Art Basel in Miami Beach 2019

Get your shine on at Art Basel in Miami Beach

There is plenty to keep magpie collectors happy at the fair


Miami is not a city known for its shy and retiring aesthetic—no, give us glitter, give us bling, give us sequins with a side of gold lamé. And there is plenty to keep magpie collectors happy in the aisles of Art Basel in Miami Beach too as, setting off all those big, bright, figurative paintings are lots of, well, shiny things, from Teresita Fernandez’s Ghost Vines (Yellow Gold, 2015) splashed across the walls of Anthony Meier Fine Arts to Jim Lambie’s chrome painted potato sacks, Soul Machine (2016) at The Modern Institute. Here are a few more gilded lilies—extra points if it’s shiny enough to take a selfie in it.

Jeff Koons, Dolphin, 2007-13 Photo: © Jeff Koons and courtesy of Gagosian

Jeff Koons, Dolphin (2007–13), Gagosian

Gagosian wins for peak Miami magic with this irresistible Dolphin by Jeff Koons, the patron saint of shiny art—Rihanna reportedly received one for Christmas a few years ago. The gallery would not disclose the price for the work, which is made from mirror-polished stainless steel, but, for anyone wishing to recreate the look, an inflatable ride-on dolphin can be had from nearby Alvin’s Island gift shop for a mere $11.99. (Bonus: the budget version floats.)

Aaron Fowler, Blue (detail), 2019 Photo courtesy of M+B

Aaron Fowler, Blue (2019), M+B in Positions

This solo stand from Aaron Fowler is one big self-portrait. The Los Angeles-based artist uses found mirrors, as well as other objects such as afro wigs and baseball caps, to create these works in which the reflective element is all important: “As he is making them, he is having to look at himself, confront the good and the bad,” says Shannon Richardson of M+B. All five works on the stand have sold, priced from $36,000 to $65,000, to collectors. Fowler’s solo show, Into Existence, opens on 13 December at the Seattle Art Museum.

Rodrigo, Torres Dopamina (2019) at A Gentil Carioca (golden apple core) Photo: David Owens

Rodrigo Torres, Dopamina (2019), A Gentil Carioca

A ceramic apple core polished in gold by Rodrigo Torres is a tonic for our turbulent times, says the Brazilian artist’s dealer A Gentil Carioca. “The anxiety crisis generated from the current political and economic tensions in Brazil was the main motivation for the development of this sculpture. It is the search for emotional compensation to relieve anxiety,” a gallery spokeswoman says. It is priced at between $5,000 and $10,000.

Bertrand Lavier, Christós (2019) at Kamel Mennour Photo: David Owens

Bertrand Lavier, Christós (2019), Kamel Mennour

Bertrand Lavier’s luminescent piece, made from bronze plated in nickel, depicts Christ descending from the cross. The artist looked to history for this glistening depiction, basing his work on a pre-20th century wooden effigy of Jesus. “His work is always about re-appropriation,” says the dealer Kamel Mennour, who represents Lavier. “It’s playful; he has a very good sense of humour. Lavier likes the shock factor.” The piece is priced at €90,000.

Peter Liversidge, Mask X (2019) Photo courtesy of Ingleby

Peter Liversidge, Wall of Gold Masks (2019), Ingleby

The conceptual artist Peter Liversidge is fascinated by pareidolia—the phenomenon of seeing human faces in inanimate objects. Inspired by seeing a gold Inca mask in a museum in Connecticut, Liversidge started making masks from humble scraps of found cardboard, wood, stone, sponge and polystyrene, which he then gilded with imitation gold leaf to elevate them to the status of quasi icons. Liversidge made and framed a group of these impish gold masks for Art Basel and the whole installation, Wall of Gold Masks, is priced at £50,000. (Individual masks are on sale for between £3,500 and £9,500.)

Appeared in Fair Dailies, Art Basel in Miami Beach 2019