5 Museum Exhibitions to See in Miami During Art Basel
Local institutions, including the Rubell Museum and the Bass, are rising to the occasion by presenting their best exhibitions of the year
While Art Basel Miami Beach is the main attraction of Miami Art Week, the local art institutions also rise to the occasion by presenting their best exhibitions of the year, with many of them opening around the time of the fair.
We’ve rounded up five must-see museum exhibitions, ranging from solo presentations of new works by Hernan Bas at the Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach and Alejandro Pineiro Bello at the Rubell Museum in Miami to survey shows of Gary Simmons at the Perez Art Museum Miami, Sasha Gordon at ICA Miami and Jamea Richmond-Edwards at the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami. These are our picks for the top shows to see during your treasured times away from the fair.
1. Hernan Bas at the Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach
A Miami-born figurative artist, Hernan Bas takes centerstage in his hometown with a major museum show featuring 35 paintings in his exhibition “The Conceptualists,” which highlights a series of canvases exploring conceptual art as an innovative platform for queer culture. Presenting meticulous portrayals of stylish young males engaged in obsessive creative pursuits, the compelling canvases show that conceptual art can provide space for quirky and unconventional ideas—concepts that might be considered queer—to develop and flourish. Dealing with desires and disappointments, Bas’ visually poetic paintings offer a positive pathway to an artistic lifestyle and a renewed embrace of eccentricity.
2. Gary Simmons at the Perez Art Museum Miami
Showcasing some 70 of Gary Simmons’ profound paintings, sculptures, works on paper and installations, as well as several of his large-scale wall drawings created on-site, the museum’s “Public Enemy” exhibition is the celebrated artist’s most comprehensive career survey to date. Best known for appropriating racist American cartoons for the point of departure in his paintings and murals, Simmons employs an inventive technique of erasing his mark-making to get a ghostlike image of past stereotypes that still haunt us today. The scope of his work, however, transcends exposing racial discrimination in comics to his imaginative use of hip-hop, horror and sci-fi to show the adverse influence of these stereotypes in sports, cinema, literature, music, architecture and urban life—all topics that are touched upon in this provocative and significant show.
3. Sasha Gordon at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami
Confronting issues of self-image, racial prejudice, and the male gaze while expressing uneasiness with intimacy and the female body in her art, Sasha Gordon earned a BFA in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2020, but the talented artist had already been exhibiting and building momentum for her work ever since she was a freshman. Visualizing self-portrait-style characters in surreal scenarios, the Brooklyn-based Gordon clones her queer Asian American persona in vibrant paintings and drawings to boldly accept herself for who she is while exposing her vulnerability through expertly executed narratives. Assembling standout examples of her early works in her first solo museum exhibition, this overview also offers a look at her most recent paintings, which depict the striking artist visually transforming herself into animal, botanical and geological phenomena—beautifully becoming an avatar to express her own experiences of alienation.
4. Jamea Richmond-Edwards at the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami
Inspired by the colorful hip-hop fashions from her youth in Detroit and equally impacted by the city’s crack and AIDS epidemic during that time, Jamea Richmond-Edwards makes large-scale mixed-media paintings and short films that symbolically mine the ancient histories and heritages of Black people. Made up almost entirely of new works, her “Ancient Future” exhibition at the museum—her largest solo exhibition to date—offers a marvelous survey of the 2012 Howard University MFA graduate’s Afrofuturist view of the past and present and her artistic vision for better things to come. Casting herself as the main character in most of her works, she mixes acrylics, colored pencils, ink, fabric, glitter, rhinestones and sequins to energetically reimagine a flamboyant future free from the confines of past racial and gender concerns.
5. Alejandro Pineiro Bello at the Rubell Museum, Miami
A celebrated Cuban artist who creates cerebral abstractions and lyrical landscapes, Alejandro Pineiro Bello has been an artist since childhood. At age 16, he entered the National Academy of Fine Arts in Havana, where he graduated with honors in 2010. Having participated in three Havana Biennials, the Miami-based artist is fresh off two summer solo shows at Pace Gallery in Seoul and the NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale. A 2023 artist-in-residence at the Rubell Museum, Piñeiro Bello is presenting paintings that are inspired by Cuban and Caribbean poetry and his childhood memories of his homeland in this current solo outing. Painting nude figures immersed in abstract, folkloric realms—think Adam and Eve in a tropical paradise—he creates colorful canvases that capture imagined realities in a wonderfully mystical way.