Unsurprisingly, the Works at Art Basel Miami Beach Got Political

Artists rushed to make pieces immediately following the election to bring to the fair.


Amid the glitz and glam and bug spray at Art Basel Miami Beach was — it can be rather easy to forget — the art. And art is, after all, a reflection of the times. Right?

Gavin Brown thinks so. The gallerist’s booth at the fair featured works by Rirkrit Tiravanija, whose The Tyranny of Common Sense Has Reached its Final Stage was a collage of current, post-election newspaper clippings. Alexander Gray Associates showed work by Hugh Steers, whose paintings of a gay couple include an embrace beneath an American flag. In an Instagram caption of their booth, the gallery wrote: “Though chosen before the election (and before the U.S. president-elect angrily tweeted about how he would throw flag-burners in jail for exercising their free speech), the image is sure to resonate on a higher level given the political situation.”

P.P.O.W also emphasized the intentions of their booth this year in an Instagram caption, which succinctly read: “The works we show have increased with urgent meaning.”

Art also on display by Simon Denny, Rami Farook, Elizabeth Peyton, Karl Haendel, and Sam Durant — although they were made before the election of Donald Trump — took on a more relevant context at the fairs this week, and were naturally a source of much Instagram attention.

Meanwhile, in New York, artists are taking their message to the streets instead of the beach.