Meet the Gallerists

For our 2018 Miami Beach show, Art Basel is excited to introduce to you a selection of galleries from Cape Town, Valencia, New York City, and San Francisco. 

This week, meet Paula Cooper, the New York City legend who founded her eponymous gallery fifty years ago. 


Paula Cooper Gallery

Art Basel Miami Beach 2018

When Paula Cooper opened her gallery in 1968 SoHo, she was 30, a mother of two, and had no long-term plan. But she did have faith in artists, many of whom have since dominated the contemporary discourse, including Sol LeWittCarl Andre, Jo Baer, Dan Flavin, and Donald Judd

From the start, Paula Cooper Gallery has been defined by a commitment to activism, regularly supporting and highlighting organizations fighting for social justice. From an initial focus on Minimalism, her program has since expanded to incorporate younger artists such as Tauba Auerbach and Liz Glynn. The best advice she can offer, she says, is to ‘encourage artists.’ Art Basel caught up with the gallerist during the installation of the gallery’s anniversary show. In this exclusive interview, she revisits her storied career.


espaivisor

Art Basel Miami Beach 2018

‘You really need to understand the darker periods of your history to understand the present.’ – Mira Bernabeu, Co-Director of espaivisor

Nestled in Valencia’s Barrio del Carmen, espaivisor is run by artists Miriam Lozano and Mira Bernabeu, who received the gallery as a gift in 2006. Since then, the couple has internationalized the program, putting the emphasis on conceptual positions hailing from Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Spain. ‘We really like the idea that we avoid Central Europe,’ says Bernabeu. The gallery’s program is also characterized by artists whose practices are driven by socio-political issues, such as Dan Perjovschi, Graciela Carnevale, and Nil Yalter.

At Art Basel Miami Beach, espaivisor will participate in the Survey sector with a booth dedicated to the rarely-seen oeuvre of the late Claudio Perna, a key proponent of conceptual art in Venezuela.


Blank Projects

Art Basel Miami Beach 2018

‘Artists in South Africa certainly have something to say-Jonathan Garnham, Founder of Blank Projects


Cape Town native Jonathan Garnham left South Africa during the Apartheid era. An artist by training, he came back in 2005 to start a project space, which has since then become one of the country’s most sought-after commercial galleries. Blank Projects is a staunch champion of emerging South African artists, including performer and video artist Donna Kukama, Cinga Samson, best-known for his intriguing fictional portraits, and Igshaan Adams, who made a name for himself with his meticulously woven abstractions.

For its debut in Art Basel Miami Beach’s Nova sector, Blank Projects will present a new body of work by the Malawian-born, Johannesburg-based artist Billie Zangewa. Inspired by the artist’s daily life, the delicate silk collages articulate a female perspective that has never been more urgent. 


Jaqueline Martins

Art Basel Miami Beach 2017

"I really like the process for assembling an exhibition. This is one unique moment with the artist for understanding the specific process for the project.”Jaqueline Martins, Founder of Jaqueline Martins gallery


Jaqueline Martins sees São Paulo as a cosmopolitan city full of opportunities for artists, galleries and curators to develop new projects. Taking advantage of this environment, she opened her gallery in 2011 and now represents 20 artists. Martins sought out a unique space in which to exhibit these artists’ works—one that represented the personality of the city and also creates a dialogue with the art she shows.

For the Survey sector of Art Basel in Miami Beach, Jaqueline Martins will exhibit a variety of works from the 1970s by Brazilian artist Letícia Parente, including collages, works on paper and videos.


Isla Flotante

Art Basel Miami Beach 2017

"What really attracts me from art is the powerful way it has to communicate between different kinds of people and different kinds of societies.”Leopol Jose Maria Mones Cazon, Director of Isla Flotante

Friendship, cooperation, and platform: these are the three words Leopol Jose Maria Mones Cazon uses to describe his Buenos Aires-based gallery Isla Flotante. Founded in 2014, Isla Flotante represents eight young Argentinian artists, all of whom focus mainly on contemporary political issues in their work. As Cazon says, “We believe in politics as the most strong tool to make more equality and justice in our environment.”

Isla Flotante is located in the southern part of Buenos Aires in the La Boca neighborhood - an area named for its proximity to the mouth of the Riachuelo river - designated as an arts district by the city and loved by both tourists and locals.

For the Positions sector of Art Basel in Miami Beach, Isla Flotante will exhibit an installation of 65 canvases by Mariela Scafati.


Antenna Space

Art Basel Miami Beach 2017

"I think our art is definitely weird, kind of sexy, and empathetically compatible.”Simon Wang, founder of Antenna Space Gallery


When Simon Wang opened his Shanghai gallery in 2013, he saw the city as a “crazily dynamic, giant arts platform” whose people were "ready for new art." Located in the M50 Art District, a former textile factory that now houses over 120 art galleries and studios, Antenna Space is tucked away behind several high-rise residential buildings near the Wusong River. Simon likens his space to an antenna as it aims to materialize its artists’ desires and artistic ideas into projects and exhibits.

In an attempt to continue bringing new art to Shanghai, Wang typically exhibits works by young to mid-career artists working in different mediums including painting, video, and most often sculpture.

During Art Basel in Miami Beach, Antenna Space will be participating in the Positions sector exhibiting a series of new sculptural works by artist Xu Qu. 


Sfeir-Semler

Art Basel Miami Beach 2017

“I love what I do...It is my passion and the center of my life." - Andrée Sfeir-Semler, founder of Sfeir-Semler

When Andrée Sfeir-Semler’s Beirut gallery opened at the start of the Cedar Revolution, the future of the gallery was already shadowed in doubt. ‘You had the feeling that the war was starting all again...You wouldn’t be able to leave your house after 7pm and that’s bad for an opening,” she says, laughing. ‘And we had 1800 visitors. And it was…I get emotional.' 

Located in the industrial Quarantina area, the large and light-filled gallery represents more than just the chic parts of the city. ‘The city is a city of contrast. You have beauty and ugliness next to each other. You have reasons to make art every second…’

Sfeir-Semler will be participating in the Galleries sector of Art Basel's Miami Beach show for the first time, and exhibiting works by artists such as Etel Adnan, Walid Raad, Akram Zaatari, Timo Nasseri, and Yto Barrada, among others. 


Applicat-Prazan

Art Basel Miami Beach 2017

"First of all, I could not sell whatever I would not consider buying. This is the key." - Franck Prazan, owner of Applicat-Prazan

Growing up in the heart of Paris with a gallery founder as a father and the Centre Pompidou as a next-door neighbor, Franck Prazan has never known a day without art. Franck's father, also an art collector, originally envisioned the gallery centering on artists from the Post-War School of Paris. Franck has honored his father's legacy by maintaining the same program to this day. When asked what makes a work of art good, Franck says "You can tell. That's all I have to say. If you have to question about it, then it's not good enough."

Applicat-Prazan will be participating in Art Basel's Miami Beach show for the first time, and exhibiting works by artists such as Pierre Soulages, Zao Wou-Ki, and Maria Helena Vieira da Silva, among others. 


dépendance

Art Basel Miami Beach 2017

"When you are an artist, you also see your gallery as something artistic." - Michael Callies, founder of dépendance

Founded in 2003 by Michael Callies, dépendance is a Brussels-based gallery participating in the Nova sector of Art Basel's Miami Beach show and will exhibit a variety of works by artists such as Ed Atkins, Gillian Carnegie, and Peter Waechtler.

According to Callies, Brussels – like Berlin - was an ideal location for burgeoning artists thanks to its supply of studios and living spaces, crucial to the art scene. The artists represented by dépendance create complex works not easily digested – this, he says, is what makes the art interesting over time.

The basis of Callies' gallery is a preoccupation with the artists' perception of the gallery space and how it reflects their ideals. A former artist himself, he sympathizes with the artists' need to see the gallery as an artistic organism and not just a business. "It's not only about the business - we also sell dreams here."