"I'm from that generation of artists who tries to think very hard about new sets of relationships between people and spaces and how people work with artwork," said the artist Liam Gillick, who was one of several artists in Miami's Design District this year exploring a relationship with a big fashion brand. Cross-disciplinary collaborations, often accompanied by pop-up stores, are the name of the game during Art Basel Miami Beach, with often brilliant — and on occasion, less-than-brilliant — results. This year's brilliant moments included Gillick and Pringle of Scotland; Beatriz Milhazes and Cartier; and Anselm Reyle and Dior.
"I didn't really want to do an ironic, one-off deconstructed sweater," said Gillick of his collaboration with Pringle, the Scottish cashmere brand. "I'd rather do something that has more complicated implications." The result, called Liamgillickforpringleofscotland, is a capsule collection of cashmere sweaters and leather accessories incorporating Gillick's signature modernist color-block designs and retro color palette. "I try to think of how to extend a collaborative mentality and how to deal with things that work in parallel in the art context," said the artist, who even conceived how the collection would be displayed. Gillick continued his exploration of "how things acquire meaning and value" at the Casey Kaplan pop-up gallery (conveniently located above the Pringle store), where 200 pounds of red glitter — a re-creation of the artist's 2004-05 work "The hopes and dreams of the workers as they wandered home from the bar" — covered the floor, crunching under visitors' feet.
Around the corner, at the Fondation Cartier's pink-frond temporary space, "Aquarium," a massive mobile by the artist Beatriz Milhazes dangled from the ceiling of the dimly lit room. Comprising 14,980.82 carats worth of diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, quartz, beryl, turquoise, coral, feldspath, tourmalines, opals, topaz and peridot, the larger-than-life piece of jewelry was reminiscent of Milhazes's kaleidoscopic paintings and sculptures and evoked both her art-historical influence (namely in geometric abstraction) and Brazilian background.
Meanwhile, over at Dior's pop-up shop, the German artist Anselm Reyle took the brand's DNA and ran with it, "Blade Runner" style, to create a postmodern wonderland befitting the collection of accessories on which he collaborated. Reyle reimagined the classic Miss Dior bag with neon stitching and dangling charms made of colored plexiglass, one of his signature materials. Two walls of video screens showed Reyle creating one of lush impasto works — the artist makes sweeping gestures in the purple paint using a large spatula and scraper — as well as a neon relief, both present in the store, along with a foosball table and, for those who can afford neither a Reyle original nor a Reyle Dior bag, a "nail bar" featuring Dior nail polish in Reyle's vibrant color palette.