Wednesday January 31, 2007

Art Center South Florida Super Bowl Super Store


Art Center South Florida offers an incisive critique of the over-commercialization of professional sports with their “Super Bowl Super Store” exhibition. Or, wait . . . is that what this is? It looks awfully realistic. Are they really actually selling this stuff? “Well, it’s a little of both,” said their executive director Jeremy Chestler when I called him to ask this morning. Turns out they’ve rented the gallery out to a vendor for Super Bowl week. “Many non-profits rent their spaces out to raise money, this is just for a little longer period.”


This is a great idea: with so many people in town for the game, the Center’s prime location is going to be getting lots of eyeballs this week; why waste the attention on art? But it’s really the tip of the iceberg, right? I mean, let’s rent it for even a little longer; say, the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That’s when folks are really shopping. And for a couple of weeks before Halloween you could sell costumes. Firecrackers for July 4th. The possibilities are endless. The lesson is this: stop worrying so much about showing art all the time, find stuff that people want, and put it on sale. You can really, um, make a profit.

Total gratitude to Worm-Hole Laboratory, who spotted this first (and has generally been giving great blog lately).

Update: More photos.

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  1. Romero Brito    Wed Jan 31, 02:59 PM #  

    Stop showing art and just go commercial. Why didn’t I think of that?

  2. J-J    Wed Jan 31, 07:06 PM #  

    .Ay alesh, stop it with the lame slipery slope argument. One week is totally fine, you and wormhole need to take a chill pill

  3. do I need to put my name here?    Wed Jan 31, 07:14 PM #  

    i’m sorry, but this is a little embarrasing. I hate sports, but if more people were as fanatical about art, it would be a better world. I can see it now, people yelling and stomping around in front of a painting or photo or (whatever here).

  4. FER    Wed Jan 31, 07:21 PM #  

    The artists of the Art Center of Sofla are to art what a Hallmark card is to art

  5. B    Wed Jan 31, 10:32 PM #  

    I’m thinking of setting up an art exhibit in Sports Authority…who’s in?

  6. alesh    Thu Feb 1, 01:23 AM #  


    I’m not making a slippery slope argument. In fact, I’m making no argument at all. I’m having a bit of fun. If I have a point with this, it’s that the very thing that makes the space attractive to a retailer (lots of eyeballs with a known interest) could have been used to engage people with art. But ACSF can do whatever they want as far as I’m concerned.

  7. Steve    Thu Feb 1, 08:41 AM #  

    Nice wimp-out, Alesh.

    No, it’s not a slippery-slope argument, and it DOES make a point (your “If” notwithstanding). Of course they can do whatever they want with their space. within the law. But as a matter of taste, commitment, mission, and example, this just plain blows.

    You had it right with the post, fun and all.

    How bout dem Bears? Whoops.

  8. Adam    Thu Feb 1, 09:13 AM #  

    Why didn’t they at least commission some superbowl themed silkscreened art-tees or something?

    There are so many semi-interesting things that could have at least paid an artist something…

  9. Ruthless and Dickless    Thu Feb 1, 09:19 AM #  

    The ArtCenter is meant to be about art and its resident artists, as both an incubator and springboard for development.

    Jeremy Chestler’s argument that this short-duration rental pays the bills doesn’t add up. If the ArtCenter were being managed properly it wouldn’t have to resort to such antics.

    Arguing about the quality of art and artists or neighboring artists (britto) is not the point. The revolving door directorship of the unqualified is to blame.

  10. Chris    Thu Feb 1, 09:57 AM #  

    There has to have been an empty space somewhere on Lincoln Road where the store could have be set up at.

    It’s just sad.

    Money talks.

    Side note, the Clydesdale horses were being taken for a walk while I was walking my puppy in Little Havana. That was pretty cool.

  11. alesh    Thu Feb 1, 10:33 AM #  

    Steve~ Thanks! I know I had it right in the post. No clue where you think I’m “wimping out.” Sorry if I’m not enough of a blowhard for you, tho; I know those nuanced points can be tough ;)

    Adam~ I actually find this less offensive then some “superbowl themed art-tees”.

    R&D~ He didn’t say that ACSF had fallen on particularly rough times that they were doing it out of desperation, and I didn’t ask. Were that the case, it makes this much more understandable.

    Chris~ “Money talks.” Um, actually, non-profits resist these sorts of temptations every day.

  12. Steve    Thu Feb 1, 11:06 AM #  

    Alesh: no clue where you’ree wimping out?

    “In fact, I’m making no argument at all. I’m having a bit of fun.”

    There you go, Sherlock.

  13. alesh    Thu Feb 1, 03:15 PM #  

    Um, you’re failing in your reading comprehension again, Steve.

    Read the post again. Tell me where the argument is. Ironically, it’s not until my comment #6 that I really spell out the argument. So I guess you’re 180 degrees wrong. But then, you’re used to that, aren’t you?

  14. Unsure    Fri Feb 2, 07:23 AM #  

    I like the Art Center’s “Installation”
    I wonder if there is a process for using the gallery to exhibit work?
    Was this a spur of the moment idea.
    Is it supposed to be an Art Installation?
    Why didn’t they hang Art work up in the space above the merchandise?
    Was it actually only rental of the venue?
    If it is only a rental and they bumped an exhibition, I’d say it fiscally bold, but artistically irresponsible.
    The art center has long history of doing strange things and this is just one incident in a long line of weirdness.

    If they get City, County or State Grant money would this “rental” go against any of the rules of receiving funds for an arts organization?
    I wonder…..

  15. circuitmouse    Fri Feb 2, 05:37 PM #  

    Shameless commercialization by an arts institution, or a glaring example of how underfunded our non-profits are?

    ...or was it just greed?

    Like this is the first time this kind of things has ever happened in Miami. At least they didn’t shut down the causeway….

  16. alesh    Sat Feb 3, 11:43 AM #  

    Shameless commercialization by an arts institution, a glaring example of how underfunded our non-profits are, or just greed?

    I don’t think anyone could answer that definitively, even sitting down with ACSF’s operating budget. Obviously they’re not feeling rich, though.

    Perhaps some enterprising person wants to GuideStar it, but not me — it requires some registration bullshit and downloading a bunch of PDFs. ( is one website that is begging for someone to come along and do what they’re doing much much better.)

  17. Steve    Sat Feb 3, 01:00 PM #  

    Not that Alesh would agree or disagree with any of these choices, circuitmouse. He’s just having a bit of fun.