A chilly, overcast morning on the Florida coast was heated up by the atmosphere of Art Basel in Miami Beach, which returned to the Miami Beach Convention Center for its 21st edition. The fair’s VIP day was quickly abuzz with spirited engagement from collectors, artists, gallerists, and celebrity guests, including Serena Williams and Leonardo DiCaprio. By 11:15 a.m., queues on all sides of the venue were spilling out of the doors.
At the booth of Roberts Projects, visitors are greeted with a meticulously curated selection of artworks, each a standout in its own right, making it a challenge to pinpoint just a few highlights. Jeffrey Gibson—who will represent the U.S. at next year’s Venice Biennale—is renowned for his large-scale beaded paintings and mixed-media works, and presents a new piece at the booth: LOVE ME WITH ALL MY FAULTS (2023), priced at $120,000. At the other entrance is the more muted but equally striking Crossers (2023) by Luke Agada, selling for $12,000. As if distorted by heat, an image appears wavy and shimmering, as if rippling in a heat haze, with lines bending and colors blending in a mirage-like effect.
The Los Angeles gallery also presents 11 small Mia Middleton oil paintings, depicting scenes that co-founder Bennett Roberts described as “an ambiguous or middle story.” These works range from $3,500 to $7,500. Situated among these paintings, Suchitra Mattai’s sculpture Re-Union (2023) is a thought-provoking piece that explores layers of identity through braided and woven saris, and adds a textural and conceptual depth to the exhibition. The work is priced at $22,000.
“[The materials] are all saris that are collected from her mother, from her sister,” Roberts said of Mattai’s work. “They’re all repurposed to create these [sculptures]. She also buys older tapestries, but then she hand-sews all of them to make them much more about her and her [experience] as Afro-Caribbean.”
Installation view of Roberts Projects’s booth at Art Basel in Miami Beach, 2023. Photo by Timothy Johnson. Courtesy of the artists and Roberts Projects.