list represents names to keep on your radar during Art Basel—and into 2015.

Zak Kitnick at Clifton Benevento

Brooklyn-based Zak Kitnick is drawn to the “easy to use and easy to ignore” objects of daily life—seen in his “Hamilton Beach” series of sculptures, made by printing graphics from kitchen appliance packaging (a sandwich maker, an indoor grill) onto transparent acrylic boxes. The series made the rounds this year from MoMA PS1 to David Zwirner, and is now hitting Art Basel in Miami Beach. Skip over to the garden behind the Delano Hotel to find Kitnick’s works in a Prouvé- and Jeanneret-designed house alongside works by French duo Kolkoz

Constant Dullaart at Carroll / Fletcher

In September, when Hans Ulrich Obrist, Zach Feuer, and Jeff Koons’ respective Instagram accounts spiked to 100k followers, they had more than their art-world clout to thank—it was the mischief-making of Berlin-based artist Constant Dullaart, who bought and allocated the followers to level the score among art world accounts. Dullaart, highly revered for his work in digital art, takes the internet as his primary medium. At Art Basel, Carroll / Fletcher will show a highlight from Dullaart’s summer exhibition, in which 12 hanging flags, obscured by color-changing light, represent the 12 countries deemed “enemies of the internet.” 

Laure Prouvost at MOT International 

It was Laure Prouvost’s seductive video art that won the French artist the Turner Prize in 2013; and though the win startled critics, none have taken their eyes off her since. In a solo booth with MOT International, Prouvost will show How to Make Money Religiously, a film that debuted last spring at New Museum (in her first solo exhibition in the U.S.). Inspired by the persuasion of internet scams and narrated in Prouvost’s alluring French accent, the film taps luxury, power, and memory, and toys with the senses—like most of her films do.

Secundino Hernández at Galerie Bärbel Grässlin

Stare long enough and you can imagine Secundino Hernández in his Madrid studio, frenetically carving, digging, and painting directly from the tube—which is exactly how the young Spanish painter described his process to me last summer, just after the news of his being scooped up by wunderkind-spotting dealer Victoria Miro and weeks before his sellout show at her London gallery. Hernández’s work sold in the first 15 minutes of the Art Basel preview in Basel last summer—and chances are in Miami, where he’s already collected by the Rubells, he’ll meet similar demand.

Brian Bress at Cherry and Martin

Los Angeles-based artist and filmmaker Brian Bress plays ringmaster to an imagined world, where masked and costumed performers inhabit handmade, collaged, and painted landscapes. Bress is known for presenting time-based media as objects, foregoing projections for framed flatscreen monitors that mimic paintings. His solo booth at Art Basel will be filled with such monitors, each looping a silent narrative featuring a lone, costumed character—many of them played by Bress. He’ll also show four films in Art Basel’s film sector.

Sarah Crowner at Travesía Cuatro and Casey Kaplan

Sarah Crowner’s paintings come together via snipping and stitching—her sewn canvases tether pieces of painted fabric to create bold, geometric forms with visible seams. While Basel-goers visit her solo booth with Travesía Cuatro, the gallery’s Guadalajara space will host the British-born, Brooklyn-based artist’s first solo show in Mexico. Meanwhile, you can spot her work in the booth of Casey Kaplan Gallery, who just signed Crowner in September and is planning her solo exhibition for spring of 2015.

Meleko Mokgosi at Honor Fraser

Hailing from Brooklyn by way of Botswana, Meleko Mokgosi is known for provocative large-scale paintings and drawings that challenge the established narrative histories of Southern Africa—like his eight-chapter history painting project “Pax Kaffraria,” tackling issues from postcolonialism to African-ness. At Art Basel, Mokgosi will unveil Exordium, the first piece of a brand new project that will comprise many chapters—a first look before the work travels to the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, in April for his first solo museum exhibition.

Kadar Brock at Almine Rech

Brooklyn-based artist Kadar Brock is known for destroying and reworking his abstract canvases using a process of erasure, at times wearing holes in paintings by sanding, priming, and sanding on repeat. But at Art Basel, Brock debuts a new direction with Almine Rech—his first foray into sculpture. At neighboring satellite fair Untitled, look for Brock’s work in Vigo Gallery’s booth, a teaser to the London gallery’s solo exhibition of his work in January; and before either fair, read Artsy’s new interview with the up-and-coming artist here

Christina Mackie at Supportico Lopez

While you wait for Christina Mackie’s 2015 commission for Tate Britain, promising plenty of color (she’s known for her extensive color studies as well as her sculptural installations), stop by Supportico Lopez’s booth at Art Basel to see works by the London-based Canadian artist, who celebrated her first solo museum exhibition in the U.S. last summer at The Renaissance Society while concurrently showing at Art Basel in Basel.

Evan Nesbit at Roberts and Tilton

Last summer, California-based artist Evan Nesbit was included in a group show at Sean Kelly Gallery touting the best of the youngest generation working in abstract painting, particularly within a subset using new processes. Look closely at the surface of Nesbit’s textured canvases—they’re stretched with burlap. Nesbit works backwards first, painting through the fabric so that paint emerges through the fibers in sculptural spots, matching the warp and weft of the burlap.

Molly Gottschalk