With 277 galleries from 39 countries, the 21st edition of Art Basel Miami Beach presents more showstopping art than could possibly be seen over its three-day public run from 8 - 11 December. This year’s fair offers a treasure trove of artists to discover, spotlighted in the especially strong Kabinett (curated presentations within gallery booths) and Positions (young galleries staging ambitious solo shows) sectors. In the former, strong female narratives come to the fore through spotlights on intrepid artists, such as Leonor Fini and Betty Tompkins, while in the latter, contemporary artists Cynthia Talmadge and Nickola Pottinger revive the past in beguiling ways. Ahead, preview our top ten must-see booths, which demonstrate brilliant storytelling and immersive scenography, while also providing a preview of artists with upcoming shows at institutions around the globe.
Of the many (and all worth seeing) Kabinett exhibitions devoted to female artists, New York gallery P·P·O·W’s presentation on Betty Tompkins, known for her erotic assemblages, is a standout. “In preparation for Betty’s third solo show with the gallery in summer 2024, we uncovered her ‘Defacements’ series of historic works on paper,” P·P·O·W Gallery Director Ella Blanchon tells Elephant of the decision to spotlight the American artist. “These are a significant, overlooked bridge between her iconic, sexually explicit paintings and her more recent works on art history book pages. The intimate scale and delicacy of these vibrant landscapes also revealed a unique side of her practice which felt like a perfect Kabinett for people familiar with her work and those just discovering it.”
In these ‘Defacements,’ which date between 1992 and 2003, Tompkins appropriated vintage images created for the male gaze, sourced from Taschen books on softcore portraiture. Her recontextualization of the women’s brazen poses in Impressionist-like landscapes lends them a mischievous, whimsical, and cheeky charm — pun intended.