Anselm Kiefer, Betye Saar, James Turrell and more at seven must-see exhibits in Miami

Collectors will be able to check out works by iconic names in minimalism and conceptual art and interesting collectives about the African diaspora

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

zanele muholi
Zanele Muholi is one of the featured artists in THEllied with Power: African and African Diaspora Art

1. Allied with Power: African and African Diaspora Art at PAMM

Conceived by the Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron to house the collection of the Argentine-American Jorge M. Pérez, the Pérez Art Museum Miami is a mandatory stop in the city. In addition to hosting important itinerant exhibitions, the museum presents different parts of its own collection, which includes names such as John Baldessari, Olafur Eliasson, Dan Flavin, Joseph Cornell, Kehinde Wiley, Frank Stella, Diego Rivera, Damian Ortega, Joaquín Torres-García and Beatriz González, among others. 

A few years ago, inspired by his training in various Latin American countries, Pérez began collecting works by Cuban and Afro-Latin artists several years ago – receiving two major donations in 2011 and 2012 that added 500 new works to the permanent collection. He has recently expanded this focus to include artists from across the African diaspora and the result of this research can be seen and celebrated in the collective Allied with Power: African and African Diaspora Art.

Elias Sime
Elias Sime

The result? Works that incorporate different possibilities and complexities in the face of themes such as representation, politics, spirituality and race. Dissolving national borders, the artists in the exhibition unite through their ancestry, representing a kaleidoscope of voices that declare their authority. Among the highlights are Sonia Gomes, Nicholas Hlobo, Rashid Johnson, Isaac Julien, Arjan Martins, Zanele Muholi , Cheri Samba, Yinka Shonibare, Mickalene Thomas, Kara Walker, among others. 

María Magdalena Campos Pons
Maria Magdalena Campos Pons in WITNESS: Afro Perspectives from the Jorge M. Pérez Collection, at the El Espacio 23

2.WITNESS: Afro Perspectives from the Jorge M. Pérez Collection, at El Espacio 23

Not satisfied with exhibiting his Afro-diasporic collection in Allied with Power, Jorge M. Pérez makes yet another decolonial statement this year by inviting Zimbabwean curator Tandazani Dhlakama, assistant curator at Zeitz MOCAA, to idealize a group show at his new and trendy exhibition space, El Espacio 23.  WITNESS: Afro Perspectives from the Jorge M. Pérez Collection It brings together more than 100 works by African and African diaspora artists from the collection, addressing themes that revolve around the ideas of oppression, intergenerational trauma, syncretism, identity and territory.

The title of the show is suggestive: “Witnessing is observing an act, being present at a significant moment. It may involve viewing a single transgression, a series of cataclysmic episodes that beg for questioning and introspection. However, one can also witness a euphoric regenerative instant, a period of restitution”, explains the text of the exhibition. Witness: Afro Perspectives invites visitors, therefore, to be present in the current moment and to witness the challenges and traumas inherited by different generations. 

After all, the lived experience can be carried by many generations and, in this sense, it is worth questioning the very concept of “witness”. Can it be implied? Does it depend on the proximity and distance of the subject? To what extent are time and space intermediaries, challenging the boundaries between truth, myth, imagination and utopia? Is the landscape, the land, the most objective witness of all time? Is it possible to testify, in a tangible way, the cyclical nature of revolution, creolization and displacement? Collectively, we witness from different points of view. To whom do we witness? These are some of the questions raised by Dhlakama when selecting the works for the show. But they will not necessarily be answered. 

 Betye Saar: Serious Moonlight", no Institute of Contemporary Art
“Betye Saar: Serious Moonlight” at the Institute of Contemporary Art

3. Betye Saar: Serious Moonlight, at IAC 

Black feminist art icon, Betye Saar presents an exhibition at the ICA that brings together works on an intimate scale from the 1960s and 1970s – think of the montage of readymades and found objects that punctuate questions about race and gender. In works like The Liberation of Aunt Jemima (1972), for example, the artist added a rifle and raised fist to the familiar stereotypical commercial emblem. The idea is to change commercially found objects in order to highlight and dismantle racialized images that permeate our daily lives. 

The exhibition also houses important research into rarely seen immersive installations from 1980 to 1998 that drew on the history of the African diaspora and the African American experience to create tangible, powerful monuments that profoundly influenced artists such as David Hammons, Maren Hassinger and Senga Nengudi.

Influenced by the artist's research trips to Haiti, Mexico and Nigeria in the 1970s, these engaging works explore concepts of ritual and community through cultural symbols and autobiographical references. In House of Fortune (1988), the visitor will come across a sinister scene with a table of tarot cards and Voodoo flags as if it were a meditation on spirituality. The Ritual Journey and Wings of Morning (both 1992) address the traditions of death and mourning. 

Jannis Kounellis, Untitled, 1993,
Jannis Kounellis, Untitled, 1993

4.Arte Povera, at The Margulies Collection

One of the most important moments in the history of art, the Arte Povera is honored by The Margulies Collection whose most recent acquisitions were guided by post-war Italian culture. Bringing together works by masters such as Alighiero Boetti, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Luciano Fabro, Jannis Kounellis, Giulio Paolini, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Mario Merz and Gilberto Zorio, the collective is a great opportunity to visualize and understand the motivations and concepts developed by the group sponsored by Germano Celant. 

“Povera” is an Italian word meaning “poor” and the term “Arte Povera” was coined by Celant in the 1960s in Italy. This type of art received this name because its adepts used non-conventional, organic and often precarious materials such as sand, stones, newspapers, ropes, felt, earth and rags. The use of materials has a clear objective: to express the poetics of ephemerality, materiality and spontaneity. 

The intention was also to “impoverish” the work and criticize the decadence of society based on the accumulation of material wealth. It is, therefore, a critique of exaggerated consumerism and the industrial processes that marked the time. 

In this sense, the artists of “Arte Povera” were closely connected with those who researched Performance and Land Art…all were looking for alternative ways to break the art system that treated the work as a product to be advertised with a fundamentally commercial nature. Also as in Land Art, the artists of “Arte Povera” turned their attention to the themes of nature and its derivatives, breaking with industrial processes and perceptions. Want to know more? Then visit the exhibition. 

Anselm Kiefer
Anselm Kiefer

5.Anselm Kiefer na The Margulies Collection

Kiefer is always Kiefer and always worth seeing! The Margulies Collection has the largest collection of the artist in the USA and those who visit the museum this week will also be able to check out the institution's newest acquisition: Leviathan und Behemoth, a photographic work of six meters. One of the most relevant post-war names, Anselm Kiefer became known for his paintings that mix materials such as natural materials such as straw, ash, clay and lead, using photography as the basis for reporting, in a very particular way, German history – marked by horror of the Holocaust – in addition to theological concepts of Kabbalah.

legendary's pupil Joseph Beuys, the artist developed a monumental and dramatic work, almost depressing and destructive. Kiefer also has a strong connection to literature: he draws inspiration from Paul Celan's poems and uses writings, legendary characters or historical places in almost all of his paintings.

James Turrell
James Turrell

6. James Turrel at Superblue Miami

“My work is about space and the light that inhabits it. It's about how you can confront that space," said artist James Turrell. If you visit the Superblue Miami you will be able to experience and understand what the artist wants to say. An exponent of American minimalism, Turrell has explored, since the 1960s, forms of perception and how what is perceived affects and shapes the lived reality. 

The installations are created to sharpen the sense of sight, transforming the look at what surrounds us. He is well known for his Skyspaces series: spaces with a hole in the ceiling and natural or artificial light (usually colored). He is also famous for idealizing a highly anticipated land art: In 1979, Turrell acquired a volcano in Arizona and, since then, has moved tons of earth to build tunnels and openings that will transform this crater into a huge observatory with the naked eye for the experience. of celestial phenomena.

For Miami, he created a tunnel that ends in a bright pink square – Bridget's Bard it is a magical experience not to be missed.  

Kika Carvalho
Kika Carvalho

7.”Just Breathe…”, in The55project pop up space

An exhibition with only Brazilian artists about respect, responsibility and collectivity. “Just Breathe…”, curated by Felipe Hegg promises to show a nation aware that we need to work together, respecting our own plurality, to build a better future. 

In the series “Brasões”, Kika Carvalho paints kites that were actually made and donated to children in Morro da Piedade, in Vitória, where the artist lives and works, and in other locations in the city and country such as Salvador, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. The geometries of each kite represent Exu and Yansan, Umbanda and Candomblé entities. It is an attempt to recover symbols of the sacred belonging to the Afro-diasporic movement that are kept away from the Afro-Brazilian population, especially children. The work also ends up giving visibility to black culture and proposing a reconnection of children with their ancestry. Among the highlights of the press conference are Alice Quaresma, Mano Penalva, Marina Weffort, Rafael Baron and Regina Parra. 

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