With just a couple days left to visit Art Basel‘s Online Viewing Rooms, Whitewall checked in with Sharón Zoldan, the founder of international art consultancy firm SZ Advisory. Below, she shares her most intriguing finds and artists she’s keeping a keen eye on.
Zanele Muholi, presented by Yancey Richardson
The elegance implied in Zanele Muholi’s black and white self-portraits contradicts the economy of materials used—a sheaf of wheat in the site-specific mural MaID IV, New York (2018) resembles fur or feathers, domestic rugs appear to be fantastically draped headdresses in Lena, London (2018) and Labo I, Italy (2019). Muholi considers herself not an artist but a visual activist advocating for Black beauty and giving voice and visibility to the LGBTQAI+ community in her native South Africa. Her solo exhibition at the Tate was slated to run from April through October but was disrupted due to the pandemic. Her work is ever powerful and timely.
Claudio Parmiggiani, presented by Tornabuoni Art
Widely considered one of the last living Arte Povera artists, Claudio Parmiggiani’s process involves filling a room of objects with smoke, resulting in hauntingly poetic silhouettes burnt into panels. In the online viewing rooms, his work is represented with an iconic bookshelf piece, a work of seemingly fluttering butterflies, and a new clock piece. Concepts such as the impermanence of time and memory are beautifully captured in this ephemeral medium that the artist devised. These poignant, ghostly canvases have something of the lyricism and stillness of the still lifes of Giorgio Morandi, to whom Parmiggiani was a studio assistant as an adolescent.
For Italian powerhouse dealer Tornabuoni to tease out a work from Parmiggiani hints at a shift in the market. Word on the street is that the gallery has begun buying up Parmiggiani’s inventory, cementing his place in the Italian market.
Mary Corse, presented by Pace Gallery
For those of us who have taken in a Mary Corse in person, it’s generally been a piece in a museum or in a gallery, but this outdoor sculpture is a rare opportunity to see her work in natural outdoor light. The expressionistically painted surface employs Corse’s signature use of tiny glass microspheres (the same type used in industrial road markings) to explore the way light refracts and the changing, mysterious experience of visual perception. Only an in-person experience can truly transform the viewer—images just don’t do it justice.
Within the Minimalism and Light and Space genres, her prices appear reasonable compared to peers like Robert Ryman and James Turrell. Some attribute this price gap to gender inequality. With her recent Whitney and LACMA surveys, however, her name and her unique methodology are garnering a larger following.
Oliver Laric, presented by Tanya Leighton
Internet-based artist Oliver Laric’s interest in the nature of information takes fascinating form with his series of resin, 3-D printed works based on historical sculptures. He mines museum collections and scans historical works, then uploads printing instructions that are made available online as a free download. His practice questions the idea of intellectual property and the free reign within the dissemination of these materials. This piece, with its undulating, milky surface, is based on a craggy 15th-century wooden sculpture of the head of John the Baptist at the Bode Museum in Berlin. His sculptures are a combination of transparent and opaque, a material reference to the figurative transparency, opacity, and availability of information in society. We love the contemporary twist on these classical motifs.
Frida Orupabo, presented by Galerie Nordenhake
Oslo-based artist Frida Orupabo voraciously consumes and catalogs what she calls vintage and colonial imagery and remixes it to find renewed, multi-layered meaning outside of what official histories may offer. Her Frankensteinian collaged figures piece together various photographic images to create a new whole that explores the complexities of race and gender. The results, similar to Kara Walker’s silhouettes, are searing indictments of colonial history and racist systems and their toll on the Black body (and psyche). At the same time, the aluminum mounted paper and paper pin work also manage to be incredibly delicate, beautiful, and poetic. Her work was shown at the 2019 Venice Biennale and artist and cinematographer Arthur Jafa is among her admirers.
Bernd and Hilla Becher, presented by Paula Cooper Gallery
The arched windows, castle-like crenellations, and domed tops of these water towers are a distinctive example of Bernd Becher and Hilla Becher’s typologies. The husband and wife team spent their career of more than 40 years capturing and cataloging disused industrial buildings such as grain silos, oil refineries, gravel plants, and blast furnaces. Together, these architectural relics represented the transition of Western societies and economies from the industrial to the information age. These sites are infused with a sense of Romantic nostalgia. At the same time, photographing each site frontally from a precise vantage point and the use of the grid creates a system that allows the viewer to take in the similarities and variations of these otherwise unremarkable buildings.