Maria Nepomuceno, showing at A Gentil Carioca during Art Basel Miami Beach, is one of the many Latin American artists not to be missed.

MIAMI - Sotheby's gave its annual fantastic luncheon at Fairchild Tropical Garden to kick off Art Basel week. Amid a highly curated and selective group of botanicals were nestled sculptures of Richard Chamberlain as well as an exhibition of garden benches made by contemporary artists from all over the world. Also on view was a beautiful installation of lamps by Jorge Pardo which seemed to "grow" from the branches of a tree like lush fruit that, instead of having grown from scented flowers, would emit a warm glow as dark fell... an installation of subtle beauty that highlights the artist's ability to produce objects that "live" in their environment.


Sebastian Errazuriz's Dawn Before Time Bench.

One of my favorite benches was by Chilean artist Sebastian Errazuriz, whose work can be found at Cristina Grajales' booth at Design Miami/. Dawn Before Time Bench consists of a black wrought iron bench above which hangs a chandelier – a piece that funnily enough also incorporates artificial light into a natural setting. Seeing the bench I immediately thought of the grand ballrooms of the 19th century in Santiago, a time of growth and cultural effervescence in Chile. Indeed, when I brought this up, the artist made reference to his grandmother's stories of elegant parties that she attended as a child and one feels that nostalgia that gently caresses you, much like the warm Miami breeze.

Much is being said (and written) about the strength of "The Brazilians" at Art Basel Miami Beach. Certainly there are important collectors here, but they do not outnumber their European and American counterparts. What did stand out for me was the variety and strength of artwork on display at the fair from young, contemporary artists from Latin America that are working today – not all still working in their native country. Highlights and works not to miss at the fair follow.


Beatriz Milhazes’ Children Made a Snowman.

Beatriz Milhazes at Mary-Anne Martin – a piece from 1993-1994 called Children Made a Snowman that seems to be one of the few works by the artist on offer at the fair. While I would've expected to see more, I am glad that this piece, which has the dynamic surface that is so attractive in Beatiz's work, along with the solid composition and her demand of color, is here. It should not be missed.

Janaina Tschape at Galeria Fortes Vilaca has a drop-dead gorgeous piece anchoring the booth since another smaller one was snapped up as soon as the fair opened. I'm a huge fan of her process and command of color. Also at Fortes Vilaca are Valeska Soares and Los Carpinteros – whose work I've followed and admired for years. Fortes Vilaca is one of my favorite galleries in Brazil and I make a point of stopping by whenever I visit Brazil. 

Leandro Ehrlich is at Sean Kelly, Jose Davila and Gabriel de la Mora at OMR, Maria Nepomuceno at A Gentil Carioca, Cinthia Marcelle at Vermelho, and Rivane Neuenschwander at Tanya Bonakdar – all artists not to be missed!

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