Ready or not, Art Basel Miami Beach is upon us and the 20th anniversary edition of the fair in the U.S. promises to be filled with star-studded events, as well as plenty of ascendent talent to scout.
At this year’s Miami art week, there are plenty of artists who deserve your attention, but we narrowed it down to six upstarts whose careers we believe are primed to reach new heights. So whether you’re in the throes of JOMO or already starting to feel the FOMO for Art Basel, here’s a primer on the work you definitely can’t miss out on.
Teresa Baker (b. 1985)
Who: An enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes in Western North Dakota, Teresa Baker pays tribute to her upbringing while infusing her practice with a modern aesthetic. She transforms synthetic materials into artwork that underscores irregular territorial shapes.
Based in: Los Angeles, California
Notable Resume Lines: Baker is a 2022 Joan Mitchell Fellow and her works have recently been acquired by the Portland Museum of Art in Maine, and the Whitney Museum of American Art and Forge Project in New York. She has had recent solo exhibitions at de boer, Los Angeles; Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Arizona; Pied-à-terre gallery in San Francisco; Interface Gallery in Oakland; the Art Museum of Southeast Texas in Beaumont, Texas; and Gray Contemporary, Houston.
Where to See It: David de Boer Gallery is dedicating a solo presentation to Baker at NADA. She will also take part in the fair’s “NADA Presents” talk series with a discussion on Thursday, December 1, at 3:30 p.m., followed by a reception in the booth.
What to Look Out for: The booth will include an installation of contemporary willow baskets and hanging works created with yarn, paint, artificial turf, beads, bark, buckskin, and corn husks that draw from associations both real and imagined. The center of the display is a large-scale, wall-hung abstraction. The materials, texture, shapes, and colors are guided by Baker’s Mandan/Hidatsa culture. The artist spent her childhood in nature with sites that doubled as historical places meant for tourism, but which also sparked discussion around the erasure of the native cultures there.
Prices: $9,000 to $25,000
Fun Fact: Baker was born in North Dakota and spent her formative years moving around the Midwest, where her father was the first American Indian Superintendent of National Parks like Little Bighorn Battlefield, Chickasaw National Recreation Area, Lewis and Clark Trail, and Mount Rushmore. He involved the local tribes from wherever they lived.
Up Next: A group show at Ballroom Marfa, large scale installation at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, and a second solo at de boer, Los Angeles in 2023.
Alexandre Diop (b. 1995)
Who: At 27 years old, Alexandre Diop is positioned to become the next market smash, with a painting style that evokes Jean-Michel Basquiat, and a host of powerful people guiding him into the spotlight. Among those are Amir Shariat, the artist manager who has brokered previous residency program artists with Don and Mera Rubell, which have routinely resulted in explosive careers. Diop studied with Daniel Richter at Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, and has carved a name for himself working with unconventional materials such as latex, burnt fibers, and animal fur, which he finds on long walks through the Viennese streets, as well as the artist’s spit and blood.
Based in: Vienna
Notable Resume Lines: This year in Paris, Diop was paired with Kehinde Wiley for a mentorship through the esteemed Reiffers Art Initiatives program, culminating in a show at the Acacias Art Center, “La prochaine fois, le feu,” which closed just earlier this month.
Where to See It: Diop landed the coveted in-house artist-in-residency program at the Rubell Museum, which has launched the rocketship careers of Amoako Boafo and Kennedy Yanko. His exhibition opens on November 28, and will remain open until November of next year, when the next-in-line is crowned.
What to Look Out for: Over the three month program, Diop has been expanding on his practice of assemblage paintings, many of which incorporate found items onto wood mounts. The works present visual and tactile histories of colonialism and diaspora, drawn from the artists own European and Senegalese heritage. Alongside the drawings and paintings that have been displayed at his gallery Roberts Projects, he will also debut color photographs.
Prices: Diop’s drawings sell in a range between $10,000 to $20,000, and the assemblage paintings sell in the neighborhood of $30,000.
Fun Fact: While in a creative frenzy when the artist lived in Berlin, he accidentally set his studio on fire, nearly burning down the whole building.
Up Next: This spring, Jeffrey Deitch will host a solo show of Diop’s work in New York during Frieze.
Didier William (b. 1983)
Who: Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and raised in Miami, Didier William got his BFA at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, followed by an MFA at the Yale School of Art in New Haven, Connecticut. His mixed media paintings feature a dizzying profusion of tiny dots and other markings. The artist layers this acrylic paint over dark-skinned figures, who, upon closer inspection, are made up of relief carvings on wood panel of hundreds upon hundreds of eyes.
Based in: Philadelphia
Notable Resume Lines: William’s impressive exhibition history includes a solo show at the Figge Museum Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa, as well as group outings at institutions including the Bronx Museum, the Museum of Latin American Art, and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. He has also been an artist-in-residence at the Sharpe-Walentas Studio in Brooklyn, and received the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Joan Mitchell Foundation grant, and a Pew Fellowship from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage in Philadelphia.
Where to See It: The artist’s largest solo show to date, “Didier William: Nou Kite Tout Sa Dèyè,” is on view through April 16 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami. At Art Basel Miami Beach, William’s work will appear alongside of that of Geoffrey Holder, Juanita McNeely, and Oscar yi Hou at the booth of James Fuentes, who represents the artist in New York. (In Los Angeles, William shows with M and B Gallery.)
What to Look Out for: William makes work that sits at the boundary of abstraction and figuration, delving into Afro-Caribbean history to retell stories of the Black diaspora through a potent mix of myth and memory. A common motif is the mango leaf, in a nod to Haiti’s native tropical fruits. The MOCA North Miami show will feature 40 paintings as well as William’s first monumental sculpture, a 12-foot-tall wooden form inspired by columns used in traditional Haitian religious rituals.
Prices: At the fair, William’s work will top out at $120,000.
Fun Fact: In addition to his thriving art career, William is also an educator. He is currently an assistant professor of expanded print at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Previous posts include stints at the Yale School of Art, Poughkeepsie’s Vassar College, the University of Pennsylvania, SUNY Purchase, and Columbia University in New York.
Up Next: William is featured in the group show “Forecast Form: Art in the Caribbean Diaspora, 1990s–Today,” which is at the MCA Chicago through April 23, 2023, and will travel to the ICA Boston from October 5, 2023, to February 24, 2024. He’ll also inaugurate Fuentes’s new Los Angeles gallery next year.
Michel Majerus (1967-2002)
Who: Michel Majerus evolved the animating principles of American Pop art and the Pictures Generation into the digital age. The Luxembourg-born, Berlin-based artist was among the first to synthesize imagery from (and about) the internet, videogames, and electronic music with the vocabularies of art history, advertising, and global commerce. He applied this approach to a far-reaching practice spanning monumental paintings, installations, video, and collage. Tragically, his legacy has already outlived him; Majerus died in a plane crash in November 2002, when he was just 35 years old.
Notable Resume Lines: The artist is currently the subject of “Michel Majerus 2022,” an extraordinary international campaign of 20 solo exhibitions staged at various points throughout this year, the twentieth after his death. Five of these shows were scheduled to open in Germany between November 1 and mid-December 2022 alone: at the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Kunstverein Hamburg, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, and neugerriemschneider gallery (which represents Majerus’s work commercially).
Where to See It: Majerus’s first U.S. museum survey opened at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami on November 28 to help kick off Miami Art Week.
What to Look Out for: Much of the breadth of Majerus’s technique will be on view at the ICA, including six wry riffs on the collaborative compositions of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, as well as later pieces for which he leveraged then-nascent forms of digital reproduction.
Prices: Large paintings have made a habit of vaulting well over their estimates at auction since 2018, regularly reaching $300,000 and up after fees. His current record under the hammer is the roughly $796,000 paid for one of the Warhol-Basquiat appropriation works at Sotheby’s Singapore this August.
Fun Fact: Majerus’s impact has radiated deeply into the realms of new-media art. Cory Arcangel was among the speakers at a symposium on the artist last month, and Daniel Birnbaum, the director and curator of mixed-reality art platform Acute Art, has written in praise of his work.
Up Next: Luxembourg’s Grand Duke Jean Museum of Art (known as MUDAM) will debut “The Sense Machine,” an addendum to “Michel Majerus 2022,” on March 31, 2023.
Monsieur Zohore (b. 1993)
Who: An Ivorian-American artist who completed an undergrad degree at Cooper Union before graduating from the Maryland Institute of Art, Monsieur Zohore makes his paintings with paper towels and puff paint. “His work is all over the place —performance, sculpture, installation, and theater—and super queer. There’s a unique sense of humor to it and a delightful satire around means of production,” 56 Henry Gallery founder Ellie Rines told Artnet News last year. Zohore, whose real first name is Sandy, told Artnet News that the formal French moniker is “like a joke on professionalism. A lot of my work deals with labor specifically. That was an early decision that happened years ago.”
Based in: New York and Baltimore
Notable Resume Lines: Zohore’s work was the focus of a NADA solo show in Miami last year (2021) at de Boer. He has had solo and two person exhibitions in 2021 at Springsteen, in Baltimore and Jack Barret Gallery, New York. Group shows include; New Release Gallery, New York; One Trick Pony in Los Angeles, and the Baltimore Museum of Art.
Where to See It: At Jupiter Contemporary’s booth in the curated spotlight section at NADA, a show in Miami with KDR305 gallery, a group presentation at Gavlak’s booth at Art Basel Miami Beach, and a group show organized by Half Gallery.
What to Look Out for: Zohore’s practice explores queer histories alongside his Ivorian-American heritage through a multi-faceted lens of humor, economics, art history, and labor, according to de Boer Gallery. He homes in on the consumption and digestion of culture and looks at it through the lens of domestic labor and art production. Across the span of upcoming shows much of the work is made from paper towels but thematically different.
Prices: $7,000 to $40,000
Fun Fact: More than 20,000 paper towels were used in creating the art for these upcoming shows.
Up Next: Large-scale performances at M+B Gallery, Los Angeles; Spazio Amanita in New York; and the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.
Cauleen Smith (b. 1967)
Who: Filmmaker and multimedia artist Cauleen Smith is known for experimental works drawing on the cinematic tropes of structuralism, third world cinema, and science fiction, which grapple with challenging themes such as the material realities faced by Black women today, opening up new worlds through the possibilities of imagination.
Based in: Los Angeles
Notable Resume Lines: Smith is a recipient of prestigious prizes, including the $250,000 Heinz Award in 2022 as well as the Guggenheim Fellowship and the Ellsworth Kelly Award. Her 2018 solo exhibition “Give It or Leave It” traveled from the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, to Seattle’s Frye Art Museum in 2019 and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2021. Her banners were part of the 2017 Whitney Biennial, followed by a solo exhibition of two films and drawings in 2020-21.
Where to See It: Meridians section and Morán Morán’s gallery booth, Art Basel Miami Beach.
What to Look Out for: An immersive installation Space Station (A Rock in a River), featuring film, shag carpet, and wall paper. One highlight is a kinetic sculpture Space Station: Two Rebeccas (2018), composed of disco balls and projected videos dedicated to Rebecca Cox Jackson, a Black spiritualist who founded the first black shaker community in the U.S., and her companion and protégé Rebecca Perrault. The light of the projections reflects off the wallpaper, creating a contiguous, otherworldly landscape. Smith’s signature banners will be installed at the booth of Morán Morán gallery that co-represents the artist along with Corbett vs Dempsey gallery.
Fun Fact: Smith’s feature debut, Drylongso, first screened at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival, recently underwent restoration by The Criterion Collection, Janus Films and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The restored, higher resolution version was featured at the New York Film Festival in 2022.
Up Next: Smith’s solo show at Morán Morán is on view through December 22 in Los Angeles. She will have a solo exhibition at Aspen Art Museum in 2023.
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