Jeffrey Deitch dropped a lot of jaws at Art Basel in Miami last year after commissioning the “sometimes-artist” Miley Cyrus to perform at the Raleigh Hotel. Naturally, fair go-ers expected something similar for 2015…perhaps a resurrection of the Baha Men performing Who Let the Dogs Out at Delano South Beach? Or maybe James Franco reenacting Marina Abramović’s Rhythm 0 in Collins Park? Likely no one imagined he would team-up with another commanding international dealer, Larry Gagosian to curate a selective show. “Unrealism” has been one of the most hyped events of this year’s Miami Art Week, with a theme so broad, only these two could proficiently execute it.
The exhibition at the 20,000-square-foot space in the Moore Building in the Miami Design District revealed that the influential duo have seamlessly pulled off a larger than life show. The super high white ceilings, lined with Art Deco spider-web looking flying buttresses grab your undivided attention when standing at the center of the four floor building. Well, either that or the flaming sculpture on the first floor.
The show is curated around the concept that figurative art can be extremely traditional in an art historical context but also maintains a significant contemporary presence due to an emergence of figurative painters and sculptors. There is a vast range of artists represented in the show, likely to highlight the broad scope of figurative artists that excel in their craft, whether that’s a hyperrealism sculpture or an intricate oil on canvas.
As contemporary art continues to gravitate towards digital techniques, technological innovation, and video – the desire to highlight classically trained painters and sculptors is understandable. The show includes art world favorites like Chloe Wise and Dana Shutz, outsiders artists like Joe Coleman, and controversial artists Richard Prince. Overall, these master curators have assembled a show that accurately captures the current landscape of popular figurative painters.