Visual Art

Nomadic homework gallery launches 2 summer shows in 2 locations

Written By Douglas Markowitz
July 5, 2023 at 7:49 PM

Gallerists Aurelio Aguilo and Mayra Mejia, co-founders of homework, have one show at the former Miami Club Rum distillery in Little River and another coming up at the Sagamore. (Photo courtesy of Gabriel Duque).

Pipes coming out of walls, derelict machinery yet to be carted away – contemporary art gallery homework’s newest temporary home is a far cry from the pristine walls of a museum. Located just one door down from art bookstore Dale Zine, until recently it was the Miami Club Rum distillery in Little River, yet another one of those Miami businesses that pops up out of nowhere with a fancy showroom and disappears just as quickly as it came.

Yet Aurelio Aguilo, the homework gallery’s co-founder along with his partner Mayra Mejia, isn’t fazed by the abandonment. “It’s curatorially interesting,” he says.

“Lenguaje,” a mixed-media work by Joaquin Stacey-Calle, created from pool screens. The artist is one of eight featured in homework’s “Summer School” group show. (Photo courtesy of homework)

The duo is used to bucking tradition when it comes to showing art. Since holding their first show in 2021, they’ve jumped around various locations in keeping with their ethos as a “nomadic” art gallery, attempting to break free from the commercial fairs and white-walled asceticism of the establishment. They’ve activated in New York at the Ace Hotel and are currently planning a project in Los Angeles to coincide with Frieze Week in February. But most of their shows have been in Miami, where they currently live, and the majority were held at The Knoxon, a gutted former motel on Biscayne Boulevard. It’s an innovative approach, but one that certainly has its pros and cons.

“It helps us a lot, because we don’t have that constant overhead of having a permanent space. But if we find a space that is worth it for us business-wise, and we can do these nomadic options more frequently, and actually control what we have permanently, for a year, I think it would be a good evolution for the gallery,” says Aguilo.

After the owners of the motel finally leased the space to a full-time tenant, homework struggled to find a new spot. They came up against Miami’s difficult commercial real estate market, where landlords in Little Haiti and Wynwood were unwilling to rent to a temporary tenant or were charging unreasonable rates. But through a twist of fate, they ended up not just with one exhibition space, but two.

Heading into July, homework will present a smorgasbord of summer offerings in two locations across the city. Starting on Friday, July 7 at the Little River space, a group show titled “Summer School” will show eight local artists throughout the cavernous distillery’s four rooms. The show will close on Saturday, July 22, and the gallery will move to the Sagamore Hotel on Miami Beach for “Retreat Volume 1,” a solo show for Miami-based Argentinian pop artist Falopapas running from Saturday, July 29 to Wednesday, Aug. 12.

A homework presentation at Ace Hotel in New York City. Though they’ve become fixtures of Miami’s art scene, the gallery doesn’t see itself as tied to any specific city. (Photo courtesy of Jodie Love)

Like their last summer show “Salad Days,” which presented art based around themes of youth and innocence, “Summer School” also carries with it a concept. With summer marking the low season in Miami’s tourism industry, Aguilo says, the show marks a chance to explore what rest, renewal and reflection can do for us in a world defined by the “constant grind” of work.

“Summer, for me, is always like a time where the year cuts in half, there’s a break, there’s a reflection, and then you come back with some new energy to finish off the year. But it’s also, I think, for artists it’s very important to  . .  . filter and limit the stuff that they’re always showing out there, and to take the time to reflect on the work that they’re actually doing, not just doing work to do work.”

Aguilo’s experimental attitude also extends to the artists in the show. During my visit Richard Verguez, who showed constructivist-inspired collages of trains and rail infrastructure with homework during Miami Art Week in December, stopped by to see the space and plan out an installation. Other featured artists include Matt Forehand, known for sumptuous figurative and landscape paintings; Joaquin Stacey-Calle, who incorporates patio screens into his mixed-media canvases; and photographer Roscoè B. Thické III.

Then there’s the stuff beyond the art. One signature of homework’s summer shows that has made them a fixture of Miami’s alternative art scene during the low season is supplementary programming. The gallery is making sure there’s plenty to do at both sites besides look at artworks, with opening and closing parties and more, and also aim to provide a space for artists and creatives to hang out.

At “Summer School,” homework will host a Relaxation Tea Ceremony (4 p.m. Saturday, July 8), a wine tasting hosted by Boia De sommelier Gabriela Victoria Ospina (5 p.m. Sunday, July 16), a panel discussion on fine art, branding, and commissions featuring artist and designer Brian Butler (6 p.m. Friday, July 14), a pair of film screenings, and more. They’ll round out programming at the space by hosting the monthly vintage market Walter’s Mercado, which has been in residence at the building.

An untitled painting by artist Andrew Arocho, who features in homework Gallery’s “Summer School” group show. (Photo courtesy of homework))

Programming at the Sagamore is a bit more sporadic. An opening pool party (beginning at noon Saturday, July 29) will feature sounds by vintage Latin music crew Rum & Coke, during which Falopapas will execute a mural painting. There will also be a “Meet The Artist” session (6 p.m. Thursday, August 3, RSVP required) sponsored by the Consulate General of Argentina.

Beyond the summer, when Miami’s scene kicks into high gear, homework is pondering their options. Weary of constantly searching for spaces in the city, they’ve considered applying for one of the Miami Art Week fairs such as NADA or Untitled. They’ve even thought of ditching the traveling aspect and finding a permanent space – the Sagamore has expressed interest in an extended partnership. Or, they may leave Miami altogether.

“We don’t want to drown because we weren’t able to adapt or evolve, and that evolution can even mean leaving the city,” says Aguilo. “We’re nomadic in nature.”

WHAT: homework Presents Summer School; homework Presents Retreat Part I

WHEN: Summer School runs through Friday, July 7 through Saturday, July 22; Retreat Part I runs Saturday, July 29 through Wednesday, Aug. 12

 WHERE: Summer School at 7401 NW Miami Place, Miami; Retreat Part I at Sagamore Hotel, 1671 Collins Ave, Miami Beach,

 COST:  Entry and programming are free; some events encourage RSVP but is not required.

 INFORMATION: For schedules, RSVP links, and other information, visit homework.gallery or instagram.com/homework.gallery.

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