Archives: Visual Arts

Latinx writers unite for ‘Home in Florida’ anthology

Written By Michelle F. Solomon
November 17, 2021 at 7:29 PM

Miami author Anjanette Delgado is editor of the anthology, “Home In Florida,” which includes the works of Latinx writers who have called Florida home. (Photo courtesy of Javier Romero)

“Immigration is a political word or a legal word,” Miami-based author Anjanette Delgado says. “But uprootedness? That is a social word. That is a human word. That is a word that describes what happens to us when we pick up and start over.”

And that word, Delgado continues, is the thread that ties together the anthology book, “Home in Florida: Latinx Writers and the Literature of Uprootedness” (University Press of Florida, 2021).

As the book’s editor, Delgado gathered 33 writers of fiction, nonfiction and poetry, all Latinx and all having the Sunshine State in common. They’re first-, second- and third-generation immigrants from countries such as Cuba, Mexico, Honduras, Peru, Argentina and Chile — reflecting the diversity of Latinx experiences across Florida.

On Nov. 20, Delgado was joined by some of the contributors, including Richard Blanco, Ariel Francisco, Ana Menéndez, Caridad Moro-Gronlier, Frances Negrón-Muntaner, Achy Obejas and Isvett Verde, at the Miami Book Fair for “In Conversation: On Home in Florida.”

Delgado planned to discuss, among other topics, the gender-neutral, panethnic label, “Latinx” — a word she addresses in the book’s introduction, saying it “defines the collective immigrant experience of people who share a past.”

“It is a term some people say shouldn’t even exist,” she says during an interview. “But, to me, Latinx means that there are these people from all kinds of different countries with a similar background, and, in our case, what unites our countries is colonization.”

Colombian-American author Patrica Engel’s essay, “La Ciudad Mágica,” is included in the anthology, “Home in Florida.” (Photo courtesy of Elliot and Erick Jimenez)

Most of the book’s contributors shared stories about life in South Florida, she says, though there are also some from Tampa, Tallahassee and Orlando. “One wrote about Key West,” Delgado says.

They each bring with them perspectives about what it’s like to “uproot from somewhere else, to come here and make it home.” And even those who didn’t uproot themselves may still carry with them the history of their ancestors, she says.

In her short story, entitled “La Ciudad Mágica,” author Patricia Engel writes: “Your Miami begins in New York, where you moved to at eighteen … [and] tried on different lives for over a decade before deciding to leave …

“Your Miami begins in the Andean highlands … before Colombia was Colombia …,” continues Engel, an associate professor of creative writing at the University of Miami, who was born to Colombian parents. “Your Miami begins in Puerto Rico, where your older brother was born, and before that, it begins in the other America.”

New writer Nilsa Ada Rivera contributes “I write to Mami about Florida,” which consists of a series of letters beginning in 1990. They convey emotions about what it’s like to feel displaced in Miami. Each has a signoff at the end: Your homeless daughter. Your birthday girl. Your lost girl. Your caged girl. Your trailer park chick. Your diluted Puerto Rican. Your Florida resident.

“Her story is amazing. If you don’t cry after you read this essay, and if it doesn’t give you the flavor of all of Florida, I don’t know what will,” Delgado says.

Richard Blanco, selected as President Barack Obama’s inaugural poet in 2013, is also scheduled to appear with Anjanette Delgado at the Miami Book Fair’s “In Conversation.” (Photo courtesy of Alissa Morris)

For Delgado, the theme of uprootedness was inspired by a 1983 interview with Cuban novelist Reinaldo Arenas, published in The New Yorker in December 2013. Arenas tells the interviewer: “I want to create a new body of work now, a literature of uprootedness about someone who’s living in an environment that’s not his own.”

Delgado is ecstatic about the meaning that word has brought to the book.

“That word has everything, right? It envelops the heartbreak of leaving, the uncertainty of arriving. It tells a story of the tension. There is always tension when you get to a new place,” she says.

“I feel like uprootedness talks about the nostalgia of leaving one place. It’s a word that describes what happens to us when we pick up and start over. And that’s what the book is really about.”

Arenas, who spent years in a Cuban prison under Fidel Castro, died by suicide at age 47 in his N.Y. apartment in 1990. His work, “The Glass Tower,” is featured in the anthology.

“It’s a piece that has never before been anthologized after he published it,” Delgado says.

In creating the anthology, starting in April 2020, Delgado sought to put together what she called her “dream collection,” reaching out to writers she wasn’t even sure would be interested.

(Video courtesy of Florida International University’s Inspicio Arts e-magazine. Here, he discusses how his writing typically addresses the immigrant search for a mythic America. Find more videos for Richard Blanco by clicking here.)

“I’m not going to worry whether I know them or not, [or] if this person is too famous, or if they are going to say no,” she says. “I’m going to invite everyone.”

Delgado says she was able to include nine authors “who you probably would never read because they usually write in Spanish.”

She credits Stephanye Hunter, acquisitions editor at the University Press of Florida, as instrumental in getting those works translated, explaining to the powers-that-be at University Press that the book would not be complete without all voices to encompass an entire spectrum of experiences — “people for whom it was recent and painful and those who had processed it and come out the other side.

“Star writers are mixed in with people who are just emerging,” she says. “There is just a lot of talent in this book.”

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

 

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Bakehouse Art Complex marks 35 years with big plans for the future

Written By Michelle F. Solomon
November 11, 2021 at 6:08 PM

The founding artists are pictured in front of the Art Deco-era bakery building in Miami that they named The Bakehouse. (Photo courtesy of Bakehouse Art Complex)

When Chire Regans was creating a mural to cover 245 feet of the outside wall of Miami’s Bakehouse Art Complex in July 2020, something interesting happened.

Her public art memorial project, “Say Their Names,” on the west-facing wall along Northwest Sixth Avenue attracted the attention of passersby who watched as she painted the names of people lost to hate crimes and gun, police, gender and domestic violence.

Then they would comment, said Laura Novoa, curatorial and public programs associate.

“They’d say, ‘Where’s the name of my uncle, my brother, my cousin?’ ” Novoa remembers.

It became a community effort, she said, with people helping Regans (also known as VantaBlack) add names. “Say Their Names” took six months to complete and was unveiled on Dec. 5, 2020.

The story is illustrative of the direction in which the nonprofit artist studio and residency complex is headed as it marks 35 years in what’s become known as Wynwood Norte, a 35-block area that runs from Northwest 29th to 36th streets and Interstate-95 to North Miami Avenue.

“Say Their Names,” a public art project by Chire Regans, is on the west-facing wall of Bakehouse Art Complex. (Photo courtesy of Greg Clark)

Cathy Leff, director of the Bakehouse Art Complex, said Regans’ mural and a second one, entitled “Ode to Bakehouse” by poet Arsimmer McCoy and visual artist Chris Friday, use art in outdoor spaces as a way to invite the neighborhood in, so to speak.

“Ode,” situated on the building’s north-facing wall along Northwest 33rd Street, is expected to be unveiled Friday, Nov. 12, as part of the complex’s 35th anniversary festivities.

“This is an effort that we’ve been very dedicated to that, both literally and metaphorically, breaks down barriers between us and the neighborhood,” Novoa said.

The Bakehouse campus encompasses 2.3 acres that wrap around Northwest 32nd Street. The primary building, which houses artists’ studios, galleries, a print shop, ceramics, woodworking and welding facilities was once home to an industrial Art Deco-era bakery built in 1926.

Leff said its founders, who got together a contingent of other artists, had the foresight to realize that the only way to have permanence was to own their own site.

“Thirty-five years ago, a group of artists recognized when they were evicted from a rental space that they had gotten kicked out once, and it wasn’t going to happen again,” Leff said.

A warranty deed shows a $10 transaction in 1985 between The Bakehouse Art Complex Inc., and the Miami Baking Co. According to a 1998 New York Times story, the appraisal of the land was $900,000.

The Bakehouse group then reportedly received grant money of $225,000 from the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County to ensure the building could be retrofitted and renovated to create a working space for artists.

Now, Leff said, the time has come for Bakehouse to move into its next chapter, which includes growth not only for the organization itself, but for the neighborhood that surrounds it.

Artist Mateo Nava in his studio at Bakehouse Art Complex. Nava’s work is included in the Bakehouse group exhibition “Viewpoints: Expressions of an artist community” opening Saturday, Nov. 13. (Photo courtesy of Carmelo Castro-Netsky)

A sold-out fundraiser on Friday, Nov. 12, with tickets at $500 per person, kicks into gear a full-steam-ahead approach to a strategic plan adopted by the board on Jan. 28, 2019. And a recent green light for rezoning has Leff and the board chomping at the bit to get moving.

“We realized that we had an underutilized piece of real estate and, if we could change its use, that potentially we could add housing for artists,” Leff said. “I started talking to the city to see if there was an appetite and if this was something that was viable.”

In March 2021, Miami commissioners approved the Wynwood Norte Neighborhood Revitalization District. As part of the overarching plan for the area, Bakehouse’s application for rezoning and land-use conversion was also approved.

Most importantly, Leff said, this will further the vision of Bakehouse administrators and its board to build “a significant amount of attainable housing” on the complex for its artists as part of a five-year plan.

“The rezoning of the property and the change in land-use gave us a lifeline,” Leff said.

The plan includes renovating the nearly 100-year-old building as a 21st century art-making facility,” Leff said.

On Nov. 2, Bakehouse received $200,000 from the Jorge Perez Family Foundation’s CreArte program. The money is, in part, to bolster master planning efforts for the historic building renovation, expand the complex facilities and ensure its long-term sustainability.

“We were recipients in their first round of funding—two years ago– receiving $100,000 over the two years. Now, we just were awarded another two- year grant for $200,000 ($100,000 per year) to continue to provide affordable spaces for artists to work, as well as advance the plans for our future campus,” Leff said. “This is a very significant gift for us . . .  We are overjoyed by the support and affirmation that we are on the right path and filling an important gap in the ecosystem.”

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation also assisted with the development of the five-year “Vision of the Future” strategic plan, according to Leff, providing a $150,000 grant that brought in curators to work with artists in creating a site-specific project to help Bakehouse become a more integrated part of the neighborhood.

At its 35th anniversary celebration on Nov. 12, as part of its fundraising and revitalization efforts, Bakehouse will unveil the new Fresh Goods Gallery. Within it, the exhibition, “Fresh Goods for Sale,” is scheduled to open to the public at noon Saturday, Nov. 13. Leff said “Fresh Goods for Sale” will be a pop-up of sorts now and again inside the Bakehouse, but items will be available for purchase continually online.

Michael Putnam’s “Oakland” (1964) is one of 55 vintage and contemporary photographs donated to Bakehouse for sale in its “Fresh Goods Gallery.” (Photo courtesy of Bakehouse Art Complex)

It’s an extension of a virtual gallery created during the COVID-19 pandemic, to sell donated works by Bakehouse artists and help sustain the complex and its studios. The in-person Fresh Goods space will also feature vintage and contemporary photographs from Miami-based art collector Martin Z. Margulies. Margulies donated 55 photographs from his collection for the organization to sell and keep the proceeds.

Also on Nov. 13, Bakehouse will present a group exhibition of 25 of its artists. “Viewpoints: Expressions of an artist community” is co-curated by Novoa and visual artist and Bakehouse board member Edouard Duval-Carrié.

Both “Fresh Goods for Sale” and “Viewpoints” will be on display through March 2022.

At any given time, Bakehouse has about 100 artists working in-house: 70 artists have studio space; some are in shared spaces. Rents vary from low-cost to wholly subsidized.

Another 30 artists have associate member status. “They are able to use our facilities 24 hours, they just don’t have a dedicated space,” Leff said.

Miami artist Rhea Leonard, who arrived at Bakehouse after graduating from Florida International University, said her subsidized studio was bestowed to her in the fall of 2018.

“I count my blessings,” she said. “If I didn’t have the studio, I wouldn’t have been in the orbit of the people who have really helped me progress as far as I have since graduate school.”

Leonard hopes to one day live and work at Bakehouse. She currently lives about an hour away and remembers having experiences in artist residencies where she was able to be in the same space as her work: “Being able to wake up and not have to go too far, or you get an idea and think you want to go right to the studio and work on it . . . that would be a gift.”

 

WHAT/WHEN:

“Fresh Goods For Sale,” Fresh Goods Gallery, from Nov. 13, 2021, to March 13, 2022

“Viewpoints: Expressions of an artist community,” Audrey Love Gallery, from Nov. 13, 2021, to March 27, 2022

HOURS: Studios open to the public daily from noon to 5 p.m.

WHERE:  Bakehouse Art Complex, 561 NW 32nd St., Miami

COST: Free

SAFETY PROTOCOLS: Masks are required at all times, both indoors and outdoors at the Bakehouse Art Complex. One-way traffic flow in indoor galleries in place to ensure social distancing.

INFORMATION: 305-576-2828; bacfl.org

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

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3 MOAD exhibitions span different times in artists’ careers

Written By Michelle F. Solomon
November 2, 2021 at 8:33 PM

Hreinn Fridfinnsson’s “A leaf that fell to the ground and was picked up sometime in the early80s” (2015), features polished stainless steel, an autumn leaf and wood. (Photo courtesy of the artist)

In November 2020, the Museum of Art and Design (MOAD) at Miami Dade College opened the issues-heavy “The Body Electric,” a show that focused on technology’s impact on human interaction.

Rina Carvajal, the museum’s executive director and chief curator, considered it a good fit for the pandemic mood of disconnectedness.

A year later, the museum will unveil “For the Time Being,” a collection of works by Icelandic artist Hreinn Fridfinnsson — which, Carvajal says, brings an entirely different atmosphere to the space.

“I feel like this work returns the power to people, to imagination and how we view the world around us — our connection to nature and our connection to self and time,” says Carvajal, who curated the exhibition, with Isabela Villanueva as consulting assistant curator.

Two other solo shows will accompany “For the Time Being” at MOAD: “Mongrel” by Cuban-American artist Jorge Pardo and “Constructed Color” by Venezuelan-American artist Loriel Beltrán. The shows, curated by Carvajal, will be on display from Nov. 6, 2021, through May 1, 2022.

Hreinn Fridfinnson’s “For the Time Being” at the Museum of Art and Design (MOAD) at MDC represents the first American museum exhibition for the Icelandic artist.
(Photo courtesy of i8 Gallery, Reykjavik, Iceland)

“Each of these artists are in a different moment in their careers,” Carvajal says.

She describes Fridfinnsson as a “sophisticated conceptual artist, but also a poet.” Now 78 years old and living in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Fridfinnsson grew up on a farm in Baer Dölum, Iceland.

His art is one of simplicity, propelled by an attraction to the fables and legends of his birthplace. “He is influenced by his own background, having been born in a country that is so vast and immersed in nature that has no limit,” she says.

Carvajal thinks the work exhibited in Miami will strike a chord.

“How do we connect with nature here? Many of us move here trying to find that connection,” she says. “A show like this can bring about questions of the way you look at things and the impact that has in your life.”

“For the Time Being” spans six decades and features at least 50 pieces from throughout the world: “Some are from Iceland’s museums and private collections. We are bringing works from Europe — from Berlin, from Spain — and we have borrowed works from collectors in the United States.”

This will mark the first American museum exhibition for the artist, according to MOAD.

The immersive exhibition by Cuban-American artist Jorge Pardo entitled “Mongrel” will also be featured at the Museum of Art and Design (MOAD) at MDC beginning Nov. 6, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Ed Talavera)

During a phone interview from Amsterdam, Fridfinnsson discusses one particular 1971 diptych that’s in the exhibition: a pair of photographs entitled, “Drawing a Tiger.” One image depicts the artist as a boy in 1952, sitting on a bale of hay and sketching a tiger. The adjacent photograph captures the artist in the same pose, but as an adult. Fridfinnsson uses this example to describe the exploration of self.

“I’m 9 years old and I am drawing this tiger and it’s a good drawing. Then, 20 years later, I’m in the Netherlands and I’m this grownup with hippie long hair,” he says. “You can see that the kid is completely motivated in the moment, but the adult … ”

Look closely at the drawing paper in front of the adult artist and notice it is blank. A 2019 article in the international magazine, Artforum, says the second photograph “reveals a hint of agnosticism.”

Carvajal explains that the beauty in the artist’s work is his poetic restraint: “He never unveils what is behind this storytelling, but leaves it open for the viewer to attach their own meaning to it.”

A rendering of Jorge Pardo’s “Mongrel” installation shows a chandelier expected to weigh 992 pounds that will be situated in MOAD’s Skylight Gallery. (Photo courtesy of Petzel Gallery)

The second exhibition, “Mongrel,” is a site-specific, immersive installation that taps into the artist’s past, including his childhood memories as a Cuban refugee. Upon arriving in Miami, Pardo was processed with his family at the historic Freedom Tower, which now houses the museum. He now divides his time between New York City and Mérida, Mexico.

“He has a strong connection to the building where we are located and to Miami,” Carvajal says. “This is a very personal project for Jorge.”

Finally, there’s Beltrán’s “Constructed Color,” which inaugurates MOAD Projects, a new series focused on Miami artists. The artist, whose studio is in East Hialeah, creates abstract paintings using a technique in which he builds rectangular molds then pours layers of paint to create solid blocks. After it sets, he slices the slabs of paint and applies them onto wooden panels and other surfaces.

“I started making the layers of paint 12 years ago or more, and then, the process is complicated, so I came to a roadblock. I started exploring other things,” Beltrán says.

But he couldn’t shake the idea of slabs of paint: “I wanted to reconnect with this work. Really figure it out.”

Miami-based artist Loriel Beltrán creates abstract paintings by using a technique in which he builds cubes, then pours paint to create solid blocks. (Photo courtesy of Karli Evans)

The exhibition at MOAD, he says, is the result of what he has been “exploring for the past five or six years, so it is definitely new work.”

Though he and the other two artists all are different in their works and approach, “we all have certain sensibilities that connect us,” Beltrán says. “Hreinn’s work is poetic and subtle, and connects with the way my paintings feel, especially when you see them in person. He deals with time, too, like I do.

“Jorge Pardo has this fractal sense and his ideas of memory and place in environment. These are the things that roughly connect the three of us.”

Artist Jorge Pardo will join curator Lynne Cooke at the museum to discuss his work at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021. Art historian Juan Ledezma will speak with artist Loriel Beltrán about the exhibition during an online event at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022. Both talks are free but require registration.

WHAT: 

Hreinn Fridfinnsson: For the Time Being

Jorge Pardo: Mongrel

“Loriel Beltrán: Constructed Color”

WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021, through Sunday, May 1, 2022. Hours: 1-6 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays-Sundays, 1 to 8 p.m. Thursdays

WHERE: Museum of Art and Design at Miami Dade College, Freedom Tower, 600 Biscayne Blvd., second floor, Miami

COST: Museum admission is $12 for adults; $8 for seniors and military; $5 for students; and free for children age 12 and younger, as well as Miami Dade College students, faculty and staff. General admission is free from 4-8 p.m. Thursdays. 

SAFETY PROTOCOLS: Masks are strongly encouraged for all staff and visitors to MOAD, and social distancing is required.

INFORMATION: 305-237-7700; moadmdc.org

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

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‘Witness’ exhibit highlights contemporary African and African Diaspora artists

Written By Sergy Odiduro
November 1, 2021 at 3:19 PM

In “ReincarNATION,” Nigerian artist DaàPò Réo tackles the topics of race, immigration and nationality. (Screenshot courtesy of Angie Gonzalez)

Porcupine lives matter.

It is a bold statement, and Nigerian artist DaàPò Réo isn’t afraid to make it.

In an eye-opening video piece, entitled “ReincarNATION,” Réo offers searing commentary and often humorous observations on race, immigration and nationality. The symbolic use of African textiles, cowrie shells and Barbie dolls, interwoven with his thoughts on Kentucky Fried Chicken, provide a backdrop to a thought-provoking conversation that will take your breath away.

“ReincarNATION” is on display through Saturday, Nov. 6, at the Piero Atchugarry Gallery, 5520 NE Fourth Ave., Miami — part of the multidisciplinary exhibit, “Witness,” which highlights five contemporary African and African Diaspora artists. In addition to Réo, the exhibit features Ângela Ferreira, Lungiswa Gqunta, Tariku Shiferaw and Chris Soal.

The pieces in “Witness” address issues affecting the African continent, its inhabitants and the Diaspora from a postcolonial perspective.

Réo’s porcupine statement references a recent case in which two former Maine police officers were sentenced to jail for beating porcupines to death. In the work, Reo wonders aloud about justice for the marginalized in this country.

Tariku Shiferaw’s “Jamaica” (2020). (Photo courtesy of Betty McGhee)

The artist is keen on reaching out to those willing to engage with his artwork.

“My art [serves] as storytelling vessels, and everybody likes to listen to a very good story,” he says. “You have to engage with my art. If you don’t engage with my art, then it doesn’t exist.”

“ReincarNATION,” he says, is much more than meets the eye.

“It’s very ritualistic. You are engaging with my ritual, and I am desperately trying to tell you a story,” he says. “A lot of people are interested in the craftsmanship of the piece, but every textile, every line, is a paragraph, a comma and an exclamation point.

“My work is mostly about rendering the texture of an experience as closely as possible, much more so than the aesthetic aspects of the work itself,” he adds.

Réo isn’t the only one at the exhibit who taps into different materials to deliver a message. South African artist Soal uses his artwork to breathe new life into items that are often mindlessly discarded.

Chris Soal’s “As far as the eye can touch” (2020). (Photo courtesy of Matthew Bradley)

“There are a number of materials that I work with in the studio, but I think the most prominent would be bottle tops, toothpicks and then a combination of industrial materials such as concrete, rebar and whatnot,” Soal says.

His use of bottle tops began when he first noticed their sheer prevalence.

“Johannesburg itself is a city that was founded on a gold rush in the 1800s. Today, it’s known as Egoli, which is nicknamed the ‘city of gold,’ and essentially the only gold that I was seeing on the streets … was these gold-colored bottle tops that were thrown away and lying in the gutters,” Soal says. “So, this was a way for me to utilize this medium to examine the sociopolitical history of that space and the contemporary legacy of that mining history.”

With some luck and ingenuity, Soal was able to shoehorn his way into the manufacturing world of these bottle tops. A world that few people ever see.

“I managed to pull the ‘poor-struggling-student-artist-curious-about the-world card’ to get my foot in the door of this ridiculously layered, high-end security, 24/7 manufacturing plant. And I’m now friends with people in management who have just showered me with kindness,” he says.

Soal discovered, among other things, that the amount of waste materials produced is staggering. Bottle tops are routinely rejected due to exacting computer systems.

His piece entitled — “Even revolutions don’t cause change. Change causes revolutions.” —embodies his passion for upcycling.

Chris Soal’s “Even revolutions don’t cause change. Change causes revolutions.” (2021). (Photo courtesy of Matthew Bradley)

“It’s constructed from hundreds of thousands of discarded beer bottle tops, which has become a signature material within my work,” Soal says. “I think it’s quite an exciting piece, because it merges so many of the different forms and compositions that I’ve been playing with over six years.

“You have this relationship between order and chaos, these tightly wound spirals at the top of the piece that unravel and descend downwards,” he continues. “I think that the color choices are very specific. [It] incorporates royal blues and reds and greens, similar to what you’d find in portraits of Madonna and the apostles.”

The significance and use of symbolism and color is not lost on Ethiopian-born artist Shiferaw, whose pieces are part of his series titled, “Africa Paintings.” His technique of mark-making, coupled with African Diaspora flags, is a unique addition to the exhibit.

“The flags are underneath the painting, and you can barely see them. They’re painted over with white acrylic paint, and there’s some markings, some gestures, some lines, some scribbles, that allow you to see the overall image of the flag,” he says. “But when you’re too close to it, all you see is just this white paint, sometimes with some colors in it. The white covers up the entire surface to the point where you could barely tell. It’s sort of abstract.”

The pieces also harken back to colonialism.

“There’s this quality of mark-making, that is in conversation with painting and the history of the way Western abstraction is talked about, but in this particular case, these markings, the white coverup, is an act of covering up the flags of these African and Caribbean nations, simultaneously negating the forced division of the people and reimagines the new future for all black diasporas across the globe,” he says. “Africa, in the past, has historically been divided during the European nations’ scramble for territories, where they divided some of the biggest tribes into multiple nations so that the natives would not unite and become a power to take over their own land.

“It’s not until the 1950s and ’60s that we see independence from colonialism, but even then, that’s just an illusion of independence. We’re still financially dependent on the European market, and that is a form of financial colonization as well.”

Lungiswa Gqunta’s “Horse Memorial” (2017). (Photo courtesy of Betty McGhee)

The exhibit aims to provide an avenue for continuous conversation about these topics and the role that African artists play.

As a South African of European descent, Soal says his participation in the exhibit may serve to add a layer of nuance when it comes to the topic of identity and how that plays a role in artistic expression.

“I think I can add maybe another dimension to the conversation that we’re currently having. And it kind of expands with these narrow boxes that we’re trying to fit into,” Soal says. “I think that all of our identities, in many ways, are in flux to some degree. And I think that it’s very few of us that fit into any particular box, or can be restrained or constrained by one.”

Réo also hopes the exhibit will provide a way for others to reexamine commonly held perceptions.

“When someone says they are an African artist and they make African art, I tend to ask: What does that mean? It’s a label that I struggle with a lot,” he says. “Art is art, the perception of the world. We are not just talking about Africa or Africans. Where does an African artist stand in today’s context in the art world? Where do we stand? What do we represent? What does our work, our art, our music, what does it do to the society? Does it affect it? Where do we go from here?”

The Piero Atchugarry Gallery has two locations: in Miami and in Garzón, Uruguay. It opened near the Design District neighborhood in December 2018 and has since been commited to supporting and presenting the work of local and international artists with an institutional approach.

 

WHAT: “Witness” exhibit, featuring contemporary African and African Diaspora artists

WHEN: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 2-6, 2021

WHERE: Piero Atchugarry Gallery, 5520 NE Fourth Ave., Miami

COST: Free

INFORMATION: 305-639-8247; Pieroatchugarry.com

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latest posts

MOCA extends monumental ‘My Name is Maryan,’...

Written By Michelle F. Solomon,

The Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (MOCA) spent three years creating the exhibition "My Name is Maryan," which fills 12 galleries and introduces visitors to an under-recognized artist. From here, it heads to Tel Aviv.

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Coconut Grove-based Lisa Remeny colors our world

Written By Jonel Juste
October 25, 2021 at 9:25 PM

“A Glorious Summer Morning.” (Photo courtesy of Lisa Remeny)

Lisa Remeny draws her inspiration from the luxurious natural scenery of Florida.

Her artwork is an homage to nature, particularly to the tropics under which she grew. It is filled with blue skies and plants that practically define the Sunshine State.

Remeny was born and raised in Miami Beach but had a chance to live elsewhere before making her return. She attended the California College of the Arts then, after graduation, went on to live throughout the Caribbean. While sailing and making stopovers in different islands, she says she basked in the beauty of nature.

“In my 20s, I moved to the Caribbean island of Jamaica and maintained a home there for a decade. This facilitated my ability to devote my life to painting, and I continued making my living that way,” Remeny recalls.

Remeny paints and draws. Her first published works were greeting cards back in 1982.

For Remeny, art is a family affair. She started out painting with watercolor as a child, under the tutelage of her maternal grandmother, then her mother, and had a succession of art teachers throughout her school years.

“There are quite a few artists in my family including my late mother and many cousins. Among my biggest influences are my late father and my grandmother,” she says. “My grandmother, who was an artist and attended Pratt Institute [in New York] in her youth, was my first motivator.”

“Palm Fronds on the Bay.” (Photo courtesy of Lisa Remeny)

Remeny says she “draws on location, mostly blind contour-based, sometimes adding watercolor.” Her work is colorful and filled with sunlight; the lush vegetation she paints pops out of the frame.

She returned to Florida in 1991, settling in Coconut Grove, considered an art community, where she continued honing her craft.

Asked about her drawing and painting style, the artist says she identifies most with realism, both modern and classic.

“I keep up with the artists I admire, but I’m not really following a trend, per se,” she explains.

Among her influences are René Magritte, Paul Gauguin, Luis Buñuel, American Man Ray, Colin Garland, an Australian Surrealist artist, Judy Ann MacMillan and Julio Larraz.

Today, Remeny’s paintings can be found in different venues. Earlier this year, her art was on display at an exhibition about the history of Coconut Grove at the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum. She is currently exhibiting works at Florida International University’s Steven and Dorothea Green Library, along with Jamaican artist Jacqueline Gopie, who lives in Coral Gables. Titled “Color Our World,” the exhibition is on view through the end of this week.

“I am moved to re-create beautiful things; drawn to the light, to look for the magic,” Remeny says in a statement. “My intention is to promote an aura of peace, happiness and well-being.”

“Color Our World,” by Lisa Remeny and Jacqueline Gopie, is on view through Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021, at Florida International University’s Steven and Dorothea Green Library, 11200 SW Eighth St., Miami. For more information, visit specialcollections.fiu.edu/color-our-world. View her works at Specialcollections.fiu.edu/lisa-remeny and Lisaremeny.com.

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

latest posts

MOCA extends monumental ‘My Name is Maryan,’...

Written By Michelle F. Solomon,

The Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (MOCA) spent three years creating the exhibition "My Name is Maryan," which fills 12 galleries and introduces visitors to an under-recognized artist. From here, it heads to Tel Aviv.

Miami Beach native Michele Oka Doner leaves footprint o...

Written By Elisa Turner,

Artist Michele Oka Doner will visit the "Aspen Ideas: Climate" beginning May 9 in her native Miami Beach. Her artistic legacy has long been inspired by Florida's fragile eco-system.

‘Forest: Ancestry and Dystopia’ is homage t...

Written By Sergy Odiduro,

Presented by The55Project Art Foundation, the exhibit is running through July 16, 2022, at Miami's Fundación Pablo Atchugarry.

3 Locust Projects art installations take on urgency of human condition with very different works, views

Written By Michelle F. Solomon
October 13, 2021 at 10:35 PM

Loni Johnson’s “Remnants” at Locust Projects features various homages. (Photo courtesy of World Red Eye)

Three artists from different walks of life — and perspectives and geographic locations — now have their installations inside the exhibition space at Miami Design District’s Locust Projects. And while it was entirely unplanned, the works by Miami’s Loni Johnson, New York’s Jessica Segall and Philadelphia’s Lewis Colburn come together with a common through line: that the existential crossroad which humanity is facing is at a tipping point.

For the three artists, there’s an urgent necessity for exploration and conversation.

“The artists are all responding to the current moment — from climate change to the rise of authoritarianism to the silencing of the voices of Black girls and women,” says Locust Projects executive director Lorie Mertes, about the three installations that are on display through Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021.

Johnson’s “Remnants” appears first inside the gallery, tucked in what is known as the Mobile Studio, a storefront area to the right of Locust Projects’ main lobby. The area has been painted two shades of pink for Johnson’s exhibition — colors the artist remembers from her grandmother’s home. There are intricate wall hangings and Santeria-inspired altars set up in the space, as well as collages where images of Black women and girls are embellished with shells, beads and gold jewelry.

Santeria-inspired altars are set up in the space for Loni Johnson’s “Remnants.” (Photo courtesy of World Red Eye)

“The altars are a visual installation. This is as much installation as what’s in churches. Churches were the first places for installation art. People were surrounded by the visuals that were meant to inform reverence to religions,” Mertes says during a walkthrough of the space, adding that the storefront area allows the works to be seen from the outside. It suggests the front of a botánica, well known in the Afro-Latino cultures, she says.

For Johnson, the ability to view the installation from both inside and outside has multiple meanings.

“[It] introduces and invites those that usually don’t have access to these kinds of spaces, having them enter and then allowing that space to speak to them and speak for them,” Johnson says. “[It becomes] a place for them to see themselves in, and that is really the intention with this exhibition and my work in general.”

Art museums and exhibition spaces historically have been considered out of reach for people of color, either because of economic reasons or geographic locations or limited representation of non-white audiences. Johnson says the photographs in her installation showcase Black women and girls who are hardly represented, who don’t have access to nor have a history of being welcomed into what are perceived as spaces that represent a different class structure.

“This is an entry point that doesn’t happen a lot in the art world,” she says.

There are historical images of women in her family, her great-grandmothers, their siblings, and photos that include Johnson accompanying them. Her work, she explains, “brings them with me and presents this idea of how they informed me. Maybe then I can inform others to be aware of how we acknowledge our ancestors when we introduce them into these spaces.”

Jessica Segall’s “Reverse Alchemy on the Gold Coast” at Locust Projects includes a gold-fed garden with plants common in South Florida. (Photo courtesy of World Red Eye)

In the main gallery of Locust Projects, it’s a different golden experience, much darker and less obvious in its message. Segall’s “Reverse Alchemy on the Gold Coast” takes on the harm done to the ecosystem from gold mining.

Visitors enter through a black curtain that separates the front of the exhibition area and the main space. Mounds and mounds of dirt (21 square yards, to be exact) act as the foundation for plants in what resembles a grow house. There’s much to take in. The centerpiece is a gold-fed garden that uses a reverse-engineering process to irrigate Florida native plants with a diluted gold solution.

“I’m interested in transformation and process,” Segall says. “All of my work has some kind of process where there is a material change usually happening within it or an energy exchange.”

Through the gold-mining process, harsh chemicals such as cyanide and mercury are used to bleach it out therefore it contaminates water supplies: “This work takes it one step further toward absurdity by saying, ‘Let’s put the gold back in the ground,’ ” she says.

She was influenced by the notion that gold represents power and, in breaking down the gold to its original form, creates a statement on its status.

“This speaks to not just the gold itself but to the power structures that surround it. Seeing gold transformed from this incredible symbol of power to nothingness, that’s something that I wanted to portray,” Segall says.

While researching contamination caused by gold mining, she spent time in a gold mine with Peruvian environmentalist Maxima Acuña, who is known for her resistance against the mining industry that wanted to cultivate her land.

“It made a powerful impression,” Segall says.

The “Reverse Alchemy” installation features video projections filmed during her reverse-engineering process, in which U.S. Mint gold coins were dissolved into a gold solution and then diluted into the water that irrigates the plants.

Segall says she discovered an interesting dichotomy between her work and Johnson’s “Remnants” installation just a few feet away: “Loni works with gold in a metaphorical sense of value, and it is compelling to put the two together because we are coming from such oppositive perspectives.”

In the back of the exhibition space is the Project Room, where Colburn’s “A Fountain for a Dark Future” is a stark contrast visually to the darkness of “Alchemy” preceding it.

Installation artist Lewis Colburn created his work onsite at Locust Projects, spending almost three weeks in August. (Photo courtesy of World Red Eye)

Open the door to the room of vivid white walls and see a bright-white, 8-foot-tall sculpture that consumes the space. The sculpture is “protected” by aluminum rods, while automated robot arms with small brushes attached continually clean it. At the bottom, a large tray is continually filled with water, a commentary on the impact of rising sea levels on Miami and its people.

The work shares a laundry list of problems, including workers being replaced by automation, and water rising around places that people live because of climate shifts. But there’s irony and humor, too.

“A Fountain for a Dark Future” resembles a blurred figure in motion while its feet rest in plastic trays through which water circulates. It is a recreation of Italian Futurist Umberto Boccioni’s iconic sculpture, “Unique Forms of Continuity in Space” from 1913. Colburn says in his artist statement that he “re-creates sculptural forms of the past to interrogate the conditions of the present, examining the ways these artifacts reinforce and shape narratives that persist today.”

“This is my nod to the Futurists. They had some pretty troubling ideologies,” he says. “The fact that they, in the early 20th century, were so enamored with cars and machine guns and it translated into a wholesale embrace of violence … to me, that’s the same kind of wholesale charging forward [we see today] without any kind of critical sense in languages of tech and disruption.”

During a conversation from his home near Philadelphia, Colburn says the sculpture was entirely created onsite at Locust Projects for almost three weeks in August.

When it came time to actually physically build the piece, Colburn found that times had changed quite a bit since conception of “Fountain,” he says.

“I wrote the proposal for this work in the summer of 2019 and, at that point, I thought things were pretty bad in terms of the way the world was going, and then 2020 happened,” he says. “It was conceived with weighty issues in mind, and it could be focused on the doom and gloom. I do hope, though, that people leave with a sense of a certain hopefulness from seeing the piece, that there is change that we can realize, but that we have to think about all of these things.”

 

WHAT: 

“Loni Johnson: Remnants”
“Jessica Segall: Reverse Alchemy on the Gold Coast”
“Lewis Colburn: A Fountain for a Dark Future”

WHEN:  11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays, through Nov. 6, 2021

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

COST: Free

SAFETY PROTOCOLS: Masks and social distancing are required.

INFORMATION: 305-576-8570; Locustprojects.org

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

latest posts

MOCA extends monumental ‘My Name is Maryan,’...

Written By Michelle F. Solomon,

The Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (MOCA) spent three years creating the exhibition "My Name is Maryan," which fills 12 galleries and introduces visitors to an under-recognized artist. From here, it heads to Tel Aviv.

Miami Beach native Michele Oka Doner leaves footprint o...

Written By Elisa Turner,

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Written By Sergy Odiduro,

Presented by The55Project Art Foundation, the exhibit is running through July 16, 2022, at Miami's Fundación Pablo Atchugarry.

Opa-locka’s poetry lighting project extended through 2022

Written By Sergy Odiduro
October 5, 2021 at 6:00 PM

One of nine poems featured as part of the Opa-locka Light District. (Photo courtesy of Gesi Schilling)

Femi Folami-Browne needed a break. After spending considerable time producing “When Liberty Burns,” an award-winning documentary on Miami’s 1980 “McDuffie Riots,” she welcomed the opportunity to delve into something that wasn’t nearly as hard-hitting.

The opportunity to submit poetry for a new project offered a welcome reprieve.

“There was an open call for writers who had lived in or had been residents of Opa-locka,” she said. “The McDuffie story is a very dark one, and I wanted to do something different.”

Folami-Browne’s connections to Opa-locka are many. Among her memories, she recalls the scent of mangoes in the air, a youthful courtship with a former husband, and raising one of her children there.

Now her words are showcased in the city, along with those of others whose works were selected for the Opa-locka Light District. Created by O, Miami and the Opa-locka Community Development Corp. (OLCDC), the Light District includes nine poems and 10 streetlights along Opa-locka Boulevard — with one light featuring a title card instead of a poem. Through specially designed outdoor projectors, words appear emblazoned onto the pavement below and on building facades.

(Photo courtesy of Gesi Schilling)

Ashley Cover, who originally came up with the idea, never thought her project would see the light of day.

“I was inspired by protest art seen during the elections in 2016. Those were usually projected images, and I thought how awesome would it be to project poems around the city instead and put a positive spin on it,” said Cover, who is a data analyst for the OLCDC.

The Light District proposal, which was pitched in 2018, went on to win an $18,000 Public Space Challenge grant from The Miami Foundation. It has also received support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Moonlighter Maker Lab and Maker Faire Miami, and Mario Cruz, who is involved with both, were then brought in to work on the technical aspects.

“They are the tinkerers and mad geniuses behind this story,” said Melody Santiago Cummings, director of development and communications for O Miami. “The way that it works is that the light shines through a piece of metal that has the poem etched on it, so that when you see it on the street, it’s almost as if it’s glowing.”

The specific components of the lighting units evolved during the planning process.

“The actual physical light structure changed,” Santiago Cummings said. “Initially, they were going to look almost like theater lights: very big and really robust, and then Mario [Cruz] was able to get them to be smaller, less intrusive and lightweight. Over time, they became weatherproof in the process. We were also able to get a longer lifespan out of it.”

(Photo courtesy of Gesi Schilling)

At one point, the project came to a complete standstill: “The main reason was COVID,” she said. “The manufacturer we were dealing with shipped from China, so that just wasn’t a thing for about eight months.”

Due to the delay, the lighting project has now been extended through next year.

“Initially we were hoping to keep them up for a season and take them down during hurricane season, but then we made the choice to keep them up all the way through April 2022,” Santiago Cummings said. “Knock on wood that the weather is fine … [but] since it took a long time to do, we figured why not just keep them up and have them really be celebrated, almost as infrastructure in the city…”

The selection process culled works from multiple sources, including poetry workshops for the general public and for schoolchildren. Poets and writers were also invited to participate.

“Inviting poets of all ages to share their Miami point of view was essential to this project,” Santiago Cummings said. “Our goal with projects like Opa-Locka Light District is that it inspires those who encounter it to identify with their own community.”

Opa-locka Mayor Matthew Pigatt said the lighting project has had a positive impact.

“I’m just in awe and honored that Opa-locka CDC is partnering with our youth to literally light up our community with words from their hearts and their spirits,” Pigatt said. “[It] really brightens Opa-locka at nighttime, so I’m proud that this initiative is going on within the city and that they’re lighting up the community with words of inspiration.”

(Photo courtesy of Gesi Schilling)

Poet Junior Williams is among those featured, with the words: “A dream is a vessel that runs on the tracks of your mind.”

“Opa-locka is a place where you have people get up and go to school, you have people get up in the morning and go to work. It’s a community where … everyday people live. So I’m glad this project is here to highlight the voices of the people that are there and to show that we are a part of Miami-Dade County just like everybody else.”

Jerod Simon, another artist who participated in the program, agreed: “Opa-locka usually gets a bad rap, so to have something so beautiful come out of it is super-amazing.”

Cover hopes the poems will continue to uplift those who see them, especially since she knows how powerful creative expression can be.

“Whenever you stumble across a beautiful piece of art anywhere, it always makes you feel lighter. It makes you smile. It makes you happy,” she said. “So I hope people from outside of Opa-locka are inspired to make the trip there, to go and see it, and know that they are safe in Opa-locka and that it is a beautiful place with beautiful people.”

A free evening walk event is being planned to coincide with Miami Art Week, with the date and details coming soon. Information on all Opa-Locka Light District community events will be available at olcdc.org/event.

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

latest posts

MOCA extends monumental ‘My Name is Maryan,’...

Written By Michelle F. Solomon,

The Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (MOCA) spent three years creating the exhibition "My Name is Maryan," which fills 12 galleries and introduces visitors to an under-recognized artist. From here, it heads to Tel Aviv.

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Hattie Mae Williams balances the elements in ‘Currents’ at MOCA

Written By Sean Erwin
October 1, 2021 at 7:31 PM

“Currents” from Hattie Mae Williams is on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (MOCA), from Oct. 6-10. (Still image courtesy of Christian Salazar)

Sounding the alarm about the effects of climate change doesn’t buy the groceries or pick the 4-year-old up from day care.

“Currents” — the latest installation work from dancer and choreographer Hattie Mae Williams — strives to balance the demands of living a contemporary life with the deeper spiritual experience of acknowledging a changing Earth.

For Williams, the first step in achieving this balance begins with recognizing that we all possess tendencies that, if left unchecked, may harm the Earth and one another.

“I feel that we are indoctrinated in a society where capitalism and patriarchy, sexism, etc., all rule,” Williams says. “It’s ingrained, even when parents are trying to protect us from it, and we absorb it. This is one of the ways I understand domination, and it aligns with masculine energy. When we have been taught that masculine is better and the feminine is weaker and softer, we have a tendency to go toward the more dominant way of being within nature.”

(Video courtesy of Live Arts Miami)

“Currents” — on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (MOCA), from Oct. 6-10 — forms part of Miami Dade College’s 2021 Live Arts Miami LALA Performance Series. The installation features four “spirit chambers,” each one devoted to a specific element, that provide audiences with an immersive art experience.

Once they enter the spirit chambers, visitors may take in their surroundings, ponder the significance​ of stylized Florida maps that Williams created showing, for instance, the location of crisis pregnancy centers throughout the state, and view two movies: “Mother Of” and “Marooned.” The films form the centerpiece of “Currents.”

“Mother Of” is a seven-minute short film focused on women that shows Williams transforming the negative, nonconsensual, violent energy she says people put into the Earth through an “Earth-offering” ritual.

She set “Mother Of” at Virginia Key Beach, Miami’s historic Blacks-only beach, based on a feeling: “I wanted to set the film there because it is a really rich part of Miami. It was where so many Black folks gathered for so long, and I just really liked the vibe of it. I felt a connection with the place, and every time I went to Virginia Key, I was getting so much back, so I wanted to offer something — and in the film I do that.”

The 15-minute film, “Marooned,” grew out of Williams’ experiences of isolation and the ambiguous role played by technology during the pandemic.

“When I think of the feminine aspect, I think of creation,” said artist Hattie Mae Williams. “After all, we do have to take from the Earth, but then what seeds are you planting?” (Still image courtesy of Christian Salazar)

“There are elements of technology that we use, but how much of it do we need to survive? Not to be in community brings us sickness,” Williams said. “‘Marooned’ poses the question of technology, and allows people to look at how they interact with nature and technology, and maybe to think about stepping out of the bubble.”

Live Arts Miami executive director Kathryn Garcia said Williams’ interest in social and climate issues made her a good fit in the current cohort’s residency program.

“Hattie has a really powerful way to tap into those things that aren’t on the surface … and invites [people] to think about those things that aren’t immediately seen and felt,” Garcia said. “She’s a messenger for our relationship to nature, for how we relate to the elements. All it takes for an artist to be a changemaker is that they can be a door to change something in your life, and in this way Hattie opens up new ideas and experiences to her audience.”

Born and raised in South Florida, Williams attended the New World School of the Arts before traveling to New York where she earned a bachelor of fine arts degree through the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater program at Fordham University. For the next 15 years, she pursued her dance career, even founding her own company, The Tattooed Ballerinas, which allowed her to express herself socially and politically in dance. She returned to Miami in 2014.

Williams believes accommodating masculine energy may teach people to play it safe and to value making money, but feminine energy is needed as well for life to thrive.

“When I think of the feminine aspect, I think of creation,” Williams said. “After all, we do have to take from the Earth, but then what seeds are you planting? I think innately when you have a womb, you know that you have to give back to the Earth or your descendants will not have what they need.”

Hattie Mae Williams is “a messenger for our relationship to nature, for how we relate to the elements,” Live Arts Miami executive director Kathryn Garcia said. (Still image courtesy of Christian Salazar)

Williams identifies these ideas of the feminine and giving back to the Earth with relating to people through a spirit of collaboration and community.

Her MOCA installation took shape through Miami-based collaborations with artist Freddy Jouwayed and filmmaker Christian Salazar. The artistic partnership between Williams and Salazar began in the 1980s while both were students at the New World School of the Arts.

At stake for Williams in her struggle to balance masculine and feminine energies is a new vision of our life here on Earth.

“For me the question is, how do we survive, get what we need, but also be a devotee to the Earth?” she said. “It has to be about survival and reimagining a new world where these elements are balanced.”

 

WHAT: Hattie Mae Williams’ “Currents,” presented by Live Arts Miami

WHEN: A self-guided experience will be offered noon-7 p.m. Oct. 6 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 7-Oct. 10; a guided experience with an artist question-and-answer session will take place 3-5 p.m. Oct. 9

WHERE: Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (MOCA), 770 NE 125th St., North Miami

COST: Free with RSVP 

SAFETY PROTOCOLS: Capacity at MOCA will be limited, and all visitors and staff will be required to practice social distancing and wear a facial covering at all times.

INFORMATION: Liveartsmiami.org/events/currents

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

latest posts

MOCA extends monumental ‘My Name is Maryan,’...

Written By Michelle F. Solomon,

The Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (MOCA) spent three years creating the exhibition "My Name is Maryan," which fills 12 galleries and introduces visitors to an under-recognized artist. From here, it heads to Tel Aviv.

Miami Beach native Michele Oka Doner leaves footprint o...

Written By Elisa Turner,

Artist Michele Oka Doner will visit the "Aspen Ideas: Climate" beginning May 9 in her native Miami Beach. Her artistic legacy has long been inspired by Florida's fragile eco-system.

‘Forest: Ancestry and Dystopia’ is homage t...

Written By Sergy Odiduro,

Presented by The55Project Art Foundation, the exhibit is running through July 16, 2022, at Miami's Fundación Pablo Atchugarry.

The Bonnier Gallery presents digital art in ‘Yucef Merhi: Open’

Written By Michelle F. Solomon
September 22, 2021 at 2:56 PM

Yucef Merhi’s “Compassion” is part of a new exhibit at The Bonnier Gallery. (Photo courtesy of Zachary Balber)

With its new exhibit, “Yucef Merhi: Open,” The Bonnier Gallery invites visitors to open their eyes, hearts and minds to digital art — to feel its energy and go beyond the buzz.

“There has been a lot of buzz and conversation about digital art as of late because of NFTs,” says gallery co-owner Grant Bonnier, referring to non-fungible tokens — those digital assets (from music clips to photos to artwork) that exist only in cyberspace and are bought and sold using cryptocurrency. “For a lot of people who are new to the art world, they think that because of NFTs, digital art is something new and it’s not.”

They may also see it as “something that is cold and sterile,” says Bonnier. “With Yucef’s work, it’s very much not.”

The Venezuelan-born, Miami-based Merhi infuses a certain energy into what could be considered vapid technological components and gives them life. The exhibit features 15 pieces from the artist, poet and computer programmer.

The artist uses TV sets with clear casings in some of his works, including in “Atari Poetry VI” (2006). The TVs were originally used in prisons. (Photo courtesy of The Bonnier Gallery)

“Cathexis, it’s the art of instilling energy into an object, and that’s what Yucef does,” Bonnier explains, adding that much of what’s included in “Open” is work that is also steeped in poetry. He says The Bonnier Gallery, which he opened in November 2018 with wife Christina in the Miami neighborhood of Allapattah, has a “particular interest in works that find themselves at the intersection of visual art and language.”

“Open” presents a mix of ideas, a “critical mid-point” of Merhi’s career, according to Bonnier. Some works are indicative of Merhi’s very early explorations, while others show the evolution and metamorphosis of the 44-year-old’s decades-long practice.

When he received an Atari console as a child, he turned it into a programmable computer. That was the beginning.

“When I was a kid, I felt like I could communicate with Atari machines,” Merhi says. “Electronic toys were the way I was able to build my reality.”

Yucef Merhi is a Venezuelan-born, Miami-based artist, poet, academic researcher, computer programmer and coder. (Photo courtesy of The Bonnier Gallery)

“Compassion,” the largest piece in the exhibit and one of the newest, features five television sets and five Atari 2600 game consoles and cartridges, which Merhi programmed to display words. Set up on a rising staircase, the top TV shows the word, “Compassion,” with the TVs on the next steps completing the statement: “Compassion is the divine compass.”

Merhi says he spent all of 2020, “the year of the pandemic,” building the work. The intensity of creating “Compassion” came from coding the Atari cartridges.

“They take several months each to build, and there were five of them,” Merhi says.

The 13-inch RCA television sets had been manufactured specifically to be used in prisons, with clear back panels that are meant to ensure prisoners cannot tamper with the electronics.

“I also spent time meditating in front of them, because I wanted to put energy into the objects and to make peace with the people who had these TVs,” Merhi says. “I also wanted to cleanse the past out of them and especially my own darkness, my own shadows.”

A computer is programmed to create the question “Who Am I?” in Yucef Merhi’s “Atari Ex Machina” (2007). (Photo courtesy of The Bonnier Gallery)

The idea was to reclaim the televisions with positive meaning, according to Merhi.

“Compassion” is the grand finale and is perhaps the most powerful piece in the exhibit. It also incorporates the early Atari work that gained Merhi acclaim. He’s coined a word for the use of the Atari systems and the TVs: retrocycling. Rather than the old consoles, computer boards and TVs ending up in a landfill, he gives them a new life and a new purpose.

This idea is what grabbed the interest of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which selected Mehri for a fellowship as part of its MIT Open Documentary Lab. For the fellowship, he will be investigating how to reduce electronic waste that comes from obsolete technologies — such as Atari consoles, cassette and CD players, TVs and slide projectors — and have been filling up dumps for decades.

“The Poetic Clock: 2.0” (2020) transforms time into poetry and generates 86,400 different poems every 24 hours. (Photo courtesy of The Bonnier Gallery)

Another grand work in the “Open” exhibition at The Bonnier is “The Poetic Clock 2.0” (2000), a digital time machine that displays three lines of poetry. Merhi created software so that, at different times, each line will change. The top sentence changes every hour, the second verse shifts every minute, and the third every second. The digital artist here is displaying language through the movement of time with a new poem constantly being generated.

The clock generates 86,400 different poems every 24 hours.

Political commentary is also prevalent in much of his art. In “Artificial Stupidity” (2019), for example, what looks like a friendly video arcade game, upon closer inspection, features Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro chasing flags. As the user moves the character of Maduro, who is the computer game’s equivalent to Pac-Man, the end game is to have him eat the flag and watch it be expelled into a poop emoji, or “transformed into digital excrement,” Merhi says, “alluding to the systematic destruction of the country.”

Merhi recently had two pieces on display at Oolite Arts as part of its group exhibition, “Where there is power.” His work, “Maximum Security” (1998-2004),” consists of hacked emails from Venezuela’s previous leader, Hugo Chavez, while “No Fly Security” (2018-2019) is composed of an assortment of documents and emails that includes the non-public roster of individuals prohibited from flying in and out of the United States on suspicion of terrorist ties.

One of the custom programmed Atari cartridges created for “Compassion” by Yucef Merhi. (Photo courtesy of The Bonnier Gallery)

A smaller study, which was the genesis for “No Fly Security,” is on exhibition as part of “Open.”

Bonnier says all of the works are especially thought-provoking, and he invites visitors to spend time with each. He walks over to a retro Hitachi television set displaying computer language on the screen. Two lines move back and forth before spelling out, “Who Am I?” It’s a work entitled, “Atari Ex Machina” (2007).

“Every time the pixels meet, the question appears. If you stop to think about the question, is it Yucef asking, ‘Who am I?’ Is it the Atari asking itself the question? Or is it the viewer?” Bonnier says. “Just the nature of sitting with and engaging with an idea, that’s no different than the way we would [look] at an abstract painting.”

WHAT: “Yucef Merhi: Open”

WHEN: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, through Nov. 20, 2021

WHERE: The Bonnier Gallery, 3408 NW Seventh Ave., Miami

COST: Free

SAFETY PROTOCOLS: Facial coverings should be worn inside the gallery, and appointments are encouraged.

INFORMATION: 305-960-7850; thebonniergallery.com

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

 

 

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Lowe Art Museum reopens, with new exhibits, free admission

Written By Sergy Odiduro
August 30, 2021 at 10:57 PM

An image from “William Wegman: Instant Miami,” at the Lowe Art Museum. (Photo courtesy of William Wegman)

The Lowe Art Museum is back.

The University of Miami-operated institution has reopened in anticipation for the fall season, more than a year after switching to a virtual format due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And to mark the occasion, the Lowe has planned three new exhibits, as well as gallery installations, and the gift of free admission.

“We are all very relieved and excited to be able to welcome visitors back through our doors,” said Jill Deupi, the Lowe’s Beaux Arts director and chief curator. “We have quite a few works that have never been seen before, as well as some really important loans from local collections.”

The exhibits on display will feature something for everyone, including those who would like a trip down memory lane.

“William Wegman: Instant Miami,” for example, offers a nostalgic look at Miami through the lens of a celebrated and noted photographer who is best known for his whimsical portrayal of his Weimaraner dogs. It will be on view through Sept. 26.

“This is actually an encore performance,” Deupi said. “Back in November of 1984, the then-director Ira Licht commissioned William Wegman to come to Miami for just over a week. The charge was to let Wegman photograph whatever captured his imagination and his interest.”

The technical aspects of the production proved to be a unique and, at times, humorous part of the project.

(Video courtesy of Florida International University’s Inspicio Arts e-magazine)

“He was documenting the city with this really crazy, very large Polaroid Land camera,” said Deupi, of the 235-pound piece of photographic equipment. “It is quite literally the size of a refrigerator that had to be rented from the manufacturer. It took several people to operate, so it’s really quite fascinating.”

She invites those who may have missed the exhibit the first time to come in and take a look.

“This hasn’t been shown here since late ’84, early ’85, the one and only time that they were on public view, so we’re really happy to be able to reshare them with people who may have seen that show almost 40 years ago,” she said. “It’s a real slice of history. It’s just Miami as it was during a very different time.”

If your tastes lean toward the rich and famous, then look no further than “Duane Michals: The Portraitist.” The exhibit, which features 135 images of the inner circle of the Hollywood circuit, will also be available through Sept. 26.

The works “are not only beautiful as artwork but super-interesting because the sitters are all glitterati,” Deupi said.

Whom you recognize will depend on your generation, with photos including “people like Burt Reynolds and Tilda Swinton and the cast from ‘Saturday Night Live’ and Andy Warhol, painters, musicians, movie stars, writers. They’re all there so that’s really, really fun and interesting, because Michals is such a gifted portraitist,” she said.

“His photography is not only visually stunning, but he has a real gift for getting into the mind and the soul of his sitters, which I think is the hallmark of a truly gifted photographer who’s focusing on people.”

On view through Oct. 17, “FORCE OF NATURE: Highlights from the Myrna B. Palley Art Jewelry Collection” focuses on objects rather than people.

“It’s a small sampling of her wonderful collection of art jewelry, so that people can get a sense of an area of her collection that was very private and personal to her — although people who knew Myrna will definitely recognize some of the works that are on view because she actually wore all of her jewelry. In fact, she would select her jewelry before she selected her outfits, which is, I think, the reverse of what people normally do,” Deupi said. “She was just so excited about the art jewelry that she had, she wanted to share it with the wider world. The pieces are really quite stunning. They are wearable sculptures.”

Admission to the newly reopened Lowe Art Museum will be free through May 31, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Lowe Art Museum)

The Lowe is able to welcome back patrons free of charge thanks to Beaux Arts, which was founded to provide assistance for the museum. The complimentary admission will be available through May 31, 2022.

“We’re a small but very mighty group of passionate women who help out in the community,” said Beaux Arts president Elizabeth Timberlake Green. “Women banded together to support the Lowe and helped to grow it over the years.”

She has witnessed how the Lowe Art Museum has successfully navigated the challenges of the pandemic.

“It’s been an interesting year to see how they still maintained a connection with the community with the works of art they have within their walls,” she said.

The Lowe has carefully cultivated its online collections — and plans to continue doing so.

“Even though we are open, we will continue to build out that platform,” Deupi said. “We’ve learned just how important those virtual programs are, in terms of reaching a broader audience far afield, so there’s a really rich array of material there that I would encourage people to take a look at.”

Still, she said, there’s nothing like the human element when it comes to art.

“It has become abundantly clear [that] art without people is not really art. It’s something altogether different, and similarly museums without guests really function as store houses, rather than a meeting place where people can come and engage with works of art as well as with one another,” she said.

“I think it’s really important for people who have never visited to be aware of us and understand that we are the oldest art museum in Miami … Now that we’re free, I think that it’s a perfect opportunity to visit and see what we have to offer.”

Several precautions are being put in place to address the pandemic, including requiring patrons to register in advance.

“We carefully control the number of people who can be on-site at any one time, so it’s 20 people every 30 minutes,” Deupi said. “And we have a very large facility, so there’s really no worry about people feeling overcrowded or unsafe in any way.”

The Lowe Art Museum, at 1301 Stanford Drive, Coral Gables, has reopened and is now available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday with reservations. Admission will be free through May 31, 2022. For more information, visit lowe.miami.edu or call 305-284-3535.

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

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Fringe Projects puts art in unexpected places for ‘Public Color’ exhibition

Written By Michelle F. Solomon
August 27, 2021 at 3:18 PM

Mark Fleuridor’s “Being Held” mural covers one wall at the Carol Glassman Donaldson Childcare Center, across from the Miami-Dade Children’s Courthouse. (Photo courtesy of Zachary Balber)

The painted scenes depict the idea of being cared for, cherished. They’re tender family tableaus, all showing children of different ages cradled in the arms of someone who could be a nurturing parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle. They’re painted in bright colors, resembling a tapestry.

Entitled “Being Held,” the 52.9- by-12-foot mural from Miami artist Mark Fleuridor graces the front of the Carol Glassman Donaldson Childcare Center in downtown Miami. One of eight works commissioned by Fringe Projects, it’s meant to welcome families into the daycare center but also to serve another audience: people going in and out of the Miami-Dade Children’s Courthouse directly across the street.

“Mark’s work has that feeling of hope,” says Deborah Di Capua, executive director of Fringe Projects. “And we were thinking about the people that were going into the children’s courthouse for one reason or another and giving them this tenderness that they might, at that moment, feel a little distanced from.”

Fringe Projects’ “Public Color” outdoor exhibition, which appears throughout the downtown area and the Design District, features artists of Caribbean descent. All but one are Miami-based artists.

Haitian-American artist Mark Fleuridor received two commissions for Fringe Projects’ “Public Color” outdoor exhibition. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Barnett-Winsby & Wassaic Project)

It’s the result of a partnership between Fringe Projects’ Di Capua and María Elena Ortiz, the curator at Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) who leads the Caribbean Cultural Institute (CCI). Di Capua explains that Ortiz had opened a show of all contemporary Caribbean art as part of CCI: “We said, ‘Let’s do more projects with artists of Caribbean descent.'”

Fleuridor, who is Haitian-American, says his art is always based on depictions of his family. For the daycare mural, Fleuridor used sketches of “family members holding babies from images that I had taken. Then I saw the mural space and I thought it would fit perfectly together …

“I also added references to the artwork of things that remind me of Miami, food and patterns within the mural,” he adds. “There are patterns of hibiscus plants, which is the national plant of Haiti, and strawberry candies, which is something I grew up eating.”

Fleuridor also painted “Beach Day” above a storefront on East Flagler Street. Passersby can check out the mural of two children enjoying the beach, which he says was inspired by his niece and nephew.

Charo Oquet’s mixed-media sculpture is meant to be a meeting point at The Plaza at Government Center in downtown Miami. (Photo courtesy of Zachary Balber)

Dominican-born, Miami-based artist Charo Oquet created her work, “Points of Joy,” at The Plaza at Government Center. The large monument, which could resemble a statue of a deity from another time, was made with hundreds of found objects then covered in gold.

“Points of Joy” is meant to be a place to pause and perhaps say, “What is that?”

“I hoped it would be a meeting point where people would gather and maybe stop and talk and think about what has been going on in these difficult times,” Oquet says.

The sculpture encompasses many of Oquet’s interests including Afro-Caribbean rituals inspired by her upbringing in the Dominican Republic.

Di Capua says “Points of Joy” is perfectly at home in its high-traffic area. “When it comes to site specificity, it just makes the projects richer,” she says.

“It had to be something that appealed to everyone — the people who take the bus there, or who work in a government office, and there’s a cross-range of people, working-class people, so many who are multicultural, Hispanic, African-American … I wanted the work to speak to them,” says Dominican-born artist Charo Oquet, of her “Points of Joy” sculpture. (Photo courtesy of the artist)

Oquet took to heart the many different people who would likely cross paths with “Points of Joy.”

“It had to be something that appealed to everyone — the people who take the bus there, or who work in a government office, and there’s a cross-range of people, working-class people, so many who are multicultural, Hispanic, African-American,” she says. “There are [people] from all over the place. I felt that was my audience. I wanted the work to speak to them.”

The exhibition is being presented in collaboration with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Miami Downtown Development Authority, Miami Design District, Oolite Arts and Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs (which helps support Artburst Miami).

On a rolling garage door in the middle of the Miami Design District is April Bey’s “Colonial Day Sale: What Are You Gonna Do, If You Like a Woman and Your Mama No Like Am?” (Photo courtesy of Zachary Balber)

All but three of the pieces are currently installed. Morel Doucet’s digital installation, “Opia (Under the Stars, Black Girl’s Dream),” was exhibited for a short time on the side of the InterContinental Miami hotel, because of what Di Capua explains as “the transitory nature of the piece.” Another very large and intensive piece will be installed in the fall, and a site is still being scouted for a third work that’s already completed.

“There is a fluidity where some pieces have longer life spans and others are gone sooner,” Di Capua says, adding the decision for the works to not be permanent, like many public art projects, is entirely intentional.

“Permanent work becomes part of the infrastructure and you get used to it and it blends in. But when something is all of a sudden here, it has the ability to cause a bit of a surprise,” Di Capua says. “What I love about public art, and what I’ve always loved about public art, is that you can introduce it into the everyday life of people. These works of art can live in the world, like we all live, in the grid of everyday life, but still be a special experience that also gives solitude, mindfulness, and creates curiosity.”

“Moving Interlude” by GeoVanna Gonzalez is at The Plaza at Government Center. (Photo courtesy of Zachary Balber)

The works in Fringe Projects’ “Public Color” include:

WHAT: Fringe Projects presents the “Public Color” outdoor exhibition

WHEN: Through January 2022

WHERE: Sites around downtown Miami and the Miami Design District

COST: Free

INFORMATION: Visit Fringeprojectsmiami.com or follow @fringeprojectsmiami on Instagram

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

 

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‘Where there is power’ aims to pack a thought-provoking punch for the current landscape

Written By Michelle F. Solomon
August 13, 2021 at 7:54 PM

Asif Farooq’s “Balalaika” (2012-ongoing). (Photo courtesy of Asif Farooq estate and studio)

In a small project room on the second floor of Oolite Arts on Lincoln Road, a monitor displays a circle that resembles a sonar. Below that, a printer sporadically releases a large, colored abstract work on paper.

It’s meant as a visual representation of continuous flow of digital data moving between Miami Beach and Havana, Cuba. The work by Rodolfo Peraza, entitled “Pilgram: Naked Link 3.0,” is part of “Where there is power,” which is on view through Sept. 19 at the Miami Beach gallery

The exhibit, which runs through Sept. 19, 2021, features an array of works by 13 Miami-based artists, touching on topics of particular relevance in the current landscape of bipartisan battles, worldwide protests, border issues, gun violence, and policing disparities in the Black community. When viewed on a deeper level, the pieces are meant to be thought-provoking and unsettling.

“The exhibition creates an entry point into understanding some of the larger systems that govern our daily lives,” says Amanda Bradley, programs manager at Oolite Arts. “What ties every piece together are the deeply personal and political intersections of power.”

She and co-organizer René Morales, director of curatorial affairs and chief curator at Pérez Art Museum Miami, say the exhibit pieces represent the many ways that artists “access, spy upon, expose, memorialize, and occasionally trouble the machinations of power.”

Peraza’s “Pilgram” creates a trace route gathering all the IP addresses in Cuba tracking the flow of information. (IP is short for Internet Protocol, and each unique address identifies a device on the internet or a local network.)

“The radar creates a visualization map of the exact locations that the IP is pinging and prints it out,” Bradley explains.

Peraza’s work was created even before Cubans took to the streets in early July. In an effort to stop the flow of information into and out of the island, Cuban authorities reportedly restricted internet access. Bradley has noticed that the IP addresses have been less and less active because of these latest restrictions.

Yucef Merhi’s “Maximum Security” ( 1998-2004). (Photo courtesy of the artist and The Bonnier Gallery)

Artist Yucef Merhi’s wallpaper installations of digital prints on laser paper are plastered along Oolite’s curved walls at the entrance of the exhibit. The assemblage of emails and government documents may appear arbitrary, but Merhi invites the viewer to look closer at how he’s placed them piece by piece.

“Each single sheet of paper was laid consciously, even though it looks random,” Merhi says. “There is something poetic about the data and arranging some of the information that is out of sight and not reachable.”

This exhibit marks the first time that two of the pioneering digital artist’s installations exist in the same space.

On the left is his “Maximum Security” (1998-2004). At age 20, and using only a dial-up modem available at the time, Merhi hacked into the emails of Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez. Merhi says he was living in his native Venezuela and had information that Chávez was going to be a presidential candidate. The project traced his candidacy and early presidency but came to a halt, Merhi says, when Chávez’s official account was transferred to a new server.

While all the emails are in Spanish, the magnitude of the work speaks for itself.

As for any retribution for the hacked emails, Merhi says: “I have had some issues. Fortunately, I was and am surrounded by good people who understand what I am doing.”

Directly across from “Maximum Security,” on the other curved wall, is the more recent “No Fly Security” (2018-2019), another assortment of documents and emails that includes the non-public roster of individuals prohibited from flying in and out of the United States on suspicion of terrorist ties. There are many emails from citizens asking why they were stopped at the airport. One, from an 84-year-old woman from Lexington, Ky., describes how she was detained at a Florida airport.

“This is only the second time it’s been shown in public. This information is [supposed] to remain invisible, and that’s one of the strongest points of control,” Merhi says.

Yucef Merhi’s “No Fly Security” (2018-2019). (Photo courtesy of The CIFO Collection)

Together, both installations make up 1,500 documents of a “datagram,” a term coined by the artist, in which the aesthetic of the site-specific work examines the network of documents as they make their circuitous route through cyberspace.

“René and I talked about this intersection and for us having both Latin America and the United States was very important,” Bradley says.

The curatorial idea, which Merhi readily embraced, was that “No Fly Security” symbolizes the North (United States) and “Maximum Security,” directly across, represents the South (Latin America).

Across the gallery, and high above on the V-shaped ceiling, is a large photomural by Edny Jean Joseph that brings us into the present.

“This came directly amid the Black Lives Matter protests and George Floyd,” Bradley says.

She and Morales got the idea to place Joseph’s mural on the ceiling while sitting on a ledge in front of the arched windows at Oolite.

“We talked a lot about where his work would go, because we wanted the scale to remain large,” Bradley says. “We looked up at the ceiling. In art history, the ceiling has represented wealth and power. We wanted to change the narrative of that and, as viewers look up, his work shifts the power dynamic.”

Edny Jean Joseph’s “The Spectacle” (2020). (Photo courtesy of the artist and Andrew Quarrie & Void Projects)

On one side of the photo collage, entitled “The Spectacle” (2020), Joseph reimagines a bullfight. The bull charging at the Black matador is a white police officer armed with a long club. An adjacent image shows the face of a smiling Black man, positioned to be “watching” the fight. Joseph says the face was originally a small piece of a larger photo, which he has zoomed in to make hundreds of times bigger than the original image. The matador image had been shown previously, but this is the first time he’s paired it with the smiling man looking on.

“I didn’t just want to put an image onto a wall. I wanted to make something that activated a spectacle,” Joseph says. “So now, the viewer looks up at the matador, and the man on the other side is also watching.”

Joseph says creating commentary by manipulating photos brings with it another type of power: “I think about myself in participating in revisionist history because of my ability to make images that never existed.”

In the middle of the exhibition space are pieces from the late Asif Farooq’s dream project, “Balalaika” (2012-ongoing), described by Oolite as a “slightly larger-than-life-size, fully-detailed paper airplane based on the Russian MiG-21 fighter jet.” When the artist died unexpectedly at age 40 in August 2020, the plane was about 85 percent completed.

The model of the 2-ton plane is in a warehouse space in west Miami-Dade County, where his studio team continues working to complete it.

Bradley says Farooq was wholly dedicated to making sure that every element was true to scale and that the plane would be fully functional when completed.

Farooq’s work is indicative of how the exhibition touches on power but not always in an obvious way.

“The plane is such a recognizable object of military control,” Bradley explains, adding that the sections they picked for this exhibition were intentionally pieces that give the plane its power.

‘WHERE THERE IS POWER’ ALSO INCLUDES:

Reginald O’Neal’s “My Father” (2018). This oil on canvas captures the first depiction of his father, who has been incarcerated since O’Neal was a child. There’s also an audio recording of one of the many prison phone conversations between O’Neal and his dad.

Reginald O’Neal’s “My Father” (2018). (Photo courtesy of the artist)

Chire Regans’ “When They Ask Me What I Did, I’ll Say Everything I Could” (2021). The charcoal, pencil and acrylic paint portraits depict young people who have been victims of gun violence in Miami. To date, Regans (known as VantaBlack) has created more than 250 portraits.

Tony Vazquez-Figueroa’s “Ourglass” (2019). Instead of sand, this hourglass has three minutes’ worth of slowly dripping crude oil.

José Álvarez’s “The Visitor” (2007). A single-channel video shows the artist, also known as D.O.P.A., playing the role of a medium channeling a 2,000-year-old spirit. With packed houses across the globe coming to see him between 1988 and 2003, Álvarez never accepted money for his shows. At the end of each performance, he would reveal that he was a conceptual artist whose purpose was to “use deception to reveal the truth.”

Agustina Woodgate’s “Emergency Exchange” (2019). The bullet-resistant acrylic box with one month’s supply of emergency drinking water pouches is a commentary on how money is made from commodities that are central to human life, Bradley says.

Agustina Woodgate’s “Emergency Exchange” (2019). (Photo courtesy of the artist and Spinello Projects)

Judi Werthein’s “Brinco (Jump)” (2005). Werthein developed custom-made sneakers to start debate on the subject of illegal immigration along the U.S.-Mexico border. The shoes come equipped with necessities such as a map, compass, flashlight, money, medicine and documents. She provided them free of charge to people in Mexico and sold them for $200 as limited-edition art objects at a high-end San Diego store. Part of the proceeds was donated to a shelter for asylum seekers.

Francisco Masó‘s “The Architecture of Power, N° 7″ (2019). Made of acrylic on wood panel, his abstract geometric compositions are based on the colors and patterns that appear in the shirts worn by secret police in Cuba.

Antonia Wright and Ruben Millares’ “Where there is power, there is resistance” (2021). For the most recent piece in their steel barricade series, the pair added fluorescent lights to their installation sculpture. The series contemplates the connotation of barricades, from the innocence of crowd control at parades to the seriousness of the deployment to manage protesters. By replacing the steel, vertical bars with fluorescent lights, the artists aim to neutralize the barricade’s power, evoking the notion that the objects as an obstacle are easily shattered.

 

WHAT: “Where there is power” exhibition

WHEN: Through Sept. 19, 2021; appointments are encouraged

WHERE: Oolite Arts, 924 Lincoln Road, second floor, Miami Beach

COST: Free

INFORMATION: 305-674-8278; oolitearts.org/exhibition/where-there-is-power

 

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

 

latest posts

MOCA extends monumental ‘My Name is Maryan,’...

Written By Michelle F. Solomon,

The Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (MOCA) spent three years creating the exhibition "My Name is Maryan," which fills 12 galleries and introduces visitors to an under-recognized artist. From here, it heads to Tel Aviv.

Miami Beach native Michele Oka Doner leaves footprint o...

Written By Elisa Turner,

Artist Michele Oka Doner will visit the "Aspen Ideas: Climate" beginning May 9 in her native Miami Beach. Her artistic legacy has long been inspired by Florida's fragile eco-system.

‘Forest: Ancestry and Dystopia’ is homage t...

Written By Sergy Odiduro,

Presented by The55Project Art Foundation, the exhibit is running through July 16, 2022, at Miami's Fundación Pablo Atchugarry.