Looking for the Next Big Thing? Here Are 6 Exciting Artists to Watch From Miami Art Week 2021

We scoured the aisles of Art Basel Miami Beach, NADA, Untitled, and more to bring you a list of artists who are going places.

Melissa Joseph's solo booth at NADA with Regular Normal gallery. Photo courtesy of Regular Normal and the artist.

Art fairs can feel like a blur. That’s why, if a work sticks in your mind after hours and hours spent browsing crowded aisles, there is probably a good reason for it.

After hitting the pavement at Art Basel Miami Beach, NADA Miami, Untitled, and more during Miami Art Week, the Artnet News Pro team emerged with a lot of images on our camera rolls. More importantly, we left with a few names that, after a close look and conversations with dealers, advisors, and collectors, we believe are poised to reach the next stage of their careers after a promising outing in Miami. Allow us to introduce—or, in the case of the first artist on this list, re-introduce—you below.


Michael Ray Charles

Michael Ray Charles, <em>(FOREVER FREE) THE FACTS OF LIVE</em> (2012). Photo courtesy of Galerie Templon.

Michael Ray Charles, (FOREVER FREE) THE FACTS OF LIVE (2012). Photo courtesy of Galerie Templon.

Who: Born in 1967, Michael Ray Charles achieved art stardom in the 1990s showing with Tony Shafrazi in New York. His poster-style art satirizing racial stereotypes attracted celebrity collectors including David Bowie, Matt Dillon, Whoopi Goldberg, and Spike Lee. But some 20 years ago, Belgian dealer Hedwig Van Impe, concerned Charles was risking overexposure, convinced him to take a break from the art market. Since then, he’s made a dozen series comprising more than 100 works—and almost all of them remain unseen by the public. Charles’s subject matter has stayed the same, addressing issues of racism, but he’s developed a new style, eschewing the caricatures of his earlier work.

Based in: Houston, Texas, and Belgium

Showing at: Galerie Templon, Paris and Brussels, at Art Basel Miami Beach

Prices: $150,000 to $170,000 (of the two works for sale, one was snapped up by a private collection in New York)

Why You Should Pay Attention: Charles signed with Templon the week before the fair, making the two works offered at the convention center a last-minute addition to the booth. “We are really lucky it’s us. It could have been another gallery—one of the top four,” director Mathieu Templon told Artnet News. “It’s like we have the estate of a living artist.”

Notable Resume Line: Charles consulted on the art direction for Lee’s 2000 film Bamboozled.

Up Next: Van Impe and Templon are planning to slowly unveil Charles’s past two decades’ worth of work, beginning with a show at Templon Paris scheduled for March. Two small museum exhibitions in Louisiana (Charles’s home state) and Washington, D.C., are also in the works.

—Sarah Cascone


Pol Taburet

Pol Taburet, Un pied mort suspendu / Levitating dead foot (2021). Courtesy Balice Hertling, Paris.

Pol Taburet, Un pied mort suspendu / Levitating dead foot (2021). Courtesy Balice Hertling, Paris.

Who: The 24-year-old Pol Taburet first gained recognition for chromatically vibrant, texturally rich paintings that blend the playful and the sinister in equal measure. He drew early inspiration from the voodoo myths he heard from his Guadeloupean grandmother but now refracts those reference points through a more personal lens. Imagine if Chris Ofili were raised on recent hip hop of the American South, social media, and an infinite library of streaming horror flicks, and you start to get the idea.

Based in: Paris

Shown at: Balice Hertling, in Art Basel Miami Beach’s Nova section

Prices: Works in the booth ranged from Є10,000 to Є40,000 each ($11,300 to $45,200).

Notable Resume Lines: While still in the MFA program at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Arts de Paris-Cergy in fall 2020, Taburet earned his first solo exhibition at Balice Hertling’s permanent space on Rue Ramponeau, then followed it up with a one-person show  at the ever-buzzy Clearing gallery’s Los Angeles location this past June.

Why You Should Pay Attention: Even if you set aside the inherent draw of a precocious talent developing a unique visual language with more than a little technical wizardry, anyone whose work wins the approval of two international tastemaking galleries and gets acquired by the Pinault Collection before their 25th birthday deserves a look, wouldn’t you say?

Up Next: Taburet will be the subject of a solo exhibition at Clearing New York in spring 2022, as well as a 2023 one-person show at the Parisian institution Lafayette Anticipations. The distressed cast-head sculptures scattered across the floor of his ABMB booth (which were offered as a single installation) teased a masked performance he will debut at the latter.

Tim Schneider 


Melissa Joseph

Melissa Joseph's solo booth at NADA with Regular Normal gallery. Photo courtesy of Regular Normal and the artist.

Melissa Joseph’s solo booth at NADA with Regular Normal gallery. Photo courtesy of Regular Normal and the artist.

Who: A former textile designer and high school art teacher, Melissa Joseph had an artistic breakthrough in 2020. Stuck at home and eager to teach herself new skills on YouTube, she discovered needle felting, a process in which wool is sutured to a substrate (she uses felt rug pads). The resulting compositions—which she bases on archival photographs of her family—feel like a cross between a textile, a dog-eared memory, and a warm hug. “Felting was my pandemic relationship,” Joseph told Artnet News. “It’s the closest thing to a native language I’ve found in art-making.”

Based in: Brooklyn, New York

Showing at: Regular Normal Gallery’s booth at NADA

Prices: $1,000 to $2,150 for ceramics (some of which have wool compositions inside); $3,000 to $11,000 for wall works

Why You Should Pay Attention: For one thing, the works look different than everything else on view at the fair at a time when that distinction has become harder and harder to come by. The gallery sold out its solo display (as well as works in the back room) by lunchtime during the VIP preview to collectors including Beth Rudin deWoody. The gallery’s founder Danny Báez noted that none of them was pre-sold, and all but two of the buyers were new clients.

Notable Resume Lines: Joseph is currently participating in not one, but two, prestigious residencies, at the Fountainhead in Miami and Dieu Donne in New York. She also has a stacked schedule of upcoming shows, including at Regular Normal next March and the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center in June.

Up Next: The artist is currently in a group show at BravinLee in New York (through January 22, 2022) as well as upcoming shows at Swivel Gallery and Turn Gallery, also in New York. High-profile group shows are in the works too, but remain under wraps.

Julia Halperin


Jonathan Casella

Installation view of Jonathan Casella at Anna Erickson's booth at Untitled Art Fair. Image courtesy the artist and Anna Erickson. Photo by Charles Roussel

Installation view of Jonathan Casella at Anna Erickson’s booth at Untitled Art Fair. Image courtesy the artist and Anna Erickson. Photo by Charles Roussel

Who: Born in Houston in 1986, Jonathan Casella creates large abstractions of layered star shapes in bright, day-glo colors that practically popped off the equally colorful walls at Erickson’s Untitled presentation, where all of the works on offer, including eye-catching functional clocks, sold within the fair’s first two days. The so-called “doublestars” on Casella’s canvases are symbols of the body and spirit, according to the artist.

Based in: Los Angeles

Showing at: Anna Erickson Presents at the Untitled Art Fair

Prices: $12,800 each for paintings; $1,000 each for clocks

Why You Should Pay Attention: If your eyes have reached the saturation point after a week of taking in large scale, wry, figurative works, here’s the perfect antidote. Buyers at Untitled included a private museum in China, a foundation in Miami, and private collections in Los Angeles, NYC, Miami, and Seoul Korea.

Notable Resume Line: Earlier this year, Casella’s work was the subject of a solo show at M+B Los Angeles and part of a group show at the tastemaking Harper’s Los Angeles.

—Eileen Kinsella


Suchitra Mattai

Suchitra Mattai's, The Murmur of a Prayer (2021) at Kavi Gupta's booth at Art Basel Miami Beach.

Suchitra Mattai’s, The Murmur of a Prayer (2021) at Kavi Gupta’s booth at Art Basel Miami Beach.

Who: Born in 1973 in Guyana, South America, Mattai makes tactile, multi-disciplinary sculptures and installations that explore colonial history through her Indo-Caribbean family’s ocean migrations.  

Based in: Denver, Colorado

Showing at: Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago  

Prices: $30,000 to $70,000

Why you should pay attention: Mattai has a solo show up at the Boise Art Museum in Boise, Idaho, through January, 2022. Olivia Walton, who recently took over as chairperson of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art from billionaire founder Alice Walton, acquired Mattai’s work at Art Basel Miami Beach last week. Titled The Murmur of a Prayer (2021), it’s made of vintage saris once worn by Mattai’s mother and grandmother as well as dancing bells used by her sister. 

Notable Resume Line: She was included in “State of the Art 2020,” a survey of contemporary art from across the country at Crystal Bridges. 

Up Next: She’ll have a solo show, “Monster,” at Unit London (January 11–February 12, 2022), plus presentations with Kavi Gupta at EXPO Chicago and Frieze New York in 2022. 

—Katya Kazakina 


Haley Josephs

Haley Josephs, Rare Bird, 2021 on view at Jack Barrett Gallery’s stand at NADA Miami Beach 2021.

Who: Haley Josephs’s flaming, energetic paintings and drawings present macabre and often sardonic depictions of the feminine experience. Her subject matter encompasses the moment a young girl’s innocence is lost, her arms reaching into a distant rainbow (Childhood’s End), two girls’ first cigarettes shared in giddy camaraderie (Puberty Blues), and even her own birth, a humorous self-portrait of Joseph’s own face emerging (My Mom and Me).

Based in: Brooklyn, New York

Showing at: Jack Barrett Gallery’s booth at NADA

Prices: $20,000 to $50,000

Why You Should Pay Attention: 2022 will see solo shows by Josephs—who has only recently begun to work in a larger scale—in both the U.S. and in Europe. Her only work of art to hit the auction block, My Dolphin Fantasy (2021) at Dallas’ Two x Two benefit in October, tripled its presale estimate to fetch $18,000.

Notable Resume Line: Josephs received her BFA in painting and drawing from Tyler School of Art at Philadelphia’s Temple University in 2011, and her MFA in painting and printmaking from Yale University in 2014. Now 34, her work is in the permanent collection of the X Museum in Beijing and is represented by Almine Rech in Europe and Asia.

Up Next: Jack Barrett will be hosting the artist’s third solo show at his space with Josephs in April of 2022, followed by another solo show at Almine Rech in London.

Annie Armstrong

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