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15 Art Basel Miami 2015 galleries you must see

Our critic sifted through 267 exhibitors to select the 15 best galleries and installations for Art Basel Miami 2015

Photograph: Courtesy Art Basel Miami Beach

Between December 3 and 6, amid the whirl of Art Basel Miami 2015 parties and events at art museums and other venues throughout the city, 267 galleries from 32 countries will be displaying their wares. While there’s no doubt you’ll see big-ticket items by name-brand international artists at the booths of the most powerful galleries, one of the rewards of attending a major art fair is the chance to see work that you won’t see anywhere else (unless you’re an inveterate globetrotter). So, while you shouldn’t miss looking in on big-box outfits like, say, Hauser & Wirth, Almine Rech and Blum & Poe, the offerings at the following galleries are likely to be a revelation. You’ll find many of them around the periphery of the main Galleries section; others are located in areas of the fair dedicated to younger galleries (Nova) and to booths showing the work of a single historical or emerging artist (Survey and Positions, respectively). Still others represent artists whose work is part of Art Basel’s Public segment—a group of more than 20 outdoor sculptures and installations selected by curator Nicholas Baume of New York’s Public Art Fund and on view in nearby Collins Park. And it that’s not enough for you, there are several satellite fairs to boot.

RECOMMENDED: See our full guide to Art Basel Miami Beach

Best Art Basel Miami 2015 galleries

1
Lehmann Maupin

Lehmann Maupin

NYC gallery Lehmann Maupin expanded beyond Chelsea and the Lower East Side to Hong Kong in 2013. Its Kabinett booth (one of 27 curated exhibitions scattered thoughout the fair) will feature an installation by Nari Ward, whose mid-career survey exhibition, “Sun Splashed,” runs through February 21 at the Pérez Art Museum Miami. Ward’s sculptures and installations, often incorporating found objects, employ a wealth of historical and contemporary references to reflect on the lives of African-American and Caribbean people. His 1993 work Amazing Grace, installed in a former firehouse in Harlem and involving hundreds of abandoned baby strollers and discarded fire hoses, is still one of the most elegiac portraits ever made of a community in crisis. Don’t miss the opportunity to see a new piece here.

Nari Ward, We Shall Overcome, 2015
Photograph: Courtesy Elisabeth Bernstein/Nari Ward/Lehmann Maupin

2
Garth Greenan Gallery

Garth Greenan Gallery

Opened in 2013, New York’s Garth Greenan Gallery has made a name for itself reviving the careers of neglected artists like Paul Feeley, Nicholas Krushenick, and Howardena Pindell. Its booth in the Survey section of the fair will present five canvases from the mid-1960s by Pop artist Rosalyn Drexler, whose paintings—made by enlarging images from magazines, newspapers, films and TV and overpainting them with acrylics—were darker and more surreal than those of her male peers.

Howardena Pindell, Free, White and 21
Photograph: Courtesy Garth Greenan Gallery

3
Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects

Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects

While representing a roster of international stars, German-born dealer Susanne Vielmetter has also established herself as a champion of California’s emerging talents, showing artists you might not see elsewhere. Seek out Sadie Benning’s jigsaw-puzzle-like abstractions, as well as works with political overtones by L.A. artists Andrea Bowers and Rodney McMillian.

Rodney McMillian
Photograph: Courtesy Jeff McLane/Rodney McMillian/Susan Vielmetter

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4
Pilar Corrias

Pilar Corrias

Also located in the Nova section, London gallery Pilar Corrias will present a trio of younger, of-the-moment video artists: Rachel Rose, Ian Cheng and Ken Okiishi. Rose’s videos, addressing such subjects as the environment and 20th-century modernism, incorporate found and original footage; Cheng’s meditations on human-ness are created using computer simulations; and Okiishi’s recent abstract oils, done on flatscreen monitors that play clips from amateur videos, combine the act of painting with that of viewing.

Ken Okiishi, gesture/data (feedback), 2015
Photograph: Courtesy Ken Okiishi/Pilar Corrias

5
Galerie Kamel Mennour

Galerie Kamel Mennour

With three spaces in Paris and a program that goes far beyond the usual suspects, fast-rising Galerie Kamel Mennour is one of the most exciting art venues in the French capital. In addition to representing the estates of modernist sculptor Alberto Giacometti and surrealist photographer Pierre Molinier, as well as established names from the 1960s like Mono-ha painter Lee Ufan and conceptualist Daniel Buren, Mennour also handles such breakout talents as visual artist and dancer Lili Reynaud-Dewar and installation artist Camille Henrot.

Daniel Buren and Alberto Giacometti, Œuvres contemporaines, 1964-1966
Photograph: Courtesy Jean-Pierre Lagiewski/Galerie Kamel Mennour

6
Galerie Buchholz

Galerie Buchholz

Opened in 1986 in Cologne, Galerie Buchholz was at the center of that city’s art scene of the 1980s and ’90s, showing work by then-unknowns Isa Genzken, Kai Althoff, Jutta Koether and Michael Krebber. The gallery has since evolved into a major international player, with two spaces in Cologne, a branch in Berlin, and an outpost on New York’s Upper East Side. Nevertheless, it still makes room for leading-edge younger artists like Simon Denny and Loretta Fahrenholz alongside the now-famous members of its original stable.

Simon Denny, Modded Server-Rack Display with Some Interpretations of Imagery from GCHQ ROYALCONCIERGE Slides, 2015
Photograph: Courtesy Simon Denny/Galerie Buchholz

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7
Kurimanzutto

Kurimanzutto

Since the 1990s, Mexico City has been an important center for adventurous contemporary art. One of the mainstays of its gallery scene is Kurimanzutto, whose installation- and sculpture-heavy program features work by internationally renowned Mexican artists like Gabriel Kuri, Mariana Castillo Deball, Dr. Larka and Daniel Guzmán, as well as by global stars such as Thailand’s Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Native American artist Jimmie Durham, and Puerto Rico–based duo Allora and Calzadilla.

Dr. Larka, Untitled, 2015
Photograph: Courtesy Diego Pérez/Dr. Larka/Kurimanzutto

8
Stevenson Gallery

Stevenson Gallery

Although galleries such as Skoto gallery in New York have helped make artists like Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui recognizable names in America, there are still far too few places in this country where you can see modern and contemporary African art. Let South Africa’s Stevenson Gallery, which specializes in current art and photography from the region, broaden your vision with works by the likes of photographer Pieter Hugo, painter Portia Zvavahera and installation artist Serge Alain Nitegeka.

Pieter Hugo, Mallam Mantari Lamal with Mainasara, Abuja, Nigeria, 2005
Photograph: Courtesy Pieter Hugo/Stevenson Gallery

9
Beijing Art Now Gallery

Beijing Art Now Gallery

Founded in 2004, Beijing Art Now Gallery shows the work of Chinese contemporary artists. Its booth in the Survey section of the fair will be devoted to post-Tiananmen artist Wang Jinsong. Wang is best known for his 1990s conceptual photography, which often addresses social conditions in China. Works such as A Standard Family (1996), comprising 200 images of single-child families, will be displayed alongside the artist’s gouache and acrylic paintings—reminiscent of Picasso’s Guernica in style—from the late 1980s and early ’90s.

Wang Jinsong, Graduation Photo Acrylic, 1988
Photograph: Courtesy Wang Jingsong/Beijing Art Now Gallery

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10
Mendes Wood DM

Mendes Wood DM

Last year Sao Paolo’s Mendes Wood DM—run by one American and two Brazilian dealers—held forth in Art Basel Miami Beach’s Nova section, devoted to emerging galleries. Newly graduated into the main fair, the gallery will likely present a wider range of its program this year. Look for work that has a conceptual or political (or sometimes simply poetic) aspect by Brazilian artists Celso Renato and Paulo Nazareth.

Celso Renato
Photograph: Courtesy Bruno Leão/Celso Renato/Mendes Wood DM

11
Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler

Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler

Bleeding-edge Berlin gallery Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler will dedicate its Positions booth to the work of Berlin-based American Daniel Keller, who is also, with Nik Kosmas, one half of the artist duo AIDS-3D. Keller’s solo production focuses on the intersection of technology, commerce and culture, and particularly on the role of the artist in today’s networked global economy. He is known for exquisitely crafted sculptures based on those wiggly security CAPTCHAS used by websites to tell human users from bots, and for AIDS-3D’s corporation-sculpture Absolute Vitality, Inc. (2012).

AIDS-3D, Absolute Vitality, Inc., 2012
Photograph: Courtesy Simon Vogel/AIDS-3D/Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler

12
Maisterravalbuena

Maisterravalbuena

In the Nova section, the young Madrid gallery Maisterravalbuena will show American B. Wurtz’s assemblages with Spaniard Néstor Sanmiguel Diest’s geometric abstractions. The combination of the two artists (both in their mid-60s) is felicitous: Both artists make apparently straightforward work that belies its visual and intellectual sophistication—Wurtz with arrangements of such everyday objects as plastic shopping bags, shoelaces and net produce sacks, Diest by layering simple patterns, words and images.

Néstor Sanmiguel Diest, El Pantano
Photograph: Courtesy Néstor Sanmiguel Diest/Maisterravalbuena

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13
Foksal Gallery Foundation

Foksal Gallery Foundation

Established in 1997, Warsaw’s Foksal Gallery Foundation is an outgrowth of the city’s pioneering Foksal Gallery, which opened in in 1966. In the spirit of the original, the gallery shows innovative work by both international and Polish contemporary artists—among them Pawel Althamer, Monika Sosnowska, Paulina Olowska, and Jakub Julian Ziolkowski—many of whom it has supported from early in their careers. Foksal also conducts research into Polish art of the 1960s and ’70s and preserves the Warsaw studio of avant-garde artist Edward Krasinski (1925–2004).

Paulina Olowska, Glazed ceramic, 2014
Photograph: Courtesy Paulina Olowska/Foksal Gallery Foundation

14
Jack Shainman Gallery

Jack Shainman Gallery

In the Public section of the fair, African-American artist Hank Willis Thomas—represented by Jack Shainman Gallery in New York—will present a rolled-steel speech bubble bench from his public art series “The Truth Is I See You.” Thomas’s work often repurposes images from advertising and branding campaigns to comment on societal structures in America, particularly as they pertain to race. In this series, the cartoon speech balloon acts as a container for different voices and versions of the truth.

Hank Willis Thomas, Ernest and Ruth, 2015
Photograph: Courtesy James Ewing/Hank Willis Thomas/Jack Shainman Gallery

15
Gavlak

Gavlak

The almost-ten-year-old Palm Beach gallery Gavlak, which opened a branch in Los Angeles last year, reflects the taste of owner Sarah Gavlak for stuff that is poppy, sexy and super smart. The gallery shows work by such contemporary artists as Elisabeth Kley, Marilyn Minter and Betty Tompkins, as well as the self-portraits of 1950s and ’60s pinup photographer and model Bunny Yeager. Although Gavlak also represents the likes of Jack Pierson and Wade Guyton, girl power rules here.

Marilyn Minter, Streak, 2010
Photograph: Courtesy Marilyn Minter/Gavlak Gallery

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