The Freshman Class: 5 Galleries Making a Splash With Their First Time at Art Basel Miami Beach

From the crazy paintings of Koichi Enomoto to the cerebral work of Jamal Cyrus, new galleries are bring new energy to Miami.

A fairgoer surveying Koichi Enomoto's work at Taro Nasu gallery. Courtesy of Taro Nasu.

The massive 2017 edition of Art Basel Miami Beach features a whopping 268 galleries from 32 countries around the world. Among this vast cohort, some 20 first-timers make the trip to the convention center, providing an injection of new blood into the swarming spectacle.

Here, we spotlight five dealers making their Miami debut—with artists from Shanghai to Houston, these booths are bringing their A-game.

1. Antenna Space, China

Xu Qu's <i>Sir Harry Smith Parkes</i> (2017). Courtesy of the artist and Antenna Space.

Xu Qu’s Sir Harry Smith Parkes (2017). Courtesy of the artist and Antenna Space.

Behind the Booth: In 2013 Simon Wang opened Antenna Space in the M50 Art District of Shanghai—it is one of more than 120 galleries and studio spaces that took up residence in a former textile factory near the Wusong River. The art space was initially funded by arts entrepreneur David Chau, who later went on to start the Art021 fair in China. Wang has built a program that focuses on emerging artists, acting as a literal antenna.

Inside the Booth: A solo presentation of Xu Qu, a Beijing-based artist who investigates how vast power structures are filtered through regional arts and culture. For “Xu Qu: Doctrine“, the artist presents Parkes Chamber Pots, utilitarian objects adorned with a monkey representing the British diplomat Sir Harry Smith Parkes, who botched a ceremonial international affairs meeting. Local artists were widely known for commenting on the explicit “buffoonery” of European conquerors as China emerged from its semi-colonial position.

Antenna Space is located at Positions|P14

2. Inman GalleryUnited States

Jamal Cyrus's <i>Bobby Bland in all Blues</i> (2017). Image courtesy of the artist and Inman Gallery.

Jamal Cyrus’s Bobby Bland in all Blues (2017). Image courtesy of the artist and Inman Gallery.

Behind the Booth: Kerry Inman started her Houston-based gallery in 1990 “on a shoestring” after she noticed a burgeoning generation of artists who lacked gallery representation. Inman has maintained close ties with artists she began representing almost 30 years ago, and has expanded to work with international artists. This year, the gallery makes its Art Basel debut with the Houston-native Jamal Cyrus. “We’re thrilled to be a Houston gallery in the ‘big fair’ presenting a Houston artist,” she writes. “I think it’s a first.”

Inside the Booth: Jamal Cyrus’s “Jet Auto Archive(December 30, 1996 – January 6, 1997)” is a deconstruction of American historical narratives as they pertain to the cultural representation of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. Using various media including collage, Cyrus re-imagines and revises historical accounts, calling attention to the subjectivity of mass media. The artist has been working with Inman’s gallery for five years, and is currently exhibiting at the Prospect 4 Triennial in New Orleans. The pieces at Inman’s booth range in price from $4,500–$40,000.

Inman Gallery is located at Positions|P2

3. Isla FlotanteArgentina

Mariela Scafati's <i>Body sobre mesita</i> (2015). Courtesy of the artist and Isla Flotante.

Mariela Scafati’s Body sobre mesita (2015). Courtesy of the artist and Isla Flotante.

Behind the Booth: Leopol Jose Maria Mones Cazon established Isla Flotante as a creative hub with studios and exhibition space under one roof in 2012. The gallery has evolved as the contemporary art scene in Argentina has grown, focusing on creating a supportive union of galleries in the city. In 2015 the gallery moved to the colorful neighborhood of La Boca, the nexus for Art Basel’s first iteration of the roving “Cities” project. Isla Flotante currently represents a cohort of eight young Argentinian artists including Mariela Scafati, whose work will be featured at ABMB.

Inside the Booth: In “Mariela Scafati: Handcuff Secrets,” visitors will find 65 canvas-contraptions suspended and installed around the booth. Scafati’s work is a bridge between the surreal and the banal; strange amalgams of furniture and clothing recall Sarah Lucas’s anthropomorphic chair collages.


4. TARO NASU, Japan 

Koichi Enomoto, Until when can we keep this shape of our own bodies? (2017). Courtesy of the artist and Taro Nasu.

Koichi Enomoto, Until when can we keep this shape of our own bodies? (2017). Courtesy of the artist and Taro Nasu.

Behind the Booth: Founded in 1998 by Taro Nasu, the gallery finally settled in the Bakuro-cho neighborhood of Tokyo in 2008; the current director, Masako Hosoi joined the gallery in 2005 after a stint at a Tokyo museum. Taro Nasu represents more than 20 international artists, balancing a roster of established conceptual artists like Ryan Gander and Pierre Huyghe with a younger cohort of artists who Masako says “have been paying close attention to the development of AI over the years.” This focus on how artificial intelligence could impact the visual arts is at the forefront of the gallery’s plans for the future. 

Inside the Booth: Koichi Enomoto’s large-scale paintings are populated with cartoon figures set against dizzying backgrounds—a bit of a departure for the gallery’s conceptually minded program. However, Masako stresses that beneath the “very cartoon-like expressions in his paintings, you can find the very conceptual ideas about our society.” The works on offer at ABMB range in price from $3,000–$20,000.

Taro Nasu is located at Positions|P12

5. dépendance, Belgium

Peter Wächtler’s Untitled (2017). Courtesy of the artist and dépendance.

Behind the Booth: Founder Michael Callies began his career as an artist before opening dépendance in 2004. Callies likens the early years of Brussels’s art scene to that of Berlin, where there was no competition with London or New York, and he could focus on creating an ideal atmosphere for his artists to exhibit. The gallery has fostered the careers of artists who were new to Brussels, and have since maintained close ties with the space.

Inside the Booth: Participating in the “Nova” section of ABMB, dépendance is presenting work by the London-based painter Gillian Carnegie; German artist, drawer and filmmaker Peter Wächtler; and the London-based artist Ed Atkins, who though best known for his disconcerting high-definition videos, will show drawings at the booth.

dépendance is located at Nova|N10

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