MIAMI BEACH — Duct tape is an unlikely artistic medium, but Tirtzah Bassel makes it work. Down the street from Art Basel Miami Beach, Bassel has begun creating “Duct Tape Miami,” an installation that uses duct tape to replicate the people and environments of this week’s Miami’s art fairs.
The space where she’s working is grungy — an unpolished corner storefront on Española Way with exposed walls and piping. When Bassel arrived, there was a hole in the floor, which she covered up with a board surrounded by her own version of “caution” tape, neon yellow duct tape. The ramshackle space is actually a welcome sight for eyes that have been looking at art in the glare of pristine whiteness all day.
Bassel isn’t interested in that art; she’s interested in the whiteness, the environments of the fairs and the people who fill them. None of her duct tape work replicates artworks from any of the fairs; rather, she takes photographs and uses her memory to re-create floor plans, booths, patrons, visitors, and dealers — in surprising amounts of detail. From a woman’s leopard-print high heels to a man’s colorful striped tie, she handles the tape in a painterly way, using small pieces to make patterns and giving texture to hair, clothing, and furniture. (I overheard Bassel, who’s trained as a painter, telling two visitors that she likes duct tape because it’s sculptural.)
When I visited last night, Bassel had just finished her first day of work, after sneaking into the Art Basel Miami Beach preview in the morning. The walls were somewhat bare compared to what’s likely to come in the next few days (she’ll continue adding through Sunday), but I was impressed with the start she’d made. Other people seemed to be, too; two women excitedly recognized one of the men in the installation, asking Bassel, “Is he Swiss?!” She declined to answer. It remains to be seen if “Duct Tape Miami” will offer an in-depth exploration of the psychology of fair going, as the press release promises, but it does send up us highly washed masses, and the art world could always use another laugh.
Tirtzah Bassel’s “Duct Tape Miami” continues at 507 Española Way (Miami Beach) through December 8.
How does a selective competition fit with the contemporary art world’s aspirations toward greater inclusivity?
Critical race theory, which has been attacked by conservative lawmakers, is conspicuously absent, as are many contemporary and living Black artists.
“Dignity of Earth and Sky,” unveiled in 2016, raises questions about who should depict Native people and how they should be portrayed.
In this online exhibition, Indigenous artists reclaim realities long denied them by US and Canadian federal governments — including moments of collective reverie.
At this year’s Sundance International Film Festival, more than half the feature-length movies were made by directors who identify as women.
In her novel Tell Me I’m an Artist, Chelsea Martin questions whether art offers a refuge from the world.
Ten artists will receive studio space and access to faculty, staff, students, workshops, and programming at an arts institution in the heart of Philadelphia.
The US government has lifted a Trump-era ban that kept formerly imprisoned people from accessing their works.
A work of art will be on the line when the Philadelphia Eagles play the Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday.
With two exhibitions at SoFi Stadium, the Kinsey African American Art & History Collection seeks to engage a different art audience.
The works that best exemplify a uniquely German grotesque in Reexamining the Grotesque are those that reflect the war and Weimar years.