A detail from Glenn Kaino’s installation The Internationale.
“Every day of Art Basel in Miami Beach is like Christmas Eve at the mall,” says Kavi Gupta. “We have to gear up as though we’re doing a marathon.” At his two eponymous galleries (835 W. Washington Blvd., 312-432-0708; 219 N. Elizabeth St., 312-496-3552), Gupta has been steadily making his mark by presenting works from talents like Johanna Billing, Mickalene Thomas, and Chicago’s own McArthur Binion. Before Gupta (and many local collectors, he says) returns to Miami for next month’s ABMB, he reveals what can’t-miss creations will catch Chicagoans’ attention.
How far back does your association with ABMB go? We participated in the first Art Basel in Miami Beach, where we were part of the Container section, which was a way to bring the top young galleries out and have them do a presentation within shipping containers on the beach. It was great!
How has your participation increased awareness of your gallery and the artists you represent? It’s increased awareness tremendously. When an established artist’s works are put in front of the curators, collectors, and foundations that come to Art Basel, they are immediately engaged. If you show a younger artist there for the fi rst time, you’re going to put that artist on the map, guaranteed.
What do you find the most interesting about ABMB? The Art Basel people make an attempt to foster new works, get new things in front of people, and push galleries to present ambitious works.
What would rate as “not to be missed”? Kabinett and Public are the most not-to-be-missed sectors of the fair for me. I think the Survey sector that was introduced last year very well could have the chops to become a [must-see]. The way the art world has become so contemporary-heavy has left everyone feeling a little empty, and now to have this sector that offers works with historical context that weighs it back a bit makes everybody feel good.
Talk about Glenn Kaino, whose startling work you are showing this year. Glenn is having quite a moment. He had previously removed himself from the art world for a number of years, but last year he came back out in a big way. His work is very project-driven and based on broad ideas that deal with his background and refl ect topics such as postcolonialism, being a third-generation Japanese-American, being one of the fi rst computer hackers, [and] his experiences in dealing with meth. The work he’s presenting, The Internationale, is fantastic: Picture a Disney World stage with a speaking automaton. It’s going to be a massive piece!