A lot of things have had to be canned this year, Art Basel included, unfortunately, but the annual celebration of international contemporary design that is Design Miami/, took place November 27th to December 6th. Notching up its 16th edition, the fair returned to the Miami Design District – where it all started back in 2005. Extended to run over 10 days, allowing for lower capacity viewings, it was staged as a new format called Design Miami/Podium at the Moore Building. It’s a more “accessible curated selling exhibition” that works for individual designers and leading galleries.
Challenging as ever, this year’s theme is America(s), which questions the meaning and identity of America. Curated by Chicago- born, Shanghai-based Aric Chen, the exhibition included a broad scope of American and non-American designers. Visitors encountered a compelling array of pieces to explore, from historical (Shaker objects, 19th Century Navajo textiles, and works by 20th Century designers), to contemporary, but with a clear emphasis on the makers of today.
The roll call’s pretty impressive, featuring Roberto Lugo exploring Euro-American ceramic traditions through the lens of Black and other histories, and Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello presenting their 3D printed clay cookware inspired by traditions of the Taos and Picuris Pueblos of northern New Mexico. On top of that, you get the Haas Brothers, Ini Archibong, Stephen Burks, Misha Kahn, Katie Stout, Pedro Barrail, Paul S. Briggs, Malcolm Mobutu Smith and more.
And perhaps most intriguingly of all is the in-progress debut, Common Ground by Adam Silverman. With the help of some volunteers, the Los-Angeles based artist gathered clay, ash and water from each of the 56 states and territories, from which he created a clay to make dinnerware for use at organized communal dinners in each of those states and territories. Intended as an expansive gesture of reconciliation, it sure feels timely.
So there you go, a taster of this year’s brilliant and beguiling Design Miami/. We’ll see you next year!