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Melanie Daniel in The Slowdown

Now that we appear to be entering the “first post-pandemic winter,” much of the art created during Covid times is increasingly coming to light, and with it, a yearning for utopia or natural, Edenic idyll. Paul Verdell’s painting “A Road to Glory” (2022), at Library Street Collective’s booth at Untitled, and Doron Langberg’s “Ilan’s Garden” (2022), at the Victoria Miro booth at Art Basel, were standouts. (The latter was the most exquisite thing I saw all week, perhaps aside from a rare circa 1943 Isamu Noguchi “Lunar” light sculpture, once owned by Andy Warhol, on view at the Pace gallery booth.) At Design Miami, the radical Italian design company Gufram presented “Shroom Cactus,” a “utopian forest” installation featuring limited-edition items designed by A$AP Rocky. In addition to a modified version of the brand’s original 1972 Cactus sculpture by Guido Drocco and Franco Mello—A$AP Rocky’s has mushrooms sprouting out of it—the brand also presented a 3D-printed body armor–style suit by the musician. Two other landscape paintings of note—one, “Little Flame” (2022), by Melanie Daniel, at Asya Geisberg Gallery’s Untitled booth, and Friedrich Kunath’s “1-800 Serenity Now” (2022), at Blum & Poe’s Art Basel booth—each explored utopia in their own, darker way: through the thin divide between a seemingly serene countryside and a dystopian reality.

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