Beth Dunlop’s Miami Highlights: Contemplative Spaces, Jorge Pardo, and Karen Knorr

A photo from Karen Knorr’s “India Song” series and a view of the Genesis pavilion designed by David Adjaye for Design Miami.

Few things pack the overstimulating punch of Miami in early December (or late November, depending on the calendar). In the wake of this year’s swirl of fairs, events, and exhibitions, as we packed up our haul of foreign periodicals, flip-flops, and a signed copy of artist Erwin Wurm‘s latest book (mmm, pickles), we asked a handful of highly esteemed fellow fairgoers to share with us some of their highlights— the stunning, interesting, surprising, and/or delightful— from the Art Basel Miami/Design Miami week that was. Miami-based architecture critic and author Beth Dunlop went above and beyond the call of duty. Here are a few of her favorite things:

Art Basel (known to many in Miami as Art Frazzle, or even Art Hassle) has come and gone. What was most compelling? In the end, the places to sit and contemplate are what linger on—David Adjaye’s miraculous pavilion outside of Design Miami, Luis Pons’ personal chapel shown as part of Inventory 2 in the Miami Design District, and to a lesser extent, the Fondation Beyeler homage to Louise Bourgeois at Art Basel proper. I have to admit, however, that there were other highlights. I’m crazy for Jorge Pardo, and though it took some hunting across the giant Miami Beach Convention Center, found two different sets of his light fixtures and a brilliant table and chair set done in wood, glass and synthetic (vinyl?) cording (they were at Petzel and Neugerriemschneider) and if blurring the lines between art and design, they also speak to the magic of the mundane. And though not design (but about the way we inhabit space) were to be found at the Danziger Gallery’s Pulse booth: Karen Knorr’s elegant photographs of Indian palace rooms occupied by exotic animals, almost the exact opposite of Doug Aitken’s mesmerizing video—he called it “Migration (Empire)”—of some few years back in which wild animals rampaged through seedy motel rooms. In a way, the whole Art Basel experience is much more like Aitken, but there’s something deep and profound in Knorr’s work that takes us full circle to the Adjaye pavilion and the Pons chapel, especially—retreats into simplicity and even moments of tranquility amid all the art-buying and social-climbing and frantic partying that is what is now called, in Miami, “Art Week.”
Beth Dunlop