Art Basel features nearly all genres of art, but one of our favorites is sculptural art, whether it is wall art, a stand-alone sculpture or an installation. As long as it appeals to you, any of these styles are a great way to add depth, interest and perhaps color to your living space. We pulled together our picks from the recent Art Basel Miami 2016.
Some of the most interesting pieces use found items. This one uses empty gas cans fashioned into the silhouette of the United States. Some of them even appear to have a face. It’s a work that evokes interest and raises philosophical questions.
Mulberry paper is decorated, dyed and meticulously wrapped around small styrofoam pieces that are ingeniously arranged by Kwang-Young Chun. The resulting large artwork has amazing ombre color, depth and texture. Even though they are wall pieces, they convey the feeling of dramatic depth, like a miniature mountainous landscape.
Although we noticed fewer pieces of “furniture as art” at the 2016 edition of Art Basel Miami, we did find a few intriguing works. This chair sculpture is by American-born Rita McBride, whose works fall under many labels, including industrial design, sculpture, architecture, and installation. She often focuses on manipulating scale and “the conventional associations of certain materials,” writes Artsy.
Finding artfulness in the ordinary, Korean artist Do Ho Suh, creates fabric sculptures that reconstruct objects from his home. His life-size replicas of various appliances and fixtures from his apartment on west 22nd street in New York City are made from a see-through material over a thin wire structure.
Colombian artist Doris Saucedo is a sculptor whose works center on complex topics related to historical events of mass violence, trauma, racism, and colonialism. This piece was presented by White Cube gallery.
Late American artist Donald Judd created this minimalist piece in 1967. He was considered the most significant post-war American artists and was well known for his large outdoor installations and designs for long interiors.
Francesca Pasquali is an Italian artist who observes natural forms and and “translates” them into elaborate works and installations. Her creations often use found or recycled materials, including industrial materials. Knows for her work using thousands of plastic straws, Pasquali has also created a range of pieces using Neoprene.
Isabel De Obaldia has a rich varied background in the arts and studied at the famous Pilchuck Glass School. Daughter of celebrated Panamanian painter, Guillermo Trujillo, De Obaldia creates cultures of animalistic forms. This is her Jaguar Throne, which is very textural.
New York City sculptor Joel Shapiro is known for his work using simple rectangular shapes. With one simple geometric shape of graded sizes and varying colors, he creates stunning modern pieces.
Chrome shapes, both colored and plain, feature in the artwork of John Chamberlain. He is known for his pieces crafted from scrap metal and dented, discarded automobile parts and industrial waste.
Kim Jones work melds performance art, sculpture, and drawing. He is known for walking the streets as “Mudman,” covered in mud, and wearing a covering made of sticks, tape, and twine and with his face covered with a nylon stocking. This piece is a War Jacket. Jones told Mr. Motley, “When I wear the structures as Mudman, I think of myself as a walking sculpture. The shirts and jackets are a continuation of that idea—these are sculptures that I can wear but that also have war drawings on them so they become a walking sculpture…. The war drawings are like a primitive computer game…a hand-drawn computer game. Wearing these jackets is like carrying my thoughts on my back.”
Modular sculptures by Milanese artist Loris Cecchini’s installations use the organism as a thesis for his works that examine the “evolution of art in relation to sciences.” In a large part of his work, Cecchini assembles his steel components to resemble climbing plants or crystal structures. All of them evoke a scientific mood, while being visually attractive when taken at face value.
This arresting scultpture is by Mark Manders, who has been working on a one enormous series of pieces called “Self Portraits as a Building,” since 1986. The sculptures are the artist’s effort to represent his identity through objects and text.
Galerie Max Mayer presented one of the few digital art pieces — Melanie Gilligan’s 2016 video work, “Parts-whole.’ Gilligan lives in London and New York Cit, creating artwork in video, performance art, text, installations, and music.
This ingenious work features a building that is actually three-dimensional. It adds new dimension to the typical wall art piece.
Japan’s Kohei Nawa creates these spectacular creatures in his PixCell Series. Once he chooses an object, it is encapsulated in a layer of spheric cells. The resulting work has a unique surface texture and unusual depth created with the different sized spheres. Each sphere is a different visual experience. Nada coined the term “PixCell” as a riff on the pixel, which makes up digital images.
This work is modern but achieves a rustic feel. Its industrial finish and divergent shapes are very appealing.
The Thomas Erben Gallery showed a range of works by Brooklyn artist Mike Cloud. The colorful pieces belie the meaning of the artist’s pieces. Cloud’s artworks represent a relationship with death, mainly death by hanging. The paintings balance on one corner, partly hanging on the wall by a leather belt. This suggests people who have died by hanging in several types of circumstances.
Swiss-born artist Ugo Rondinone creates all types of art including sculptures that transform everyday objects “giving them an artificial permanence that both underscores and denies their perishability,” writes Artsy.
Repetition of pattern combined with astounding texture are the striking features of this piece from the Van de Weghe Gallery.
The Victoria Miro Gallery featured this sculpture by British artist Conrad Shawcross. His “machine-like” installations, all have scientific references and “are filled with paradox, absurdity, and whimsy,” according to Artsy. This is Shawcross’ The Dappled Light of The Sun (Study I), created in 2016.
Galerie Urs Meile presented arresting works by emerging artist Yang Mushi of Shanghai, China as art of Art Basel’s Kabinett program, where galleries display carefully curated exhibitions within their booths. Mushi’s work looks at globalization and extreme urban development in China. His works use industrial raw materials such as wood, foam, metal and stone. This piece is called “Sharpening – Branch.”
No art fair is complete without seeing some works by Japan’s avant-garde artist Yayoi Kusama. Her iconic patterns and colorful works are always a hit. Because of her childhood, pumpkins have played a central role in Kusama’s work. Matsumoto, Kusama’s hometown was not affected by World War II food shortages and the family’s wholesale business had plenty of pumpkins. Throughout her life, she has remained attached to this form and it’s definitely one of our favorites.
So many spectacular pieces and not enough time to bring them all to you! Our picks show a cross section of the innovative sculptural pieces that today’s artists are creating. Whether you can afford to collect the real pieces, use them as inspiration for genres of art you want for your home, or just like to look at the range of creativity, Art Basel is a visual and textural treat.