Federico beaver sculpture

Art and Nature: The Perfect Pairing

Onpets took a stroll through Art Miami and Context, part of Art Basel Miami 2016, with a focus on animal related-art and fur baby attendees.  If you missed the 5-day arts extravaganza, don’t fret: We were on the scene and on the look-out for art, artists and animals accompanying their art-loving humans. From established masters to emerging artists, Art Basel and all the concurrent satellite fairs and locations included plenty to see for the animal lovers among us. Here is our round-up:

Oldies but Goodies

Almost everyone loves animals…including some of the world’s best- known artists.  Andy Warhol’s iconic bald eagle from 1983,

Eagle painting

Botero’s  2014 “The Art Collector” – we’ll assume he meant the cat – and

woman with a cat drawing

Deborah Butterfield’s gorgeous 2010 steel sculpture were but a few of the animal-themed pieces of art by well-known artists and on display at Art Miami.

horse sculpture

Art-loving pups…and their humans

Sadie the havanese dogMost of us, however, can’t afford the work of an established master so we spoke with some of the fur babies in attendance at Art Miami and Context and asked them to take a walk on the wild side and give us their picks.  Both these venues, along with many of the other Art Basel satellite locations, welcomed four-legged art aficionados to their venues.  We met Igor, a certified service dog, accompanied by his two humans, Danny and Michael.  Igor is a sweet Boxer/Pittie mix who definitely earns his kibble and was eagerly looking forward to getting inside the show to see the artistic depictions of his brethren.

Right after we met Igor, we met Sadie, a VERY friendly 2 ½ year-old Havanese who just couldn’t get enough of the crowd.  She was meeting and greeting with all she had, much to the delight of everyone she interacted with.  Joan and Dick, Sadie’s pet parents, told Onpets that Sadie is always in a good mood and gregarious to the max and she was much more interested in the humans than she was in the art.

Max the service dogMax the service dog

Speaking of “max”, right in the middle of the show we met Maximo, a 12 year-old sweetheart and also a certified service dog.  Maximo’s dad, Daniel, tells us that Maximo has a good nose for great art.

Our picks…with the help of our canine friends

We met Maximo next to Federico Uribe’s statement pieces which invite the viewer to consider whether hunting the animals we live with on this planet – for ‘sport’ – is a worthy activity.

Federico Uribe and sculptureFederico beaver sculpture

Federico uses common objects, like ammunition, to construct his gorgeous animals which tempt us to touch them but to also contemplate the underlying message. Federico told Onpets that his favorite piece is the fishing panther pictured here and we can certainly see why!

Onpets spoke with Will Kurtz who creates “realistic life-size figures and animals out of newspaper with an internal structure made of wood and wire….The animals are selected to show their unique breed, size, shape or type of hair.  Through them I am able to express their innocence and humor that has a universal appeal.  Newspaper is my medium of choice because it gives a raw, imperfect, ephemeral quality that reminds us that we are only on this earth for a short while.”

Giles Cenazandotti

Giles Cenazandotti's sculpture of a dog

Giles Cenazandotti, from Corsica, creates life-size sculptures of endangered species from trash he collects, mostly on the beach.  His work makes a strong statement about the way humans misuse the only planet we all have to share and the adverse effects we, as a species, have on the other creatures who both depend on and suffer at our hands.

Giles Cenazandotti's dragon sculpture

Giles Cenazandotti's leopard sculpture

And let’s not forget the animal-loving gallerists

Bernice Steinbaum One of our favorite animal-loving gallerists is Bernice Steinbaum who was as stylish as ever in her favorite slippers.

When Ms. Steinbaum moved her well-established art gallery from New York City to Miami in 2000, she “was impressed by the fact that the city competed with nature for the public’s attention.”  As she states on her gallery website, her “attention turned to the future of the natural world, and the many threats to it that human endeavors pose.” Ms. Steinbaum changed the focus of her gallery and “sought out artists engaged with environmental schemes and working with found or repurposed materials.” In choosing artists to showcase at Art Miami, Ms. Steinbaum was guided by “the role of technology and globalization in both causing and countering environmental issues.”

lion sculptureseagull sculpturebird cage sculpture

Some of those artists include Enrique Gomez de MolinaPatrick Jacobs, Aurora Molina, and Troy Abbott, all of whom use nature and animal imagery, video and sculptures to explore the relationship between humans and the rest of the natural world.

If you have a favorite artist whose creative motivation touches on environmental or animal welfare themes tell us about it and we may just include your suggestion in our next art and animals roundup!



©Onpets, LLC 2016.  All rights reserved.

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