Archives: Visual Arts

Photographer Tony Chirinos contemplates life and death in ‘The Precipice’ at UM

Written By Douglas Markowitz
January 25, 2023 at 8:33 PM

Tony Chirinos’s exhibit “The Precipice” at the University of Miami Art Gallery features photographs of surgical tools, like this Yankauer Suction Tube, suspended against bright-colored backgrounds. (Photo courtesy of Tony Chirinos)

Tony Chirinos is accustomed to seeing and capturing things that would shock the average person. For years, working as a medical photographer for Miami-area hospitals, he shot photos of surgeries and autopsies, developing an oeuvre that meditates on the frailty of life and the finality of death. But he recalls a time when one viewer’s response to his work shocked him.

“I had a group show in New York,” Chirino recalls, “and I had this lady come up to me, a tiny, petite, elder lady, and tell me that my pictures were the most horrific pictures she had ever seen. And when I started looking at her, she had a number tattooed on her arm.”

The woman was a Holocaust survivor, and Chirinos’ photos reminded her of the concentration camp crematoriums that she had narrowly avoided.

The artist, now a professor at Miami-Dade College, Kendall, says it’s never his intention to offend anyone, but that the content of his photos sometimes elicits extreme reactions. In the case of the elderly woman, he says he was saddened by her experience but grateful that his work provoked such an emotional response.

The operating room is a place where questions of life and death are posed. (Photo courtesy of Tony Chirinos)

“I’m a documentary-style photographer. I don’t move anything, I don’t touch anything, I photograph what I see in my own style,” he says. “My main goal is to show images to people and not give answers, so that they look at a photograph and there’s more questions to be asked, (rather) than just give the complete answer of what it is.”

This is exactly what Chirinos planned for his upcoming solo exhibition, “The Precipice,” at the University of Miami Gallery in the Wynwood Building. Based on his eponymous first photography book, published by Portland, Oregon-based boutique photo book publisher Gnomic, “The Precipice” also replicates the book’s three-part structure, placing photos from each chapter on the gallery’s three walls.

Each takes a different subject as their focus, from the monochromatic depictions of mortality in “Farewell” to the somewhat fetishistic photos of surgical tools suspended against bright-colored backgrounds titled “The Beauty of the Uncommon Tool,” after a Walker Evans photo project, “Beauties of the Common Tool,” originally published in 1955.

“They’re tools that were used in surgery photographed in a beautiful, ethnographic way. So I take (the tools) out of their context and have people think about them. ‘What is that going to be used for? What part of the body is it used for? Why is it so beautiful? Why am I attracted to something that is so horrific? Why am I looking at it like it’s candy to the eye?” explains Chirinos.

Long Nose Ortho Vise: ‘I take (the tools) out of their context and have people think about them’ the photographer says. (Photo courtesy of Tony Chirinos)

Chirinos found his vocation after he lost a scholarship to what was then Miami-Dade Community College, ironically where he now teaches. Not wanting to shame his parents, immigrants who had escaped Cuba via Venezuela, he concealed the setback and found a summer job as an assistant to the photographer at Miami Children’s Hospital. He quickly earned a promotion two months later, becoming the hospital’s official photographer when his supervisor quit. There was one major problem, however: He didn’t know anything about cameras.

“I found this organization called the Biological Photography Association,” he recalls. “And so, I reached out to them, told them what my predicament was, and they really helped me.”

The association gave him instructions on everything from photographing surgeries to which lenses to use. Although most of his work involved taking educational photos of medical procedures for teaching doctors, he also took portraits and family photos for staff, ribbon-cutting ceremonies, and anything else the hospital needed. He supplemented his pay with freelance work and his own projects in order to make ends meet.

The most interesting assignments, he says, involved surgeries and autopsies. These, Chirinos recalls, he took very seriously, especially when he returned to school at FIU, where professors encouraged him to think of his work as more than a job.

“You have to respect the HIPAA law,” he says. “What could I do to protect the patient and not lose my job? So, I spoke to administration and public relations, and basically they gave me the green light, they just said ‘just make sure no identification is shown.’”

An image from a hospital ward in “The Precipice” suggests a theater curtain. (Photo courtesy of Tony Chirinos)

Intensely aware of the privacy risks his work could pose, Chirinos became adept at photographing around the patient. He would snap shots of surgical tools, of lights, of sheets draped in various positions and of doctors huddled around the table. Many of his shots are photographed in dramatic, clinical black-and-white, imbuing them with all the power and severity that comes with going under the knife. They’re perhaps more provocative for what they don’t show, and this could explain the intense reactions.

“I love making the viewer create their own horror in their head,” he admits.

Following the UM Gallery exhibition, “The Precipice” will travel to Brooklyn’s Transmitter gallery in April. The show marks Chirinos’ New York gallery debut and a peak of interest in his work, which he attributes to the COVID-19 pandemic. The photographer says he struggled to find an avenue for publishing and showing his work before the pandemic, but considers that the event made some reassess their own relationship to death. And certainly, in a sense, Chirinos’ photos provide a certain memento mori.

“The Precipice,” both the book and the exhibition, are a summation of nearly two decades working as a biomedical photographer in Miami. (Photo courtesy of Tony Chirinos)

“We don’t know what ephemeral relationships and feelings anybody’s gonna get when they look at these pictures. The only thing that I’m trying to do is (tell people) that you have to look at your own mortality,” Chirinos says. “If there’s one thing we’re all gonna do, it’s that we’re all gonna die.”

WHAT: Tony Chirinos: “The Precipice”

WHEN: Friday, Feb. 1 through Friday, Feb. 24. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Opening reception 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11.

WHERE: University of Miami Art Gallery in the Wynwood Building, 2750 NW 3rd Ave., Miami.

COST: Free

INFORMATION: 305-284-3161 or art.as.miami.edu

ArtburstMiami.com is a nonprofit source of dance, visual arts, music and performing arts news. Sign up for our newsletter and never miss a story.

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Big Things Happening Inside Small Space at South Miami&...

Written By Michelle F. Solomon,

With its current exhibit of works by Chilean-born Enrique Castro-Cid, who lived and worked in Miami, along with notebooks and other interesting ephemera, [NAME] is a hidden gem to be discovered.

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Written By Jonel Juste,

"The Gaze Africana," by AfriKin Art, is celebrating contemporary fine art in honor of Black History Month 2023 in a free exhibition in North Miami.

At Locust Projects, final Design District exhibitions p...

Written By Douglas Markowitz,

Locust Projects latest exhibitions, before its move to Little River, feature everything from a gallery-turned-indoor-soccer field to the re-creation of rooms in a family's home.

Big Things Happening Inside Small Space at South Miami’s [NAME]

Written By Michelle F. Solomon
January 18, 2023 at 12:47 PM

Enrique Castro-Cid’s “Blue Nude (1979)”, acrylic on canvas with “Untitled,” an ink, pencil, on graph paper from the same year, are part of the exhibition “Protocol Pressure” at [NAME]. (Photo courtesy of [NAME])

An exhibition space in South Miami isn’t one that’s regularly on the radar. However, there are big things going on at [NAME], yet the smallish brick-and-mortar storefront belies the depth of artistic intelligence happening on the inside.

Possibly more familiar to locals than [NAME] is its neighbor in the Southwest 40th Street shopping plaza – the consignment second-hand store Miami Twice, a play on “Miami Vice,” a destination that’s an icon for its vintage clothes and handbags, which has been in the same spot since the mid-1980s.

Although [NAME] has existed since 2008, it moved into its public space just after COVID in February of 2022. [NAME] Publications got its start when Gean Merino was awarded a grant from the Knight Foundation to begin a press creating books dedicated to and by artists.

A view inside [NAME], which is currently showing the work and gathered ephemera of Chilean-born artist Enrique Castro-Cid. The painting at right is “Biscayne Afternoon” (1986), acrylic on canvas. (Photo courtesy of [NAME])

The artists’ press, [NAME] Publications, remains one of the staples of the hybrid non-profit, whose mission, with its exhibitions, its archives, and its books is to support and present underrepresented or marginalized or often untold histories of artists, particularly from the Americas.

There’s no better reason to discover all of [NAME] than its current exhibition, “Protocol Pressure,” now in its final week. It closes on Saturday, Jan. 21 with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. with a talk by collaborator, collector and close friend of El-Cid’s, Frank E. Acosta.

Paging through Enrique Castro-Cid’s notebooks of computations amid ephemera carefully curated throughout the space transports you into the Chilean-born artist’s mind. Into a different world. A time not too long ago but that registers nostalgic. Call it BCAD or Before CAD.

The various notes and scribbles, handwritten letters, and photos amassed at [NAME] make you question almost everything.

One of Enrique Castro-Cid’s notebooks, which are part of “Protocol Pressure” at [NAME]. (Photo courtesy of NAME)

He sucks you into his obsession with the rules of making paintings. Why must it be? Here, in his own hand, is Castro-Cid’s mind trying to maneuver a way out, an escape from the boxed-in Cartesian or Euclidean geometry, the way in which depth of space needed to be depicted. “Space as an act of reflection is absolute, yet, as a phenomenon presents many forms and gradations,” according to the artist.

Paintings. Rectangular canvases with no consideration of space within the canvas relative to space? He examines different possibilities. It shows up as infinite numbers, calculations, and mathematics, as he explores what would happen to the figures and to the space of painting if art and technology co-exist.

In one acrylic on canvas, Castro-Cid doesn’t mask his process. In the 1986 “Biscayne Afternoon,” the grid is partially showing, the painting put off center with the grid above and to the right. In the 1979 “Blue Nude,” the grid is obscured, faintly noticeable. A closer look at the canvas and the edges are bowing. Castro-Cid had put pressure on the canvas itself. Was he leaning into the calculations he had been fixated on? “There’s a lonely relationship between a viewer and an orthodox painting,” Castro-Cid is quoted as saying.


Enrique Castro-Cid, “Biscayne Afternoon,” 1986, Acrylic on canvas, Collection of Frank E. Acosta. (Photo courtesy of [NAME])

“Protocol Pressure” at [NAME] is the first of two exhibitions planned to explore the life and work of Castro-Cid. The current show is centered on what the artist created in Miami from the late 1970s through the 1980s when he was focused on experimenting with computer-aided software (CAD).

Born in Santiago, Chile, in 1937, he moved to New York in 1961. It didn’t take him long to become part of the Manhattan social set. He married Harper’s Bazaar magazine cover model, Sylvia Palacios Whitman, who also performed in avant-garde art venues. Following his split from Sylvia, he wed art patron Christophe de Menil in 1971. His relationship with the daughter of Dominique and John de Menil, whose Menil Collection in Houston is one of the most important privately assembled collections of modern and contemporary art, lasted three years.

In 1980, he arrived in Miami where he found the leisurely pace a place for him to dig deep into his art vis-a-vis technology mindset. Then, on a trip to Santiago in 1992, he died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 54.

The way in which, [NAME] curator and co-director, came upon Castro-Cid’s work is one of those meant-to-be stories. She tells me she visited a friend’s home in 2014-15 and hung on the wall was a drawing – ink, pencil on graph paper. It caught her eye.  ” ‘I’m sorry, what is this?” she asked, already fascinated. The friend told her whose work it was and then divulged: “And, I also have this box of notes.”

Yes, the work that fascinated her so much is part of “Protocol Pressure,” so you can see the 1979 “Untitled” for yourself.

Zuluaga says that the current display of Castro-Cid’s personal musings, carefully curated on a table at [NAME] is only a small selection of the full trove of documents in their archives.

It became yet another addition to other ephemera that compelled [NAME] co-directors Merino and Zuluaga to mine more and more material. A Knight Arts Challenge Grant in 2021 propelled what’s now called Migrant Archives. Along with the Castro-Cid material, they had been gathering and researching ephemeral practices of 1980s Cuba.

And in the summer of 2022, they co-curated an exhibition as part of documenta 15 in Kassel, Germany, called “To the Bitter End: Civic Practices in Cuba at the Beginning of the 21st Century,” which included bulletins, zines, articles, and other documents from Cuba in the 2000s.

Gean Merino and Natalia Zuluaga co-curated “To the Bitter End: Civic Practices in Cuba at the Beginning of the 21st Century” an exhibition that was part of documenta 15 in Kassel, Germany, in the summer of 2022. (Photo courtesy of [NAME])

It’s only the tip of the iceberg. Along with what they’ve already amassed, they will be searching, salvaging, and compiling cultural materials from artists, especially those who, as Zuluaga says, have been exiled and are living in the South Florida community. She calls some of the pieces “orphaned objects” citing that, in many cases, they are materials that can’t go home.  Most likely the infrastructure from where they were born isn’t politically stable and the archives could be lost forever if not rescued.

Migrant Archives will be a public open archive – an online platform that anyone can access and that will preserve all kinds of history. Currently, the [NAME] co-directors are immersed in the work of graphic designer Havana-born Félix Beltrán and Cuban public graphics. In the 1970s, Beltrán was the main designer of propaganda for the Communist Party of Cuba during the Cuban Revolution.

Zuluaga says simply: “The core of the mission remains the same, it’s how we get it out.”

[NAME], with its shelves of artists’ books from the publication side, and its current “Protocol Pressure” creates a space to be explored. No doubt, it will leave an impression.

WHAT: “Protocol Pressure”, the works, research, and archival materials of Enrique Castro-Cid

WHEN: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.Wednesday through Saturday. A closing reception is set for 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21 with Frank E. Acosta, Castro-Cid’s collaborator and close friend, who will discuss the artist’s life and work in a talkback.

 WHERE: [NAME], 6572 SW 40th Street, Miami.

 COST: Free

 INFORMATION: namepublications.org

ArtburstMiami.com is a nonprofit source of dance, visual arts, music and performing arts news. Sign up for our newsletter and never miss a story.

 

latest posts

Photographer Tony Chirinos contemplates life and death ...

Written By Douglas Markowitz,

Tony Chirinos's work as a medical photographer for Miami-area hospitals led to his pondering in his pictures of the frailty of life and the finality of death.

‘The Gaze Africana’ Showcases Work By 21 In...

Written By Jonel Juste,

"The Gaze Africana," by AfriKin Art, is celebrating contemporary fine art in honor of Black History Month 2023 in a free exhibition in North Miami.

At Locust Projects, final Design District exhibitions p...

Written By Douglas Markowitz,

Locust Projects latest exhibitions, before its move to Little River, feature everything from a gallery-turned-indoor-soccer field to the re-creation of rooms in a family's home.

‘The Gaze Africana’ Showcases Work By 21 International Black Artists

Written By Jonel Juste
January 16, 2023 at 6:18 PM

Jamaican artist Kimani Beckford’s “Study from the Birth of Venus” is one of the works on exhibit as part of AfriKin’s “The Gaze Africana” at the Scott Galvin Community Center. (Photo courtesy of AfriKin Art)

Its name is a fusion of two words, Africa and kinship. For Black History Month 2023, AfriKin is presenting “The Gaze Africana,” an art exhibit showcasing the work of artists inspired by the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., the African American icon and civil rights movement leader.

Presented in collaboration with the North Miami Community Redevelopment Agency (NMCRA), the exhibition is on display through Wednesday, Feb. 28,  at the Scott Galvin Community Center.

For three years, AfriKin has been offering annual art exhibitions during Black History Month and Art Basel Miami Beach/Miami Art Week, as signature events of the AfriKin series, according to Alfonso D’Niscio Brooks, AfriKin’s founder and chief executive officer.

The non-profit foundation has been promoting Black Art for over 15 years in Miami, he says.

“Rêves Brisés (Shattered Dreams)”, Angèle Etoundi Essamba, Cameroon. (Photo courtesy of AfriKin Art)

In the exhibit, “The Gaze Africana,” the term “gaze” is used to describe the way in which African artists are exploring their identity through a contemporary African fine art lens, explains Brooks. It also refers, he continues, to the way in which African artists are looking at their own culture, heritage, and history through their own unique perspective.

“The Gaze Africana” is a way for African artists to challenge the dominant narrative of the African experience. “Through their artwork, African artists are able to present a different perspective on African culture and history that is often overlooked or ignored,” says Brooks.

This concept has been explored in a variety of ways, from the use of traditional African symbols to the use of bright colors and vibrant patterns, along with the use of modern technology and materials.

“The exhibit also serves as a platform for discussing the issues of racial injustice and inequality that continue to plague our society today,” says Brooks.

The exhibit aims to celebrate the beauty of Black culture and the Black world. And what better occasion than Black History Month to do so?

“Transmutation” by Haitian artist Philippe Dodard. (Photo courtesy of AfriKin Art)

“Celebrating Black art during Black History Month is important because it recognizes the contributions of African and African Diaspora artists and their unique perspectives. It is a way to honor their diversity, creativity, and resilience,” according to Brooks. “It is also an opportunity to learn more about the history and culture of people of African origin, as well as to gain insight into our struggles and triumphs.”

Guest artist George Camille from Seychelles still feels there are a lot of obstacles for Black artists to overcome.

“Black artists have gained tremendous recognition and visibility over the last few decades, but there are still a lot of challenges . . . Black History Month presents the world with a constant reminder of the role and importance that Black creators continue to play in the development of art on a global platform,” says Camille.

“Celebrating Black Art during Black History Month is important because it promotes Black history, but even more importantly, it is fundamental to its construction,” adds Ines-Noor Chaqroun from Morocco.

AfriKin’s exhibitions feature a range of internationally acclaimed, emerging or mid-career artists. They are from various parts of the world, including Africa, the United States, the Caribbean, Haiti, Latin America, Europe, and the Indian Ocean.

“Rest Easy Beloved” by Niki Lopez. (Photo courtesy of AfriKin Art)

Exhibiting artists in addition to Camilee and Chaqroun are Doba Afolabi (Nigeria),  Philippe Dodard (Haiti), Angèle Essamba Etoundi (Cameroon, Netherlands), Joaquin Gonzalez (Spain), Bayunga Kalieuka (Congo), Ricardo Lion Molina (Cuba), Ras Mosera (Sint Maarten), Musa Swallah (Ghana), Carlos Salas (Colombia). Jamaican artists Camille Chedda, John Campbell, Katrina Coombs, Kimani Beckford, Greg Bailey, Yrneh Gabon, Oneika Russell; United States artists include Aisha Tandiwe Bell, Niki Lopez and Amore Kreative.

“One of our goals with AfriKin is to be a conduit that connects Continental Africa and the diaspora. So, at all our exhibitions we do our best to present a good balance of artistry that highlights this amalgamation,” explains Brooks.

Participating for the first time in an AfriKin Art exhibition, Camille recognizes that “being part of the Afrikin art exhibition will allow me as an artist living and working on an isolated island off the African coast to gain access to a wider audience as well as be part of a bigger art community that has a common agenda.”

“Benin’s Watching” by Nigerian artist Doba Afolabi. (Photo courtesy of AfriKin Art)

Camille has three large acrylic paintings on canvas in the show including “The Company of Strangers,” which was selected for the recent Dakar Biennale in Senegal.

Returning to AfriKin is Yrneh Gabon, a Jamaican artist and activist. He believes that AfriKin, acting on its social and cultural responsibilities, is how to engage people from Africa and its diaspora. “It is necessary that we re-educate, and I am a firm believer in re-education when it comes to history and culture, “ he says.

The Caribbean artist says that one month is not enough to celebrate Black History Month. “But anytime and reason to celebrate is worth celebrating. Gabon will showcase his new body of work inspired from a conversation with curator and educator Dr. Babacar Mbow on Ghanaian writer Ayi Kwei Armah’s book “The Beautyful Ones are Not Yet Born.”

“Lone Survivor” by Jamacia’s Yrneh Gabon. (Photo courtesy of AfriKin Art)

In addition, several programs will accompany “The Gaze Africana,” including contemporary dance, jazz, and African spiritual music performances, panel discussions, spoken word, film screenings, and business networking. All events are free to public, but RSVP is requested.

“AfriKin utilizes cultural programming to highlight the importance of art and culture in the reshaping of communities. (The) activations and programming are focused on the development of cultural industry, advancement through strategic partnerships and kinship across ethnic lines,” Brooks adds.

WHAT: “The Gaze Africana” by AfriKin Art

WHERE: Scott Galvin Community Center, 1600 NE 126th St, North Miami, FL 33181

WHEN:  Noon to 6 p.m. daily through Feb. 28.

COST: Free, but RSVP requested.

INFORMATION: 305-895-9840 or afrikin.art

ArtburstMiami.com is a nonprofit source of dance, visual arts, music and performing arts news. Sign up for our newsletter and never miss a story.

 

latest posts

Photographer Tony Chirinos contemplates life and death ...

Written By Douglas Markowitz,

Tony Chirinos's work as a medical photographer for Miami-area hospitals led to his pondering in his pictures of the frailty of life and the finality of death.

Big Things Happening Inside Small Space at South Miami&...

Written By Michelle F. Solomon,

With its current exhibit of works by Chilean-born Enrique Castro-Cid, who lived and worked in Miami, along with notebooks and other interesting ephemera, [NAME] is a hidden gem to be discovered.

At Locust Projects, final Design District exhibitions p...

Written By Douglas Markowitz,

Locust Projects latest exhibitions, before its move to Little River, feature everything from a gallery-turned-indoor-soccer field to the re-creation of rooms in a family's home.

At Locust Projects, final Design District exhibitions push boundaries, emphasize community

Written By Douglas Markowitz
December 19, 2022 at 11:36 AM

Ronny Quevedo, “ule ole allez,” in the main gallery of Locust Projects’ Design District space through Saturday, Feb. 4. (Photo courtesy of Zachary Balber)

Walking into Locust Projects’ final exhibit at their soon-to-be-vacated current location in the Design District, you might think you have the wrong address. The floors are covered in scuff marks and bright-colored tape. It looks like some kind of indoor soccer field – and that’s exactly the point. For his work “ule ole allez,” Ecuadorian-born artist Ronny Quevedo invited Miami’s local futsal (a hard-court, indoor version of soccer) leagues to come into the space and play with an ink-infused ball.

“So you’ll see on the walls the marks from their shoes, but also the marks from the ball hitting the walls, hitting the floors,” says Lorie Mertes, director of Locust Projects. “Ronny really saw that as a collaborative, community drawing.”

Ecuador-born/New York-city based Ronny Quevedo in his studio. (Photo courtesy of Ross Collab)

Accompanied by small drawings based on soccer strategy charts, “ule ole allez” is Quevedo’s way of showing the creative potential hidden in sport and play. It may be coincidence, according to Mertes, that this mock-futsal court is taking over Locust’s main space during the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

But it also feels like a purposeful rebuke of that massive, globalized, controversy-filled spectacle, setting the Beautiful Game back to where it belongs, the pitches and courts and improvised playing fields across the world where possible future Kylian Mbappés and Lionel Messis play and dream.

Community could be seen as a theme, not just in this round of shows but in the whole thread of Locust Projects’ existence. Since 1999, the nonprofit art space has allowed Miami’s artists a very unique blank slate. They give the entirety of their space over to an artist and let them do whatever they want, free of the commercial restraints of a gallery, the pressures of a museum show, or any constraints, really.

They’re even willing to let their artists destroy their building, as Loriel Beltran did in 2009 when he scraped the paint off the walls to make his “Labor Paintings,” or as a pre-fame Daniel Arsham did in 2015 when he dug a hole in the floor to fill with his fossilized sculptures of consumerist debris.

T. Eliott Mansa, “Room for the living/Room for the dead,” 2022, installation view at Locust Projects. (Photo courtesy of Zachary Balber)

It’s that “culture of yes” as Mertes calls it that encouraged T. Elliot Mansa to build his “Room for the living/Room for the dead,” the second of two site-specific installations currently on view at Locust. Mansa’s piece attempts to reconcile a division common in African American homes between formal living rooms full of artifacts and heirlooms and family rooms where people actually gather. Shelves are adorned with family photos and books on Black history and art, and the blue wallpaper is covered with images of Malcolm X and Frederick Douglass.

The space is interactive, and visitors are invited to play cards at the folding table, read the books, or play the copy of John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” on the turntable.

Miami-born T Eliott Mansa whose current work, “Room for the living/Room for the dead,” is in the Project Room at Locust Projects. (Photo courtesy of World Red Eye)

“I love that spirit because that’s what I want the future space to be as well. We’ve never really had a cool hangout, sort of social space,” says Mertes.

Although the two site-specific works, as well as a guest-curated video exhibition called “Portals of Introspection” by Dimitry Saïd Chamy, Mikey Please, Duke Riley, and Paul Ward, and guest curated by Donnamarie Baptiste, will run through Feb. 4, the nonprofit has already christened its new location, an 8,000-square-foot space former industrial laundry facility in Little River.

Dimitry Saïd Chamy, “Portals of the Night Garden,” still from “Portals of Introspection.” (Photo courtesy of the artist)

In addition to larger exhibit space, Mertes says there will be storage space, fabrication facilities for artists on-site, and an outdoor courtyard, which can host live performances, as well as spaces meant for socializing. The culture of “yes,” however, isn’t going anywhere.

WHAT: Ronny Quevedo: “ule ole allez”;  T. Elliot Mansa: “Room for the living/Room for the dead”; Dimitry Saïd Chamy, Mikey Please, Duke Riley, and Paul Ward, guest curated by Donnamarie Baptiste, “Portals of Introspection.”

 WHEN: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.Wednesday through Saturday until Feb. 4.

 WHERE: Locust Projects, 3852 North Miami Ave., Miami.

 COST: Free

 INFORMATION: 305-576-8570 or locustprojects.org

ArtburstMiami.com is a nonprofit source of dance, visual arts, music and performing arts news. Sign up for our newsletter and never miss a story.

latest posts

Photographer Tony Chirinos contemplates life and death ...

Written By Douglas Markowitz,

Tony Chirinos's work as a medical photographer for Miami-area hospitals led to his pondering in his pictures of the frailty of life and the finality of death.

Big Things Happening Inside Small Space at South Miami&...

Written By Michelle F. Solomon,

With its current exhibit of works by Chilean-born Enrique Castro-Cid, who lived and worked in Miami, along with notebooks and other interesting ephemera, [NAME] is a hidden gem to be discovered.

‘The Gaze Africana’ Showcases Work By 21 In...

Written By Jonel Juste,

"The Gaze Africana," by AfriKin Art, is celebrating contemporary fine art in honor of Black History Month 2023 in a free exhibition in North Miami.

Paradox Museum in Wynwood is mind-blowing experience

Written By Jonel Juste
December 13, 2022 at 3:51 PM

Guests exploring the Tunnel Paradox, which allows participants to balance their bodies and experience perceived movement as they let go. Photo Courtesy of The Paradox Museum.

Described as a “mind-bending indoor venue,” the Paradox Museum certainly messes, in a good way, with our minds. Some could even say it is a bit, well, tricky. The museum, which opened in the midst of Miami Art Week, has over 70 “paradox-based interactive exhibits designed to fool the eyes and challenge the senses.”

Visitors who pay admission for the mind-bend at the for-profit house of illusions ($24 is the average for families who want to buy a four-pack on the weekend, otherwise weekend rates are $27 for adults, and $24 for a children’s ticket, weekdays are $1 less) get 60 to 90 minutes to explore the multiple rooms of illusions.

“Miami is known for its art and exhibitions. We wanted to bring a permanent museum to Miami that was optical, interactive and photographic,” explains Marc Gregory Tipton, the museum’s sales and marketing director.

While mainstream museums and art fairs usually prohibit visitors from touching the exhibits, Tipton says guests at Paradox Museum are encouraged to touch, feel and experience the exhibition.

“We encourage where possible for guests to interact with our paradox-based exhibits. In the museum, most of our exhibits are touchable and can be seen from different perspectives,” says Tipton.

The Gym Paradox. Photo Courtesy of The Paradox Museum.

A visit to the new Miami museum can feel like a magical experience, but it’s actually a very technological one. There are plenty of mirrors, lights, and angles, which are used to trick the mind. Scientific principles are involved in what constitutes “edutainment,” a portmanteau word made up of education and entertainment.

“Our exhibits,” says Tipton, “are all created around STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math). That’s creating the educational aspect along with the entertainment fun for all ages.”

The basis for the name and what’s at the core of the exhibits is a “paradox,” which is presenting something and its opposite at the same time.

Just some of the paradoxes for visitors to explore are the Tunnel Paradox, which allows participants to balance their bodies and experience perceived movement as they let go, the Paradox Challenge, which combines balloons and levitation, and the AMes room showing guests in giant size next to others in small size. In the Paradox Piano, guests tune in directly to a piano to create a unique melody and a personal piano concerto.

The AMes Room show guests in giant size next to others in small size. Photo Courtesy of The Paradox Museum

Since Paradox is an experiential museum, visitors are expected to fully immerse themselves in the moment and publicly share their experience on social media.

“We have select exhibits where guests will become part of the paradox illusion. Taking photos and videos will create an even more immersive experience,” promises Tipton.

Miami is the first United States city to have a Paradox Museum, according to Tipton. The other two are in Stockholm and Oslo, Sweden.

Tipton says Miami is just the beginning for the U.S.

“We are planning on opening new museums throughout the United States in the next two years,” Tipton says, adding that all the museums will have local culture built into them.

The Paradox Museum’s mission? To educate and amaze at the same time and to blow our mind. And yes, the mind is a terrible thing to leave unblown.

WHAT: The Paradox Museum

 WHERE: 2301 North Miami Ave.

WHEN: noon to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

COST:  $26, $23 (children 4 to 11 years old),  weekday; $27, $24 (children 4 to 11 years old), weekend. Also, four-pack tickets available from $92.

INFORMATION:  305-614-38 08 or paradoxmuseummiami.com

ArtburstMiami.com is a nonprofit source of dance, visual arts, music and performing arts news. Sign up for our newsletter and never miss a story.

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Art of Black Miami showcases neighborhoods at this year’s art week

Written By Sergy Odiduro
December 2, 2022 at 9:01 AM

Philippe Dodard, Dimensional Flow, Art of Transformation exhibit, Opa-locka. (Photo courtesy of Art of Transformation and the artist)

While Art of Black Miami is a year-round showcase of visual arts and artists, it’s become an integral part of Miami Art Week.

Launched in 2014 by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) as an ongoing platform for local artists,  Art of Black Miami’s art week offerings are plentiful and varied.

“We’re excited because there are a lot of things happening in this cultural space,” says Connie Kinnard, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Senior Vice President, Multicultural Tourism & Development Department. “We powered this marketing program that highlights our art and . . . particularly those artists within the Black Diaspora.”

Kinnard pointed out that there are many sites to visit, including those that aren’t necessarily known for being an art destination.

“We want to encourage people that are coming in to visit to also get out and experience all of our neighborhoods,” said Kinnard. “Our destination is culturally diverse and we know that Black artists in the diaspora are a big part of Miami Dade. We want visitors to be aware of all of the talent that we have in our communities.”

Here’s a sample of some of the upcoming events and the neighborhoods spotlighted.

 

LIBERTY CITY

“Le Art Noir, Diversity in Color” will be hosting an evening of art, fashion and entertainment on Thursday, Dec. 1 at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center.

“This is our second year and we are coming in bigger and better,” says spokesperson Randi B. Berger. “We have extended the amount of diverse artists that we have this year. We’ve also gone into a lot more of 3D and digital NFTs.”

The all-encompassing event will expand beyond traditional art mediums.

“We will be having cutting-edge fashion and a celebration of music. We’re doing a lot of pop culture and we’re doing issues that are very poignant. In today’s society, we’re giving a voice to those that typically could not be heard.”

WHAT: “Le Art Noir, Diversity in Color”

WHERE: African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, 6161 NW 22nd Ave.

WHEN: Thursday, Dec. 1, 7 to 10 p.m.

COST: $75-$120

INFORMATIONleartnoir.com

 

HISTORIC OVERTOWN

Hampton Art Lovers is hosting The Point Comfort Art Fair + Show at the Historic Ward Rooming House and Gardens in Overtown. Their goal is to not only promote local art, but to also provide a meeting space for conversation and music.

“We have a multi-dimensional fair where we have something called our Indaba Lounge Series  which is a series of our talks that we produce. We also have our nighttime events,” says Chris Norwood, co-founder of Hampton Art Lovers.

He hopes that visitors will stop by and see what’s in store.

“If you want to see black art, come to a historic black community,” said Norwood. “We are providing a place where African-Americans and anybody can come and experience black culture in a way that is digestible during the largest cultural event in North America.

Norwood said that their event is a great way to purchase authentic African-American art even if you’re on a tight budget.

“We sell art at every price point,” he says. “Everybody can leave there with something if they want. And that’s very important to us. ”

WHAT: The Point Comfort Art Fair + Show

WHEN: Various events through Sunday Dec. 4

WHERE: Historic Ward Rooming House, 249 N.W. 9th St.

COST: Free

INFORMATIONpointcomfortart.com 

 

OPA-LOCKA

The “Art of Transformation” is a two-block event in Opa-locka featuring a dance performance, film screening, panel discussion and three art exhibits.

Tumelo Mosaka said that the event stems from continuously engaging artists and the community.

Phillip Thomas, “High Sis in the Garden of Heathen,” 2017, 58 x 70, Mixed Media on Fabric. (Photo courtesy of Art of Transformation and the artist)

“I’ve been doing an exhibition in Opa-locka almost every other year, looking at artists from the continent and the diaspora and bringing them here to create first-class exhibitions. And now this is  a larger manifestation of the interventions we’ve been doing.”

The individual shows highlight different aspects of the African diaspora.

Mosaka, who is overseeing all of the exhibits, is also the curator for “This Here Place: Africa and the Global Diaspora.” which features six international artists from the Opa-locka Development Corporation collection.

The remaining two exhibits will be held nearby.

“We invited an organization that has worked with Haitian artists to bring their conversation into the mix in terms of thinking about how the Caribbean diaspora engages in the emotions about identity and representation,” said Mosaka. “They will be presenting an exhibition that’s trying to trace the artistic language of Haitian artists who have lived both in Haiti and in the diaspora in terms of thinking about what has been the vocabulary and the language of thinking about representation by Haitian artists. That exhibition is called A Beautiful Human Love.”

“The other one called “AfriKin Art 2022: The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born.” is an exhibition that is looking primarily at emerging artists out of the diaspora and thinking about this moment of recognition, this moment of thinking about what the future holds:  Have we really arrived or are we still struggling?

“It’s a very interesting conversation that each exhibition brings and so we hope to continue bringing exciting things and putting Opa-locka on the map in terms of really offering the best that there is to offer with what we’ve got.”

 

WHAT: The Art of Transformation

WHEN: Various Events Through Sunday Dec. 4

WHERE: Ali Baba Ave., between Opa-locka Blvd. and Aladdin St.

COST:  Free

INFORMATION:  olcdc.org/artinopalocka 

 

SHENEQUA, Bronze Wumman. (Photo courtesy of Art of Transformation and the artist)

LITTLE HAVANA

Bring the family out to a day of festivities at the 10th Annual Umbrellas of Little Havana Art Festival. Held in partnership with the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind, the event will feature a variety of art displays along with an impressive array of hand-painted patio umbrellas by local artists.  This year visitors will have the opportunity to view 25 new designs.

WHAT: 10th Annual Umbrellas of Little Havana Art Festival

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Dec. 2 to 4

WHERE: Futurama 1637 SW 8 St.

COST: Free

INFORMATION:  umbrellasoflittlehavana

According to Kinnard, the events provide the perfect opportunity to purchase art while supporting the arts community.

“We want visitors to come in and be aware of all of the talent that we have.

She said that everyone can participate.

“I think there are times where people look at art in itself and think it’s an elite situation but it is for anybody. There are no barriers.”

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Artists in Residence in Everglades summit contemplates art, diversity and the environment

Written By Sean Erwin
November 29, 2022 at 3:51 PM

“Passages,” an immersive installation and soundscape, was created by Cornelius Tulloch and features the 2022 artists in residents in Everglades recipients. (Photo courtesy of AIRIE)

Amanda Williams uses color and her training in architecture to investigate issues related to race and the urban environment.

For her 2016 “Colo(red) Theory” series, the MacArthur Fellow and Chicago-based visual and installation artist painted eight buildings slated for demolition in the South Side of Chicago with colors named like Ultrasheen (hot blue tone), Newport 100s (soft blue tone), Crown Royal Bag (velvety purple) and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos (bright red-orange).

Amanda Williams, artist and architect, 2022 MacArthur Fellow, is one of the featured speakers at AIRIE’s Art and Environment Summit. (Photo courtesy of the MacArthur Foundation)

Williams crafted colors that resonated with the Black community and the palette of the neighborhoods she grew up in.

When asked in 2020 to participate on the National Advisory Council for AIRIE (Artists in Residence in Everglades) to reimagine the 21-year-old, non-profit Everglades residency program, Williams saw an opportunity in South Florida’s urban environments and the river of grass to increase diversity among the artists who are involved in AIRIE’S month-long immersions.

“AIRIE is finding new ways to reconceive the natural,” says Williams. “There is an ability to help people understand that you can’t stay stuck in the injustice, and this is especially hard for communities where that injustice is barely being acknowledged at all.”

She will be a key speaker during the Friday, Dec. 2 AIRIE Art and Environment Summit alongside Adam Ganuza, the chief of staff for the president’s office at the Knight Foundation, Alexander Cunningham Cameron, Cooper Hewitt curator and Hintz Secretarial Scholar, Tatiana Mouarbes of the Open Society Foundation, and Reverend Houston Cypress representing the Love the Everglades Movement.

Williams investigates the idea of land ownership and the question of who gets to own what and why. “Where’s the delineation of who owns this, and how is this based on those kinds of documents and policies which have had physical outcomes on the environment?” questions Williams.

Cornelius Tulloch, right, directs filmmaker Alexa Caravia and AIRIE Fellow Kunya Rowley in the creation of a piece for “Passages.” In the immersive installation, Rowley performs a song he wrote that was inspired by his time as an AIRIE resident artist in the Everglades. (Photo courtesy of Meg Ojala)

 When asked what role artists can play in defending environments such as the Everglades threatened by rising sea levels and global warming, Williams answers: “Yes, it (the Everglades) is probably going to go away, but how do we own the effort of making work that’s joyful right now and how does this empower us to act?”

She references Cornelius Tulloch, a Miami-based artist and 2022 AIRIE Fellow.

“For instance, Cornelius did this wonderful work of lighting at night that conveys the notion of the African Diaspora and people moving through this landscape (the Everglades).  It’s beautiful to look at but what it speaks to is extremely powerful,” says Williams referring to Tulloch’s immersive installation “Passages,” which forms the artistic focal point of the summit.

Tulloch, who grew up in South Florida, had only visited the Everglades once during a high school trip.  The AIRIE residency program allowed him to get to know the park and its rich history in a deeper way, he says.

The artist was especially inspired by the history of the Florida Highwaymen – a group of 26 mostly self-taught African-American painters who traveled the 95 corridor of Florida’s east coast during the Jim Crow period making a living from selling their paintings.

Artist Cornelius Tulloch. (Photo courtesy of Gwen Tulloch)

“These are hidden histories that we don’t think about all the time,” says Tulloch, “and these were artists who were not just thinking about ecology, but there is a lot of intersection of their narratives within the South Florida environment and a consciousness of the environment.”

Drawing inspiration from his Jamaican and African-American heritage, Tulloch’s work expresses how bodies exist between cultures, borders, and characteristics to create spatial impact.

His work has been exhibited widely including at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Miami Pulse Art Fair, and the Museo Nazionale Delle Arti Del XXI Secolo in Rome. In 2016, Tulloch was named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts and, in 2020, the artist received the Ellies Creator Award from Oolite Arts. And recently was named an Emerging Visionary Grantee by Instagram and the Brooklyn Museum as part of its 2022 BlackVisionaries program.

Tulloch co-created “Passages” with the eight other 2022 AIRIE Fellows, who are artists working in a diverse array of mediums from sound to song and poetry, including Arsimmer McCoy, Francisco Masó, Kunya Rowley, M. Carmen Lane, Ania Freer, Lola Flash, Justin Matousek, and Alexa Caravia. According to ARIE, 225 applications were submitted for the nine Fellows spots for 2022. AIRIE’s selected fellows, as is the norm, received a $4,000 grant for a one-month residency in Everglades National Park and were provided housing and a stipend for the length of the residency.

Evette Alexander, AIRIE executive director, Cornelius Tulloch, artist and AIRIE creative director, and Tracey Robertson Carter, co-chair of the board, in Everglades National Park. (Photo courtesy of AIRIE)

The summit represents AIRIE’s largest event to date and is its first Art and the Environment Summit.  “This is an opportunity to build a more inclusive community around the issue of environmental justice to convene leaders and highlight the stories and interpretations that artists like Cornelius are making with the Everglades,” according to Evette Alexander, AIRIE’s executive director.

Since 2021, almost 200 creatives from artists to writers to curators have been selected for AIRIE residencies.  “We curate our residency experience,” explains Alexander. “Artists go out with scientists, hydrologists and (experience) controlled burns, kayaking, slough slogs (wet hiking through the cypress domes). We really do immerse our artists in the landscape and their stores,” says Alexander.

WHAT: AIRIE (Artist in Residence in Everglades) Art Installation and Summit

WHERE: The Carter Project, 3333 NW 6th Ave., Miami 

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday, Dec. 2.  The art installation,“Passages,” is on view to the public from noon to 4 p.m. at the Carter Project through Sunday, Dec. 4. 

COST:  The event and installation are free.  A separate RSVP and $10 donation is required for the 12:30 p.m. lunch.

INFORMATION: airie.org/summit

ArtburstMiami.com is a nonprofit source of dance, visual arts, music and performing arts news. Sign up for our newsletter and never miss a story.

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12 artists, 12 Miami Beach hotels for 3rd and largest edition of ‘No Vacancy, Miami Beach’

Written By Michelle F. Solomon
November 18, 2022 at 9:58 AM

“Carcass,” Beatriz Chachamovits, hand-built ceramic installation, Esme Miami Beach, 1438 Washington Ave., is part of the third edition of “No Vacancy, Miami Beach,” on public display through Thursday, Dec. 8. (Photo courtesy of City of Miami Beach and the artist)

Known as some of the most art-centric hotels in the country and, in fact, the world, visitors and locals to Miami Beach will discover that, at any given time of the year, the hotels of Miami Beach excel in displays of original works of art.

Going another step further in their status as destinations for art, the City of Miami Beach and the Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Center (MBVCA) are, for the third year, partnering with hotels for “No Vacancy, Miami Beach,” a collection of site-specific works by 12 local artists paired with 12 of the most storied hotels on Miami Beach.

“Angle of Vanishing Stability (AVS), Justin Long, site-specific installation, The International Inn on the Bay, 2301 Normandy Drive. (Photo courtesy of City of Miami Beach and the artist)

The third edition of “No Vacancy, Miami Beach,” on view from Thursday, Nov. 17 through Thursday, Dec. 8, is the largest since the juried art competition’s first edition in 2020, according to the organizers from the City of Miami Beach Art in Public Places Committee, Cultural Arts Council (CAC) and MBVCA.

“It’s an opportunity for the hotels,” says Deborah Plutzik-Briggs, vice president, arts at The Betsy Hotel, South Beach, (1400 Ocean Drive). The hotel was paired with Hollywood, Fla., artist Sri Prabha for the installation “Cosmic Occupancy,” which will have a selection of three separate video projections on The Betsy’s Orb.

According to the artist, video projections on and around The Orb are meant to create a dynamic and contemplative space to reflect upon an individual’s place in the universe. The Orb, a spectacle in itself, is a work of public art, connecting the Betsy Hotel and the Carlton Hotel across an alleyway (14th Place and Ocean Court).

“The projections onto The Orb and into the alley illuminate the entire outdoor space. It enables The Betsy to bring the arts outside and invites the community to come inside to see what else is going on,” says Briggs.

“Cosmic Occupancy,” Sri Praba, video projects at the Betsy Hotel, 1400 Ocean Drive. (Photo courtesy of City of Miami Beach and the artist)

Artists were selected from a call for submission and selected by representatives from the City of Miami Beach Art in Public Places Committee, Cultural Arts Council (CAC) and the MBVCA. Artists received $10,000 to facilitate the creation of the artwork and are paired with the hotel location which would show the work.

The works on view also give the public a chance to voice their opinion and vote for their favorite. The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau is awarding $10,000 to one of the artists for its Public Prize and anyone can cast their vote beginning Nov. 17 at mbartsandculture.org.

An additional $25,000 Juried Prize will be awarded to a “No Vacancy, Miami Beach” artist and selected by a jury of local art professionals. Winners will be announced on Dec. 8, 2022.

“This is our third go around with “No Vacancy” and what’s been great is the (selection committee’s) ability to match us with artists that understand who we are — not every artist fits in every hotel space. Every hotel is different just like every artist is different. Hotels have a soul, and they have an aesthetic and sensibility that I believe can amplify an artist’s work,” says Briggs.

At the Faena Hotel Miami Beach (3201 Collins Ave.), the work is “Patria y Vida” by Antonia Wright and Ruben Millares, a large light sculpture using 18 metal barricades with LED lights bound together and arranged in a chaotic formation. The artists describe the site-specific installation as a celebration of people’s right to peacefully protest. The barricades are part of a series by the pair where they ponder the familiar barricade focusing on it as a symbol of resistance.

“Patria y Vida,” Antonia Wright and Ruben Millares, large-scale light sculpture, Faena Hotel Miami Beach, 3201 Collins Ave. (Photo courtesy of City of Miami Beach and the artist)

“For us within “No Vacancy,” it is important to collaborate with the City of Miami Beach. They are doing beautiful programs and supporting artists, which is very much in line with what the mission of Faena Art is,” says Nicole Comotti, executive director of Faena Art.  Comotti comments on how vital it is that work by local artists be seen and funded in programs such as “No Vacancy, Miami Beach” especially during Miami Art Week.

Comotti says “No Vacancy, Miami Beach” brings a “tone of unexpectedness and access” to visitors.

“Rather than just renting a hotel room, you’re learning about and being exposed to artists in the local community, and you’re being given access to something that you wouldn’t necessarily have,” says Comotti. “The hotel is not only a place for you to come and stay, but is a place for you to enjoy, to educate yourself in art and culture and entertainment. It is also a place that supports the community.”

See the works of art created by local artists at these hotels, free and open to the public.

Avalon Hotel (700 Ocean Drive): “In Your Eyes, I Come Alive,” Jessy Nite, outdoor site-specific typography installation.

Betsy Hotel (1400 Ocean Drive): “Cosmic Occupancy,” Sri Prabha, video projections.

Cadillac Hotel and Beach Club (3925 Collins Avenue): “Liguus,” Brookhart Jonquil, site-specific sculpture.

Catalina Hotel and Beach Club (1732 Collins Avenue): “Maxi-Building on the Baroque, Charo Oquet, site-specific sculptural installation.

Esme Miami Beach (1438 Washington Avenue): “Carcass,” Beatriz Chachamovits, hand-built ceramic installation.

Faena Hotel Miami Beach (3201 Collins Avenue): “Patria y Vida,” Antonia Wright and Ruben Millares, large scale light sculpture.

Fontainebleau (4441 Collins Avenue): “HYPER!,” Bas Fisher Invitational (BFI) presents Esben Weile Kjaer, Copenhagen, sculpture, performance piece.

Hotel Croydon (3720 Collins Avenue): “Sea Show,” Claudio Marcotulli, multi-media light and video installation.

The International Inn on the Bay (2301 Normandy Drive): “Angle of Vanishing Stability (AVS),” Justin Long, site specific installation using an upturned sailboat suspended 10 feet in the air.

Loews Miami Beach Hotel (1601 Collins Avenue): “Reflections of Florida Wild,” Magnus Sodamin, outdoor vinyl mural.

Riviera Suites South Beach (318 20th Street): “Submersion in Blue,” Maritza Caneca, multimedia installation.

Royal Palm South Beach (1545 Collins Avenue): “Treading Water,” Michelle Weinberg, drawings, carbon paper between folded sheets of mulberry paper.

WHAT: “No Vacancy, Miami Beach”

WHERE: 12 hotels throughout the City of Miami Beach

WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 17 through Thursday, Dec. 8.

COST: Free

INFORMATION: mbartsandculture.org. Cast a vote for the Public Prize winner at mbartsandculture.org beginning Nov. 17. 

For Art Week Miami events and programs visit: www.miamiandbeaches.com

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Costa Rican’s monumental sculptural works transform downtown Miami park into outdoor museum

Written By Ana Maria Carrano
October 21, 2022 at 2:17 PM

The 2,204-pound bronze sculpture “Recuerdo Profundo” by Costa Rican artist Jorge Jiménez Deredia is one of 14 works in “A Bridge of Light” in Miami’s Maurice A. Ferré Park through March 23, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Ana Maria Carrano)

When Hurricane Ian was approaching the state of Florida near the end of September 2022, the monumental works of Costa Rican sculptor Jorge Jiménez Deredia were already in Miami. They were in the midst of installation at the Maurice A. Ferré Park for the outdoor exhibition “A Bridge of Light.”

Not knowing if Miami would incur any wrath from Ian, the monumental-sized sculptures needed to be protected. Despite the size and weight, such as the “Egg-genesis” (4,188 pounds and 20 feet long), the pieces needed to be secured with large cargo straps to prevent any monumental fall.

Ian missed Miami and the 14 sculptures remained safe, making their debut on Oct. 12, where they will be on display at the waterfront until March 31, 2023.

Jorge Jiménez Deredia, “Refugio,” white marble. 45.27 x 102.36 x 31.49 inches. 5,511 pounds. (Photo courtesy of Ana Maria Carrano)

“A Bridge of Light” showcases a decade of work by Deredia, who references them as “sculptural groups” because some pieces are composed of four sculptures illustrating the transmutation of matter.  The exhibition proposes an inner journey, a reflection of oneself, an intimate path, and an encounter with the cosmos, he says.

Using similar techniques as the ancient Greek and Roman sculptors – by hand and without machines – each piece takes eight months to a year to be produced. Sizes vary from 6.5- to 30- feet long and weigh between 880 and 13,000 pounds. All are made at the artist’s workshop in Italy, located near the Carrara quarries. There, 34 employees assist, and the materials are mined from four nearby foundries.

Some sculptures are made of dark, polished bronze. Their curved forms reflect the sky, the water of Biscayne Bay or the silhouette of the person who is looking at them. Their shape seems to defy gravity. Other works are white and solid, hand-carved from the marble of Carrara.

Costa Rican sculptor Jorge Jiménez Deredia (Photo courtesy of Ignacio Guevara)

The sculptures compose a symbolic “description of the transmutation of matter” to be a bridge between the artist and the viewer. “I am convinced that in life’s journey, we participate in the great cosmic process of life and the universe. We help the universe fulfill its destiny with our existence,” explains Deredia. “In my sculptures, I try to take a snapshot of that spiritual baggage, that deep, cosmic history that we all have.”

He reveals that this is the idea of  “A Bridge of Light” —”to go inside people’s spirituality and offer the opportunity to have communication on a deep level,” he says.

The exhibition’s location in the Maurice A. Ferré Park, next to the Pérez Art Museum Miami, and facing Biscayne Bay, also offers different associations of the sculptures with the city.

Jorge Jiménez Deredia, “El Alquimista,” Vratsa marble. 92.51 x 78.74 x 46.85 inches. 13,007  pounds. (Photo courtesy of Ana Maria Carrano)

Miguel Ferro, artistic director of Bayfront Park Management Trust, discusses the connection between the landscape and sculptures. “Behind them is the arena (formerly known as American Airlines Arena) and the Freedom Tower . . . the first canal entrance to the U.S. mainland and the other side is the (MacArthur) Causeway.” These are symbols of entry, connection, and settlement to the city.

Bayfront Park Management Trust is one of the presenting organizations of the exhibition along with the City of Miami and the American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora.

Ferro says it was fascinating to watch the artist as he curated the exhibition, defining where to place each sculpture in balance with the landscape’s background. “It was magical to observe how the sculptures would harmonize within the space.”

Born in Heredia, Costa Rica, on Oct. 4, 1954, Deredia moved to Italy in 1976 when he received a scholarship to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Carrara. He opened his studio there, worked as a sculptor and attended architecture classes at the University of Florence.

His work became known for his spiritual quest. In 1999, he was contacted by the Vatican in Rome, and after talking to Pope John Paul II, he produced the first monumental work by a Latin American artist to be placed in St. Peter’s Basilica, a 17.5-foot-tall statue of St. Marcellino Champagnat,  which is housed in one of the niches built by Michelangelo. However, when Deredia explains the roots of his spiritual journey, he doesn’t connect his art to Catholicism. He instead refers to his quest in a broader symbolism: “the transmutation of the matter.”

Jorge Jiménez Deredia, “Génesis del Huevo.” Photo Ana María Carrano
Bronze. 47.24 x 237 x 43.30 inches. 4,188.78 pounds  (Photo courtesy of Ana Maria Carrano)

The artist recalls how a text written by art critic Pierre Restany in 1985 was key to understanding his work more as a transformational process. The French critic described Deredia’s work as “spiritual itineraries” rather than finished sculptures. Grasping the meaning of his work through the critic’s voice marked a moment of “spiritual revelation and cosmic illumination,” Deredia says.

Only a month later, he changed his last name from Jiménez Martínez to Jiménez Deredia (as the combination of the words “de Heredia/from Heredia,” his hometown). The moment also marked the beginning of the creation of the “Génesis” series, a group of four sculptures representing the mutation of matter.

Deredia’s “spiritual itineraries” can go from abstract to figurative. The essence is the symbolism.

“I invented the theory of transmutative symbolism,” Deredia explains. “Symbols help us to understand that dark part that lives inside us. Symbols are effective in helping us understand existence because they not only show us obvious things, they also show us things that are hidden.”

WHAT: “A Bridge of Light” by Costa Rican artist Jorge Jiménez Deredia

WHERE: Maurice A. Ferré Park, 1075 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132

WHEN: Through March 31, 2023.

COST: Free

INFORMATION:  305-358-7550 or bayfrontparkmiami.com

ArtburstMiami.com is a nonprofit source of dance, visual arts, music and performing arts news. Sign up for our newsletter and never miss a story.

latest posts

Photographer Tony Chirinos contemplates life and death ...

Written By Douglas Markowitz,

Tony Chirinos's work as a medical photographer for Miami-area hospitals led to his pondering in his pictures of the frailty of life and the finality of death.

Big Things Happening Inside Small Space at South Miami&...

Written By Michelle F. Solomon,

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Written By Jonel Juste,

"The Gaze Africana," by AfriKin Art, is celebrating contemporary fine art in honor of Black History Month 2023 in a free exhibition in North Miami.

Germane Barnes explores Black identity in ‘Unsettled’ at Nina Johnson gallery

Written By Jonel Juste
October 15, 2022 at 12:22 PM

Germane Barnes, “That’s Not The Right Size,” 2022, is included in the exhibition “Unsettled” at Nina Johnson gallery, Little Haiti, through Nov. 19. (Photo courtesy Greg Carideo)

As a Black man, architect Germane Barnes values African migration because it is the essence of his ancestors, he says. In an exhibition of his work, “Germane Barnes: Unsettled” at Nina Johnson gallery, he explores both memory and identity related to these values.

“Their migration was forced through enslavement while mine is free and a direct result of their sacrifices,” says Barnes. He speaks of “processes and culture” and of working in a field that “often ignores the African continent in favor of Eurocentric design ideologies . . .”

The specific body of work is a result of the artist’s recent time in Italy as a fellow of the American Academy in Rome, where he researched and explored North African influences of Classical Architecture and Design.

The artwork is “Unsettled” due to the fact that Barnes is an ever-evolving designer that continues to explore and learn more about his own ancestry. “It’s also representative of how Black people across the globe are often not allowed to settle anywhere outside of the African continent. Anger, resentment, and xenophobia are especially audible towards Blackness everywhere,” he says.

Germane Barnes, architect and designer, whose exhibition at Nina Johnson gallery explores the connection between race and structures. (Photo courtesy of Greg Carideo)

He’s also exploring the influence of built environments on Black domesticity. His practice is heavily influenced by his own history and global history, and he believes architecture can be used to tell stories that are otherwise left behind.

In addition to exploring migration from an African perspective, Barnes’ exhibition also relates his personal journey from Chicago to Cape Town, then Los Angeles to Miami.

“I am a Chicago-born designer whose parents, grandparents, great grandparents, great-great grandparents, are descendants of enslavement. And through their bravery and triumphs, I have been given tremendous privilege. They found their way to Chicago through the Great Migration, and I use architecture to tell their brilliant stories of perseverance,” explains Barnes, who is an assistant professor and the Director of The Community Housing & Identity Lab (CHIL) at the University of Miami School of Architecture.

In 2021, he received the Rome Prize for Architecture in 2021 from the American Academy in Rome, which is given to support innovative and cross-disciplinary work. And he was recently awarded the 2022 Miami Design District Annual Neighborhood Commission for his multi-scale installation “Rock | Roll,” which will be installed in November.  The series of seating capsules, which are meant to be activated by passersby in the public spaces of the Miami Design District, is rendered in vibrant colors. An architectural-style dome is suspended overhead as part of the installation.

Architecture is the artist’s way of expressing himself, of telling stories through tectonics or rituals of space. His mission is to make architecture a griot, an orator of stories. Barnes as an architect also investigates the relationship between identity and architecture in his research and design practice.

Germane Barnes, Miami, 2022, Aubusson tapestry in New Zealand wool, 48 x 48.5 in. (Photo courtesy of Greg Carideo)

“I loosely associate my work and process with anthropology in that I am more interested in the ways we use space and manipulate the intentions of the architect than the physical space of architecture. I find a greater connection between the user and their culture in that process. I attempt to design in such a way that blends culture and history,” he says.

The work in “Unsettled” includes two tapestries, furniture that uses materials that reference migration, and five two-dimensional works. The purpose of the project was to reintroduce the art of hand-woven tapestries in contemporary design by using rigorous traditional techniques and premium materials with stellar workmanship. The featured tapestries are literal maps that highlight redlining and segregation.

Throughout “Unsettled,” Barnes examines Black migration within and outside of the continental United States while blurring the lines between design and architecture.

“We have long championed the overlap and intersection of art and design, finding Germane who is a pioneer in this space, particularly as it relates to histories of the African Diaspora within the United States,” says Johnson whose gallery in Little Haiti is presenting the exhibition.

“Knowing he was living in Miami, made me certain we would have much to work on together. Since then, the world has taken notice with so many accolades. I am thrilled we have the excuse to share his work with his hometown,” says Johnson.

WHAT: Germane Barnes: “Unsettled”

WHERE: Nina Johnson, 6315 NW 2nd Ave., Miami

WHEN: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, through Nov. 19, 2022

COST: Free

INFORMATION: 305-571- 2288 or ninajohnson.com

ArtburstMiami.com is a nonprofit source of dance, visual arts, music and performing arts news. Sign up for our newsletter and never miss a story.

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At Spinello Projects, Antonia Wright pushes back on abortion ban

Written By Elisa Turner
October 9, 2022 at 11:10 AM

Antonia Wright, video still for “And So With Ends Comes Beginnings,” 2019-2020,
single channel video. Filmed when Wright was 9 months pregnant, it is part of “I Came to See the Damage That Was Done and the Treasures That Prevail” at Spinello Projects, Miami. (Photo courtesy of the artist and Spinello Projects)

In shocking irony, the death in North London of revered feminist artist Paula Rego at age 87 on June 8 coincided with intense debate over whether abortion would remain legal in the United States.  Nearly three weeks later, Supreme Court decision Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overruled historic 1973 decision Roe v. Wade conferring on women the right to an abortion.

Rego is hailed for her “Abortion Series,” a large-scale series of pastels from the late 1990s. They were conceived to protest the defeat of a 1998 referendum to decriminalize abortion in her native Portugal.  Her art was later credited with altering public opinion to allow legal abortions in Portugal in 2007.

In this influential series, a single-clothed woman in anguished pain is depicted alone, sometimes curled in a fetal position in bed or with knees drawn up next to a bowl. She’s a grim survivor of an illegal abortion. “I didn’t want to show blood, gore or anything to sicken, because people don’t want to look at it then,” Rego said at the time. “And what you want to do is make people look.”

Antonia Wright, “Women in Labor (Graphic Score),” 2022, unique cyanotype photograms on watercolor paper. Photograms inspired by Wright’s sound art installation of the same title. (Photo courtesy of Spinello Projects)

Miami artist Antonia Wright is among a growing number of women artists who share Rego’s outrage over anti-abortion forces and who create art in protest. “With the reversing of Roe, I feel anxiety for younger women and the fear they must have around unexpected pregnancy,” Wright says.

She’s also a board member of Planned Parenthood and mother of two young children. Her arresting art is now on view at Spinello Projects.  It addresses women’s challenged right to control their reproductive health. The work is both fierce and delicate, resonant with terrible beauty.

At Spinello, Wright’s “I Came to See the Damage That Was Done and the Treasures That Prevail” brings together photograms, glass sculptural objects, video, and a tough-to-forget sound art installation, “Women in Labor.”

While Rego said she wanted to make people look, Wright wants to make people listen.  There’s absolutely nothing to see in Wright’s “Women in Labor.” What you do see unfolds only in your imagination. Wright gives us no visual cues, only absolute darkness, surely recalling life inside the womb.

To experience “Women in Labor,” you walk into the darkness of a single gallery. A cacophony of screams soon surrounds you. You’ll hear a shrill bleat. It sounds like an animal brought to slaughter. Then ragged, wordless shouts multiply. They rise into a horrific crescendo. They suggest the ear-splitting chaos of a mass shooting.

Abruptly, moans soften into frail sweetness. There’s low, rhythmic breathing, an almost ecstatic, even orgiastic sigh. It dissolves into seconds of silence, of peace. And then a strident wail tears into more tumult, a butchered world of pain where peace is a shredded memory.

Antonia Wright, “My Daughter’s First Hammer,” 2022, lead crystal glass. A fierce and delicate sculptural object protests abortion bans. (Photo courtesy of Spinello Projects)

Wright calls “Women in Labor” a “data sonification artwork” for our post-Roe era. It’s produced by an algorithm she developed with data reflecting miles women must travel in 11 states with abortion bans  in order to receive an abortion. That mileage data has been randomly combined with soft and more intense sounds of 11 women in labor.

Because this installation is operated by a self-generative program, the sequence of sounds constantly changes. “You’ll never hear the same sound combination twice,” she says.

Those more intense and tormented sounds signify how women’s reproductive rights are being violated by anti-abortion legislation, requiring the labor of traveling long distances to receive this procedure. Economic pain is also part of the labor, Wright explains, as such travel often means women must do extra work to pay for a hotel and, if they are mothers, childcare.

“All of that labor is time and money,” she says.

How did Wright get these indelible sounds of women giving birth? Partnering with a lawyer to create a contract, Wright explains that she asked her own midwife to sign a contract stating that Wright owned the sounds the midwife recorded from her patients. While the actual women whose sounds we hear signed a contract agreeing to participate anonymously in this artwork, Wright reveals that the audio includes sounds recorded from her own labor.

The artist says she offered to pay the midwife for her work recording these sounds, but the midwife declined. Wright adds that she hired a woman-owned business to distribute gift baskets with post-pregnancy presents to the women who participated.

“I know it seems contradictory to think about women having babies in the context of abortion rights,” says Wright. “But for me, it’s part of the same conversation about reproductive justice and letting women make decisions over their own health care.”

Prolific and innovative, Wright excels at mining visual and verbal metaphors. It’s no surprise that her website lists an MFA in Creative Writing and Poetry from New York’s New School, as well as exhibits in New York, Los Angeles, Vienna, Buenos Aires, as well as Miami.

Antonia Wright, “But the Sky Was Never Quite the Same Shade of Blue Again” 1&2, 2022, unique cyanotype photograms on watercolor paper. Photograms address breaking the glass ceiling for working women. (Photo courtesy of Spinello Projects)

Performance has long been part of her practice. At Spinello, the video “And So With Ends Comes Beginnings” was shot when Wright was nine months pregnant. Filling the screen is her belly protruding from a bath of non-toxic silver paint. As she breathes, her voluptuously rounded belly rises and falls against a swirling waterscape soon overlaid with scenes of cranes and housing from Miami’s nonstop construction. Eventually, her belly recalls a deserted island engulfed by water. Unnerving and mesmerizing, this video depicts the resilient treasure of a new life entering a world awash in challenges wrought by rising seas.

While Miami’s famously blue waters are absent from that video, they are indirectly present in her intensely blue cyanotype photograms, created when paper is treated with photosensitive chemicals and exposed to sunlight. Wright’s photograms bear white clusters of circular lines, echoing the sheet of glass she placed over each paper, then slammed with a hammer before exposing it to sunlight.

Evoking assaults on glass ceilings for working women, these photograms deftly layer beauty with violence. Wright affirms a shocking post-Roe world of pain we can’t ignore.

WHAT: Antonia Wright: “I Came to See the Damage That Was Done and the Treasures That Prevail”

WHEN: noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, by appointment only, through Oct. 29

WHERE: Spinello Projects, 290 NW 7th Ave, Miami

COST: Free

INFORMATION:  646-780-9265 or spinelloprojects.com

ArtburstMiami.com is a nonprofit source of dance, visual arts, music and performing arts news. Sign up for our newsletter and never miss a story.

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Jennifer Basile explores a disappearing everglades at LnS Gallery

Written By Douglas Markowitz
October 6, 2022 at 3:01 PM

“Lasting Impressions: A Cessation of Existence” is Jennifer Basile’s second solo exhibition at LnS Gallery featuring works created in 2021 and 2022. (Photo courtesy of LnS Gallery)

Surveying the exquisitely rendered Everglades landscapes in “Lasting Impressions: A Cessation of Existence” at LnS Gallery, viewers may notice a crucial, intentional omission in several works. The landscapes are empty of all animal life.

In some cases, the pastoral scenes in Jennifer Basile’s prints and mixed media works simply depict the beautifully desolate landscapes found amid South Florida’s famed “river of grass.” There could be fauna hiding in the reeds, or beneath the water. But Basile, an environmentalist, wants to make us consider that, because of human action, the landscape is being emptied.

Jennifer Basile, “Cypress Dome,” 2022, is the largest work in the exhibition covering an entire wall of the gallery. (Photo courtesy of Douglas Markowitz)

“Cypress Dome,” the largest of her prints covering an entire wall of the gallery, exemplifies this idea. On the wall to the left of the black-and-white print showing the titular tree-covered island in the swamp, a silhouette of a bird can be seen, appearing as if it were cut out of the landscape. It flies above a pattern of stenciled houses, painted so lightly they’re barely visible, that represents the cookie-cutter single-family housing tracts that are slowly swallowing the ecosystem.

The artist expresses worry over the degree to which development is encroaching on the park’s borders. Her fears aren’t unfounded: On Sept. 22, Miami-Dade County Commission vote to extend the urban development boundary failed by just one vote.

“It’s sneaking up on us,” says Basile.

“Lasting Impressions: A Cessation of Existence,” at LnS Gallery through Nov. 19, is a solo exhibition of prints and mixed media works by Jennifer Basile. (Photo courtesy of LnS Gallery)

Her work reflects a profound anxiety over the effects of human action on the earth’s remaining natural landscapes. She keeps a “bucket list” of other national parks to visit in order to see them before they’re destroyed by climate change.

“‘We need to get to Glacier National Park, it’s the last glacier, it’s melting!’” she jokes, imitating a conversation she had with her partner. “These are the things that keep me up at night,” says Basile.

Having lived in South Florida since the early 1990s, Basile, who is also a professor at Miami-Dade College, frequently visits Everglades National Park to hike and bird watch. She wants her work to inspire a similar passion for the Everglades, letting the natural beauty depicted in her prints to speak for itself — viewing “quiet advocacy” as an alternative to the traditional tropes of environmental activism.

“I’m trying to advocate for the environment, but I’m not trying to show you all the obvious things, like the plastic bags and the thrown-out garbage,” she says. “I think we’re actually becoming, sadly, conditioned to seeing that.”

Basile’s work and its perspective is right at home at LnS Gallery. The art space in Coral Gables founded by married gallerists Luisa Lignarolo and Sergio Cernuda has championed South Florida artists since opening in 2017, holding shows for Miami-based artists such as Michael Loveland, William Osorio and the late Carlos Alfonzo.

“Our mission was to assist and represent Miami-based artists in a very professional realm, where we’re introducing a more international thought process,” says Cernuda. “We work a lot with museum curators, art historians, we love publishing, we’ve done 25 publications in five years.”

Jennifer Basile, “Echo,” 2022. (Photo courtesy of Douglas Markowitz)

Basile was one of the first artists to join the gallery upon its launch in 2017, and her first solo show for the gallery, which presented a similar series of prints, was titled “The Power of Print: Iconic Images of the American Landscape.” Her familiarity with natural landscapes can be seen in the details of her work, as can her expertise with her chosen medium of printing.

In a series of small-scale works, for instance, she recycles the glassine, a layer of paper used during the printing process to prevent ink bleeding, creating colorful, almost psychedelic landscapes for her birds to explore in a process that marries sustainable practice with creative adaptability.

“The endless possibilities of printmaking is what motivates me,” she admits. “I’ve layered my paint, I’ve used different processes of painting, but there’s something in my brain about hard work, this idea of manual labor,” alluding to the physically demanding process of carving the wooden blocks used to make prints.

Basile began printmaking while studying art at the University of Miami. Having also grown bored with the ceramics she was studying at the time, a professor who visited her studio told her she “painted like a printmaker” and encouraged her to take a class in the subject. After making her first print she took up the discipline and never looked back.

“Just pulling the paper off the block, it’s really thrilling for me,” she says.

The solo exhibition features prints and mixed media works by Jennifer Basile at LnS Gallery. (Photo courtesy of LnS Gallery)

Basile’s work also owes much to the woodblock printmaking tradition of Japan, which influenced western artists such as Van Gogh. Works like “Long Pine Key,” with its saturated color palettes and slight three-dimensional effect, recall the early-20th century Japanese artist Hasui Kawase. The black and white prints such as “Cypress Dome,” which was drafted initially with a ballpoint pen before being re-drafted with an acrylic marker for a unique hand-drawn effect, resembles the thick black ink marks of traditional shodō calligraphy.

The artist admits to being enamored with Japan. Many of the works in “Lasting Impressions” are printed on washi, or traditional Japanese paper, and the artist also constructs the larger wall-size prints in grids resembling shoji screens. Yet as technically and stylistically as they are indebted to the Asian nation, they are works only a Floridian could produce, concerned with a place and plight only a Floridian would appreciate so deeply.

WHAT: Jennifer Basile: “Lasting Impressions: A Cessation of Existence”

WHEN: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Friday; noon to 5 p.m. Saturday through Nov. 19

WHERE: LnS Gallery, 2610 SW 28th Lane, Miami.

COST: Free

INFORMATION: 305-987-5642 or lnsgallery.com

ArtburstMiami.com is a nonprofit source of dance, visual arts, music and performing arts news. Sign up for our newsletter and never miss a story.

 

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Photographer Tony Chirinos contemplates life and death ...

Written By Douglas Markowitz,

Tony Chirinos's work as a medical photographer for Miami-area hospitals led to his pondering in his pictures of the frailty of life and the finality of death.

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Written By Michelle F. Solomon,

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Written By Jonel Juste,

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