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Art Basel Miami Beach 2017: Curator Alex Gartenfeld's picks for what to see outside the fair

Updated 6th December 2017
PASCALE MARTHINE TAYOU6BeautifulInstallation view of Pascale Marthine Tayou, Beautiful at The Bass. Photography by Zachary Balber. Courtesy of The Bass, Miami Beach.
Credit: Courtesy Zachary Balber/The Bass, Miami Beach
Art Basel Miami Beach 2017: Curator Alex Gartenfeld's picks for what to see outside the fair
Written by Alex Gartenfeld
Alex Gartenfeld is deputy director and chief curator of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami.
Art Basel Miami Beach may be the highlight of the city's winter cultural scene, but it's only one of many crowd-pleasing art events opening this week. Alternative annual fairs like Design Miami, Untitled, Pulse and Scope will lure visitors to sites around the city, as will galleries of all sizes.
On Dec. 1, a more permanent fixture was added to the Miami art landscape when the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (ICA Miami) opened the doors to its stunning new home, designed by Spanish firm Aranguren + Gallegos Arquitectos, in the city's Design District.
Ahead of Art Basel Miami Beach, Alex Gartenfeld, the ICA Miami's deputy director and chief curator, shared his top picks for what to see outside of the main event.

'Dara Friedman: Perfect Stranger' at Pérez Art Museum Miami

Still from "Play (Parts 1 & 2)" (2013) by Dara Friedman
Still from "Play (Parts 1 & 2)" (2013) by Dara Friedman Credit: Courtesy Dara Friedman/Gavin Brown's Enterprise
Dara's show makes a strong and radical statement: a huge exhibition at a major museum comprising only film. It is majestically installed, and while the artist is based here and well-known in Miami, rarely do we have a chance to see all of her work together. The exhibition makes a compelling narration of her career, moving from experimental film to anthropological and even narrative work.

'Abstract/Not Abstract' at the Moore Building

"WIDW. ALLPORT." (2017) by Sterling Ruby
"WIDW. ALLPORT." (2017) by Sterling Ruby Credit: Courtesy Sterling Ruby Studio/Gagosian
The inter-generational exhibition, curated by Jeffrey Deitch, features a number of renowned artists, including Sterling Ruby and Richard Prince. Among the younger artists on show is the important painter Ryan Sullivan, who is showing recent examples of paintings made using cast molds. A departure from his earlier, materially heavier work, these pieces are shockingly and intriguingly flat, but continue his efforts to reinvent process in painting and explore the limits of expressive gesture.

'Pascale Marthine Tayou: Beautiful' at the Bass Museum of Art

Installation view of "Pascale Marthine Tayou: Beautiful" at The Bass
Installation view of "Pascale Marthine Tayou: Beautiful" at The Bass Credit: Courtesy Zachary Balber/The Bass, Miami Beach
Tayou is an incredible artist with a wry sense of humor with which he subtly yet ecstatically confronts themes of globalization and the legacies of colonialism. His 2014 show at Kunsthaus Bregenz, "I Love You!" was incredible, so I look forward to this. This is a major US debut.

NADA Art Fair

"Camden Still Life (magenta cyan plate exchange)" (2017) by Wolfgang Tillmans
"Camden Still Life (magenta cyan plate exchange)" (2017) by Wolfgang Tillmans Credit: Courtesy Camden Arts Centre
NADA is an important place to discover emerging artists, galleries and nonprofit arts organizations from all over the world. This year the fair returns to its earlier home at the Ice Palace downtown.

Sol LeWitt at the Miami Design District

"Tower" (1990) by Sol LeWitt, on view in Frankfurt
"Tower" (1990) by Sol LeWitt, on view in Frankfurt Credit: Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery/Estate of Sol LeWitt
The ICA Miami worked with the estate of Sol LeWitt to erect two large-scale sculptures at the eastern entrance to the Miami Design District. These are late works that continue the artist's collaborative work with fabricators and, in some ways, radicalize it. The two concrete block sculptures rise about 20 feet and allude to 'arte povera' building materials, adding nuance to this rapidly growing part of the city.