There may have been considerable buzz over at Art Basel Miami Beach’s VIP preview on Tuesday for the fair’s 20th Anniversary, but that didn’t detract from the energy at NADA Miami at its opening on Wednesday.
The aisles at Ice Palace Films Studios, where the fair was held this year, were packed with dealers and collectors who came to the fair to see offerings from 146 galleries. Returning this year was the Curated Spotlight section, dedicated to eight solo presentations by up-and-coming galleries. This year’s edition was curated by dealer Joeonna Bellorado-Samuels, who spoke with ARTnews ahead of the fair.
“It’s important to have art fairs outside of the big main one,” Bellorado-Samuels said of NADA. “In terms of cost and access, it’s prohibitive for so many people. I also think collectors and curators are interested in looking beyond the circle that they’re familiar with. They are excited to go to NADA to find out not just who’s just coming up next, but more about what’s in the zeitgeist and what’s percolating.”
ARTnews combed through this year’s fair, which full of younger galleries than Basel, for the sharpest presentations on view. Here are the seven best ones.
Monsieur Zohore at Jupiter Contemporary
Miami gallery Jupiter Contemporary has an incisive and funny selection of works by Ivorian-American artist Monsieur Zohore. Through found objects, photos printed onto paper towels and affixed to canvases, and even ice sculptures of pigeons, Bon Voyage mixes pop culture, art history, and luxury into an unsettling examination of resort culture. During a week when the art world briefly descends on Miami to party, Zohore’s work provides an apt and fairly direct intervention.
Nandi Loaf at King's Leap
Walk too fast through NADA, and you might miss New York gallery King’s Leap‘s presentation of intriguing works by Nandi Loaf. In a series of Plexiglass works, a water-cooled DIY computer, and a cheeky sign reading “Collector’s Only,” all created specifically for NADA, Loaf aims to disrupt the fair setting. Loaf’s work, gallery’s owner Alec Petty told ARTnews, “is always about the construction of how she operates within the context of where she’s exhibiting.”
The idea with the Plexiglass works, all titled “Masterpiece,” is for fairgoers to see themselves in the works’ dull reflections. In doing so, he said, they “create the subject,” and Loaf refuses to put herself on display. “She’s thinking about how she can control an environment and the way in which she is percieved and distributed within the dominion of social capital and financial capital,” Petty said.
Brittni Ann Harvey at Someday
Someday, a new gallery from New York’s Tribeca district, is bringing together a grouping of works by New England–based artist Brittni Ann Harvey, who has on view oil-on-burlap paintings, camouflage and jacquard-woven fabrics, and an embroidered sculpture head. The real showstopper, however, is a freestanding bronze sculpture that, for anyone who has spent time on the internet, will immediately evoke Boston Dynamics’ robotic dogs. Harvey’s robot dog is covered with digitally embroidered fabric and appears as though it were a medieval invention. It conjures our primal fear of technological advancement—and destabilizes it. The work is emblematic of her practice, which mixes digital and analog processes and bears out a preoccupation with military research and industrial production.
Nep Sidhu at Patel Brown
Nep Sidhu’s work, on view at Patel Brown, initially draws the viewer in with forms that hypnotize and calm the senses. As one gazes at the work a little longer, references to spiritual jazz to Sikh metaphysics emerge. These works—many of them are textiles, sculptures, and paintings from a series called “They Awakened in Algorithm”—call one to sit and contemplate them. None is more absorbing than Malcolm’s Smile 7A, a 12-foot-tall handwoven tapestry with macramé that cascades below. Filled with Islamic and African iconography, the work interprets the various phases of Malcolm X’s life, particularly his hajj to Saudi Arabia and his travels in Africa.
Fuyuhiko Takata at WAITINGROOM
One could be forgiven for walking past video works at a fair as jampacked as NADA, but Fuyuhiko Takata’s works at Tokyo gallery WAITINGROOM are not to be missed. The works, a series of short semi-narrative videos, question gender roles, drawn on fairy tales, and enlist scatological humor to powerful effect. Takata’s works evince a DIY quality; he writes, directs, and stars in them, and also produces the handcrafted props, which include a set of mermaid tails (for his gender-bent take on “The Little Mermaid,” 2016’s Cambrian Explosion). Most intriguing of all these films is The Butterfly Dream, a 2022 work that recalls the Chinese tale “The Butterfly Dream” and references Yoko Ono’s famed performance “Cut Piece.”
Amy Bravo at Swivel Gallery
At Swivel Gallery’s booth, into Cuban-American artist Amy Bravo is showing mixed-media works—primarily graphite, acrylic, and wax pastel on canvas, with other materials—and sculptures to tell an imagined story of her family’s history intertwining with ancient mythology. The work, Bravo told ARTnews, revolves around her fascination with psychopomps, supernatural creatures that guide the newly deceased to the afterlife. To that end, Psychopomp Machine (2022), a piece filled with found chicken coop lining and small sculptures representing her family member’s teeth, becomes a way to call into being a final conversation with deceased relatives.
ZINAIDA at Sapar Contemporary
Nina Levent typically shows an international grouping of artists at her New York gallery Sapar Contemporary, but this year, the curator, who grew up in Kharkiv, focused on Ukrainian artists as a way to process the trauma of Russia’s invasion of the country.
At NADA, Levent brought Ukrainian woman artist Zinaida, fresh off her a solo show held in tandem with the 2022 Venice Biennale. In addition to stills and video works from the “Without Women” series that appeared in Venice, the NADA presentation shows pieces from “SHE,” a new series that the artist produced after returning to Kyiv in June. In the work, Zinaida appears as an eternal, divine feminine figure garbed in a hybridized costume combining elements from Ukrainian, Greek, Berber, Arabic, Bulgarian, and Jewish cultures.