December 1, 2020

16 Highlights from Design Miami and Art Week 2020 in Miami

With the pandemic-induced cancellation of Art Basel Miami Beach, Art Miami, and the dozens of other fairs and events that typically run in early December each year, the throngs of art and design lovers converging on the Magic City may be considerably lighter than usual in 2020. But that’s not stopping many of the shows from going on. The 16th edition of Design Miami, the annual global design forum usually held concurrently with Art Basel in its own space across from the Miami Beach Convention Center, returns to the Moore Building in the Miami Design District this year and features several virtual and in-person events (managed and scaled-down for health and safety) from Nov. 27-Dec. 6.

Among them is its debut Podium exhibition (curated by Aric Chen), which focuses on the theme “America(s)” and showcases 139 pieces ranging from rare and important folk and mid-20th-century pieces to contemporary works from 57 designers, as well as exhibitions from 11 international design galleries and three curated Curio presentations. Complementing these exhibitions are a series of creative brand collaborations and satellite exhibitions, within the Moore Building and throughout the Miami Design District, including various gallery and cultural exhibitions, the Chilean design collective Great Things to People’s award-winning immersive environmental installations, and an exhibition of the private collection of design visionary Craig Robins.

Design Miami also is hosting a series of robust virtual talks and all of the works are available to view and purchase virtually via Design Miami/ Shop. Other local stalwart art-world patrons and institutions, including Jorge Pérez and the Pérez Art Museum Miami, the Margulies Collection at the Warehouse in the Wynwood Arts District of Miami, the Rubell Museum, and many other local galleries and museums will host their own in-person or virtual events during Art Week, from Nov. 30-Dec. 5. Art Miami, the longest-running art fair in the city, is taking place virtually exclusively on from Dec. 2-20. And Art Basel will present a series of virtual conversations and more than 2,500 works from 255 galleries from around the world through OVR: Miami Beach, the December edition of Art Basel’s Online Viewing rooms, which will run from Dec. 2-6 (the 2-4 are VIP preview days, and the 4-6 are open to the public). Read on for a selection of this year’s highlights.  

Bench by George Nakashima. Photography courtesy of Moderne Gallery.

Among the standouts of a historic collection of furniture, ceramics, and wood- and metalworks presented by Moderne Gallery in its exhibition of pieces from the American Studio Craft Movement at the Design Miami/Podium exhibition is a restrained sculptural bench by midcentury master George Nakashima. The distinctive custom piece was made for St. Paul’s Abbey of Newtown, N.J., sometime between 1962 and 1964, when Nakashima designed a series of unique furnishings made specifically for the Abbey. Moore Building 191 NE 40th St, Miami, FL 33137

Broom Thing by Stephen Burks in collaboration with Berea College Student Craft. Photography courtesy of Stephen Burks.

Suspended in mid-air among the furniture and objects at Design Miami/Podium, the enchanting Broom Thing, a kaleidoscopic sphere by designer Stephen Burks in collaboration with Berea College Student Craft catches the eye with a rainbow of color. The ambient object is made within the college’s Broomcraft department from the equivalent of 26 brooms using traditional broom-making techniques. Designed by the internationally renowned industrial designer as part of his Crafting Diversity collection, the Broom Thing represents Burks’s ongoing effort to innovate through traditional artisanal techniques as a way to extend craft traditions into the future. One of only a handful of Broom Things ever made, it is an open edition whose proceeds go directly to funding the education of students in need. Moore Building 191 NE 40th St, Miami, FL 33137

Tea Cart by Jorge Zalszupin. Photography courtesy of Memo Brasil.

Mercado Moderno’s showcase of Brazilian works at Design Miami/Podium features pieces by both contemporary and midcentury designers, including a frolicsome Tea Cart by midcentury designer Jorge Zalszupin. The iconic piece with its removable tray was designed Zalszupin in the late 1950s and was inspired by the baby strollers used in Poland, where the designer was born. Moore Building 191 NE 40th St, Miami, FL 33137

Conscious Actions was a series of interactive installations throughout Design District. Photography courtesy of gt2P.

The Miami Design District’s Annual Design Commission to reimagine the neighborhood’s streets through immersive concepts was awarded this year to the renowned Chilean design collective Great Things to People (gt2P). The designers’ concepts come to life in Conscious Actions, a collection of interactive, playground-inspired devices that they’ve installed in various settings throughout the Design District. Joining a highly regarded list of previous recipients, including Fernando Laposse, Dozie Kanu, Charlap Hyman & Herrero, Philippe Malouin, and Snarkitecture, gt2P’s devices—composed of transformative surfaces and energized with kinetic motion and solar-powered lighting—are activated through natural forces and designed to elicit the spirit of carefree, childhood fun while reminding visitors of the direct impact every action has on our environment.

Cabezon table lamp by Reynold Rodriguez. Photography courtesy of Wexler Gallery.

In its exhibit at Design Miami/Podium, Wexler Gallery is showcasing a collection of furniture and objects by award-winning industrial designer Reynold Rodriguez, who currently runs a design studio in San Juan. “I study the relationship between objects and how they’re made,” says the designer of the pieces on display, including the stunning K Chair, made of charred hand-carved almendro wood, and the delightful Cabezon table lamp, composed of polished gypsum plaster and mahogany block. Rodriguez’s handmade furniture and objects are made in small, limited-edition series. Moore Building 191 NE 40th St, Miami, FL 33137

Heroes Bench by Vivian Carbonell. Photography courtesy of Carbonell Design Studio.

The Heroes Bench, a highlight of the debut work of first-time exhibitor and Miami-based designer Vivian Carbonell, principal of Carbonell Design Studio, is among the many minimal yet tactile pieces the designer developed alongside local craftsmen in both Los Angeles and Miami and is showcasing at Design Miami/Podium. Made of clean, solid oak planks and designed to emphasize the beauty and simplicity of the material’s nature, the bench is topped with adjustable seat cushions upholstered in a natural bouclé made by David S. Gibson custom weavers and a custom handmade Japanese boro-inspired denim patchwork. Moore Building 191 NE 40th St, Miami, FL 33137

The Brass Triple Zoidberg Table Lamp by The Haas Brothers. Photography courtesy of Katharine Suarez.

Also at Design Miami/Podium, R & Company spotlights new work from its contemporary artist program, including fresh pieces by Johnny Swing, a hand-built paper pulp shelf by Katie Stout, and a triple-necked bronze table and Brass Triple Zoidberg Table Lamp by The Haas Brothers. Moore Building 191 NE 40th St, Miami, FL 33137

Gregoire Scalabre’s Soane Wall Medallion. Photography courtesy of Todd Merrill Studio.

A duo of exhibitions presented by Todd Merrill Studio at Design Miami/Podium showcase original works of collectible designs by artists around the world. Among the most compelling in a solo exhibition of eight works from British artist Mark Fish are an Ethereal Bar and a Drinks Cabinet, two dreamlike pieces made of poured resin that explore the interplay between rigidity and softness. In a separate exhibition of works by nine of the gallery’s roster of international artists, Finish artist Teemu Salonen’s iconoclastic Chinese Restaurant lamps, French ceramist and sculptor Gregoire Scalabre’s Soane Wall medallion (acquired by the Musée des Arts Decortifs for its permanent collection), and Irish artist Enda Scott’s delicate bentwood Harmonograph seating stands out. Moore Building 191 NE 40th St, Miami, FL 33137

The Quilt by Corinna Petra Friedrich. Photography courtesy of J. Lohmann Gallery.

At Design Miami/Podium, J. Lohmann Gallery presents a collection of new works by German ceramicist Corinna Petra Friedrich. Among the playful pieces is “The Quilt,” a one-of-a-kind patchwork vessel inspired by African fabric and made with an assemblage cutout clay slabs finished with screen-printed, engobe, or monotype techniques. Moore Building 191 NE 40th St, Miami, FL 33137

Wishbone by J.B. Blunk. Photography courtesy of Jason Jacques Gallery.

Works on display at the Jason Jacques Gallery in the Design Miami/Podium exhibition include both manmade and natural wonders. “Wishbone,” a monumental freestanding sculpture carved from a single piece of ancient redwood heartwood in the 1980s by American sculptor J.B. Blunk, was crafted with minimal transformation to the material in order to keep the memory of the living tree intact. The monolithic sculpture contrasts with two nearly complete Camptosaurus and Allosaurus dinosaur skeletons excavated in Wyoming and presented by the same gallery. Moore Building 191 NE 40th St, Miami, FL 33137

Red & Black Thought by George Condo. Photography courtesy of Salon 94 Design.

Among the galleries participating in the Miami Design District’s program of exhibitions in a collective seasonal location, Lévy Gorvy, in collaboration with Salon 94 Design, presents a curated selection of spirited 20th-century and contemporary paintings and sculpture by legendary artists, such as Alexander Calder, Keith Haring, Cindy Sherman, Richard Diebenkorn, Sigmar Polke, Yves Klein, and Andy Warhol, among many others. Highlights include new and 20th-century watercolors on paper by Francesco Clemente and Red & Black Thought, a large oil and pencil work on canvas by George Condo. Salon 94 Design’s presentation will include objects by designers Martino Gamper, Donald Judd, Max Lamb, Kwangho Lee, Philippe Malouin, Carlo Mollino, Gaetano Pesce, and Tom Sachs. 3930 NE 2nd Avenue, Suite 100, Miami, FL, 33137

“Kenny Sharf: Moodz.” Photography courtesy of Jeffrey Deitch Gallery.

Jeffrey Deitch Gallery, which is setting up its own pop-up in the Design District for the season, is showcasing 101 circular face paintings by graffiti artist Kenny Sharf in an exhibition called “Kenny Sharf: Moodz.” Sharf, who compares the paintings to people with no two being alike, created the works with the spontaneous spray-painting technique he started deploying on the streets of New York in 1981. 182 NE 39th Street, Miami, FL 33137

Gliding on My Knees to Heaven by Portia Zavahera. Photoraphy courtesy of PAMM.

Some of the best artistic talent from Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean is on display at PAMM in an exhibition called “Allied with Power: African and African Diaspora Art.” The show includes more than 40 works from billionaire and art patron Jorge Pérez’s personal collection that will become part of the museum’s permanent collection. Among the highlights are a spectacular construction of electrical wire called Tightrope by Elias Sime, an untitled piece made of nails, thread, and metallic paint on wood by Sonia Gomes, and a work rendered in oil-based printing ink called Gliding on My Knees to Heaven by Portia Zavahera. 1103 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132

Maria Magdelana Campos-Pons’s Finding Balance. Photography courtesy of EE23.

More than 100 more must-see works from African and diaspora artists from Pérez’s collection are on display at the much talked-about El Espacio 23 (EE23) in an exhibition called Witness: Afro Perspectives from the Jorge M. Pérez Collection curated by Zimbabwean curator Tandazani Dhlakama. (Debuting last year during Art Basel, EE23 is a new 28,000-square-foot arts center founded by Pérez to promote artists from Miami and from around the world by providing three spaces in which contemporary artist residents can come to work and live.) Among the recent standout works in the exhibition is David Koloane’s Procession and Maria Magdelana Campos-Pons’s Finding Balance. Another featured exhibition at EE23 called Catastrophes highlights works from an initiative supported by the Jorge M. Perez Family Foundation in an effort to use art to seed an equitable micro-economy in Miamis Allapattah neighborhood. Produced by artist and designer Agustina Woodgate, who directs a social enterprise called the Animal Rug Company (ARC), in collaboration with a group of seamstresses at Goodwill South Florida, Catastophes showcases a collection of five handmade rugs created from once-loved stuffed animals. The idea is to emphasize the importance of sustainable practices while highlighting arts positive impact on underserved communities. A portion of all proceeds will be donated in support of Goodwill South Florida’s job creation efforts. 2270 NW 23rd St, Miami, FL 33142

Hettler Tüllmann’s Loop Chairs. Photography courtesy of Mindy Solomon Gallery.

A few galleries from South Florida are also represented at Design Miami in its gallery and Curio programs. Mindy Solomon Gallery showcases wood and woven fiber seating from Hettler Tüllmann’s collection of Loop Chairs. Within the Curio program, West Palm Beach gallery Ponce Berga debuts with a collection of iconic historic pieces from 20th-century masters, including Gio Ponti, Richard Nuetra, and Jean RoyèreMoore Building 191 NE 40th St, Miami, FL 33137

Mosaic structure by Kristi Cavatoro. Photography courtesy of Ramiken.

Ramiken, one of the galleries participating in the Miami Design District’s program of exhibitions, is showcasing new work from a half dozen contemporary artists, including a compelling three-dimensional stained glass mosaic construction by Kristi Cavataro. 3930 NE 2nd Avenue, Suite #202, Miami, FL 33137

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