It’s easy to run around Art Basel Miami Beach with senses overwhelmed and a burning need to discover something, you’re not sure what. After about six hours of walking in circles without eating, that need gives way to fatigue and temporarily ruined feet.
Finding a breathtaking work of art by an artist you don’t know is as exciting as, well, catching a fish in your hands.
Sarah Schroth, our interim director and Nancy Hanks Senior Curator, rounded a corner in the Projects section of Art Basel Miami Beach on Wednesday and stopped cold. She stood before the back wall of Arratia Beer’s gallery space and stared. At first you see geometric shapes and colors; then you realize each piece is broken and carefully placed into a mosaic. Lovely!
The artist Pablo Rasgado was there to explain that the wall, called Unfolded Architecture, is comprised of broken drywall pieces that once existed as temporary walls in art museums around Mexico.
“It’s not just any exhibition, it’s all his heroes in Mexican art,” Sarah said. “Brilliant!”
Pablo told us he thinks of his wall sculpture as a sort of origami. The flat mosaic of drywall once existed as 3D walls and spaces; one can imagine unfolding and flattening them. He built the work in Mexico, in 22 large sections that were wrapped, shipped and placed back together on the wall here in Miami.
Easy to see the appeal for an art museum curator like Sarah.
As if that thrill was not enough, yesterday our longtime Nasher Museum friend, donor and board member Marilyn Arthur bought one of the sections of Pablo’s Unfolded Architecture for her home in North Carolina.
Marilyn tells us she loves his use of one red chunk of wall among the yellows, purples and blues–”balanced the whole thing.” She has always loved geometrics and the push and pull in art, she said. “I had a feeling that it related to Joseph Albers.”
(Quick refresher on Artnet.com: “Painter, sculptor, and architect Josef Albers (American/German, 1888–1976) taught at the Bauhaus, one of the most prestigious and progressive art schools in Europe, and is considered one of the most influential art teachers of the 20th century.”)
Unfolded Architecture has a message, Marilyn said. “It’s transferring from one place to another place. There’s a double meaning.”
IMAGE: Mexican artist Pablo Rasgado talks with visitors about his work Unfolded Architecture, part of his Monochromatic Muralism series, at Berlin-based Arratia Beer gallery in the Positions section of Art Basel Miami Beach. Photo by Wendy Hower Livingston.