Art Basel Miami 2018: Contemporary Art of the Caribbean

Art Basel Miami 2018: Contemporary Art of the Caribbean

As part of Art Basel Miami 2018, Florida International University’s Frost Art Museum in Miami presents Relational Undercurrents: Contemporary Art of the Caribbean Archipelago. This exhibition aims to emphasize connections with and between the Caribbean islands in a way that recognizes and overcomes historical divides.

Relational Undercurrents brings together a collection of art by 67 contemporary Caribbean artists with roots in 14 Caribbean nations: Puerto Rico, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, The Bahamas, Cuba, Aruba, Barbados, Saint Maarten, Guadeloupe, Curacao, Trinidad, Jamaica, Martinique, and Saint Vincent. Some of the artists featured include Adler Guerrier, Allora & Calzadilla, Deborah Jack, Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Beatriz Santiago Munoz, Angel Otero, Glenda Leon, Manuel Pina, and Didier William, among others.

Wholesale Degradables (detail) by Camille Chedda, 2014-2015, Acrylic paint on plastic bags. Photo by Jose Lima

These artists’ paintings, sculptures, installation art, videos, photos, and performance pieces move beyond the idea of the Caribbean islands as separate entities, showcasing their relationship not only with each other, but with other nations as well.

There are four sections of the exhibition: Conceptual Mappings, Perpetual Horizons, Landscape Ecologies, and Representational Acts. Conceptual Mappings is comprised of images that challenge traditional maps and with themes of decolonization, conceptualizing more diverse and multifaceted spaces. Perpetual Horizons features interpretations of horizons and their prominence in island geography, while Landscape Ecologies takes on ecological, social, economic, and historical issues through the lens of a shared ecosystem and landscape.

The final section, Representational Acts, ties together many of the exhibition’s main themes, highlighting the ways in which colonialism and foreign powers have historically challenged the very autonomy of the Caribbean islands. This section of the exhibition calls for action in regaining that autonomy through political agency, social practice, and self-expression.

The Sinking of HMBS Flamingo by Kishan Munroe, 2014. Oil and acrylic on canvas. Collection of Royal Bahamas Defence Force.

Florida’s geographic relationship with the islands was part of the decision to bring Relational Undercurrents to the Frost Art Museum for Art Basel Miami 2018. “Our new season opens up a dialogue about global commonalities rather than differences, from ecological changes to societal values around the world,” said museum director Dr. Jordana Pomeroy.

The exhibition was organized by the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach as part of the Getty Foundation’s Pacific Standard Time LA/LA, and was curated by Tatiana Flores, Associate Professor of Art History and Latino and Caribbean Studies at Rutgers University.

Relational Undercurrents will be displayed at the Frost Art Museum until Jan. 13, 2019.

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