GROUP SHOWS DOMINATE AT PROGRESSIVE ART BRUNCH’S JULY SESSION
Installation view of “Residential Properties” at Diana Lowenstein gallery. (Photo courtesy Diana Lowenstein Gallery)
With a sweltering summer in full swing, the Miami contemporary art scene is turning to an old art curator’s standby, the group show. At Progressive Art Brunch, a sporadically scheduled gallery walk that held its last session this past Sunday, July 9, several participating Miami art dealers were showing group presentations, some more thematic than others.
With tourists gone for the summer, Diana Lowenstein Gallery decided to focus on a show of local artists covering a highly-resonant theme for Miamians, real estate. Many of the works in “Residential Properties” contended with the increasing precarity Miami residents face against the anxieties posed by rising rents and the property-speculation industrial complex. A few high-concept digital installations were featured, such as a video installation from AdrienneRose Gionta featuring a fantasy “Pod Lyfe” riffing on the pandemic-era migration wave, but some of the most compelling works in the show were simple photographic projects. A series of framed Polaroids by Johanne Rahaman featured moody views of decaying South Florida buildings, while Kalya Delacerda contrasted looming condo views with paintings featuring provocative slogans like “There is no one place for us to be.” In his work “Mental Prison,” Roscoè B. Thické III placed a profile shot of a black man in a darkened room in a frame with wooden shutters, perhaps a comment on the mental weight of gentrification, especially in the gallery’s Little Haiti environs. The show runs until Sunday, July 22.
Further downtown, Fredric Snitzer Gallery was abuzz with activity thanks to the opening of its new show, a survey of recent and current Columbia University MFA students. While the show was dominated by colorful and stylistically diverse painting, one mixed-media work stood out. On a pair of flat-screen TVs placed in a pile of black soil in the middle of the gallery, Colombian-born artist Vivian Vivas showed footage from a performance art piece captured on a ranch in Patagonia. Two figures, a man and a woman, carried a sheep carcass through a corral with wild horses looking on outside the fences. The artist said the work was intended to reflect the dichotomy between wildness and domestication, as well as COVID and the impact of climate change on death rituals and marginalized indigenous populations. The show runs until August 19.
Not all the participating galleries went for group shows. Emerson Dorsch held the final day for two shows of abstract painting, one of exceeding darkness and the other of bright color. While Californian M. Benjamin Herndon’s hazy black and white canvases, executed with a special graphite mixture, explored an interplay between light and shadow in ways, Miami-born Beverly Acha’s vibrant work exuded musicality, with compositions full of rounded shapes and bold colors.