After 10 years of Art Basel Miami Beach, as the fair shifts to occupy the digital realm, we are excited to present an expanded online viewing space to feature and contextualise works we would have shown on our booth at the fair had the world been different today. These works, by a selection of the gallery’s artists, each reflect on our current and highly unusual situation as well as exceptional recent social and political events.
‘We Must Act’, instructs Sharon Hayes’ painted banner, whose title and content speak so eloquently to the current moment. The work holds an omission at its very centre – a space where the absence of the word ‘Women’ is outlined in faint pencil – ‘we [women] must act’. In a similar way, Kate Mosher Hall’s paintings use these gaps and voids in composition – torn curtains or Venetian blinds – to represent that which is framed by these absences.
At once ominous and playful, Elizabeth McIntosh’s painting entitled ‘Pattern’ is also broken open to reveal the blank white space beneath, like a relief between storm clouds. Her second work, ‘Elements’, explores the many ways that we longingly represent the sun in these dark days, using Bruno Munari as her guide. Antonio Ballester Moreno thrives in these differences, asserting that his paintings of suns are never the same. After all, it is always a different sun that we look at every day.
Jimmy Roberts’ new sculpture complicates the distinctions between image and space, revealing a contorted figure captured within a paper sculpture. The artwork engages and seeks to dissolve socially defined or culturally inscribed identities. Similarly, Esteban Jefferson’s ongoing consideration of the collection shown by the Petit Palais museum in Paris reflects on race, identity and the legacies of colonialism, questioning how institutions process uncomfortable histories.
'What messages might we already leave for the archaeologists of the future from their ancient past, before the doors to the future close?’ asks Studio For Propositional Cinema’s manifesto. Their off-set printing plate works echo Hayes’s initial call to action, adding an important caveat for consideration – 'IF THERE IS STILL ENOUGH TIME TO DO SO’.
But as Elif Saydam says of their contemplative Ottoman miniatures, there is the reassuring voice of hope and reflection in even the midst of the wildest tempest. In the end, this too shall pass, they say. But when it does, and the sky clears, “What kind of a world do we want to live in? And how do we want to live in it?”
Jefferson (born in 1989) lives and works in his hometown, New York. His debut solo exhibition in New York, ‘Petit Palais’ took place at White Columns in 2019. Selected group exhibitions include ‘Vernacular Interior’ at Hales Gallery, New York; ‘1989-2019’ at Chinatown Soup, New York; ‘Material Witness Witness Material’ at the Knockdown Center, New York; and ‘Black Blooded’ at The New Gallery, Charlotte.
In 2020, Jefferson was commissioned by New York Public Art Fund to make a new work for their ‘Art on the Grid’ project, which was exhibited at transit hubs throughout the city. He will participate in the forthcoming Triennale ‘Estamos Bien’ at Museo del Barrio, New York in 2021.
Esteban Jefferson's first solo exhibition in Europe is currently on view at Tanya Leighton, Berlin. ‘Petit Palais’ runs until 15 December at Kurfürstenstraße 24/25. An exhibition of Jefferson's drawings is planned to take place in Los Angeles in July 2021.
I’m interested in how we culturally deal with history, especially uncomfortable histories. In the US there is a long-running debate about what to do with confederate monuments. Do we destroy them and build something new? Do we add overt historical context to them, but leave them intact? Do we remove them but leave their bases standing, as a reminder that they were once there? I think the Petit Palais works get at these same questions.