of Bharti Kher, on view at Art Basel Miami Beach in
conjunction with New York’s Jack Shainman Gallery,
are covered with row upon row of bindis, small
stickers deriving from a Hindu tradition of painting a
red dot on one’s forehead. The spiritual, cultural, and
philosophical significance of this material adds
multiple layers of meaning to Kher’s works, which
include large sculptures of a heart and an elephant,
furthering her visual exploration of immigration,
identity, and cross-cultural movement.
In the elephant sculpture, Kher uses snake-shaped
bindis and “places them in circular patterns, as if
they were hair or fur, and they give the work texture,”
says Stefania Maso at Jack Shainman Gallery.
Even as this level of elegance in fusing craft and
concept has become a standard-bearer, another
kind of work is putting process at the center. Livia
Marin uses a lathe to carve lipsticks into small
sculptures that she carefully installs, by the
thousands, into complex ribbons of color. Although
her work relates to constructed ideas about
glamour and consumerism, the visual fascination
of a labor-intensive process like Marin’s takes precedence over material associations, challenging the
now-established hierarchy of concept over craft.
But that’s the beauty of art: as soon as you
think you have it figured out, something changes,
definitions shift, and a new range of possibilities
Clockwise from top left: Elana Mann’s hand embroidery of
an Abu Ghraib prisoner; Mandy Greer’s Small But Mighty
Wandering Pearl: wood, cloth, papier mâché, steel, fabric, yarn,
glass, glass and plastic beads, wool, plaster; Felipe Barbosa’s
Three-dimensional Opp Ball: sewn soccer balls; and Boo Davis’
Pieces of Mind quilt (Roman Stripes variation).
Annie Buckley is a writer and artist living in Los Angeles. Her
writing appears regularly in Artforum, Artweek, A&U, and
other publications. She enjoys discovering art that will appeal
to CRAF T readers.