10 of the Best Artworks of Art Basel Miami Beach 2016

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There's no denying that it's a particulary weird edition of Art Basel Miami Beach. With some collectors frightened off by the threat of Zika, and others wary about what President-Elect Donald Trump's continually morphing fiscal "policies" are going to mean for their net worth and stock portfolios (or companies, or livelihoods), the thin crowds on the fair's opening day seemed to be wandering around in a daze. Gallerists, trying to suit the mood, brought a number of angsty political works to let off some steam. For non-buying fair-goers, such as journalists, this all made for a great fair! Tightly curated booths, plenty of room to wander, shorter lines for Cuban sandwiches, and dealers who can spare a moment to chat—what more could you ask for, right? Here are some of the standout works in this year's edition.

 

DAMIAN LOEB
Sagittarius, 2016
Aquavella
$180,000

 

Sagittarius

 

An artist who got his start in the late ‘90s as a raffish bad-boy painter of hyperrealist Hollywood “film stills” yanked from appropriated materials (or photographs of his wife), often with a healthy helping of transgressive bedroom voyeurism á la Eric Fischl, Damian Loeb was a market sensation, then critical cat toy, then where-are-they-now question mark. For the past several years the answer to that question has been Acquavella, the aristocratic gallery in a townhouse on New York’s Upper East Side that deals in Bacon, Auerbach, Riopelle, and other august estates. Loeb is one of a handful of living artists, and one of the youngest of them.

Lately, the edge of his hyperrealism has relaxed. His new body of work involves paintings of the night sky, drawing upon photographs he either takes himself or sources from NASA to create dewy portraits of the celestial bodies. He’s gone from one type of star to another, in a sense, and these canvases have a rich and easy beauty. An artist without formal training—he never went to art school—he has proven a hardy lesson for today’s young market stars: keep going. He has a new show opening at Acquavella this February. 

 

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–Andrew M. Goldstein
December 01, 2016