Conversations: Art Basel’s 2017 Program in Miami Beach

Conversations, Art Basel’s talks series, will bring together leading artists, gallerists, collectors, art historians, curators, museum directors and critics from across the world. Programmed by Mari Spirito, Founding Director of Protocinema, this year’s Conversations will present 19 talks that feature prominent artworld figures including Bill Arning, Yto Barrada, Stefania Bortolami, José Carlos Diaz, Jordan Casteel, Teju Cole, Füsun Eczacıbaşı, Charles Gaines, Juan A. Gaitán, Alberto Ibargüen, Arthur Jafa, Pamela Joyner, Isaac Julien, Daniel Knorr, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Anne Pasternak and Thaddaeus Ropac among many others. Art Basel, whose Lead Partner is UBS, takes place at the Miami Beach Convention Center from December 7 to December 10, 2017.

The program will begin on Thursday, December 7 with the Premiere Artist Talk with Charles Gaines (b. 1944) who will have a site-specific commission at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) Miami and discuss his work with Brian Stevenson, Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, and Naima Keith, Deputy Director, Exhibitions and Programs, California African American Museum. Further artist talks will take place throughout the week, including a discussion with Lars Jan (b. 1978) and Isaac Julien (b. 1960) on how artists respond to climate change through their practices, and Yto Barrada (b. 1971) and Daniel Knorr (b. 1968) in conversation with Philipp Kaiser, Curator of Art Basel’s Public sector, on art in public territories.

‘Is Culture in the Americas in Big Trouble?’ will address the current threats to art and culture in the midst of a major conservative shift in politics and changes in economies. In light of recent trends in the art market, ‘Global Business Models’ will discuss the different ways in which museums and galleries are responding to the increasing pressure to participate in the global artworld, while ‘Is Innovation Enough for Middle-Market Galleries?’ will explore the rise in new itinerant gallery models and communal sharing systems. ‘Beyond Collecting: What is Patronage?’ will focus on collectors who have been expanding their participation in art in different ways over the past years, discussing their approach to commissioning new works, opening foundations and supporting museums and publications.

Other highlights include ‘LA/LA and Institutional Collaboration’, which will use Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA as a reference point to examine how institutions can encourage the growth of regional art scenes; ‘Digital Museums and Virtual Audiences’, focusing on digital innovation and how new technology is starting to leave a deeper mark on the museum world; and ‘I Was Raised on the Internet’, which brings together curators from three major institutions that collaborate on exhibitions investigating the effects of the Internet on contemporary art.

Conversations is held daily from Thursday, December 7 to Sunday, December 10 at the Banyan Room in the Botanical Garden. The program is open to the public and free of charge. All Conversations panels will also be live streamed on Art Basel’s YouTube channel and on the show’s website:


Thursday, December 7, 2017

10am to 11.30am | Premiere Artist Talk | Charles Gaines Charles Gaines, Artist, Los Angeles in conversation with Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director, Equal Justice Initiative, Montgomery. Moderator: Naima Keith, Deputy Director, Exhibitions and Programs, California African American Museum, Los Angeles

Since the 1970’s, conceptual artist Charles Gaines has used philosophy, abstraction and mathematics to address politics and race. Through music and his use of systems, grids, photography and perceptual experiences, his work address ‘self-examination of our beliefs and ideologies.’ Gaines’ survey exhibition was organized by The Studio Museum in Harlem in 2014 and traveled to the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. He currently has a site-specific commission at the Institute of Contemporary Art, ICA Miami. Bryan Stevenson, lawyer, social justice activist and author joins Charles Gaines to discuss how the power of art, design, and cultural projects can be tools for social change. Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative are concretizing difficult narratives and asking society to reckon with historical and contemporary issues of race and poverty. They will be opening The National Memorial for Peace and Justice and The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration, on April 26, 2018, in Montgomery, Alabama.

2pm to 3pm | Collector Talk | Beyond Collecting: What is Patronage? Pamela Joyner, Art Collector and Philanthropist, San Francisco; Füsun Eczacibaşı, Art Collector and Philanthropist, Istanbul Moderator: Mark Rappolt, Editor-in-Chief, ArtReview, London

This panel is a frank conversation amongst art collectors who have been expanding their participation in art for years in different ways. Speakers will discuss how their patronage has grown and the attractions and pitfalls for them to commission new works, open foundations and support museums and publications.

3pm to 4pm | Journalist Talk | The Privatization of Art Journalism Mary Louise Schumacher, Art and Architecture Critic, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Ossian Ward, Head of Content, Lisson Gallery, London Moderator: Sarah Douglas, Editor-in-Chief, ARTnews, New York

The economic impact on art journalism is causing major shifts, as it is for journalism in general. Featuring writers from different publications and backgrounds who have recently moved to the private sector, this conversation discusses the effects of privatization on the quality and the future of art journalism.

4pm to 5pm | Museum Talk | LA/LA and Institutional Collaboration Judy Baca, Artist, Los Angeles; Alexandre Gabriel, Director, Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro; Julia Halperin, Executive Editor, Artnet News, New York; Magalí Arriola, Curator, Museo Jumex, Mexico City Moderator: Andrew Perchuk, Deputy Director, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles

The city-wide exhibitions and events of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA explore Latin American art in dialogue with Los Angeles. Using this as a starting point, this talk focuses on the importance of collaboration between a range of institutions and players, from museums to galleries to artists, for the growth of regional art scenes.

5pm to 6pm | Artworld Talk | Abstraction in Reverse Alexander Alberro, Art Critic and Professor of Art History and Department Chair, Barnard College, New York; Kaira Cabañas, Associate Professor of Global Modern and Contemporary Art History, University of Florida, Gainesville Moderator: Christian Viveros-Fauné, Art Critic and Curator, New York

This panel discusses how Latin American art in the mid-20th century has shaped and reimagined the relationship between art and the public, as well as the role of the spectator in the realization of an artwork. Alexander Alberro’s recent publication ‘Abstraction in Reverse: The Reconfigured Spectator in Mid-Twentieth-Century Latin American Art’ will serve as a basis for this conversation.

6pm to 7pm | Artworld Talk | Is Culture in the Americas in Big Trouble? Jordan Casteel, Artist, New York; Anne Pasternak, Shelby White and Leon Levy Director, Brooklyn Museum, New York; Bill Arning, Director, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston Moderator: Teju Cole, Writer, Photographer and Art Historian, New York

In the midst of a major conservative shift in politics and the economy across the globe, this talk addresses the current threats to art and culture. Perspectives from a range of art professionals will weigh in on how they are responding and what they imagine for the years to come.

Friday, December 8, 2017

10am to 11.30am | Public/ Private | Digital Museums and Virtual Audiences Alberto Ibargüen, President, CEO and Trustee, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Miami; Shannon Darrough, Director, Digital Media, The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Rachel Rossin, Artist, New York; Joel Kremer, Director, Kremer Collection and Co- Founder, Kremer Museum, Amsterdam Moderator: András Szántó, Author and Cultural Strategy Consultant, New York

From searchable databases and interactive gallery displays to social media platforms and virtual reality applications, digital innovation is starting to leave a deeper mark on the museum world, which has been comparatively slow to embrace new technology. This panel discusses how institutions can respond to these new possibilities and disruptions and how they can engage with audiences both online and offline.

2pm to 3pm | Art Market Talk | Global Business Models Thaddaeus Ropac, Founder, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, London, Paris, Salzburg; Juan A. Gaitán, Director, Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City; John Zarobell, Associate Professor and Undergraduate Director of International Studies, University of San Francisco, San Francisco Moderator: Josh Baer, Advisor and Publisher, Baer Faxt, New York

The funding required for public institutions to mount high quality exhibitions is becoming increasingly scarce. At the same time, major galleries are now more frequently in a financial position to do so. This panel addresses the ways in which museums and

galleries are responding to the increasing pressure to participate in the global artworld and the implications for artists and estates.

3pm to 4pm | Artist Talk | Natural Disasters – Whose Crisis is it? Lars Jan, Artist, Los Angeles; Isaac Julien, Artist, London Moderator: John Paul Rathbone, Latin America Editor, Financial Times, Miami

This discussion examines the effects of climate change, droughts and floods and how the current situation is being addressed in and out of the global art community. Topics include how artists reflect on global warming and shrinking water resources in their work, and to what extent artists contribute to the problem or discourse.

4pm to 5pm | Art Market Talk | Is Innovation Enough for Middle-Market Galleries? Vanessa Carlos, Director, Carlos/Ishikawa and Initiator, Condo, London; Stefania Bortolami, Founder and Director, Bortolami, New York Moderator: Tim Schneider, Founder, The Gray Market, Los Angeles

The much-discussed middle market struggles are resulting in a wave of innovations by gallerists. Looking at the new itinerant gallery models and communal and multi-city sharing systems, this panel explores how gallerists are developing inventive responses to the changing market and the roles that artists play in these solutions.

5pm to 6pm | Artist Talk | Public Territories Yto Barrada, Artist, Tangier and New York; Daniel Knorr, Artist, Berlin Moderator: Philipp Kaiser, Independent Curator and Critic, Art Basel in Miami Beach Public Curator, Los Angeles

For his first curation of Art Basel in Miami Beach’s Public sector, Philipp Kaiser speaks with featured artists that address the fluid and de-materializing nature of ideas and boundaries. In a volatile shifting historical moment, this conversation sheds light on a range of perspectives from celebrated artists on the limits of nationhood and race.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

10am to 11.30am | Artist Talk | Artists’ Influencers Arthur Jafa, Artist, Los Angeles; Jason Moran, Pianist and Composer, New York Moderator: Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, Serpentine Galleries, London

Conceived by Hans Ulrich Obrist, this series brings together artists with the individuals who have been of great influence to the development of their artistic practice. For this edition, Arthur Jafa, video artist, director, and award-winning cinematographer will be in conversation with Jason Moran, pianist and composer, to discuss their relationship and individual artistic visions.

2pm to 3pm | Curator Talk | I Was Raised on the Internet Omar Kholeif, Senior Curator and Director of Global Initiatives, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago; Eva Respini, Chief Curator, Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, Boston; Pavel Pyś, Curator of Visual Arts, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Moderator: Michael Connor, Artistic Director, Rhizome, New York

This panel brings together curators from three major institutions that collaborate on exhibitions that investigate the effects of the Internet on contemporary art: ‘Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today’ at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, ‘The Body Electric’ at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and ‘I was Raised on the Internet’ at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

3pm to 4pm | Creative Cities Talk | Culture-Led Urban Regeneration Charles Renfro, Architect and Partner, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, New York; Leandro Erlich, Artist, Buenos Aires and Montevideo; Terence Riley, Architect, Curator, Critic and Museum Professional, Miami Moderator: Flavio Janches, Professor, Architect and Urban Designer, Buenos Aires

This panel addresses the rapid growth of cities and the urban fragmentation that goes along with it. The speakers will discuss what roles artists, architects, museums and the public play in this process.

4pm to 5pm | Biennale Talk | Regenerations and Biennials Wayne Gonzales, Artist, New York; Darryl Montana, Artist, New Orleans; William Fagaly, Founding and Current Board Member of Prospect New Orleans and former Curator of African Art at New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans Moderator: Trevor Schoonmaker, Artistic Director, Prospect.4, New Orleans and Chief Curator, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham

‘Regeneration and Biennials’ is a conversation between artists and art professionals on the metaphor of the regenerative lotus plant, put forth by Prospect 4, New Orleans. This talk investigates how art, music and religion, in both the public and the private sectors, affect the rebuilding of communities.

5pm to 6pm | Artist Talk | What of Indigenous Art Now? Edgar Heap of Birds, Artist, Oklahoma; Kathleen Ash-Milby, Associate Curator, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, New York Moderator: Candice Hopkins, Writer and Curator, Albuquerque

This panel addresses the different perspectives on the renewed visibility of indigenous people following the 1992 resurgence focused on visual art. Speakers will discuss how this resurgence has impacted the advancement of rights of indigenous people, who chooses which artists become the voices for a range of tribes and how more voices can be supported.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

10am to 11.30am | Artist Talk | The Artist and the Gallerist Eduardo Brandão, Director, Vermelho, São Paulo; Dora Longo Bahia, Artist, São Paulo Moderator: Stephanie Bailey, Editor-at-Large, Editor-at-Large, Ocula, Senior Editor, Ibraaz, and Contributing Editor, Art Papers and LEAP, London/Hong Kong

This panel offers a frank and informal conversation about the unique and fundamental relationship between artists and their gallerists. Eduardo Brandão speaks with Dora Longo Bahia about how they met, how they came to work together and if and how their working relationship has changed over time.

2pm to 3pm | Artworld Talk | Translating Images José Carlos Diaz, Chief Curator, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Dina Nasser Khadivi, Independent Curator and Art Consultant, Geneva; Mitra Abbaspour, Independent Curator, New York Moderator: Dr. Shiva Balaghi, Independent Scholar, Los Angeles

In an increasingly global art world, images travel across time and space taking on new meanings as they are appropriated, reimagined and presented in diverse contexts. Inspired by sampling in music, Iranian artist Farhad Moshiri appropriates imagery from the past, everyday objects and American cinema to create his own signature art. In light of his current exhibition at the Andy Warhol Museum, the panelists explore the salient questions raised by Moshiri’s art and its exhibition in this particular venue.

3pm to 4pm | Artworld Talk | Artist Commissions and Sustainability Sharon Louden, Artist, Editor and Advocate for Artists, New York; Adarsh Alphons, Founder, ProjectArt, New York Moderator: Lisa Dent, Independent Curator, Writer and Arts Administrator, New York

This talk explores the different ways in which artists can find time and support for their creative expressions through new funding models.


About Mari Spirito Mari Spirito is Founding Director of Protocinema, an independent organization which makes site-aware exhibitions around the world. She is a jury member on the Art Basel Crowdfunding Initiative, Consulting Curator of Public Talks and New Commissions of Onassis Cultural Center, New York and Athens and was Curator and Director of Alt Art Space in Istanbul from 2015 to 2017.

About Art Basel Founded in 1970 by gallerists from Basel, Art Basel today stages the world’s premier art shows for Modern and contemporary art, sited in Basel, Miami Beach and Hong Kong. Defined by its host city and region, each show is unique, which is reflected in its participating galleries, artworks presented, and the content of parallel programming produced in collaboration with local institutions for each edition.

Art Basel’s engagement has expanded beyond art fairs through a number of new initiatives. In 2014, Art Basel launched its Crowdfunding Initiative, in collaboration with Kickstarter. This initiative presents jury-selected art projects to potential benefactors, which include Art Basel’s vibrant audience and the Kickstarter community. The initiative has catalyzed much-needed support for outstanding non-commercial art projects worldwide and so far has helped pledge over $2 million to creative projects around the world. For Art Basel Cities, launched in 2016, Art Basel is working with selected partner cities to develop vibrant and content-driven programs specific to the individual city. Connecting them to the global art world through Art Basel’s expertise and network, Art Basel Cities supports its partners to develop their unique cultural landscape. For further information, please visit

Partners UBS, global Lead Partner of Art Basel, has supported the organization for more than 20 years. As Art Basel’s global network expanded, UBS increased its lead partnership to include all three shows. In addition, UBS has a long and substantial record of engagement in contemporary art: as a holder of one of the world’s most distinguished

corporate art collections, as an active partner in global contemporary art projects such as the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative, and as a source of information and insights through the UBS Arts Forum and the art news-focused app ‘Planet Art’ app. In March 2017, UBS and Art Basel co-published the Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report by Clare McAndrew. Find more details at

Art Basel’s Associate Partners, supporting all three shows, are MGM Resorts International – one of the world’s leading entertainment companies with a long-standing commitment to presenting and supporting art in public spaces; Audemars Piguet, whose expanding activities in contemporary art include the Audemars Piguet Art Commission; and NetJets – the world leader in private aviation. Art Basel is also supported globally by BMW, who has co-developed with Art Basel the BMW Art Journey, and Ruinart, Official Champagne Partner.

Art Basel’s show in Miami Beach is supported by Show Partner Douglas Elliman Development Marketing, the leading sales and marketing firm of luxury residential new development properties. Art Basel welcomes Yvel as new Lounge Host Partner, Marriott International and Buenos Aires City Government as new Official Partner and BDDW as the Official Partner of the Collectors Lounge’s Furniture and Interiors. Kannoa is the Art Basel in Miami Beach Official outdoor Furniture Partner and the Official Hotel Partners are Nautilus, a Sixty Hotel, The Betsy South Beach and W South Beach. Art Basel’s global Media Partner is The Financial Times. For further information about partnerships, please visit