Six Exhibitions to See During Art Basel Miami

From a solo show by Alejandro Piñeiro Bello at KDR to an archival exhibition of local legends at Miami-Dade Public Library

BY Monica Uszerowicz in Critic's Guides | 08 DEC 23

Alejandro Piñeiro Bello


3 December 2023 – 13 January 2024

Alejandro Piñeiro Bello, 'En El Arco del Caribe', 2023, exhibition view. Courtesy: KDR; photograph: Zachary Barber
Alejandro Piñeiro Bello, ‘En El Arco del Caribe’, 2023, exhibition view. Courtesy: KDR; photograph: Zachary Barber

KDR – the gallery and its namesake, the director and curator Katia David Rosenthal – once operated out of a small, impossibly sweet, century-old house in Little Havana surrounded by fruit trees. Warm and beloved, every opening night felt like a family gathering, because nearly all of them were. In November, when KDR –  the gallery – moved out of Rosenthal’s home and into a much larger space in Allapattah, the love came with it. The new space’s second exhibition is ‘En El Arco Del Caribe’ (In the Arc of the Caribbean), a solo show by Alejandro Piñeiro Bello, a Miami-based artist who’s also exhibiting concurrently at the nearby Rubell Museum. Piñeiro Bello’s paintings – often on materials like hemp, linen or burlap – undulate and swirl like movements taken from life: the growth of plants, the crashing of waves, breath in the lungs. A rich and deep colour palette recalls the landscape of his native Havana, so fertile and lush that it’s rendered magic. Here at KDR, new paintings are accompanied by works on paper and a wooden sculpture. They all feel alive. 

Terrell Villiers

Dale Zine

4 December – 31 December

Blue drawing of figures embracing by a window
Terrell Villiers, Quiet Storm, 2022, digital, aluminium diamond, 46 × 46 cm. Courtesy: the artist

Terrell Villiers’s characters glow. In the artist’s digital illustrations – which are cartoonish, but sublimely so – the ripples of their backs, arms and elbows are highlighted, sparkling, their skin shining. They let the morning light wash over them, they emerge from the sea, they pose for the camera. Sometimes they are superimposed onto photographs, or used to correct and retell the overwhelmingly European and white chapters of art history. In Transcestors (2023), the artist’s take on Adelaide Claxton’s The Party on The Stairs (1875), the ancestor spirits become trans women, angelic and protective. In ‘My Beautiful, Dark, Illustrious Fantasy’, hosted by community hub and Miami day-ones Dalé Zine, Villiers’s Black, queer characters are given a new space to thrive in six large-format illustrations. In a statement about the show, Villiers describes the space as a world ‘devoid of convention, where one’s autonomy over their body and identity can be freely expressed.’ Their figures are full of joy, supporting each other from across the canvas.

AIM Biennial

1 December 2023 – 14 January 2024

Voices of the River of Grass, Silenced Lives, 2023 Courtesy: Lisette Morales
Lisette Morales, Voices of the River of Grass at ‘Silenced Lives’, 2023. Courtesy: the artist

As AIM Biennial’s co-founder william cordova likes to point out, ‘the programme takes place everywhere in South Florida.’ With more than 56 site-specific installations throughout the tri-county area (which includes Miami-Dade, Broward and West Palm Beach), and internationally (there are works in Havana and Tijuana) the AIM Biennial, curated by cordova, Marie Vickles, Gean Moreno and Amy Rosenblum, will luckily be impossible to miss, existing well beyond Art Week’s limiting institutional constraints. You'll find an ode to the Indigenous Peruvians of the Andes by Carolina Cueva in a Lincoln Road parking lot, Jessica Gispert’s Iroko drawing in storefront windows along 79th Street, and an installation confronting the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous people, organized by the Voices of the River of Grass artist collective, at Miccosukee Village. If you choose to linger in or revisit Florida past the fair, there will be a closing event at a location to be revealed later.

‘Woven Ecologies’ and ’An Archive is a Space for Gathering’

Tunnel Projects

6 – 10 December

Jevon Brown, Woven Ecologies, 2023. Courtesy: Tunnel Projects
Jevon Brown, ‘Woven Ecologies’, 2023. Courtesy: Tunnel Projects; photograph: Luna Palazzolo-Daboul

For two beautiful exhibitions, visit the artist-led Tunnel Projects, where ‘Woven Ecologies’, curated by Cornelius Tulloch, is on view alongside ‘An Archive is a Space for Gathering’, a pop-up project by the Brooklyn-based Flower Shop Collective. At the latter, Flower Shop Collective co-founder Nadia Tahoun aims to centre the local community with several days of gathering, music, poetry and coffee, alongside work by international artists, four of whom are Palestinian. (It is one of just several spaces hosting works by Palestinian artists during Art Week.) ‘Woven Ecologies’, a multidisciplinary exhibition of six artists, highlights the metaphorical and literal (there are a few textile works) cultural fabric of Miami, a city of several Black and Caribbean neighbourhoods at ongoing risk of permanent displacement due to gentrification. Though these two shows exist independently of each other, they are connected by more than their location: they share a needed, welcome tenderness.

Women’s Voices: A Journey Through Miami’s Art History

Miami-Dade Public Library

7 November 2023 – 31 March 2024

A sepia drawing of what looks like feathers
Carol Todaro, Nica 2, 1992, silverpoint drawing on watercolour ground.

The city’s galleries and museums are jam-packed all week long, and throughout the rest of the month, but to get a deeper understanding of Miami’s art history, you’ll need to look elsewhere. Until the early spring the Vasari Project, the Miami-Dade Main Library’s collection dedicated to archiving the county’s art history from 1945 onwards, is hosting ‘Women’s Voices: A Journey through Miami’s Art History’, presented by the Women Artists Archive Miami (WAAM). Works from the 1970s to the 2000s are particularly prominent, with a number of local legends on display, among them Lynne Golob Gelfman, Mira Lehr, Charo Oquet, Karen Rifas, Kabuya P. Bowens-Saffo, Susan Emery Eisenberg, Rosemary Chiarlone and Claire Jeanine Satin. Year-round, the community-based archive WAAM uplifts the work of women and non-binary artists based in Miami, helping to rewrite, reframe and expand the narrative around the city’s art history. If you go to only one exhibition on this list, make it this one.

Gary Simmons

Pérez Art Museum Miami

05 December 2023 – 28 April 2024

Gary Simmons, Rogue Wave, 2021, oil and cold wax on canvas. Courtesy: © Gary Simmons and PAMM, Miami; photograph: Jeff McLane
Gary Simmons, Rogue Wave, 2021, oil and cold wax on canvas. Courtesy: © Gary Simmons and PAMM, Miami; photograph: Jeff McLane  

Appearing earlier this year at MCA Chicago and given new life at the Pérez, ‘Public Enemy’ represents the first comprehensive survey of Gary Simmons’s career, with 70 works encompassing more than 30 years of his career. Simmons ‘compels us to confront our shared past while embracing the possibilities of our collective future,’ PAMM Director Franklin Sirmans observed in a recent statement. ‘[His work serves] as a powerful reminder that art has the remarkable ability to weave together important narratives of our time.’ Indeed, Simmons’s tenacious focus on interrogating the intersections of race and class in American history is striking here, and it’s a gift to see it in Miami. Unique to the Pérez’s exhibition of the work, the museum’s auditorium is screening Recapturing Memories of the Black Ark, a video compilation of programmes featured on and around Simmons’s installation-performance of the same name – a large stage grounded by a wall of speakers, both made from repurposed and found materials – where performances have taken place since 2014. The video includes performances from previous iterations in Indio, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Chicago. The installation will host new programmes and performances in February and March, 2024.

Main image: Alejandro Piñeiro Bello, ‘En El Arco del Caribe’, 2023, exhibition view. Courtesy: KDR; photograph: Zachary Barber

Monica Uszerowicz is a writer and photographer based in Miami, USA.