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Mika Tajima
Photograph: Robert Wedemeyer

The 15 must-see galleries at Art Basel Miami 2016

We’ve combed through this year’s list of exhibitors to bring you the most promising galleries at Art Basel Miami 2016

Written by
Jackie Gutierrez-Jones

The highlight of Miami Beach’s year-end celebrations is no doubt Art Basel 2016. Now in its 15th year, the prominent North American art fair will showcase 269 exhibitors inside the 500,000 square-foot Miami Beach Convention Center. Between December 1 and 4, amid a flurry of Miami Art Week satellite fairs, parties and events, Basel attendees will have the opportunity to browse works exhibited by big-name artists and influential galleries across sections that include Nova (younger galleries), Survey (historical works) and Positions (made up of emerging artists). The list of participants is extensive, to say the least, but we’ve singled out the following outfits as the year’s must-see. 

Best Art Basel Miami 2016 galleries

David Castillo Gallery
Photograph: Courtesy David Castillo Gallery

1. David Castillo Gallery

Miami’s David Castillo Gallery opened its doors in 2005 in the Wynwood Arts District. Since then, owner David Castillo has made a jump to Miami Beach where he represents emerging artists such as Sanford Biggers and Xaviera Simmons, who’ll be featured in the Nova sector of this year’s fair. 

Xaviera Simmons, Red (Number One), 2016
Photograph: Courtesy David Castillo Gallery

Photograph: Courtesy Damian Ortega/Fruitmarket Gallery/Kurimanzutto

2. Kurimanzutto

Representing art that is deeply connected to Mexico’s history and culture, Mexico City’s Kurimanzutto gallery opened in 1999 and has been shaping the city’s contemporary art scene ever since. Owners Monica Manzutto and Jose Kuri have an eye for ambitious pieces and moving installations that challenge the viewer’s perception. This year, expect to see works by Carlos Amorales, Damián Ortega, Abraham Cruzvillegas and Jimmie Durham, among others.

Photograph: Courtesy Damian Ortega/Fruitmarket Gallery/Kurimanzutto

Photograph: Courtesy Becky Kolsrud/JTT

3. JTT

As far as Art Basel Miami Beach is concerned, Jasmin Tsou has officially made it: Her gallery, JTT, which grew from a small booth at 2012’s NADA fair to a full-fledged gallery in New York City, makes its Art Basel debut this year with a booth in the show’s Positions sector (made up just 16 curated solo booths). Tsou, who’s known for representing emerging artists, will showcase works by painter Becky Kolsrud. 

Photograph: Courtesy Becky Kolsrud/JTT

Photograph: Robert Wedemeyer/Mike Tajima/Kayne Griffin Corcoran

4. 11R

Augusto Arbizo, in conjunction with Greenberg Van Doren Gallery, opened the gallery’s first incarnation, Eleven Rivington, in 2007. As the Lower East Side gallery expanded, it changed its name to 11R but maintained its focus on showcasing young, New York-based American artists. At its booth inside Art Basel Miami Beach, the gallery will be showing a solo presentation of works by Mika Tajima. 

Mika Tajima, Social Chair, 2016
Photograph: Photograph: Robert Wedemeyer/Mike Tajima/Kayne Griffin Corcoran

Fredric Snitzer Gallery
Photograph: MCPeuser/Hernan Bas/Fredric Snitzer Gallery

5. Fredric Snitzer Gallery

For more than 30 years, Miami’s Fredric Snitzer Gallery has championed local talent and provided the community’s emerging artists with a platform to showcase their work. The gallery represents artists such as Kenny Scharf, Amanda Keeley and Diego Singh. It was only one of two Miami-based galleries to be accepted into the show (the other is David Castillo Gallery) and will once again participate in the Galleries sector, which features a selection of paintings, sculptures and installations, among other mediums. 

Hernan Bas, Tropical Depression
Photograph: MCPeuser/Hernan Bas/Fredric Snitzer Gallery

Elizabeth Dee
Photograph: Etienne Frossard

6. Elizabeth Dee

After 15 years in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood, Elizabeth Dee moved her eponymous gallery to Harlem earlier this year. While part of a greater growing trend in the city, it’s a homecoming for Ms. Dee, who’s lived in upper Manhattan for the last four years. The larger space houses paintings, textile art and installations, as well as hosts lectures and exhibitions for the community. Art Basel Miami Beach attendees can expect to see pieces from her long-time artists, including Carl Ostendarp, Miranda Lichtenstein and picture theorist Annette Lemieux.

John Giorno
Photograph: Courtesy Etienne Frossard/John Giorno/Elizabeth Dee, New York

47 Canal
Photograph: Courtesy Joerg Lohse/Anicka Yi/47 Canal

7. 47 Canal

Margaret Lee’s artist-run gallery is known to push the envelope with exhibitions that are meant to stir, provoke and even disturb viewers. Images of dystopian futures, geological experiments and drug-laden creations are just some of what the New York-based gallery has presented. This year, guests can find them at the Nova sector of Art Basel Miami Beach, where 47 Canal will showcase Anicka Yi’s disturbing installation of new works that use animal fur and skin to explore anxieties relating to radical biotech. 

Anika Yi, Our Brand Is Crisis, 2016
Photograph: Courtesy Joerg Lohse/Anicka Yi/47 Canal, New York

Dominique Lévy Gallery
Photograph: John Berens

8. Dominique Lévy Gallery

Swiss art dealer Dominique Astrid Lévy opened her eponymous Manhattan gallery in 2013 and followed it up with a London counterpart the following year. With a focus on modern and post-war art, Dominique Lévy counts Yves Klein, Roman Opalka and Frank Stella among the notable estates and artists it represents.

Bontecou, Untitled, 1993
Photograph: John Berens/Bontecou/Dominique Lévy Gallery

Green Naftali
Photograph: Courtesy Jacqueline Humphries/Greene Naftali

9. Green Naftali

In 1995, Carol Greene’s Greene Naftali gallery was one of the first to inhabit New York’s Chelsea neighborhood. Known for its conceptually based work, the white-box gallery shows pieces work by artists such as Richard Hawkins, Paul Chan and Julie Becker. Greene remains committed to exhibiting contemporary artists from both the United States and across Europe. 

Jacqueline Humphries, Untitled, 2016
Photograph: Courtesy Jacqueline Humphries/Greene Naftali; New York


Blum & Poe
Photograph: Courtesy Sam Durant/Blum & Poe

10. Blum & Poe

Blum & Poe, which has headquarters in Los Angeles, New York City and Tokyo, is known for its breakthrough exhibitions. Recently, the contemporary gallery premiered Kanye West’s first foray into the art world: “Famous by Kanye West,” a headline-making display of the 12 naked celebrity wax figures depicted in the rapper’s controversial video for the namesake song. 

Sam Durant, Occupation, Lies, Illegal, Respect, Supremacy, Freedom?, 2016
Photograph: Courtesy Sam Durant/Blum & Poe


11. Regen Projects

L.A.’s Regen Projects consistently raises the bar when it comes to the city’s art, giving local artists a nationally reputable space to showcase their work. After more than 25 years in the business, founders Shaun and Stuart Regen have a proven record as successful talent scouts, helping to introduce artists such as Matthew Barney and Opie, which the couple was the first to represent. It goes without saying: if you see something you like at the Regen booth, snatch it up before it quickly finds its way to the mainstream. 

12. Clearing

Yes, Brooklyn’s in the house— by way of Olivier Babin’s Clearing. The commercial gallery, whose New York outpost is a 5,000-square-foot space housed in a former truck repair shop, also has a Brussels location. Visitors can expect to see never-before-seen pieces with an otherworldly and visceral feel.


13. Gagosian Gallery

Though synonymous with New York City culture, the venerable Gagosian began in L.A. before owner Larry Gagosian moved the operation to Manhattan in the mid ’80s. After more than 36 years in business and 16 outposts later, the gallery remains one of the most important voices in the contemporary and modern art world. In previous years, the gallery has showcased blue-chip artists, including Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst. 


14. Maccarone

With one foot firmly planted in New York’s West Village and the other in L.A.’s Boyle Heights, Maccarone has captured the imagination of collectors on both coasts. Founded in 2001 by Michele Maccarone, the contemporary gallery is known for projects with an intricate and historic scope that both engage and delight.


15. Salon 94

Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, an art dealer and second-generation contemporary gallerist, is the guiding force behind Salon 94’s three influential New York galleries. Her keen eye for emerging artists and unlikely aesthetic mash-ups is one to watch. 

See what else is happening at Art Basel Miami 2016

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