Home Arts Art Basel in Miami Beach’s Meridians section features big works tackling big topics

Art Basel in Miami Beach’s Meridians section features big works tackling big topics

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Although this year’s Meridians section at Art Basel in Miami Beach lacks an official theme, many of its large-scale works reference some sort of metaphorical largeness—whether global connectivity, the environment or the universal language of music. Magalí Arriola, the section’s curator and director of Mexico City’s Museo Tamayo, specifically included two video pieces this year, an effort to expand the very concept of “large-scale” work into the fourth dimension. “Spending time with video or performance—it’s not large-scale in terms of size, but in terms of how to expand artistic practice,” she says. “Video is a very different way of experiencing art because it demands time. It’s a medium that evolves in time rather than space.”

Lee Mullican, Entrance of the Entertainers (1984-85), Marc Selwyn Fine Art

“Lee Mullican was part of a group called the Dynaton, who were preoccupied with spirituality, creating a link between European Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism and the extinction of the planet in the atomic age. Mullican was a surveillance pilot during the Second World War, and all of his work is very textural and relates to the bird’s-eye view.”

Seung-taek Lee, Earth Play (1990s) Liliana Mora

Seung-taek Lee, Earth Play (1990s), Gallery Hyundai

“This is an inflatable balloon painted with a satellite image of the Earth—meant to be activated not only by the artist but also by the public, when Lee would do performances outdoors, dragging the balloon or riding on a bike with the balloon attached to it. He would activate it in different contexts—all of them very loaded politically—such as in a plaza next to the Berlin Wall or Tiananmen Square.”

Eric N. Mack, Flourish (2023) Liliana Mora

Eric N. Mack, Flourish (2023), Paula Cooper Gallery, Morán Morán, Galleria Franco Noero

“Eric N. Mack works with a lot of recycled fabrics. He sees this as an evolution of what painting could be. It’s really a dialogue between painting and sculpture. There are so many references in this work, like Alexander Calder with these mobile-like structures, but it’s also a way of finding how to deploy painting out of the canvas.”

Oliver Beer, Composition for Face and Hands (ASMR) (2023) Liliana Mora

Oliver Beer, Composition for Face and Hands (ASMR) (2023), Almine Rech

“Oliver Beer was a musician and composer before becoming an artist. Much of his work is about finding resonances within bodies or objects—human bodies, in this case. He collaborated for this project with percussionists, who play compositions on each other’s faces. All this rubbing and tapping accelerates until it creates a huge tension between the performers, and when the tension goes to its maximum, it stops.”

Marcelo Brodsky, 1968: The fire of ideas (2014-18) Lilian Mora

Marcelo Brodsky, 1968: The fire of ideas (2014-18), Rolf Art

“This is a series of photographs that offers a survey of different political demonstrations that took place globally in the 1960s and 70s. Brodsky took pictures from his own archive or media archives from all these demonstrations, and he coloured them. The text he wrote is against the grain of the captions that many of these images would have had in their original context when they were printed in newspapers—a way of counteracting the official history and balancing history and memory.”

Reginald O’Neal, The Cellist (2023) Liliana Mora

Reginald O’Neal, The Cellist (2023), Spinello Projects

“Reginald O’Neal is an artist from Miami, who was raised in Overtown, where all the Black entertainers that flew in to play for white audiences would be obliged to stay during segregation. This is his first large-scale sculpture, which comes from a series of smaller-scale paintings that represent figurines. The figure is turning his back to the audience, which is a very political move.”

Hew Locke, Gilt (2022) Liliana Mora

Hew Locke, Gilt (2022), Almine Rech

“Hew Locke presented this work in 2022 for the Metropolitan Museum’s façade project. A lot of his work is about what he calls the ‘heritage industry’. The elements here are like conceptual collages of different historical pieces—all of them objects in the Met’s collection—blown up to this monumental scale. It’s very close to institutional critique, speaking about how museums implement these kind of colonial practices.”

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