Wynwood-based Spinello Projects unveils exhibit in Art Basel's competitive Nova sector

Art Basel Miami Beach — the real deal, that is — opens to the public Thursday, Dec. 5 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. With more than 250 galleries in the catalogue, it’s prudent to enter with a plan for navigating the exhibition halls. Much of what you’ll see traveled a great distance to reach South Beach. This is the allure of this art fair; however, there’s an exhibit by a local gallery that’s not to be neglected. 

Within ABMB’s Nova sector (a subdivision devoted to never-before-seen pieces fresh from artists’ studios), you’ll find Wynwood-based Spinello Projects. This is the gallery’s second appearance at Art Basel and it’s one of three Miami-based galleries to ever make it into Nova in the fair’s 12-year history.

For Gravitywell, Anthony Spinello curated a selection of philosophical works by three of his artists: Agustina Woodgate (Miami), Naama Tsabar (New York), and Sinisa Kukec (Miami).  

Agustina Woodgate (second appearance at Art Basel)

Woodgate, whose studio is in Little Haiti, unveils Milky Way, a continuation of her much-admired Skin Rug Collection. She uses found and forlorn stuffed animals to create what some will perceive as a rug and others as a decoration for the wall. Either way, the pelts of the plush objects she sources through donations or at thrift stores are pieced together like a puzzle without cutting the material to force a fit. Milky Way will be accompanied by a kinetic sculpture complete with a standard wall clock and a dartboard. The clock is in working condition and the hands move clockwise, but the clock itself spins the other way. Hemispheres Destiny is an investigation into the concept of time, according to Woodgate. 

“The dart board moves as well — making the game difficult to play. I actually don’t know if time exists anymore,” says Woodgate.


Naama Tsabar (left) performing with Double Face sound sculpture at Spinello Projects in the exhibition Closer curated by Anthony Spinello, December 4th 2012. Photo: Guillermo Gomez

Naama Tsabar (third appearance at Art Basel)

On the heels of an exhibition at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, New York-based artist Naama Tsabar is set to redefine the borders between art and the viewer. Her Work on Paper (Variation Two) is a curved water color paper presented as a sculpture on the wall with a piano string reaching from one side to the other. With a guitar tuner and one end of the paper, Tsabar tuned the string.

“The parallel dimension here is that you can go and touch the string. You can play it like a violin or a guitar, or even a piano,” says Tsabar. 

She inserted a material into the paper to give it the ability to hold tension and stay rigid. This is all invisible to the viewer, but it’s what allows for sound to resonate from the sculpture. 

“It only takes one person to start playing with it and then you know you’re allowed to,” she says. 

Tsabar’s second piece is a recreation of a live performance by a local band through the use of gaffer tape. In November, Tsabar encased the stage of Churchill’s Pub in Miami before a show. As soon as the band finished playing, she removed the wrap for it to become an independent entity in the booth at Basel. This part of the process is what Tsabar calls, “lift off,” and it’s when she says the actual sculpture starts. “One is the remains of what has been the history and now it’s a sculpture, ready to be activated for me to make new performances.” 


Sinisa Kukec at his studio in the process of creating a new monumental sculpture Vale and Globe to debut in Spinello Projects booth at Art Basel Miami Beach. Photo: Anthony Spinello

Sinisa Kukec (first appearance at Art Basel)

Kukec debuts two massive sculptural pieces from his Gravity Well series (Spinello named the entire exhibit after his work), which has been in development for seven years. The surfaces are intriguing due their smoke-and-mirror sheen as a result of the rubbed graphite he uses in his studio at Spinello Projects. He refers to it as “a violent kind of mark-making.”

“Reflective surfaces create a reflective experience. A lot will happen between the viewer and the work,” says Kukec.

Kukec has done this surface in the past and says it’s funny how much people like touching the work: “At one show, people even had graphite on the tips of their noses. When I asked them about it, they denied touching it!”

Spinello Projects’ Gravitywell is located within the Nova sector in Hall B of the Miami Beach Convention Center. Enter from Washington Ave. and look for booth N14.