Skulls, Elephants & Snowglobes: 6 Standout Installations From Art Basel Miami Beach


Another Art Basel Miami Beach has come and gone, showing off tons of new artworks for fans and collectors to drool over. From sculpture and photography to film installations and performance pieces, the art world converged on the city in an overwhelming display of talent. With so much out there (258 galleries based in 31 countries, to be exact), it's easy for something to get lost in the shuffle and it can be tough to comb through everything that was on display. Here are some of my personal favorites, but in no way does this even come close to touching on everything lucky attendees got to feast their eyes on. [Warning: Some of the following images may be NSFW.]

A Portrait of Marina Abramovic by Matthu Placek

This six-minute 3D film premiered at the National YoungArts Foundation's newly acquired Jewel Box and was screened for the public December 3-7. The film played on a loop, every 15 minutes, and featured a nude Abramovic standing in the old building that is soon to become the Marina Abramovic Institute in New York. Not only was this the first time the public was able to get a glimpse of the newly restored Bacardi Jewel Box, the strange and eerie film was an emotional look at the Serbian artist, who bared her soul (and body) for the world's exploration.

Photo Courtesy of Matthew Marks Gallery
Odalisque by Nan Goldin

This art piece, which is an edition of three and priced at $60K, was the result of Nan Goldin's access to the Louvre's galleries. The photographer spent eight months wandering the storerooms, snapping photos of historical masterpieces. Afterwards, she paired the shots of famous artworks with photographs she took of her friends. The result reminds us all that we, in our everyday lives, are just as stunning and beautiful as those framed in museums.

Photo Courtesy of Goodman Gallery
Mother and Child III by Walter Ottman

Pairing an adult skull to one of a child, Walter Ottman explores the bond between mother and child. While usually this bond evokes feelings of love and support, his use of archaic skulls not only work to transcend time, it also creates a feeling of disaster and death. It's important to note that this artwork is actually sculptural and is made webbing thin aluminum wire into something so delicate that it looks more like lace.  

Photo Courtesy of Paul Kasmin Gallery
Once Everything Was Much Better Even the Future by Nir Hod

Exhibited at the Paul Kasmin Gallery, this mixed media sculpture acted as a teaser for Nir Hod's new series that will be exhibited next year. The large art piece resembles a snow globe and is filled with glowing 24k gold specs that swirl around a moving oil derrick.

Photo Courtesy of Jeff Koons
Elephant by Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons has been in the news a lot lately, thanks to his collaborations with Lady Gaga, and his polished sculptures were all over Art Basel this year. Elephant, which is larger than one might assume, is his version of an inflatable children's toy. Made from high chromium stainless steel, this sculpture is one of three and sold for an estimated $20M at the David Zwirner Gallery.

Photo Courtesy of Metro Pictures
Playtime by Isaac Julien

According to Metro Pictures, Isaac Julien's installation is made up of three chapters, exploring the relationship between the art world, the individual, and a modern "capital" (which is London). Set in London, Reykjavik, and Dubai, the film follows five characters (The Collector, The Houseworker, The Artist, The Auctioneer, and The Reporter) and asks how they are tied to capital and how they're implicated in the global financial crisis. All of the characters are based on real people Julien interviewed, and The Houseworker is based on his housekeeper, a woman who went to Dubai looking for work and ended up trapped by isolation, eventually shifting to London where Julien hired her. The installation is made up of film and photographs.