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Taking aim: Highlights from Art Basel

Amid an array of incredible beauty and craftsmanship at the annual international art fair known as Art Basel Miami, Need to Know contributor Laura van Straaten found five standout works of social commentary, all from 2010 and all by 40-and-under artists:

Photo: Laura van Straaten

“Maximum Sensation” by Mounir Fatmi (born 1970 in Tangier, Morocco) is a flotilla of 50 custom designed skateboards, each covered in a colorful collage of cut-out prayer rugs, facing East toward Mecca. It’s like a modern flying carpet you can’t but want to ride. With a tip to the surrealist Maret Oppenheim’s fur-covered tea cup, saucer and spoon, the piece hits instantly on the tension between the tempting, careless casualness of skateboard culture and the crowded togetherness of the objects themselves, all poised to heed the call to prayer. The piece is the struggle of the modern Muslim writ large and lovely by the Paris-based artist whose much-lauded piece at the 2007 Venice Biennale used stereo speakers of different shapes and sizes to recreate in shadow and sound the pre-September 11 lower Manhattan skyline.

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