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Monday October 15, 2012

South Florida Cultural Consortium exhibition 2012

south florida consortium

The South Florida Cultural Consortium is a peculiar thing. It was created in 1986 to share “strategies and resources” among the cultural arms of the governments of Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Monroe, and Martin counties, but one of the things it has yet to create is a website, so getting information on what all the consortium does or how much money is involved is not easy. The yearly Fellowship program is the Consortium’s most publicly visible program. It selects artists from the five participating counties for grants of $15,000. And every year there’s an exhibition, so we the public can see what we paid for. Unfortunately, the exhibition cycles between Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach, and for the latter it inevitably ends up at FAU’s rather un-ideal facilities. It’s an hour drive from Dade (where, on a purely quantitative level, most of the people who care about this stuff live) and offers limited hours. To see it, you’ve pretty much got to set aside a Saturday afternoon and $15 for gas money. And that’s exactly what I did. Let’s have a look.

See the whole article and 16 photos

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Thursday September 20, 2012

Optic Nerve 14 at MoCA

Joshua Hagler, The Evangelists

Music videos have given us thirty years of experimental short-form visual imagery. Films have given us a century of innovative narrarative approaches, with non-linear plotlines, surreal imagery, and a host of other effects. And television has spent almost as long feeding us easily digestible morsels of instant visual gratification. Video art has got it tough — it occupies the same screens as these other media, but it must set itself apart, must elevate itself from all of them. And it must do it while occupying the same screens, and in almost all cases with a fraction of the budget. More recently video art has had to contend with YouTube, which allows literally any jerk with a laptop to experiment with time-based visual imagery. Every piece of video art must answer the question before the discussion of its quality even begins: Why is this not a feature film? Why is this not a music video? Why is this not a television program? Why is this not YouTube piffle?

It’s a wonder how often it succeeds. The genre has produced a stream of works that re-imagine what a moving image can mean, and how it can interact with physical space. There is cross pollination between video art and the traditional video forms, but semantically video art has managed to maintain the same distinction between itself and “everything else” that is essential to all contemporary art.

Optic Nerve 14 contained, among much else: Cara Despain’s Timbre, a surreal stop-motion piece set inside a cardboard box and involving the clay heads of two creatures; Bill Fontana’s Acoustical Visions of the Golden Gate Bridge, a three-minute still-cam shot of the underside of the bridge, with car and boat horn sounds; an excerpt from Joshua Hagler’s stunning The Evangelists, in which four computer-enhanced disembodied heads discuss a mysterious religious event (arson on their apartment building, as it turns out); Yuliya Lanina’s Dodo Valse, a beautifully painted, folkloric-themed animation; Liz Rodda’s Cut, in which CG women’s muscles grow as far as the software slider will allow them to grow; Juan Carlos Saldivar’s Shift, a mini-movie with live-actors covered with paper-mache masks; Carmen Tiffany’s The Accident, a grotesque jumble of homemeade pupets in absurdist conversation and other video rift-raft; Dodrigo Valenzuela’s Diamond Box, black and white interviews of, perhaps, Mexican immigrants, each filmed so that you hear their voice as you see their unmoving face; Doug Garth Williams’ Back and Forth, a bit of clever green-screen trickery; and two YouTube style supercuts: one of all the bits of a Bill Cosby where he’s not talking, one of “The End” title cards from the end of movies.

This is the sort of variety that every edition of Optic Nerve brings. And yet the event feels remarkably consistent from year to year. The overall quality of the 15 or so videos, culled from hundreds of submissions, is always remarkable. Each is 5 minutes or less, so the viewer doesn’t get bogged down. And screening video art this way, rather than encountered on a small monitor in a gallery, makes for a compelling experience. MoCA’s no-thrills auditorium is the wrong shape for video screenings, and the production values are not exactly top notch. (This year: audio problems, and a visible computer pointer hitting the play and pause buttons and adjusting volume during the screening.) But the experience is enough like a movie theater to force the viewer’s attention the way a cinematic film does, despite the disparity of the work.

Bonnie Clearwater was shrewd to include the warped perspective of Carlos Rigau on the selection panel for this year. The man is absurdly smart about video art, and I pictured him fighting for inclusion of pieces like The Evangelists and Cut.

For years, Optic Nerve was a fleeting and elusive event: one screening, with an interested audience far beyond its capacity. But it’s improved: the program will be screened again at the De La Cruz space on October 13th. (It will also travel to the Big Screen Plaza in New York City.) Maybe next year MoCA will do a week-long run, which would allow for reviews like this to reach audiences and give them time to react, and would allow people to see it at their leisure, at the expense of some of the special-occasion-ness. We can also hope that MoCA will see fit to add text from the program to the event’s web page for archival purposes.

But mostly we should be grateful that Optic Nerve exists. Since it’s open to submission by anyone, it casts a wide net. It’s exposed several artists who have gone on to great things. And it’s helped raise awareness of video as art, and make the argument for its ongoing vitality (not as foregone conclusion as we might like to think: video was largely diminished in presence at last year’s Art Basel).

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Friday August 3, 2012

In case you have more Miami performance art money burning a hole in your pocket, my friend Catalina is having a Kickstarter for her piece in the Miami International Performance festival. The event was last weekend, but the benefits make this totally worth it anyway. “The artist will do her best.” I’m in.

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Monday July 23, 2012

Stolen Matisse recovered in Miami

stolen matisse on the left

Whoa, a newspaper getting cute with a headline? SHOCKING.

Anyway, the picture above left is a Matisse stolen from a museum in Caraces, Venezuela over 10 years ago and replaced with the fake on the right. I suspect that difference in how the two were photographed is contributing to how different they look — the fake is darker overall, but more digitally saturated and color balanced differently. Or so it seems. What happens if we try to bring the photos into digital allignment? It’s a tricky business, because unless you photograph the two pieces in the same light and with the same camera they’re going to look different. But anyway, I fixed it, and I suspect this is closer to reality than the Associated Press’ reproduction:

matisse fixed

Now the fake looks a little better. Let’s give the forger some credit (and the people at the museum, who apparently didn’t notice the swap for years).

Anywho. You always wondered what happens to stolen art. No collector with self-respect would buy it, and if they did they’d risk being reported by anyone who saw it and knew enough to know their thing was stolen. You’d have to be a criminal low-life, and only associate with other criminal low-lives? Well, this particular fake Matisse ended up in Miami, where the thieves thought they had a potential buyer. Turns out the buyer ratted them out, there was a sting, and now the painting is recovered.

I hear that most stolen artworks end up in the collections of organized crime bosses, and more importantly are often used as payment, collateral, and gifts in the big-time criminal underworld, because the pieces have a relatively well-known high value and are easier to move around than truckloads of cash.

One other Miami connection with this theft. When I said the painting was stolen “over 10 years ago” what I mean is that’s when they first noticed it was switched. Who noticed? According to the Daily Mail it was Genaro Ambrosino (as in Ambrosino Gallery), who heard in 2002 that someone was trying to sell the painting and contacted the folks in Venezuela. (The Venezuelans, for their money, “suspect” that the painting was swapped during a loan to Spain in 1997, but if you ever check a painting in your collection against the photo you have on record, wouldn’t it be when it comes back from an overseas loan?)

And now for some fun links: here is a dumb ABC News report on the incident, and here is a book written about the heist in 2009, which you should click through just to look at the cover.

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Wednesday July 18, 2012

Critical Miami Podcast, episode 2

critical miami podcast I talk with artist Misael Soto about his gigant beach towel tour, Cuban-Americans and the terms Latino and Hispanic, and the Midtown Miami Walmart.

You can subscribe to this podcast in iTunes or download the mp3.

Episode Links

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Wednesday May 14, 2008

May gallery walk

May gallery hop

You missed Christina Lei Rodriguez’s show at Perrotin, right? Shame, because it’s gorgeous. By dropping the overt references to natural forms, the new work achieves a sort of post-apocalyptic disco grandeur.

May gallery hop

Detail.

May gallery hop

Take an exterior wall, paint it flat black, and write something on it in block letters. It’s pretty hard to miss, as Locust has been demonstrating for the last few months.

May gallery hop

Amber Hawk Swanson’s sex-doll twin shows off her business end. As you lean in to look, a camera’s watching you, with a live feed showing on a screen on the other side of the wall.

May gallery hop

Photos of the doll making friends accompany the installation. These leave something to be desired, actually.

May gallery hop

Map Magazine’s coffee lounge. Cold espresso in little cans distributed.

May gallery hop

In a trailer at the back of the lounge, Snitzer’s trailer hold’s COOPER’s latest work, ass-kicking as usual.

May gallery hop

Gavin Perry demonstrates what happens to artists when their work appears on the cover of a book: you’re issued dress shirts and cigars, and required to sport them when in public.

May gallery hop

Robin Griffiths’ sculpture at Dorsch, replete with WWII-era shaving kit and multiple whiskey bottles.

May gallery hop

Spinning lanterns by N. Sean Glover at Diet.

May gallery hop

At Castillo, Frances Trombly’s latest work, including woven cardboard boxes with embroidered labels.

May gallery hop

Meanwhile, palmetto bugs the size of a child’s hand prowled the streets, attacking stray cats and the occasional art collector. Must be summer kicking in.

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Tuesday May 13, 2008

The Bas Fisher Invitational just had its last show ever and is closed.

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Saturday May 10, 2008

Gallery walk tonight

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Monday April 14, 2008

Lichtenstein at Fairchild

Lichtenstein at Farichild

My third trip to Fairchild was the most interesting yet, thanks in part to unwillingly (and groaningly) submitting to the tram tour. The garden has over 500 volunteers, and among other things they lead all these tours, which are — surprise — extremely interesting and helpful in making sense of what might otherwise seems a somewhat sprawling estate. Fairchild has four distinct plant habitats and … well, I’m not going to regurgitate everything, but trust me, it’s worth it.

Lichtenstein at Farichild

The public attraction aspect is almost secondary to Fairchild’s scientific function. A premiere collection of tropical wildlife, every plant on the property is a scientific specimen, and many are tagged for reference. Botanists come from all over the world to study this stuff.

Lichtenstein at Farichild

In the arid area, almost every different plant is a different species. Set atop a small hill, the area was excavated and filled with fast-draining sandy soil to simulate a desert environment.

Lichtenstein at Farichild

So, I guess we should talk about the Lichtenstein. There are only about 10 sculptures, but they’re pretty hard to miss of course. At their best (for example, this lamp light sculpture) they’re pretty darned good.

Lichtenstein at Farichild

Also the house sculpture, charming enough in a photo, but employing a perspective gimmick that makes it look like it’s moving as you walk past it. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of tired “brushstroke” pieces to be had, but the best of it was pretty good.

Lichtenstein at Farichild

Also, remnants of Chihuly abound. Here a lizard has gotten pretty comfortable with the red tubes. I sort of wish they’d get rid of the glass, because it’s pretty distracting. In the tropical rainforest all people were photographing were the sodding glass balls in the stream. (Tour tidbit: since Miami doesn’t get nearly as much rain as a rainforest needs, the area has a treetop-level sprinkler system — every layer of the rainforest needs water, not just the ground.)

Lichtenstein at Farichild

Orchid fever in the enclosed conservatory building. I took the orchid pictures, but Susan took most of the rest of them, because like a knucklehead I left my camera battery at home. More orchid pictures at flickr: 1, 2, 3. Oh, one last thing. Fairchild has a butterfly garden now. Did you know that if you plant the right plants, butterflies will just start hanging out? Well, they planted lots and lots of them in one little area and viola — a year-round swarm of butterflies. Good stuff.

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Wednesday April 9, 2008

A few recent articles on Miami artists: Brett Sokol on William Cordova, Adler Guerrier, and Bert Rodriguez, who are currently in the Whitney Biennial, a report on Bert’s piece, in-gallery therapy sessions, by our pal C-Monster, Victor Barrenechea on Scott Murray of Twenty Twenty, and … grr — the maroons at the Herald have yanked down the Wendy Wischer profile, though the slideshow of her work remains. (via)

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Tuesday April 1, 2008

FIU MFA show

An MFA in art is serious business. Not only does it mean you’re serious about this stuff and you intend to spend your life making art (75% of fine art BFAs make no attempt to have a career as an artist*), but you should have your act together, and be making serious work that can be judged at the highest levels. Right? So. Here’s the latest crop out of FIU, one of Miami’s better art programs.

fiu mfa show 2008

Harumi Abe is a friend of mine, but I don’t think I’m being unfair to say that she stole the show. Her paintings popped off the wall, and they’re both hyper-real and completely mundane. You know that line Franklin used to kick around his footer, the one about the painting of a carrot starting a revolution? We’re getting close here.

fiu mfa show 2008

So, I’m given to understand that there’s some technical difference in Fred Karrensberg’s work that makes it incorrect to say that he’s the obvious protege of Bill Burke, but you could do worse then to be just that. These pieces are mysterious and rich, and one even managed to combine cast glass and video without being laughable. (But I wouldn’t recommend trying that again.)

fiu mfa show 2008

Dan Mintz has been working on this body of work, photos of his son, for years, and it’s come together spectacularly. Cheers, Dan (although might I suggest a middle initial or something, because there may be a google problem lurking). Photography always suffers in hastily-re-photographed reproduction, but I’ve managed to mangle this piece more then usual. Apologies; I assure you the original was crisp and masterfully printed.

fiu mfa show 2008

Angelica Clyman. Here’s where we start to get into trouble. I understand about the carrot and everything, and Clyman obviously has the light thing figured out, but her attempts to convey spirituality and deepness through images of a couple hanging out outdoors

fiu mfa show 2008

I also wasn’t completely convinced by the work of Chaitra Garrick. Based on stories told to her by her grandmother, they’re charmingly crude mixed-media drawings of people and animals in peculiar situations. The best of them exude a sort of iconic charm, and maybe Garrick will find a way to harness more of that in future work.

A video by Maria Lino was also in the show. The exhibition is up through April 12th, and I’d recommend making the trip to check it out. The university also published a very nice catalog.

I made this number up. But I’d batcha it’s close.

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Monday March 24, 2008

A nice article in the New York Times on Bonnie Clearwater and MoCA, which is about to build that big new building. (via)

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Monday March 17, 2008

museum park

A new design for Museum Park has been released. Basically, they cut about $10 million out of the grove area, the southern part of the park (where a lot of the interesting stuff was, it should be noted). Current projected price: $49-54 million. All together now: yeah, right!

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Wednesday March 12, 2008

First Chihuly. Now Botero and Lichtenstein. I hope Fairchild gets the obvious stuff out of it’s system asap and gets down to some interesting and non-obvious artists.

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Tuesday February 19, 2008

Photos from the Coconut Grove Arts Festival: 1, 2. About what you’d expect.

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Tuesday February 12, 2008

February Artwalk

February Artwalk Wynwood

Blackbooks’ spectacular show at Spinello — no stencils, all wood cuts. With the help of a computer and laser, images are precision-cut out of the top layer of a piece of painted wood. The results tend to speak for themselves, and note that this technique gets extended into sculpture and other media with, presumably, the use of a jigsaw.

February Artwalk Wynwood

Swarm the freshly-scrubbed art collectors!

February Artwalk Wynwood

Charley Friedman’s show at Gallery Diet was a bit unfocused, but there’s no arguing with larger-then-life nipple photos and Q-tip sculptures.

February Artwalk Wynwood

Rene Barge and Gustavo Matamoros’ sound installation at Dorsch. This reminds me of the story where the Velvet Underground wanted to record a 24-hour piece of music, and then have their engineer do custom mixes of it for each listener, based on their personality… But seriously, it’s interesting how easily people seemed to take to the idea that the way sound activates a space is very similar to the way that paintings on a wall do. 24 channels, and you walk around to experience each one, but what you’re really doing is absorbing the whole thing as a continuous experience.

February Artwalk Wynwood

An uneven portrait show at Hardcore Art Space, but with some real standouts.

February Artwalk Wynwood

For example, Jordi Bernardo’s Tenerife. I don’t know if you can see the person standing off on the right side of the frame?

February Artwalk Wynwood

We close, as always, with Twenty Twenty (because the beer there never ever runs out). Amazing laser piece by Matthew Schriber.

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Monday February 4, 2008

As they do every so often, New York Times surveys the Miami scene. An eclectic collection of galleries, clubs, and other odds and ends (e.g. Lost and Found Saloon, of which a review is forthcoming right here, and the recently mentioned Aventura Mall art collection). (via NefariousGirl)

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Museum members month

Museum T-shirts

Here’s a good idea, well executed: for all of February, membership at any of nineteen museums gets you free into any of the others.* Simple enough, although they’re also packing the month with special events, parties and the like. I’d say this is a no-brainer, and if you’ve been thinking about joining any of these institutions (the MAM is a particular bargain, having recently raised regular admission rates but not membership rates), well you know what to do. My only gripe is that the Metrozoo isn’t participating.

The oddest aspect, though is the t-shirts: fifteen local artists were commissioned to create a shirt for each participating museum, and the commissions must have been pretty open-ended, because the results range from the literal to the, well, not so literal. The shirts are $25 each, on sale only at a couple of special events throughout the month, so if you want one, you’d better do some planning.

* Actually, a couple of the museums have no admission, some don’t have memberships, and some aren’t really museums, but let’s not quibble.

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Friday February 1, 2008

Miami Provocateur interviews Nina Arias, primarily on her latest project — an art studio for abandoned children in Bogotá. “Please note while working on this interview Nina called herself a ‘keyrat,’ perhaps one of the truest Miamisms.”

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Wednesday January 30, 2008

It turns out that Aventura Mall has a collection of public art. A fairly impressive one, at that.

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Wednesday January 16, 2008

January artwalk

january arthop

Aramis Gutierrez’s sensational painting show at Castillo. Across the street at Gallery Diet, Richard Höglund’s installation had folks scratching their heads. Like a parody of contemporary art, it took a simple geometric shape and threw it at everything — small drawings, big drawings, installation, video, paper stacks — and nothing stuck.

january arthop

Christina Pettersson’s eye-popping drawings of bricks stolen from writer’s homes. This one is Jack Kerouac. It’s unfortunate that these are only ever seen as details — the bricks are drawn life-sized, centered on massive pieces of otherwise-blank paper.

january arthop

One of Steven Gagnon’s car projections in front of Locust, which includes the audio and video of a man describing his illegal entry into the US.

january arthop

Bethany Pelle shows off one of her immaculate little kitchen sculptures. This one comes apart to function as a tea strainer.

Hans van de Bovenkamp

Between two buildings on North Miami Avenue sit five of these huge aluminum 80s-looking palm tree sculptures. I mean, people are wasting their time making stuff like this? With world hunger, war, and disease, and you’re going to make huge palm tree sculptures and finish them off by drawing lines on them with a drill? Wow.

january arthop

Kevin Medal’s at Twenty Twenty. A tour de force of a video created with thousands and thousands of drawings, stop-motion play-doh, and computers. Stunning, and . . .

january arthop

. . . some of the cells are displayed in a tiny space adjacent to the projection room. Click the image above for full-size, and find the image from the still above.

Missed the Jordan Massengale show show at Tachmes, but luckily it will still be up in February.

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Tuesday January 8, 2008

You people had better watch out: Hugo has a blog.

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Wednesday January 2, 2008

A modified version of the MIA Britto shirt has been approved and ordered, so get ready to puke at the airport.

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Wednesday December 19, 2007

Anne Tschida asks the musical question, ‘Is Art Basel is, or is Art Basel ain’t Miami’s baby after 2010?’ Caution: this article is replete with words like “nascent.”

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12 of Miami’s ‘future stars in Ocean Drive, including Lolo, Colby Katz, ANR, and a number of “fashion and accessories designers.” (via whl)

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Monday December 17, 2007

A few more noteworthy Art Basel reports: Rotund World, Art Fag City, NY Times on Concrete Waves, The Next Few Hours, Knoxville Art Blog. Also, some distant reflection from our man in California. (The “but is it art” thing was a joke, although I confess to enjoying the blurring of the line between art and prank, which probably makes me seem ever the less in possession of a clue re what the former is. So be it.)

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Thursday December 13, 2007

What’s wrong with this picture? Northbound Biscayne Blvd. at 110th street. Thanks to Skip Van Cel, who says: “I do not believe there is a school nearby. It is either an official looking prank or maybe an art piece.”

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Wednesday December 12, 2007

Miami Fever’s photos from Photo Miami. (I just got dizzy typing that sentence.) Also, did you know that MF has a video stream? Here is a nice one of a South Beach club line.

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Monday December 10, 2007

Aqua, Wynwood, more Pulse, Geisai, Photo Miami, Aipad, Casa Lin, Art Miami

Art Basel Miami Beach

Shana Lutker’s Hear It Here, at Art Perform, was a bit of a dud, at least from the little bit I saw. Maybe it got cooking later, but for me it confirmed a long standing suspicion that performance art is much easier to pull off in a small enclosed space.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Wynwood: This piece is officially the best thing all week. A kid from Dash high school made it, and promised to send me his information, and of course didn’t hasn’t yet. But and so yes, they were offering to take people’s pictures, right there on the street. This skewers more things that deserve skewering in one stroke then most people manage in a career, and it brings to new heights to the “But is it art?” issue for dessert. Rock over London, rock over Miami, Mission Accomplished. Update: Ilan Wilson-Soler. Thanks to everyone who helped track him down, and thanks Ilan for the kick-ass piece. Let’s have more like this.

Art Basel Miami Beach

At Twenty Twenty, Jen Stark’s How to Become a Millionaire in 100 Days (answer: make 10,000 pieces of paper a day, which is exactly how this piece came about).

Art Basel Miami Beach

Did you hear of a fair called Fountain? Me neither, but I stumbled across it, and was pretty impressed. Here’s one of a few of David Opdyke’s great little sculptures.

Art Basel Miami Beach

William Lamson’s Vital Capacity. A guy is in a vertical chamber, encased in a box up to his neck, his face covered with up-facing spikes. Balloons get dropped on him, and he must keep them up as long as possible by blowing, because, imagine a constant barage of balloons popping right in front of your face. Great use of a vertical LCD.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Bob and Roberta Smith (what is up with those names?), 26.05.07 Never Trust an Hippie. I hope you can read this (and btw it’s over 100 inches wide).

Art Basel Miami Beach

It’s always a treat to see one of Robin Griffiths’ pieces.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Brandon Opalka’s mural covers the entire side of Dorsch. (It’s going to have to be a “to-see,” because my photo here just really isn’t doing it any justice.) Do we have a candidate for Largest Artwork in Miami?

THIS IS AN EXCERPTCLICK BELOW FOR THE REST!!

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Moore space, Design Miami, Scope, Pulse

Wow… lots and lots to get through here. And I’m leaving out lots more great stuff. Tonight is the party in the Design District/Wynwood, otherwise try to make it to the Positions party — I have photos from last night which I’ll post later, but it was wacked out. OK, here’s yesterday:

Art Basel Miami Beach

Moore Space: Claire Fontaine, Instructions for the Sharing of Private Property. An actual, unabashed, lockpicking how-to.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Loris Greaud, Illusion is a Revolutionary Weapon, M46 paint ball gun with IKB (International Klein Blue) paint balls. Can you imagine?

Art Basel Miami Beach

Design Miami: DM takes itself very very seriously, but that’s not to say there isn’t great stuff to see, both from a practical/beautiful and a spectacle perspective. Lodged firmly in the latter, Demisch Danant’s concrete chair.

Art Basel Miami Beach

“Designer of the Year” Tokujin Yoshioka’s Chair that disappears in the rain. Much more about Yoshioka’s gorgeous installation here.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Scope: As always, Scope rocked. To boot, at least 6 Miami Galleries (7?) have set up shop there. Here’s Shang Hui’s fiberglass Mermaid. She has a temple on her head.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Didn’t catch the artist or gallery (shame on me), but here’s a ~4 foot paper airplane carved from marble. Shocking craftsmanship.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Li Wei, Bright Apex.

IN THE INTEREST OF SPACE I’M HIDING THE REST OF THESE AFTER A BREAK.

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Wednesday December 5, 2007

Art Basel day 1

Art Basel Miami Beach

The gates open at noon sharp on Wednesday for the uber-elite guests. Here they are moments before, crowded into the convention center’s lobby. The regular-elite get in at 2 pm, the merely special go to the Vernissage at 5 pm, and the riff raff gets in starting Thursday.

Art Basel Miami Beach

I bring this one up because my man Wolfgang Tillmans is one of the big photographers at the fair. I saw Nice work by Candida Hoffer and Gursky as always, but Tillmans was all over the place. The far wall in this picture shows one of his quintessential photo arrangements, albeit all in frames. The still-lives absolutely slay. (neuger-riemschneider gallery)

Art Basel Miami Beach

The usual suspects at White Cube were rounded out by a huge nazi/horror movie diorama by Jake & Dinos Chapman.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Two magnetized cubes suspended in a corner. Jeppe Hein, 303 Gallery NY.

Art Basel Miami Beach

At von Senger, a concrete-drawing robot. Not a very smart roboy (they had to re-position him once in a while), but he makes up in art brawn what he lacks in brains, yes?

Art Basel Miami Beach

Lara Favaretto. Yes, she wrote that on a wall with a marker and called it art. What are you going to do about it? (“Dimensions variable,” of course.) This is at Galleria Franco Noero, where I also very highly recommend Simon Starling’s “Four Thousand Seven Hundred and Twenty Five,” A projection of a film made by a motion-control camera panning around an exquisite chair, and accompanying diagram. Don’t take my word for that one — check it out.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Last one from Noero — Andrew Dadson’s flowers in black water. Do try this at home.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Arshile Gorky (from 1946) at Matthew Marks Gallery.

Art Basel Miami Beach

At De Carlo gallery, they are probably hating having installed this fake ATM with abandoned baby in silicone. Not to disapoint, attendees kept trying to use the ATM, and ignored the baby in a basket. Hey! How are you so sure that one’s real and that one’s fake!?

Art Basel Miami Beach

George Herold’s paining, Acrylic and bricks on canvas (with, I’m assuming, some sort of Herculean frame and substructure). Aizpuru, which also had more of that rockin’ Wolfgang Tillmans.

Art Basel Miami Beach

At maccarone, an installation dedicated to the Mass MoCA / Christoph Büchel fiasco, mostly framed court documents, e-mails, and a printout from NYTimes.com.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Also there: huge chocolate Santas with dildos butt plugs. also available in a convenient 1’ size. Yawn.

Art Basel Miami Beach

New this year: Art Supernova, a separate little section where each gallery’s art is separated from their storage and office areas, resulting in supposedly a more museum-like atmosphere. Well, slightly. Anyway, here’s a guy who’ll be performing hair sculptures all week. Stop by for a trim.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Nina Katchadourian’s Continuum of Cute. You’re not seeing the whole thing, but it goes from left to right and from top to bottom. Not sure if you can rearrange them to your liking.

Art Basel Miami Beach

A couple of Felipe Barbosa’s soccer ball sculptures. Too many people to get a good photo of his great wall-hanging.

Art Basel Miami Beach

ShanghART never disappoints. This year: Xu Zhen’s reconstruction of an Asian market. Far as I can tell, stocked with real groceries.

Update: Rather then do a new post, here are pictures from later in the day, NADA and the Stooges show:

Art Basel Miami Beach

Note: this is an animation! Three of these in a row, with discretely concealed projectors, at Vacio 9. Very nice.

Art Basel Miami Beach

This spaceman was part of an interesting installation at Ballroom Marfa.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Wilfredo Prieto’s El Tiempo es Oro/Time is God, at Martin Van Zomeren — this watch, suspended from the ceiling by a very long chain, in an otherwise empty and gray-painted booth. Appears to be accurate.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Gnarly balsa-wood sculptures at Roebling Hall. Yes, it’s about cutting wood, but it’s also about the 16 oz. beer can.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Yuken Teruya.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Blow de la Barra’s radiant booth.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Latest from Ian Burns. If you’re not familiar, it’s live video that’s generated by contraptions made from household objects. This one is a jet (Air Force One!) flying through a storm. It involves a tiny camera, live feed, a toy airplane, spinning background, haze effects (a spinning plastic cup between the camera and airplane, and several motors to make the whole thing shake and jostle for effect. Mesmerizing.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Graham Hudson’s Five Tools, which requires no explanation except that the tape measure at the bottom is about a quarter inch from the ground.

Art Basel Miami Beach

André Ethier, at Derek Eller Gallery.

Art Basel Miami Beach

I was required to post something from this gallery because it’s Czech: Jan Kotik, Coat of Arms of Le Sievr de la Mothe Cadillac (1658-1730), Hunt Kastner.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Yes, it’s the Stooges. They were really great, and it’s difficult to imagine Iggy ever in his life having less energy then he had last night. Another thing I learned — lots of kids are into the Stooges way more then I am. They were psyched.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Some well-orchestrated “mayhem.” Folks were invited onstage for one number, then invited back off before the show continued. Still not bad, and people were rowdy! I got hit in the head with a stray flying bottle, which some kid promptly dove for and threw back in the direction of the stage. Also: I think the Stooges played ‘I wanna be your dog’ like three times.

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Tuesday December 4, 2007

Art Basel the links

Installing something impressive in the Botanical Gardens across from the Convention Center.

OK folks, you know the drill. I’ll be delivering coverage from the show all week, more comprehensive information, and sometime Thursday or Friday, the “Art Basel guide for normal people.” For now, let’s get started with some links, of to which I will be adding later:

Updates:

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Monday November 26, 2007

Herzog & deMeuron’s plans for the new Miami Art Museum building will be revealed during Art Basel.

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Monday November 19, 2007

Bigups to William Cordova, Bert Rodriguez, and Adler Guerrier aka Dig, who are to will be part of the Whitney Biennial next year. (And down with banal mockery.)

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Tuesday November 13, 2007

November artwalk

November artwalk

Mural at Locust by Ed Young. (btw, I’m debating whether to do these this way, or in the slideshow. But for now, you can click them to see bigger.)

November artwalk

Inside, a rockin’ installation site-specific sculpture* by L/B.

November artwalk

Adorable mini-art-fair at Spinello. Just to the left of guy’s head is Jen Stark’s piece (because why miss an opportunity to mention Jen Stark?).

November artwalk

I’ll tell you what — word got out about the Diet Gallery. Or maybe it was the heavenly neon sign outside, but the place was packed. And the art, it was good. Welcome DG! Anyway, here’s Andrew Mowbray.

November artwalk

I was a little taken aback and forgot to get this artist’s name. Anyone?? Abby Manock, who’s website is worth a visit.

November artwalk

The consistently stunning María José Arjona. (Actually, a better picture here.)

November artwalk

How to impress people at your gallery opening or function: make delicious mojitos.

November artwalk

A few stills from Carlos Rigau aka Kenneth Cohen’s new video, which distills down all the man’s-head-on-boy’s-body stuff into a mind-bending 5 minutes. Nice work, sir! This is at the lovely show Erika curated at Tachmes, which consisted almost entirely of video and sculpture based on television sets (up through Basel).

November artwalk

And during which was produced this guitar cake.

* I give up: is it an installation or a sculpture? Is it site-specific?

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Thursday November 1, 2007

At ArtsJournal, Glenn Weiss has an excellent report on Britto in Miami, including pictures of all the public art pieces, the perfume and liquor bottles, the cars, and the 2006 superbowl halftime pre-game show. Also lots of interesting insights, including the comparisons to Peter Max and Dale Chihuly, and this: “As Britto may have learned . . . printing art on anything – cups, T-shirts, fishing rods – has a positive effect on distribution of the imagery. The goal of the marketing is to familiarize a broad audience with the imagery and its appreciation by the rich and famous.”

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Wednesday October 31, 2007

Two more roosters found!

william burroughswilliam burroughs

Muchas gracias to Suzy of MB411 for sending these photos over. She says: “I found you some more cocks! These aren’t Cuban though…I found each of them outside of Nicaraguan establishments! The first one is on Flagler and NW 16th Ave and the second is on SW 2nd ST and 8th Ave.”

Perfect. I’d say that we now have enough material to get a tag up: cocks. And while careful examination of the shapes suggests that not all the photos are originate from the Miami-Dade Empowerment Trust program, clearly there is a family resemblance. So . . . does anyone have any more cock pictures?

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Monday October 29, 2007

Found: another one of the cocks, at Miami’s famous Firehouse Four.

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Thursday October 25, 2007

James Wilkins has a few pictures and some commentary on the new Hollywood ArtsPark (btw, I work across the street from this park).

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Wednesday October 17, 2007

Miami Contemporary Artists the book! By Julie Davidow and Paul Clemence, with a forward by Elisa Turner. Over 100 artists, including Hernan Bas, Jose Bedia, Teresita Fernandez, Naomi Fisher, Luis Gispert, Daniel Arsham, Susan Lee Chun, Cristina Lei Rodriguez, and TM Sisters. Book launch events around Art Basel, but looks like you can get a copy now.

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Britto-designed uniforms proposed for MIA

Britto uniform

OK, so this design was pretty seriously proposed for all employees of Miami International Airport. The article doesn’t exactly say what the status is, but some of the Miami-Dade Commissioners didn’t like it much. Natacha Seijas actually said, “my maid wears better clothes than this t-shirt,” which really deserves it’s own article, but whatever. My impression is that they want the design changed, but are not averse to having Britto uniforms for the airport. Yes, the shirts are fugly. But there is a larger issue underlying, and we’re way overdue for a serious conversation about this, people.

Now look, I don’t have anything against Britto. A couple of months ago I was working on an overview of everything he’s got going in Miami, and it was going to have a pretty positive spin. He’s a great guy, he makes colorful decorative stuff that makes people smile, and he’s been very generous to lots of positive causes. But in terms of actual art, his stuff is bullshit. Even the people who like it admit that. They’ll say things like, “I know it’s not really good art, but I just like it.” And that’s great — there’s certainly room in the world for a little inane eye candy ((of which talking, you may to enjoy theze superdope screen savers)).

I’m just concerned that it’s getting a little out of hand here. I now pass at least three different Britto sculptures on my commute to work, at least two of which are on public property. Now look here: public art is serious business. It’s based on tax money (which, as P.J. O’Rourke jokes, we’ll kill your grandmother if she doesn’t pay it), and it’s meant to enrich our lives. And trust me, Britto’s stuff may make you smile, but it is not enriching jack shit. We have an Art in Public Places program, and we should not be circumventing that process for public art selection. (The catastrophe of maintaining that art is a somewhat separate issue, btw.)

Fine, public money to my knowledge hasn’t directly funded any of the pieces in question, they’re either on private land or were donated. Private citizens can buy whatever they want. But private citizens should put the breaks on. We don’t let pop stars rewrite the national anthem,* and we shouldn’t let Britto’s formulaic pop-art rehashing become a de-facto flag for the city of Miami just because it’s loud, colorful, and mindless vocabulary ties in with the most easily marketable aspects of our city. Sooner or later, everyone’s going to wake up and recognize this stuff for the bubblegum twaddle it is, and it’ll be too late — the whole city’s going to be covered in it.

* This point is somewhat undermined by this, but still.

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Tuesday October 16, 2007

October gallery hop

bakehouse art complex

Click for slideshow. October second Saturday at Emmanuel Perrotin, the Bakehouse Art Complex, Snitzer, and Dorsch, and more. And can I say: less then two months till Basel. Of course I can.

Update: More pictures of art at dig.

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Friday October 12, 2007

KH has a perception of Miami’s art scene which is at odds with the conventional wisdom. “Miami has a heavier core than people often give it credit for . . . I find that as a community of art makers and an art audience, we have an interest in something darker and deeper than festive hedonism–things swampy, earthly, deadpan, furious, benighted and spiritual.”

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Tuesday October 9, 2007

Spencer Tunick shoot photo by Luciano Bove

One more photo, by Luciano Bove, from the Spencer Tunick shoot. Sorry, I can’t resist the pink.

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Monday October 8, 2007

spencer tunick at the sagamore

Early photos from the Spencer Tunick photo shoot at the Sagamore. Photos: John Vanbeekum, Miami Herald. Update: Channel 10 has more photos in a slideshow, and some video.

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Monday October 1, 2007

“[Carlos] Suarez de Jesus may admire Kilimnik’s show, but that admiration seems intimately entwined with an attitude which diminishes and belittles women.”

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The Little Havana roosters

william burroughswilliam burroughs

One of the more colorful bits to come out of the Miami-Dade Empowerment Trust situation is the case of these fiberglass roosters. Eight of these were ordered by the trust five years ago (total cost: $26,000) to give some pizazz to Little Havana. They quickly became the subject ridicule, then of vandalism.

Most of them have been mercifully removed, one still stands, hopefully to remind our esteemed leaders to relax and keep their notions of “art” to themselves. For crying out loud — Bacardi logos? What on earth were they thinking?! I photographed these in 2003; Veronica mentioned one in her piece on Little Havana in 2005.

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Monday September 24, 2007

goya etchings

Francisco Goya’s etchings, on view at the Freedom Tower (!) through November 9th (12 – 7 pm every day except Sunday and Monday). I saw these the last time I was in Prague; they’re exquisite.

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Thursday September 20, 2007

Karen Kilimnik at MoCA

Before you go any further, grab a phone and call 786.735.1945. Ignore the nice recording, and punch in 1-1-#, and you’ll hear what at least one person thought of this piece. I love this because it makes the painting immediate, and it dispels the notion that lay-people often have of contemporary art, which is that you either “get it” or you don’t. (If you’re feeling adventurous, and you haven’t seen the show yet, try also 1-#, curator Ingrid Schaffner’s introduction to the show’s opening gambit, the “red room” installation.)

Karen Kilimnik’s show at MoCA demands unhurried exploration. Strains of meaning and beauty undulate around her paintings, installations, drawings, photos, sculptures, and videos, and they reveal themselves to the patient viewer. Kilimnik is known for her “scatter art” installations, but honestly, those were some of the less interesting pieces in the show. Picture a couple of piles of cartoonishly large yellow and blue pills, a mirror with a white powder, a razor blade, and a syringe. Or picture the most predictable tableau possible based on the Boomtown Rat’s I Don’t Like Mondays (chicken wire, gun-range targets, and a recording of the aforementioned tune on headphones).

Karen Kilimnik It’s all uphill from there, though. Kilimnik’s paintings are genuinely great — she has a feel for gesture, for color, for context, and especially for narrative. They also tell a story. There’s the story of the fenced Stonehenge (above), and there’s the red room installation that front-loads the show with a bombastic show of pure power. A free-standing little room in a large and otherwise-empty gallery contains a circular couch, red wallpaper, and 50 paintings, hung salon-style on all the walls. There is appropriation and anachronism in these paintings (and at least one is left intentionally incomplete), but what drives them is her technique — bold and loose, but extremely lucid. I suspect they would be judged excellent by any painting snob, yet they work extremely well subsumed into this rather playful larger project.

kilimnik, drawing The heart of the exhibition, however, are Kilimnik’s drawings. Employing a single-panel cartoon strategy without any of that format’s smugness or ease, they showcase her love/hate relationship with drawing, and play around with meaning, often leaving it just out of reach. Even after including text (both in the drawing and in the title) and overlapping symbolic references, we are usually left with an intriguing juxtaposition, not an overt statement. They make no attempt to delight the eye the way the paintings do, and often include elements drawn with deliberate clumsiness, stray marks, and a general approach to the surface that recalls the Basquiat school

There is a real magic to most of the pieces in the show. They are beautiful to behold, but their allure goes beyond their visual draw. They are loaded with meaning that walks just the right line of ambiguity — always hinting at a larger truth, but never allowing that truth to be captured and contained (clear-cut meaning is the short road to irrelevance in art).

One installation piece in the show consists of a splatter of red paint low down on a wall, accompanied by four fingerprint-like marks and a hand-drawn “S” in the same paint, all accompanied by a rectangle of pink synthetic fur on the ground and odd playing-card symbols attached to the wall. A nearby (but separate) piece consists of a silk sheet among straw with a black candle and more playing card symbols. What are we to make of this? Did a once-rich person, reduced by some sinister illness (one of the titles makes reference to smallpox), crawl from one space to the other to die, first issuing a vague message to the future? Again, no literal explanation will account for every element, and so the piece(s) play around with meaning without dashing towards it.

The show is rounded out with a couple of large installations, including a large room filled with aquatic objects which is somewhat less satisfying then the rest of the show. The back room collects several pieces that are again quite different from the rest of Kilimnik’s work. A dark photograph of a solitary figure, accompanied by two glittered twigs (arranged somewhat like antlers around the framed print) is especially evocative. Possibly the least interesting element in the show are the five video pieces, which seem to be mostly based on appropriated video. Haphazardly spliced together, they seem like transcriptions of someone experimenting with a collection of tapes and a television remote control, and with the exception of one that features footage from a fashion documentary (which is interesting more for the source material then the treatment), they leave one wondering whether the “meaning” is worth perusing.

The exhibition as a whole is more powerful then the sum of its parts because, while the techniques and media are all over the place, there is a profound and mysterious sensibility that pervades almost every piece in it. It isn’t anything as neatly tied up as “feminism” (though certainly feminist concerns are raised more then once), but rather an approach to the world which is way too subtle to be contrived, but way too distinct and present to be missed.

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Monday September 17, 2007

Dear Miami galleries, thanks for keeping those sites updated, now can we talk about the Flash?

Try this experiment: Google a few of the artists that David Castillo represents, and note where the gallery’s page for that artist falls in the search results (#1 for Pepe Mar, a little way down on the first screen for Andrew Guenther, and on the second screen for Wendy Wischer). Repeat for Fred Snitzer (oops, it’s not possible to link directly to his artist list). Nope. Nada. Nothing (note: not even when you add the name of the gallery to the request). Hernan Bas is there right now, but with a broken link and slipping fast.

That, my friends, is why you don’t want a Flash website.

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Monday September 10, 2007

The state of the Art in Public Places program in Miami is a complete disaster. Many works have been lost, stolen, damaged, or destroyed. This makes me want to cry, and I want whoever is responsible to be brought up on charges of criminal negligence. It’s time for us to stop putting up with all this neglect and corruption in our government.

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Rotund World visits Miami, and gives it the skeptical eye of a former resident (with photos!): part 1, part 2. “Seen a certain way, at just the right distance, the Miami of today is a teeming, sky-high toy metropolis, as appealing as a dream. It looks like a sleek urban pleasure craft for the twenty-first century’s captains of industry, or whatever they are these days: real estate moguls, no doubt, on-the-lam financiers from Venezuela, summering drug lords, homegrown art collector-pashas. But the newness quickly curdles.”

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Thursday September 6, 2007

Miami Beach 'CANDO' arts neighborhood

Borders: lincoln road, dade blvd, meridian ave, and the beach

The CANDO arts neighborhood got a preliminary vote of approval by the Miami Beach city commission yesterday. It establishes a neighborhood (see map, above) in the northern part of South Beach where the city intends to help the arts flourish by . . . well, allowing developers to build condos with smaller units. Specifically: buildings on the Beach normally must have units that are 400 sq. feet minimum and 550 average. In the district, the latter requirement would be waived, allowing buildings of all-400 sq. foot units, for developments where 25% of the units are set aside for artists and those who work for non-profit arts organizations. Qualifying residents would have to make 50% to 80% of the county’s median income (which is $39,100 for one person, $44,700 for a household of two, and $55,900 for a family of four).

The linked article above, and the longer piece in the Sunday Herald, report that it’s 80% to 120% of median income. My information comes from the city’s planning board documents [pdf], which I take to be correcter. Much of the complaining seems to revolve around the fact that the 80-120% is too high, so I wonder where this’ll go.

It’s a common refrain that artists increase land values with their presence and price themselves out over time. And while the specifics of this plan open it to criticism, I think it will actually have a positive effect over time. The map shows that their is a substantial arts presence in the neighborhood already, and indeed rental rates on the beach are sometimes pretty reasonable.

Anyone making 50 to 80% of median income deserves some help with their housing. The argument for giving this help to those in the arts is that they specifically and tangibly enrich a neighborhood. But what will be more interesting to me is whether this really becomes a cohesive neighborhood as a result of this program; that would be a true measure of its success. (thanks to a commenter for suggesting this)

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Wednesday September 5, 2007

Ah! TM Sisters on the cover of ARTnews (actually, just Monica). And it’s the “25 Trendsetters” issue. Unfortunately, the article is not available on line. Update: At Awesome-ish, theyz ave yr skanz.

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Tuesday August 21, 2007

One more art thing: you can volunteer to get naked for Spencer Tunick’s project at the Sagamore hotel in October. (via, and more at, Wormhole)

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Advertise! (on the walls of Fredric Snitzer Gallery)

Snitzer walls for rent

Our pal Bert Rodriguez is having his solo show at Snitzer in October, and he’s decided to sell the wall space for advertising. Behold the lavish PDF spec sheet Package.pdf (and really do try to download and check it out — it’s a pretty central component of the project). Now, art has drawn on the world of advertising for decades. What’s interesting about this project is that it takes the idea to a it’s logical extreme.

This is spelled out most clearly in the pricing structure: it’s not cheap. Anyone buying ads in the show will have to mean it, because they’re spending real money on a real ad. It’ll be real interesting to see what ends up in the show — more art-leaning interests? Liquor? Clothing? Obviously Snitzer is a very prestigious location, and I have no doubt of their 5,700 visitors/month (plus media exposure) claims, but this is a highly unusual proposition, and most advertisers like to play it safe most of the time. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

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Monday August 20, 2007

Looks like the website of Fredric Snitzer Gallery is being redesigned in Flash. Please please say it ain’t so!

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Tuesday August 14, 2007

August gallery hop

August art hop

Mike Taylor Animal Science. This thing spins, and has multiple images painted on several panels, all in a space separated from the gallery with old sheets. It won me over. The rest of the show? Not so much.

August art hop

Next door at the Buena Vista Building, Skip Van Cel’s installation (69 mattresses acquired from a closing hotel), Now lie in it. No thanks, but impressive anyway.

August art hop

Downstairs, some sort of cute interactive activity involving painting and photography.

August art hop

Jetting to Wynwood. Target left, empty condos right (um, audience-right, not stage-right).

August art hop

Tom Scicluna’s Mast at Twenty Twenty Projects. A sailboat mast traversing the gallery. You were expecting something more?

August art hop

Check out the shoes on John Hancock’s keyboardist. John realized he couldn’t compete and kicked off his Reeboks.

August art hop

I liked this piece from Ralph Provisero’s show at Dorsch.

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Thursday August 9, 2007

TNfH points out that the videos from Optic Nerve are available on uVu, Channel 2’s video site. Unfortunately they’re not categorized yet: type “Optic Nerve” in the search box to get them. Also, Gesai Miami is accepting applications for an exhibition during Art Basel.

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Monday July 30, 2007

A letter published in the SunPost calling for more arts coverage in Miami (scroll to the bottom). This is from the panel discussion back in May. (via WHL)

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Wednesday July 18, 2007

A nice overview of what’s been happening in Wynwood this decade in, of all places, the Washington Post.

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Tuesday July 17, 2007

Miami Art Exchange with a good writeup of Saturday’s art walk: part 1, part 2. At least one person had to go to the hospital from the heat.

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Monday July 16, 2007

Bicentennial park with museum overlay

Home Page

Our pal Christopher recently visited Bicentennial Park and shot some photos to try to visualize how much of the park the museums will take. I decided to try my own shot at visualizing the difference — mouse over the image above to overlay the proposed plan for the park, taken from this post, over the Google view of the site. (I’ve been elbow-deep in the JavaScript all morning to make this happen, btw.)

A couple of observations. Firstly, I think they should ditch the walkway between the museums and I-395, and push the museums as far to the north as possible. Secondly, I wonder if anyone told the American Airlines Arena that we were planning a big soccer field on their side of the canal stump. Speaking of the canal stump, the plan calls for part of it to be filled in, plus the addition of a little island, which will make the transition from the arena to the park nicer for pedestrians and actually replace some of the land the museums are taking up. I am perplexed to be reminded that the southernmost building, just north of the canal stump, actually is a restaurant. Funny how nobody seems to be making a fuss about that. Also, remember that the museum buildings as seen in this illustration are not representative as to their final shape, though the sizes should be accurate.

Update: A closer look at the AAA site reveals that the eastern edge is in fact undeveloped, so I guess the soccer field there is a real thing. Add that to added space offsetting the loss to the museum buildings.

Update: Just realized the mouse-over effect isn’t working in IE7. I guess I’ve much to learn of the ways of the JavaScripts. For now, see the alternate image here or download Firefox.

Please direct comments to this conversation, already in progress.

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Thursday July 12, 2007

The listing has a couple of factual errors, but Miami made FastCompany’s 2007 list of Fast Cities. Apparently we’re a “Cultural Center,” along with Barcelona and Dakar.

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Tuesday July 10, 2007

The Wallflower Gallery is in trouble and needs help.

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Monday July 9, 2007

“Quoting activist/urban theorist Jane Jacobs, Commissioner Sarnoff recently argued (very compellingly) that the problems of the widely disparaged Bicentennial Park stem precisely from the fact that it is a ‘vacuous park.’ Most of the world’s great parks feature additional draws. Art has been a crucial element of great parks since ancient times. I worry that if the park were renovated without the museums, it would eventually fall into neglect once again, and then be turned over for the construction of luxury high-rises.” — In the Diet Newsletter, MAM curator René Morales answers two of the arguments against the new building. (via TnFH)

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Tuesday June 19, 2007

Marty Margulies is taking back his sculpture collection, which has been on loan to FIU since 1994. Why? One possibility is that it’s fallout from the MAM building flap (Margulies opposes the building, and a prominent FIU trustee is also a trustee at the museum). But my inside sources (!) have a different story: FIU has been taking crappy care of the outdoor sculptures. They have often been rusty, and on one occasion, a construction bulldozer supposedly backed into one of them. BTW, I still have yet to hear an explanation of why Margulies opposes the new MAM building that makes sense to me. Anyone??

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Thursday June 14, 2007

The City of Miami has approved $2 million for the planning of MAM’s new building, despite the objections of some.

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Wednesday June 13, 2007

June gallery hop

What's your DADA performance
Click image for slide-show.

Contrary to all predictions, the weather on Saturday was actually very nice — not just no rain, but sort of almost comfortable out. We’ll see about July. Anyway, I decided to do this as one of these slide-shows (10 images), so click the picture to get started. You’re not going to see a whole lot of art, because frankly, there wasn’t much art to write home about. A few nice pieces here and there, which we’ll hear about later.

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Monday June 11, 2007

“Ingots were buried under the Miami Performing Arts Center by workers installing the subterranean infrastructure. The performance was photographed. The ingots remain.”

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Thursday May 17, 2007

Alfredo Triff has posted his opening remarks regarding Art Basel from the panel discussion at Snitzer last Thursday. This is an edited version. The “Blogs are dead!” comment, which elicited such a gasp from the audience (oh, was that just me?), has been softened to “The local blog sphere, so effervescent three years ago, is now dead.” Seriously though, Triff rocks: “Artists can co-sponsor public events, alternative shows, public lectures and alternative art presentations. Art needs to go back to the street. Let’s give the market a different kind of spectacle by turning the spectacle on its head!” Listen to the panel at MAeX. Then, for those who were there (or listened to it), any particular impressions?? Let’s get into it . . .

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What Art Basel really means for Miami

basel

Plenty. Duh: the Basel engine brings important art folks to town, increases Miami’s prominence as a global art hub, and draws the attention of our ordinary citizens to art. But it’s also often pointed out that these benefits are not transitory — they accrue each time Art Basel is here. If Basel goes away, all the good effects it’s brought thus far stay. “Art Basel has planted and irrigated the seeds for the development of the art community in Miami,” says Mariangela Capuzzo.

But there’s another important piece to this puzzle. It’s not just about what Basel does for Miami; it’s about what Miami does for Basel. Where, in 2001, was an ambitious art fair from Switzerland to set up a satellite event? City size is a secondary factor, as is (let’s face it) the strength of the local art scene. What they were looking for was a city (a) as far from Basel as possible, and (b) with a certain cachet.

Let’s consider how the Basel folks might have thought this one through. They’re obviously looking for a city in North or South America. It has to be considered cool. Let’s say they start with São Paulo, maybe the hippest city in South America. Two problems: (1) how convenient is it for US collectors to travel there, plus the fact that (2) the big German festival Documenta has already sort of beaten them to the punch. The former concern applies to all South American Cities, and as tempted as the Swiss must have been by, say Bogota, at some point they must have realized that it would be easier to tempt S. American collectors to the US then to tempt US collectors to go international. Americans are lazy, we all know that. On the other hand — wait a second isn’t there a city that’s technically in the US, but that’s generally considered to be a part of South/Central America in spirit? You see where I’m going with this?

I grant that, having made the decision to go USA, the Swiss folks might have made lots of choices. New York comes to mind. But I think they were specifically looking for a place to call their own: one that didn’t have a strong established reputation on the international art scene, particularly the fair scene. And since their fair is in the Summer, they needed a spot that’d be comfortable in the Winter — i.e., well south of the Mason-Dixon line. Now your choices are down to a few (admittedly hip) spots in Texas, New Orleans, and maybe Atlanta. With everything we’ve considered, do any of these places hold a candle to Miami? Consider the presumable appeal to rich South Americans. Consider the reputation, within the USA, as a resort/vacation destination. Consider the sheer fucking spectacularness of the place.

What’s Basel doing for Miami? Not an unfair question. But I think we should be thinking just as much about what Miami is doing for Basel.

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Wednesday May 16, 2007

T.M. Shine on The Artpartments/Kunst Motel, an apartment building that Blair Russell renovated and turned into live/work spaces for artists. “While renovating the former crack house into an art house, Russell discovered the walls of one apartment were filled with machetes.” Here.

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Monday May 14, 2007

Last non-muggy gallery hop

Brünte Klaus explains* the work of David Rohn at the Buena Vista Building. We laugh because it’s funny, and we laugh because it’s true.


The Moore Space’s website would have been good enough to let me track down this artist’s name, except that that particular page was broken. Conditions of Display is a serious attempt at an exhibition worthy of this almost-museum space. But it’s organized around the concept of nonstandard display strategies, which prevents the show from really achieving thematic unity. This, along with the fact that most of the pieces are (worthwhile, but still) exercises in artistic detachment, makes for one aloof stroll.


Dumpster across the street from Snitzer/Bruk. Hmm…


Daniel Blair, aka DJ Hottpants, and yes, I did photograph the rest of him. My photstitch software botched the rest of the photos. (Cowboy-font “Friends with You” t-shirt, if you must know.)


The beautiful people at Twenty Twenty, which I’d never been to before (and which doesn’t have a website? has a website (thanks, dig, and speaking of which, more photos at)). A perfectly lovely photo exhibition. Aspiring gallerists take note: art looks better when you have to climb the stairs to see it. See also Spinello, Brook’s original space, and scores of places in NY.


And speaking of New York, Circa 28 is something like to Miami today what Max’s Kansas City was there in the 60’s. I think. Maybe. Or something.

By the way, this all sucks. There was lots of good art, interesting people, and photographable situations, but I couldn’t get it with my officially lousy little camera. I’m working on getting some decent gear, so more of this soon. Oh and hey, did anybody make it to the Goldman warehouse? Anything interesting happen there??

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Thursday May 10, 2007

Another art panel!: “Whatever Happened to the Miami Art Scene?” Tonight at 8 pm at Snitzer. Eugenia Vargas, Brook Dorsch, René Morales, and Alfredo Triff, moderated by Gene Moreno. See the flyer at TnfH.

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Art journalism panel

art journalism panel
Left to right: Me, Joanne Green, Elisa Turner, Omar Sommereyns, Anne Tschida. Photo by Onajídé Shabaka, Miami Art Exchange.

The panel was a riot. Silvia Karmen had this very interesting opening statement that touched on a number of interesting topics that I was looking forward to getting into, but it turned out that the crowd pretty much had one thing on its mind — they want more arts coverage. More coverage overall, more intellectual/critical writing, and better listings. I thought the format was really brave; it allowed audience members to jump in with questions/comments pretty much any time, which lead to a rollicking discussion, with moderators, panelists, and audience members all occasionally fighting to get a word in edgewise (kudos to Claire for stepping in when needed). Anyway, it (the format) ensured that Franklin’s fears were moot — members of the audience were very open with their concerns right from the get-go, and they kept the conversation where they wanted it.

To that end, the consensus was that improvements in arts coverage (both in quantity and in quality) will happen when the editors of our local publications come to believe that there is a strong demand for it. I promised to provide contact information for those editors, and here it is:

Personally, I think that paper letters are most effective, followed by phone calls, followed by e-mail. (Feel free to send me more specific information for these folks, or additional names that we should contact).

One of my suggestions for addressing the lack of arts writing was to call for a community of Miami arts bloggers. Someone asked “how do you get people to start an art blog” or something, and I never got to answer, but here it is: you encourage them. Grab them by the scruff of the neck and yell at them if you have to. There are lots of kids in college who are (a) majoring in journalism but interested in art or (b) majoring in art but interested in journalism or© majoring in something else but interested in both of the above. My message to these kids would be: start the damned blog! It’s easy, and you’ll be doing something that needs doing. There should be a whole range of blogs just about art — you can be completely silly and trivial, completely serious and academic, or anything in between. Compare Wormhole and Modern Art Notes — they couldn’t be more different, yet they both contribute something to the same community.

For their part, the panelists were smart and constructive. The time definitely flew by. I also wanted to say that I did this panel not because of any particular commitment to journalism or art, but because panels are fun, and I wasn’t disappointed. The discussion was great, and I got a chance to meet some very interesting people afterwards, for which I’m very grateful.

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Wednesday May 9, 2007

Panel homework

In preparation for tonight’s panel, I’m reading and re-reading recent work by my fellow panelists. Here’s what I’ve got:

OK, sorry, I’m getting a little carried away venting my frustrations with these publications’ websites. I’m not addressing the writing; these are obviously all fine writers, I just hate to see good work be put into crappy packages. Anyhow, see you there at 7 pm.

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Monday May 7, 2007

I'm on a panel this Wednesday

conversations with miami

Joanne Green of the New Times, Omar Sommereyns of the Sun Post, Anne Tschida, Elisa Turner of the Miami Herald and I will be doing a panel on arts writing in Miami, and media in general, at Locust Projects this Wednesday. Stop by and say hi.

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Artspace at Sailboat Bend

artspace sailboat bend

Artspace is an organization that renovates old industrial buildings and turns them into live/work spaces for artists. They’ve been doing this all over the country since the early 90s; the Tilsner is a good example. Typically they purchase an unused old building with high ceilings, big windows, and lots of potential. They renovate, creating units suited to various functions: painting studios with high ceilings, soundproof units for musicians, sprung floors for dancers, etc., and then lease them to artists for “permanently affordable” rates. Having a large group of artists living and working together in one place is not only good for the artists, but it usually revitalizes the whole neighborhood.

Unfortunately their project in Miami has fizzled out, but they’re building one up in Ft. Lauderdale, here. Unlike their typical projects it’s built from scratch, but it’s in a cool little neighborhood, walking distance from downtown. They’ve set up a website for the space, and it looks like units are going to rent for anywhere from $575 to $1,100 per month (the latter is for 3-bedrooms). The reason I’m writing about this now is that next Tuesday, May 15, there’s going to be a meeting for those interested in living there. It’ll be at Artserve, here, at 5:30 pm. There’s more information at the project’s page on Artspace’s website.

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Tuesday May 1, 2007

A big sculpture by Fernand Léger that was installed outside the Miami Art Museum this weekend. It’s solid metal, and a crane was needed to lift it into place.

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Thursday April 26, 2007

Tommy Vision

tommy vision's silver babies

Tommy Vision is an artist I met at work yesterday, and we spent a while talking. He rode up on an orange bycicle with baskets in the front and back loaded up with stuff and wearing an orange safety vest and a bycicle helmet with a baseball cap visor taped to it. He says people call him “TV”.

Check out his website, which someone in his building made for him in exchange for using his parking space. Try the “lastest work” section and be amazed. His work is very much in tradition of blurring the line between painting and sculpture — it’s flat, but he often attaches objects to the surface, which is shiny and highly textured. Most of the reproductions are not great, so it’s difficult to tell exactly what’s going on in them.

There’s an opening on Sunday in Hallandale that Tommy has some pieces in at the Renaissance Design Center, and he also supposedly has work more regularly at someplace called the Art Project Gallery (in the same neighborhood), but I don’t have that exact address.

Tommy gave me a photo of one of his pieces with his information taped to the back. The painting isn’t on his website, but it’s titled “Trapped.” It shows a white elephant being chased up a tree by two huge white rats. Small blue leaves are falling gently from the tree. The picture has a border of real moustraps, each of which has a red silouette of a mouse on it.

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Wednesday April 25, 2007

The Basel tractor beam: Art Miami changes from early-January to early-December.

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Friends With You written up in Wired magazine this month.

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Tuesday April 24, 2007

The Diet Newsletter is a monthly online newsletter about art in South Florida. The first issue has an interview with Felice Grodin, a couple of reviews, and an essay by Claire Breukel. Not uninteresting, but unfortunately it’s presented in a flash format that’s about as easy to figure out as one of the puzzles in Myst. For the record, you click one of the little pills, then scroll the horizontal box to the right, then click the title.

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Wednesday April 18, 2007

The stolen Chihuly pieces were found, but broken. That sucks. BTW, when they stole the pieces they replaced them with PVC pipe painted red.

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Redlands real-estate album

where the ultra-rich now live
Click image for slide-show.

These images were made for an e-bay auction of some property down in the Redlands part of Homestead, and they show how quickly that area is being transformed from agricultural to suburban use. In fact, Gabriel, who discovered the set, bemoans the transformation. I’m mainly appreciating them for their inherent beauty, and so they’re presented here in a full-resolution slideshow.

They’re a sort of weird Dan Graham and Barbara Kruger. Apparently photographed with a disposable film camera, they were lovingly scanned and overlaid with magenta all-caps boldface text. One of them even has a line connecting the text to a spot in the picture.

The photographs depict McMansions, both cookie-cutter and outrageous, being constructed, as well as some photos of the surrounding streets and farms. We get a real sense of being between two places, for example in the 4th image, where a dirt country road and a wrecked fence suddenly find themselves juxtaposed with a house that will soon be occupied by an upper-middle-class family. Occasionally we get a glimpse of a slice of the realtor’s car, and in one picture a man spreads his arms invitingly, standing on farmland that will no doubt not exist in another few years.

Gabriel is right — there is a real melancholy to these images. But this is the reality that has always been Miami — people are moving here all the time, and large-parceled suburbs have been swallowing farms since the 1920’s. The transformation in downtown is a part of this too, and while I wish more people liked living in urban high-rises, the truth is that owning a big fat house is a pretty standard human desire. As went Miami, Coral Gables, and Aventura (they didn’t name it “Ives Dairy Road” out of whimsy), so go the Redlands.

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Monday April 16, 2007

These glass reeds are supposedly worth tens of thousands of dollars each. A bit of pre-insurance claim hyperbole, perhaps?

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alton and 5th

Transit Miami has pictures of, and praise for, the upcoming retail complex at 5th Street and Alton Rd. There has beem some controversy about this project because the parking garage is in part publicly funded, yet the developer is sidestepping Art in Public Places rules by including a massive Britto sculpture. Update: In this Artblog.net discussion, Jack points to an old NewTimes article about the project, and controversy about the Britto.

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Thursday April 5, 2007

MoCA will be trippling the size of its building by 2010. The article is worth a read, and reveals that MoCA is largely financed by the city of North Miami. (via TnfH)

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Monday March 26, 2007

Some images of the Anna Gaskell installation at Viscaya.

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Wednesday March 14, 2007

The TM Sisters are in Moscow! Congrats on getting into the Moscow Biennale, and watch out for that crazy Russian secret police and the even crazier Russian mob!

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Monday March 12, 2007

Saturday gallery hop + more

Tachmes

Pictures from Saturday night, and yes — mixing images of art with unrelated photos of the evening. Here are Abner Nolan’s found negatives at Leonard Tachmes Gallery.

DSC_2621

AA spot in the Design District I can never seem to catch the name of (Update: it’s an annex of the Moore Space Update #2: madebythem says: “That space as well as the show was is in no way related to the Moore Space. My friend and I wrote a proposal to get the space and decided to have a show with no theme, flyers, invites or any sort of publicity.”), a big exhibition involving live dogs in uncomfortable-looking costumes, video, a lawn-sized patch of live sod, copious piles of broken furniture, an altar, and at least one boy in neon-orange briefs.

Green

This is not art. Actually, I don’t think I was supposed to be upstairs, as the whole floor was linoleum-recently-removed sticky.

Tarot card altar by l’elk!

Blue

I am sometimes asked to explain the difference between the Design District and Wynwood. They are adjacent art districts, with roughly separated by I-195. The Design District has some notable architecture and history, and contains several non-profit art spaces, along with high-end furniture showrooms.

Redundancy

Wynwood is mostly old warehouses, many of which have been occupied by the hottest commercial galleries in town. (There are also a few private collections and the MoCA annex.) There used to be a rivalry of sorts, but I think the DD folks largely gave that up when they changed their gallery walk to second Saturdays to coincide with Wynwood’s.

DSC_2691

Sara Stites at the Buena Vista Building.

DSC_2684

A Jen Stark peephole piece at the Bas-Fisher Invitational.

Kerry Ware

Kerry Ware at Dorsch.

Erika

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Thursday March 1, 2007

Take two minutes now to take a quick and easy step to help secure state arts and cultural funding. An initiative for $2.47 per capita for the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs.

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Wednesday February 21, 2007

Franklin goes to the College Art Association conference, and finds it, um, wanting. I don’t know shit from looking for a college teaching job, but F is at his best when he’s pissed off, and stuff like this makes for a great read. And as much as I sometimes disagree with him, I’ve no doubt he’s right about the CAA.

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Monday February 12, 2007

“We want to ensure that MAC’s legacy is not only maintained, but strengthened with the combined resources of both MAC and MAM.” Terry Riley issues a non-response to the Save MAC open letter. (via a new javascripted-out TnfH) Update: The Herald had better luck getting a reaction out of Riley then Tyler Green: “When I read [the letter], I thought about it, and if I had received it I would have signed it.” The gist is, they don’t know yet exactly what the end result of the merger will be.

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Wednesday January 31, 2007

Art Center South Florida Super Bowl Super Store

DSC_0699.JPG

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.”

DSC_0696.JPG

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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Monday January 22, 2007

Jacques Herzog: Miami lecture

Herzog

Jacques Herzog is one of the architects of Herzog & de Meuron, who have been selected to design the new building for the Miami Art Museum in Bicentennial Park. On Friday, he gave a talk at the University of Miami. And while he didn’t reveal any design (it will probably be revealed during 2007 Basel) or even discuss the project directly at great length, he oriented his discussion around concerns related to the project (and Miami in general), and so gave many hints as to what may be coming. Follow some observations I found interesting from the talk:

Update: The Lincoln Road project (dangerous Flash w/video+music ahead)(thanks, Blingtown).

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Friday January 19, 2007

Equal Rights: Reggae and Social Change

Peter Tosh Equal Rights album cover [MDPL press release]

Equal Rights: Reggae and Social Change
January 11 – February 28, 2007
Main Library, Auditorium

This traveling exhibition tells the story of 30 years of Jamaican art, music, and social change throughout the African Diaspora with words and amazing album cover art from landmark records by Ras Michael, Louise Bennett, The Skatalites, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Peter Tosh, and many more. Co-curated by Herbie Miller and Josh Chamberlain, and organized by Catherine Amidon and the Karl Drerup Art Gallery and Exhibitions Program at Plymouth State University.

On January 20th, from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m., get schooled in reggae consciousness, culture and history, as Herbie Miller, manager of the late reggae legend Peter Tosh, reggae historian, and co-curator of Equal Rights: Reggae and Social Change, presides over an afternoon of art, performances, and discussion, including performances by Millenium Band featuring King Arthur and dub poet Malachi Smith; and a conversation with radio host, historian, and community leader Winston Barnes; Lloyd Campbell (Producer, Joe Fraser Records); Reggae Vibes DJ Lance-O; Hal Anthony (of Millennium Band) and Malachi Smith.

[also on view:]
To the Barbershop: Call and Response Series #2
New work by Noelle Theard and Works from the permanent collection by Richard Davenport
January 11 – March 20, 2007
2nd floor exhibition space, Main Library

Author Craig Marberry writes that the black barbershop is “a world of kinetic jazz and air you could see and grownups who actually knew how to laugh…a think tank…a comedy showcase.” The show started with a series of photographs by Richard Davenport from the Library’s permanent collection, depicting black barbershops in Miami during the early 1980’s. Miami photojournalist and documentarian Noelle Theard created a new body of work, snapping some of the same barbershops—including Liberty City’s Mop City and Overtown’s Green & Fort—26 years later. Together, the old and new sets of photographs convey a sense of the permanence of these neighborhood institutions—the decor and “No Profanity” signs have pretty much stayed the same—and the breakneck change of the Magic City outside.

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Monday January 15, 2007

WOW! How much did this cost? Looks nice, can me and a couple hundred of my homeless friends live in it?” Don’t miss the video.

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Art Basel leftovers. Some nice pictures of lingering street art.

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January arthop

at Locust

Um, I was [what’s the opposite of meticulous?] about getting the names of artists Saturday. No big deal — somebody will set me straight soon, so check back in a few days and I’ll have them all. Until then [That was quick.] This is by Jen Stark [thanks, KH], in the group show at Locust (see here for links to most of the galleries). It is what it is: a color vortex cut straight out of the wall.

Kerry Phillips at Locust

Kerry Phillips’ installation at Locust.

Vicenta Casañ at Diana Lowenstein

Vicenta Casañ‘s photoshopped images work a little better in theory then in practice, but I loved them anyway. At Diana Lowenstein.

at University of Miami project space

Brent Cole [thanks, bp], at University of Miami project space. A suitcase containing two Miami swimming pools and the sky.

Arnold Mesches at Dorsch

Arnold Mesches kicking ass at Dorsch. My glare? Not so much.

Georges Rousse

That’s my man Georges Rousse, folks. Very odd to stumble randomly on to a show of his work.

Georges Rousse

Same guy, video installation. A video camera mounted above where I was standing live-feeds to a nearby projection.

That’s about it for the work. A few more pictures, mostly of people, at the flickr.

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Tuesday January 9, 2007

More on AM: Category 305 (“But honestly, does Art Miami have to be this boring?”) Miami Art Exchange writeup (“only a few galleries . . . featured work that is clearly 2nd and 3rd rate at best”) and photoset. Update: And New Times, which gives props to Carol Jazzar and Gismo.

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Sunday January 7, 2007

“There certainly is a lot of blegh art at Art Miami . . .” TnfH goes for a look, and suggests a change of date. Agreed.

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Friday January 5, 2007

What's up with the Art Miami ad?

Art Miami ad is a photo of a lifeguard stand.
Click for larger.

How do I dislike the Art Miami ad that’s running everywhere? Let me count the ways:

  1. Not a real Miami lifeguard stand. I have no idea where this is from, but not anywhere in driving distance.
  2. Not the real Miami ocean. Give me a break; we’ve seen the ocean here, and it’s never been this color. Ever. This is probably in the Caribbean, and then color-tweaked with an eye toward absurdity.
  3. Not a real Miami beach. It isn’t this color. It doesn’t look like that.
  4. Even with all that, those three elements are all assembled in photoshop — note the wishy-washy hand-painted shadow. Look where the legs and ladder meet the sand. They didn’t even try. In fact, I’m not even sure the sand and water are from the same photo.
  5. Text not really stenciled. More photoshop, and again not well done.
  6. Absurd cloud-collages are de-rigeur these days (see here), but this one is particularly laughable. I detect pieces from maybe 5 different photos.
  7. Actually, the typography’s not bad. I kind of like this part.

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Thursday January 4, 2007

Cure/TE

Old school at Miami Graffiti. More favorites: 1, 2, 3. They also helpfully link the Florida statutes on graffiti. (via rakontur)

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Frank Thiel's Stadt 7/12 (Berlin)

Stadt 7/12 (Berlin)

Carlos Suarez De Jesus reports that Frank Thiel’s Stadt 7/12 is currently on display at the Bass. Wow; it’s time for me to pay them a visit. No reproduction will ever do it justice, let alone a 500 pixel one, but this is the photograph. Imagine if all of downtown Miami were being built at once. (That’s sort of what happened in Berlin after the fall of the Wall.) Imagine a photograph of that event, the detail of which is almost infinite. This image consists of four panels, each of which is 9 feet tall, and which has per-square-inch detail better then your 4×6 Kodaks. What you have, then, is the informational equivalent of about a thousand regular photographs. “Staggering,” is an understatement — I saw this piece at ABMB in 2004, and nothing I’ve seen since has equaled it.

Carlos’ article gives a pretty good historical background of the piece (and makes the show sound pretty damn good!). More of Thiel’s work here (keep clicking for enlargements, and try to convert the centimeters to inches — these are all big photos). Every year since Art Basel brings more Thiel photographs, but this one was his zenith. Lately, he’s been taking pictures of paint peeling.

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Wednesday January 3, 2007

David Byrne’s account of visiting Miami for Art Basel: “why am I enjoying the art so much? Shouldn’t I be taking a more cynical attitude, with all this nonsense going on all around? Am I naïve? I realized the banana doesn’t know much about United Fruit and its nasty ways as it grows in the fields . . . The next day was overcast as I rode my bike over the Venetian causeway, a lovely island-hopping ride — bridge, island, bridge, island and partly shady too . . . I went for a pee and when I opened the bathroom door a couple were coming out of the one stall — ooops, I guess the cocaine days are not over down here just yet.” Just skip the beginning, where he waxes philosophical on the evolutionary function of art, and read to the end. Also see a slideshow of Byrne’s favorite pieces from the fairs. (via rakontur)

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Thursday December 21, 2006

Miami Art Museum and Miami Art Central partnership

MAC Back

When I first heard about the partnership and possible merger between the Miami Art Museum and Miami Art Central (Links: MAM and MAC), I was aghast. I like things the way they are — these are two great institutions with very distinct curatorial and operational philosophies, and (like RL in the comments of the TNFH post) I didn’t see how any partnership between the two would do anything but water down those philosophies, creating a larger but less interesting homogenized whole.

But I’ve spent almost a week thinking about this now, and kicked it around with a bunch of smart and prominent local art people, and I’ve come around. The MAM has a new building to build in Bicentennial Park, and it needs to raise at least $100 million for it. You don’t do that by sending out a solicitation mailing. This deal may not bring Marty Margulies to the table, and ther collectors, such as the Scholls, are already working with the MAM, but the MAC is a gathering place for the hundreds of less prominent South American collectors who live in Miami, and this deal has the possibility of making them feel much more connected to the MAM. And of course Ella Fontanals-Cisneros has enough money herself to make the MAM pay attention when she makes a suggestion. A deal like this puts a lot of important momentum into an important fundraising project.

As for the MAC, well, it’s difficult being an organization that gets the majority of its money from one private source — just ask the once-wonderful PBICA. In a merger, the MAC’s facility becomes a satellite space for the MAC, in return for which the MAC gets . . . a say in the curatorial direction of the MAM? The MAC’s exhibitions have been described as more “cerebral,” and it has a strong inclination to exhibit South American art. But the MAM may already be heading in that direction, what with the new Director, it’s open Curator position, and it’s mission, which is all about art in the “western hemisphere” anyway.

In other words, this may actually be a good fit. The MAC gets absorbed into the MAM, we loose a little bit of a differentiated curatorial philosophy but gain a reinvigorated museum with three(!) significant exhibition spaces. In the more immediate term, have you seen how much programming the MAC does on weekends? It will certainly be great to have some of that thinking trickle to downtown. And as Tyler Green points out, the more distinctive extreme of MAC’s programing may be migrating to cifo anyway. And the permanent existence of MAC may not have been tenable anyway — how long can Fontanals-Cisneros focus on MAC and cifo anyway (and serve on MAM’s board)?

(One interesting side concern is the MAC’s staff? They’re really the ones that really make a museum what it is. If the merger really hits in six months, there are going to be lots of redundant people. When the new MAM building opens, the staff needs will increase again, but there’s probably years between those two dates. What will happen there remains to be seen.)

But so an eventual merger seems inevitable. It seems that there are reasons to be optimistic that this is the best way forward, just not the reasons the Herald article gives. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead, all that.

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Sunday December 17, 2006

Geo Metro needs babysitter for 3 months: a sort-of contest

The Blue Man Period of Milton Van der Spuy

Cayetano writes:

I came into town with the Basel storm and just kind of stayed, as I am currently something of a hobo. Well I’m going to Puerto Rico in a couple days and I have this car that I have to get rid of.. and I was hoping you’d be interested enough to . . . write an essay for a chance to get a free piece of shit car.

I recently drove across the country with this Geo Metro with a radical paint job… from Oakland to Miami. Surprisingly, it made it all the way and its still going strong. I’m flying to South America in a few days and I’m hoping to put it into some good hands for the best 25-word essay that I get. The catch is, if its still running when I get back in March I’d like to drive it up to Chicago.

Thanks, Cayetano! Not interested myself, but if anyone else is, 25 words really isn’t that much, and climbing in through the passanger door isn’t that big a deal, and there are bound to be pretty few entries, and it is pretty arty, so this might be worth a shot. Here are links to the craiglist post and flickr set. Good luck!

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Friday December 15, 2006

An Art Basel flickr photoset, dominated by pictures of the Friends With You parade. Great!

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Miami Basel: An Art Costco for Billionaires. Ok, fine. But “glorified sandbar?” I have an idea, Mr. Trebay. Why don’t you report on something other then a list of events you heard were happening and shit you read off a press release? The closest thing to a fact we get in this piece is the bit about 216 NetJet flights because, what, it was impossible to make more then one phone call? (thanks, Lei)

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Sunday December 10, 2006

Basel weekend: everything else

This one and the next one are the only thing I have from Pulse, which was pretty small, cramped, overcrowded, and cost $10. There were, however, lots of great pieces. This scary little photograph is by Roger Ballen. It totally fooled me into thinking it was a real Joel Peter-Witkin-style photograph, but for some reason on screen now it looks much more like what it is: a digital composite.

More obviously digital, this is a detail from a big image by Dionisio Gonzalez.

Jesus looks over the entryway to NADA.

This little joke piece shows up every year. At $200, (unframed) in an unlimited edition, it makes a killing.

Installation with a customized Gucci suitcase at the Sister gallery (L.A.).

An arresting photograph of an empty Jack Daniels bottle by Melanie Schiff, titled Emergency. Not the only alcoholic humor art we saw: a David Kramer print at Pulse prominently read, “WHOEVER IT IS THAT SAIDLESS IS MORE’ PROBABLY OWES ME A ROUND OR TWO.”

Here’s the NADA building from the outside. Very relaxing, with a big lawn, hammocks, and a little restaurant (nothing to write home to mom about there, though).

This guy performed on the lawn, heavily reverberated voice, guitar, and chime percussion. He sounded a little bit like Panda Bear, but he kept stopping to chat with his friends who came up. We got impatient and left.

An opportunistic resident outside Scope, spraycan-changing the price for parking on her property from $10 to $15. I think her logic was that if someone eventually did park there, she’d boost her profits by 50%. Unfortunately for her, everyone was just parking on the street.

One of the things I really enjoyed about Scope (oh, sorry: ~scope) was the outdoor scene. There was a lot more there then I’m going to show you, including a big stage, a bus with a tent in the back that you entered to see a light show, and some extremely fancy porta-potties. This is the immortal Eric Doeringer, hawking his bootleg versions of contemporary art. Eric is beyond cool: I have a picture of him holding up a fake Art Basel VIP card, with which he apparently got into the Vernissage, among other things.

blood for art

The Blood for Art table. This idea is simultaneously great, depressing, morbid, and inadvisable on a long weekend of running all over town and spending most of your time on foot.

Oh the art. This amazing drawing by Mat Brown.

Other then the Nike logo, a great sculpture. Christopher Cutts Gallery, Toronto.

Sometimes you just can’t pass up a picture.

Locust Projects contacted Flight 19 (Tampa) to co-present something at Scope this year. They came up with this Negativland piece, Rightmanland, a singing animatronic Abraham Lincoln. Efforts to bring Negativland to Miami are in the works!

Photo Miami was excellent, and for some reason sparsely attended.

Here’s one piece, by Luis Molina-Pantin.

Earnest

Opening/party for the Monster Show, Thursday night. This is a link to a photoset; click the picture to see more photos from the evening (probably not interesting unless you were there).

Opening at Carol Jazzar’s on Friday evening.

One last visit to Basel.

This wasn’t up before: a loop of magnetic cassette video tape hovering in the field between two fans. No artist info, sorry. Zilvinas Kempinas, Spencer Brownstone Gallery.

Saturday night in the Design District/Wynwood. This is the incomparable Cody ChesnuTT. Cody was performing a new suite of songs, solo electric, and recording it, so he asked us to hold our applause until the end. He was great, and a surprisingly agile guitar player, though I’m not sure the self-indulgence that bugged Pitchfork is waning anytime soon.

Cody’s crowd.

We spent the rest of the night hanging out at Lenny’s. The show he has up includes pieces from his private collection, including a Gregory Crewdson, a Robert Rauschenberg, and this lovely drawing by Hope Gangloff.

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MoCA has an idiotic no-pen rule. (via SotP/r)

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Friday December 8, 2006

The Art Basel guide for normal people

inside art basel

Art Basel is fun! You don’t need to be an expert, or have a big checkbook, to enjoy it. In fact, most people there this weekend will just be there for fun, to look. If you’re thinking about it, just go! You’ll have a good time. The Herald, the New Times, and everybody else has big “Art Basel Guides,” but if all you want is to go for a few hours and see what all the fuss is about, just read the next paragraph and go! This isn’t rocket science, and you don’t need to do any major preparations.

Art Basel is here. Google will give you very nice driving directions if you need them. The parking lot across the street from the convention center charges $10, the garage in 17th Street charges $8. It costs $24 to get in for adults, $12 for kids, students, and seniors. The earlier you’ll go, the less crowded it’ll be and the more time you’ll have to look, and maybe take a break for food at Lincoln Road; just tell the person at the door you’re coming back and they’ll stamp your ticket stub or whatever. Once you’re inside, you can find out about Art Video Lounge, Art Positions, Art Perform, and Art Sound Lounge, which are in the neighborhood and which you may want to check out, too. Unless you want more then a casual day trip, don’t worry about anything else; some of the other fairs are great, but they’re much smaller, and a bit of a hassle. The “special events” are a hassle too, especially for parking. I spent six hours at Basel the other day and I still didn’t see nearly everything.

What to expect
I have pictures of some of the artworks I liked here and here. Expect to do some serious walking! Wear comfortable shoes. The fair is laid out in rows, but when you’re walking around it feels like a complete maze. I’d wandering around at random and getting lost. They have a little map, but trying to follow it to “see everything” is an exercise in futility, and you can walk through the same area over and over and see new stuff anyway.

The people who work for the galleries are all very nice. Unlike at some of the other fairs, they generally won’t start conversations with people (which is a relief for me), but they’re very happy to answer questions. If someone tries to talk to you and you’re not interested, nod and walk away — they’ll think you don’t speak that particular language!

Oh, about “stupid question.” Yes, unfortunately there is such a thing as a stupid question. Don’t ask “what makes this art?” or “couldn’t anybody do that?’ Questions about how something was made, or details about the artist, are great. It’s considered polite to preface “How much does that cost?” with a question that suggests why you’re interested in a particular piece. (Eavesdropping on conversations between gallery employees and visitors is a good way to learn interesting little tidbits.)

Officially, cameras are banned, although these days it’s easy to sneak a little camera anywhere. I walked around with a big camera over my shoulder and photographed everything, and though I have credentials that say I can do so, nobody really checked. Lots of people take photographs, so you should be able to sneak one here and there, so long as you TURN OFF YOUR FLASH. (Yes, break out your camera’s manual right now, and figure out how to take it off auto-flash mode and to turn the flash on and off yourself, because the truth is that the camera often does the exact opposite of what you need to take a good photo. But I digress.)

Do save some time for Art Video Lounge, which is across the street from the convention center. I haven’t been yet, but in past years it’s always been great. Art positions is about a 10 minute walk from the convention center. It’s usually worth it, especially if you’re wanting to get some fresh air anyway, but mainly it’s more of the same.

By the way, here’s a link to the Art Basel website, not that it’s particularly helpful.

Stuff for free and cheap
Art Basel is expensive! For a family of four it’s $82 with parking. Personally, I think it’s worth it. If you don’t want to spend the money, NADA is free, and it’s great! It’s like a smaller, more relaxed Basel. There isn’t nearly as much to see, and not all the artwork is as impressive, but it’s very much worth a visit. There’s a parking lot that charges $10, but you might be able to find free parking on the street in the surrounding neighborhood.

I think you can get in free to Basel’s Art Positions and Art Video Lounge without a ticket, but I’m not sure. I’ll find out put the information right here by tomorrow morning. [ Update: Yes, Positions and Video Lounge are free. Also on the beach, Bridge, Aqua, Ink, and a couple of the other fairs are free. Basel is still worth the money, though.]

There’s a list of the rest of the fairs here. I’ve also been to Scope, Pulse, and Photo Miami so far, and all three cost $10. Scope was my favorite — I’ll try to do a post about it later. Photo Miami was also great; much much better then a lot of people were for some reason expecting. I wasn’t as crazy about Pulse. I generally don’t like the hotel-based fairs like Aqua, because the rooms tend to be cramped and not good for looking at art (ymmv).

Whatever you do, don’t waste your time this weekend going to the Miami Art Museum, Miami Art Central, the Margulies Warehouse, or any other place with art that you can visit next weekend, or in a month. These places are all very much worth visiting, but this weekend they’re overrun with out-of-town art people, and there’s a lot going on that’ll be gone by Sunday evening.

Other events
The big thing is Saturday night in the Design District/Wynwood. There’s going to be a huge street party, with all the galleries open, bands playing, and general mayhem. Traffic and parking are going to be the nightmare of the century, but it’ll be fun. I’m probably going to entrust myself to the hands of friends who will know what to do (Update: Though Cody Chesnutt is performing at MocaSonic!). Tons and tons of other events listed at Alex in the City (I don’t know who she is but she’s doing a great job of rounding this stuff up), The Next Few Hours (a great, “mostly kid-friendly” list), and Miami Nights (party-oriented). You might also try to slog through the Herald’s coverage: try here and here, or try the New Times, who says “We’ve got Basel’s best!”, but appears to list everything (I’m just scanning). It’s probably better in the print version. Online they say “see our Art Basel Event listings” but there’s no link, and I can’t find them!

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Thursday December 7, 2006

Images from Art Basel 2006, pt 2

Never have so many different people found so many different reasons to dislike a single painting. Commercial, San Juan. This gallery also had a 1970’s GMS custom van in their booth, all arted out with log-cabin wood paneling, hippie furniture interior, and cute girls hanging out inside.

Paul McCarthy plasters his head and one arm into a wall, a piece from 1973. I hope you can see it in this size, because it’s pretty crazy.

Alison Elizabeth Taylor. Super-elaborate inlaid wood job. No paint was used in the making of this artwork, just some shellac.

A perfectly lovely little photograph by John Riddy.

This piece, by Cornelia Parker, appears to be a hologram of a dress, but it turns out to be an actual nightgown in a lightbox, and the nightgown turns out to be the one that Mia Farrow wore in Rosemary’s Baby.

Chris Burden. This image emphasizes a much more subtle use of crappy reflections.

No information on this one, but I’m including it to once again show the prevalence of neon handwriting (“badly organized” — HA!) and cast brass, in this case fluorescent tubes. Elsewhere, there was a life-sized shipping palette, and of course yesterday’s Judd.

A massive dyptic, maybe 8 or 10 feet tall. This was listed as “camera obscura unique print,” which turns out to mean this: The artist brought a pinhole camera the size of the final print to site with the photo paper in it, and opened the hole. The exposure was probably days or weeks, then the pinhole gets closed, and the whole thing gets transported to a light-tight location for removal of the paper, unless the location could be completely darkened to allow someone to enter the pinhole without letting in any light. Since there is no negative, the image itself is reversed. My friends, this is photography at its most hardcore. The subject is a piece of mining equipment, probably about 20 stories tall. You can see something similar driving down the Turnpike by the Rinker facility. The small object in the lower part of the right side is a bulldozer.

Like I said, very little video art. We did get serenaded by this CGI fish, though.

Tomas Wesselman. Anything old was selling for major bucks — this piece is $150,000, but other little paintings on the same wall were three times as much (one of the few booths that included prices on wall labels).

Chrome furniture by Vito Acconci.

Installation by Shintaro Miyake, including painted wood pieces, photographs (of a performance), drawings, sculpture, and stuffed plush animals.

In the same booth, a lovely Hideaki Kawashima painting.

A video installation, from a single overhead camera. Various wild animals wander around from screen to screen. Diana Thater.

Roni Horn. This is a fairly huge piece of cast glass, maybe about the size of a bulldozer tire. The sides and bottom are as cast, rough and naturally frosted; the top has been melted with a blowtorch and allowed to cool, for a perfectly smooth surface.

Elizabeth Peyton.

A painting of a Jesus bust lamp encountering a black and white photograph of a Mickey Mouse toy.

OK, this reproduction came out particularly terrible, which is unfortunate. It’s a photograph of two groups of skiers on some sort of cross-country ski race, possibly taken from a helicopter. It loomed over me — look, you can see reflections of people’s heads about halfway up. The only new Gursky I saw yesterday (?!) so I’m including it despite not having a decent image.

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Images from Art Basel 2006

Lots to get to here. The show seems to get a little more tame every year, but there’s still lots and lots to see. Here’s a few things that jumped out at me; I’m going to give the artist’s name if I have it, the gallery’s name if not.

Jacob Hashimoto. A sculpture of cocktail umbrellas connected by string, 4 levels deep.

Candida Höfer really came into her own this year. This one was my favorite in the show. (Yes, I’ve got glare. It’s going to get worse.)

Handwriting-styled neon was ubiquitous. This piece consists of the first four lines of “Dumb,” apparently based on a scan of Curt Kobain’s diary. The words flashed on and off individually at the speed he sang the lines. Like, um, deep. Dude. (neugerriemschneider, Berlin)

A brass Donald Judd. Probably the first piece of his I’ve really appreciated. Note to gallery: please wipe the top off with a soft lint-free cloth; it’s dusty!

A John McLaughlin painting from 1957. You’re seeing some cracks in this reproduction, but actually it had a lovely texture.

Another blinking-lights sculpture. This one is from Sicardi in Houston. Maybe they play 3-D chess on it.

The same gallery had a number of optical-type works. The sides of the shapes on this one that face away from the front are painted different colors, so that the piece is monochrome except for the little triangular shadows (it’s a subtle thing).

Romare Bearden, stellar in color.

A fantastic piece from the early life of Gregory Crewdson. How he gets those points of light in the photo is a mystery. Then again, the same is true of his more recent work.

Carl Andre intended for these to be walked on, but the galleries generally don’t feel the same way.

In an effort to counteract the anomie-inducing effects of So. Much. Freaking. Art., the organizers peppered the show with “Art Kabinets,” little mini-shows which are at least internally curated. One of these is dedicated to William Wegman. In this photo series he builds a box in John Baldessari’s studio. (Overheard price: $85,000 — CHEAP!! )

A detail from another of the pieces, in which he glued down postcards, and then completed a painting to join them into a composition. Wegman went on to make silly dog photos. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)(Sorry, there I go ruining art for people.)

Collage and electrical tape on wall. (Arnaud, São Paulo.)

Doug Aiken has been one of my favorite artists for years, and he totally saved the day. I’m going to show you three pieces, but this one was my favorite. Unfortunately, you’ll have to go see it yourself, because it faced the food court, and the glare is decimating it.

Nevermind, right? But this 5-channel video piece showed surveillance footage of empty buildings into which individual animals had snuck.

If I read the label correctly, this artist would like to be known as “MR.” On the off chance that that’s incorrect, I’ll just say that it’s Lehmann Maupin gallery, New York. Another neon piece in the background, this time by Tracy Emin. What it says is not important.

You saw the chrome floor earlier? This place had a bathroom-tile floor, with several big bath-themed paintings to match. I really like this one. (Note: I’m getting better with the color time on my new camera, but I really botched it on some of these and couldn’t even save them in Photoshop.)

The second Aiken. This one has polished stainless steel hexagons that slowly shift over time.

When digital meets paint, the results are often not pretty, but this picture probably suffers unfairly for being dragged back into a computer. In person it really had some potential.

A photo of a man’s profile A picture of a man’s profile made by photographing guys with and without shirts sitting on the beach.

See?

I love this ballpoint pen drawing on folded paper, but I lost the name of the artist. Anyone?

Damien Hirst, w00t! These are real cigarette butts which he put out in rows, and then (‘m guessing) had assistants glue down in exactly the same position. Mental.

Another Hirst. Real butterflies were most definitively harmed in the making of this artwork.

Installation by Richard Jackson. Now this is more like it, Basel. Some giant cartoon ducks shitting out paint through hoses into buckets. Life sized (the toilets, not the ducks), natch. (Not right now, but if you don’t see it in person come back later and try clicking it; I might link it to a bigger version.)

A whimsical sculpture with real plates and bowls. (OMR, Río de Janeiro.)

Just like some stuff can’t be photographed, some stuff just sits around and waits for a camera to complete it. Can you figure out what’s happening here? (Lisson, London.)

Drat — you can’t make out the text. It says “WHAT’S THE POINT OF GIVING YOU ANY MORE ARTWORKS WHEN YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND THE ONES YOU’VE GOT?” Bethan Huws.

Wolfgagn Tillmans. Rockstar.

More photography: Eric Baudelaire. This was one of a stellar group of four.

The best color-period Cindy Sherman photo I’ve ever seen.

OK, I’m beat. More tomorrow morning.

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Tuesday December 5, 2006

Art Basel T minus 1 day

Governor

It’s silly for me to talk to out-of-towners since they’re either packing, in transit, or settling in, but whatever. Welcome to Miami Beach. Sorry about the crowds. You’re in the Northernmost portion of the world-famous South Beach (please don’t call it SoBe), a neighborhood called Collins Park. Here’s a map. You’re at the convention center, and the white square in the upper right is where Positions is; the right edge of the map is the beach (the other two edges of the map are just where the map leaves off. Google shows it pretty good). It’s about a 10-minute walk between the Convention Center and Positions, and through a neighborhood that’s experiencing a small-scale and slightly delayed version of what’s happening in all of Miami — massive buildup and reconstruction. You’ll see brand new buildings, old buildings, buildings getting torn down, renovated, and built up. The weather should be okay — it’s not going to be hot like it was last weekend, but it’ll probably rain here and there.

I’ll reserve judgment, but if last year’s any indication, the satellite fairs on the mainland tend to be better then the ones on the Beach. The Beach fairs (such as Scope and Aqua) are mostly in hotels, and I find that sort of setting very claustrophobic and not conducive to looking at art — you’re in a small room, usually with a desperate gallery owner breathing down your neck and being all friendly and shit. The beautiful building of NADA and and even the absurd tent of Pulse were more open and relaxed to me (at least last year).

A general word of advice, as much to myself as anyone else — go slowly. There’s no way you’re going to see everything anyway; it’s better to have quality time with fewer pieces then to run around looking for some sort of cream. If you think you can spot the stuff you really need to see very easily, you’re probably just accentuating your self-imposed tunnel-vision. Also, this might be a good year to stop fawning over overpriced German photography. Maybe.

Now let’s have today’s list of links:

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Monday December 4, 2006

The word on Art Basel

Art
Basel always brings some temporary outdoor art installations. This one is in front of the Jackie Gleason Theater. Some more are here and here

Yes, I’m going to be talking about Art Basel this week; apologies to those who don’t care. For non-art people who are interested, I’ll probably do a post on Friday to tell you what to see if you don’t want to see everything. For the others, somewhat more frequent updates on what’s particularly interesting.

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Tuesday November 28, 2006

The Art Basel Plan

gallery sign at basel

Art Basel weekend is right around the corner: It happens the weekend of December 9th and the few days before (the official opening is Thursday). If you’re coming in from out of town, you’re mainly concerned with getting yourself some airline tickets and hotel reservations. Us locals have it good. Here’s what the smart ones will be doing:

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Friday November 24, 2006

Bert Rodriguez photo installation on Herald building

IMG_7240.jpg

Bert Rodriguez, You’re only mad at yourself, photo installation on the east side of the Miami Herald building, 2006.

Bert Rodriguez, previously known for buying and returning picture frames with his picture in them, was awarded a $15,000 grant to complete this installation on the outside of the Herald building. It’s a photo of the view from inside the building, flipped horizontally for a mirror effect for westbound drivers. From an interview:

From inside the Herald building I took a photograph through windows of the outside view, and I took the picture from the part of the building where the banner hangs. From inside the building, the banner, which is 60-feet-by-40-feet, will reflect the same view employees always see. From outside — for people on the other side of the bay and driving toward downtown on the causeway — it will look like a reflection.

For a (Snitzer!) artist who operates on the boundary between the obvious and the sublime, this is pretty damn good. He resisted the urge to do something more obvious (say, on the building’s oft-bannered south wall), and nods subtly to the previous Herald-based installation, Wendy Wischer’s fantastic moon projection. But couldn’t $15,000 bought a bigger banner? Maybe three of these next to each other (60’ x 120’), which would also have resulted in a more pleasing horizontally-oriented image.

And yes, it’s up just in time for Art Basel.

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Wednesday November 15, 2006

Friends with You will be doing a parade of giant balloons on December 9th 7th [either the 7th or the 9th, not sure], and they need volunteers. Information at Wormhole.

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Monday October 30, 2006

Villamagna ad

This ad, for the development on the last empty bayfront lot in Brickell, is notable for its insistence that prospective buyers show the class and cachet to own unimpeachable pop art. (It’s across the street from this cute, and very historical, building.)

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Friday October 27, 2006

The weekend

Felice Grodin and Erika Morales

Tonight, two of my friends have openings. (left) Felice Grodin (with Matthias Saillard and Veronica Castillo) at Carol Jazzar‘s home gallery. Felice uses abstract-expressionist ink drawings as her starting point, then meticulously applies the language of architecture to them, creating delicate, multi-level maps. (right) Erika Morales, with drawings and an installation at Leonard Tachmes Gallery. Erika’s last installation was a home made set of monkey bars that were wired to produce sound when someone monkey-barred across them, so this should be impressive.

More this weekend:

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Thursday October 26, 2006

Two cool things happening tonight: At the Wolfsonian,
Go Native!: Ideas to Make Your Garden a Natural Habitat — landscape architect Raymond Jungles (ha!) runs through native species suitable landscaping, and shows some recent projects done native style. At the MAC, Dan fucking Grahm. 8 pm. Update: Grahm was great. A true believer in the power of [old-school] video technology to bring people together.

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Friday October 20, 2006

Damn weekend

Design Art Miami Now

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Thursday October 12, 2006

Demonstrate [you] care about the advancement of Florida’s arts, cultural, arts education, humanities, and historical resources. Four easy steps.

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Monday October 9, 2006

Carnival Center opening: Target GlobalBeat

Carnival Center Target Globebeat

Target GlobalBeat was the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts’ giant opening party for Miami: a free, 10-hour, 50-performer festival, where the doors were basically thrown open and anyone who wanted to could roam the entire complex unrestricted. And it was expertly organized, too: I suspect that anyone who caught even one of the shows would have been impressed: especially the indoor performances were all first class, many were exotic, and they worked together to create a seamless kaleidoscope of music from around the world by featuring mostly local performers and with international talent. A class act. There were some minor problems with the sound, which I’ll mention as I go along, but for the most part they take nothing away from the excellent performers or the Center; after all, each venue (and there were seven) had at least six different performers, who went on in quick succession and with little to no sound check. I’ll talk about the performers today, and get into looking at the buildings themselves tomorrow.

Carnival Center Target Globebeat

The Florida Memorial Steelband opened things in the Knight Concert Hall. Their MC explained how a steel band works—there are 10 players on the steel drums, plus two “percussionists.” They played a few original compositions, then brought out the horns and launched into some Sonny Rollins. It was all quite beautiful, even for the faint-of-steeldrum. Featured audio issue: a hissing (almost buzzing) sound from the speakers between songs, probably from a piece of the band’s equipment, because it was gone later.

Carnival Center Target Globebeat

Bharti Chokshi, of the Association of Performing Arts of India, rocks the sitar, with a tabla player, in the Studio Theater. The sitar/tabla combination is the quintessential configuration for Indian classical music. Both instruments are so complex that if you close your eyes, it’s difficult to imagine that only two people are making it. Both the performers were masterful, but the 15-minute set, all with people crowding in and taking flash pictures, was hardly ideal for enjoyment of this type of music. Featured audio issue: a strange reverb on the tabla that made the dāyāñ (the smaller of the two drums) dominate the mix a bit. (And yes, my photo is out of focus; I was there to enjoy myself, not fuss with photography.)

Carnival Center Target Globebeat

Next up were two Indian dancers. They were completely spellbinding, as was the choreography. Their movements were sometimes in unison, sometimes sequential, and sometimes complimentary, and were punctuated by pauses, during which the dancers stood motionless except for subtle movements of their heads. They were, in a word, tight. I cannot possibly explain how great the Association of Performing Arts of India is, or the completely otherworldly beauty of Indian culture. Update: The dancers are Madhavi and Meenakshi Menon, and they have a website.

Carnival Center Target Globebeat

Outside, the giant dragon puppet, brought by the Miami Overseas Chinese Association, rages to the accompaniment of giant drums.

Carnival Center Target Globebeat

Fusho Daiko, a Taiko ensemble, at the Ziff Ballet Opera House. They cranked it up to 10 right at the start, and then turned it up to 11 later, blasting the place out with just enough rhythmic variation (and almost no harmonic content, except for the occasional conch blow) to be mesmerizing. In a word: fierce. They generally rearranged the drums between every piece, varying the organizational structure of the group. This was one of the highlights of the day. (An inquisitive reader will want to know: “do the men in the ensemble shave their armpits?” Answer: some of them.) Featured audio problem: none—they were unamplified!

Carnival Center Target Globebeat

One of several parades/street parties in the plaza.

Carnival Center Target Globebeat

Peru Expression. The band played one song (featured audio problem: the singer and guitar were almost inaudible for most of the song), and then the singer launched into a long story, in Spanish, before bringing out the dancers. I was out of there.

Carnival Center Target Globebeat

Black Violin, who bring the hip-hop approach to, um, violins. Their act consists of playing violin along with existing songs, and setting classical pieces to beats. The latter approach works a little better, but overall I can imagine this group being more effective in concert, going back and forth with 50 Cent (as they recently did). Still cool, though.

Carnival Center Target Globebeat

A reduced version of the normally 30-member Klezmer Company Orchestra played around, setting old Klezmer songs to South American rhythms, which worked surprisingly well. Not as joyous and unrestrained as I’d have expected, but they played well, and their musical director’s between-song history and anecdotes were interesting. Featured audio problem: couldn’t hear the bass(!), except when she played one particular note, high up on the neck.

Carnival Center Target Globebeat

I was in the nosebleed section for the Delou Africa Dance Ensemble, which turned out to be a bad choice, because I couldn’t see the dancing very well, other then to get a sense of joyous abandon. The music was a different story, though. Employing a similar ensemble and soloist strategy as the Taiko group, but to completely different ends, it was precise, aggressive, and had the feeling of one-upsmanship, but with a constant give-and take. The drummers would lay low, and the African Xylophone would play some polyphony, and then they’d come to the front of stage and trade solos, walking while playing. Great. Featured audio problem: feedback.

Carnival Center Target Globebeat

Conjuncto Progreso. Featured audio problem: not sure, they were arguing with the sound guy and hadn’t started yet. I couldn’t stick around, because I was on my way to see . . .

Carnival Center Target Globebeat

The Cooper Temple Church of God in Christ Mass Choir, which was a powerhouse. This is the contemporary gospel choir in full force, and everyone was suitably impressed. Maybe there was a little too much emphasis on the drums, and not enough on the singers, but it worked perfectly for me. Wow.

Carnival Center Target Globebeat

One of the many performances in the lobby of the Concert Hall. I believe this was Los Tangueros.

Carnival Center Target Globebeat

Back over to the Studio Theater, where local break-dance crew D-Projects was doing their thing. I only caught a little, but again, it looked like one of the highlights. Breaking done right is still impressive. And it’s still being done right, twenty-five years later. Crazy.

Carnival Center Target Globebeat

Mayday [Flash!] was in the house, playing to what looked mostly like fans, and impressing the crap out of everyone. Not bad for a white, 4-piece (keyboards, bass, DJ, MC) outfit. Featured audio problem: a horrible crackling distorted sound every time the DJ tried to scratch. This was in the Peacock Studio, which is really a dance rehearsal space. It was set up without seating, and black fabric covering the walls, sort of club-like.

Carnival Center Target Globebeat

DJ Craze, three-time World DMC Champion, closed out the night with some of his jaw-dropping turntable dexterity. Actually, I take that back: there are other scratch-DJ’s who focus on show-off DJ techniques, and while Craze has his share of show, what puts him over is his musicality. Dude is dope. Don’t take my word for it, check him out here. Dang!

Carnival Center Target Globebeat

There you have it: a class act all around. I can’t imagine anyone going to this event and not feeling right about the Performing Arts Center. Maybe they’ll throw a big party like this once a year? There’s hoping. My biggest quibble with the day was the annoying plastic rattlers that someone was handing out to the kids; whoever had that idea deserves eternity in a purgatory where a hundred kids shake those things at random while they’re trying to pay attention to something. Also, I think there was a fear of having the place overrun with an unmanageable amount of people, hence the wristband thing, which allowed the organizers to reserve the right to exercise some sort of control. No worries, though: while the event was well attended, there was no shortage of wristbands, and I didn’t hear anyone complain about not being able to see what they wanted to see. And everyone was walking around with smiles on their faces; I think it was a genuine pride and excitement, that after all the problems, this thing is finished, and it’s being done right. Tomorrow: the building!

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Saturday October 7, 2006

becky stands over a canal, contemplating jumping in.

Becky Flowers, FIU grad student and performance artists, has a blog where she documents one action she took each day. For example, intervening with a sculpture. Check out day 1. Also, her action for tonight will be at the Wallflower Gallery at 7:30! (thanks, Dervis!) Related: Bust that cycle.

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Thursday October 5, 2006

cifo opening

cifo, outside

Stopped by the opening of “10 Defining Experiments” at CIFO last night. (Sorry: still not able to link to Flash sites.) Lovely event, I must say: fully stocked bars, beautiful people by the boatload, and a spectacular facility. The art was meh, and three gorgeous photographs absolutely stole the show. Big openings of course ≠ a good place to experience video so, you know, caveat there. And this sculpture made of bobby pins was very nice, though I expect it doesn’t look like much in the photo. Then I rushed over to the MAM, but the opening there was already over, having closed at 8:30(!) and people were on their way out.

Next time: opposite order!

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Friday September 29, 2006

If we don't keep the Everglades wet, it will be a desert, and no one will be able to live there A cute, if somewhat nonsensical, ink drawing from The Everglades Invade the City, an installation by Edwin Villasmil and Elba Martínez, which runs through February 28. From the press release:

Villasmil and Martinez are artists, environmental activists and educators. For the past two years, they have researched the Everglades through our library system and documented their findings through art. The result – a fairytale world of line drawings, sculptural installations and graphic-novel style storytelling that parallels Marjory Stoneman Douglas’ River of Grass and recounts the natural, social, and cultural history of the Everglades. Their goal is to investigate the relationship between art, society and nature, and to create awareness of the need to protect our natural resources.

Call 305.375.5048 or email art@mdpls.org for more information, ‘cause this is the closest thing to a web page about it. It’s at the West Dade Regional Library, 9445 Coral Way, way out here. Make this my default location? Oh yeah, babe.

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Monday September 25, 2006

plaza at carnival performing arts center with zany designs

‘Pharaoh’s Dance,’ a site-specific installation by Gary L. Moore on the plaza of the new Carnival Center for the Performing Arts. (via dig)

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Friday September 22, 2006

Yoko Ono will be hosting a party during Art Basel 2006.

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Thursday September 21, 2006

Video Art at MAC

Peter Campus, Interface, 1972
My friends and I goof around in front of Peter Campus’ Interface

I have neither the knowledge nor the fondness for video art to be writing any sort of review about an exhibition of it. But I stopped by the opening of Video: an Art, a History 1965-2005 at Miami Art Central Tuesday, and I think this is another of those shows that everyone should see. In part this is because video art has the potential to be fun, even for those who don’t generally sit still for capital-A “Art,” and this exhibition is; it’s a “take the kids, take grandma!” kind of thing. While a few of the pieces are in the “like TV, only stranger” mode, many others have a physical interaction with their setting, using big multi-screen installations, live video cameras, and projections to interact with the viewer. Isaac Julien’s Baltimore, which forms the centerpiece of the show, is a three-screen mini-movie.

It’s going to be fun for the art snob too, though. I described the Dan Graham piece in the show to Cohen (who called me while buying cigarettes in Times Square; he’s in NYC working on a Masters), and he knew exactly what it was; “that’s a seminal fucking piece, man.” It was like that with everything, and actually, so the art snob will probably be most easily impressed if I just give you the list of artists in the show: Vito Acconci, Isaac Julien, Samuel Beckett, Thierry Kuntzel,Dara Birnbaum, Matthieu Laurette, Peter Campus, Mark Leckey, Stan Douglas, Chris Marker, Valie Export, Bruce Nauman, Jean-Luc Godard, Marcel Odenbach, Douglas Gordon, Tony Oursler, Dan Graham, Nam June Paik, Johan Grimonprez, Walid Ra’ad / The Atlas Group, Clarisse Hahn, Gary Hill, Zined Sedira, Pierre Huyghe, Bill Viola.

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Friday September 15, 2006

The architects for the new Miami Art Museum building have been selected: Herzog & de Meuron. I’m officially exited. The decision was suggested by Terence Riley and approved by a civic panel. The building might open in 2010. Tyler Green says, “Miami is the most fascinating museum city in America.” (via Riptide)

Update: Verticus went to the meeting, pitching Gehry, and was not pleased with the proceedings.

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Tuesday September 12, 2006

Recently I commented on TnFH about a Legal Art workshop at Art Center South Florida to the effect that it presented exactly the information that artists didn’t need to photograph their work. Franklin noted my objections and wrote up the Artblog.net Guide to Shooting Totally Adequate Digital Images of Your Work, which is spot-on correct and super-useful. I made some additional comments under his post (#12), but overall I just sort of second everything he says.

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Sunday September 10, 2006

September gallery hop

I may as well come right out and say it: it’s been a while since I’ve made any art. Lots of things interfere (not the least of which is this blog), but probably the most significant is the somewhat incomplete sense of accomplishment brought about by my most recent project, the wall pictures (which, surprisingly, a couple of people have quite randomly complemented me on lately, not the least of which was Tom Virgin, last night). I’m planning out another project which hopefully be more satisfactory, but my reason for bringing all this up is something else entirely: that last night I was looking at art more as a spectator then as an artist, and it is in that spirit that I share my observations, and my joy of looking, in hopes of attracting more non-art types out to the gallery walk, say, next month.

gallery hop

Michael Tedja at Locust, including painted and bejeweled bicycle tires, lots of ape faces, ab-ex scrawls, collage, a black Santa, crazy snatches of text (“More money more murder”), more fabric then immediately apparent, a pair of flip-flops with paint squiggles, and, yes, real beer bottles stuck everywhere. At some point I suspected that this was an art joke; that no serious person could leave without being annoyed by something. More likely, it’s created for the sheer joy of making stuff, without such overintellectualization.

gallery hop

Here’s Gean Moreno and Fred Snitzer hamming for a press photog in front of one of Gean’s pieces. Self-conscious and capital-A “Arty,” Gean’s pieces were nonetheless beautiful, and satisfying in a way that Michael’s weren’t. Attached to free-standing 2×4’s for no particular reason (nothing interesting happening around back), they made unnecessary reference to all sorts of shit (e.g. 80s metal), yet achieved a sort of effortless (say it with me) grace. I suspect that the effortlessness is more important to Fred then the grace, and for that I disagree with him, but as ever, the shit is good.

gallery hop

Frances Trombly at Kevin Bruk. Unless I’m completely ignorant, Frances didn’t knit, crochet, or weave the fabric for these streamers, as she did in the past. Still nice, though. (*Update:* Confirmed: I am completely ignorant. KH sez: “Frances spent a bazmillion hours weaving and hand dyeing that silk, man!”) The less said about Craig Kucia’s paintings the better.

gallery hop

I believe this is “Against the Girl” at MoCA’s Goldman warehouse. Sounding like a cross between Tori Amos and Iron Maiden, they left me, frankly, wondering who picked them and why. Here is someone’s idea of a representative half-minute of their performance. It’s a little more disco then the rest of their set. A Kyle Trowbridge video piece, of moshing at hardcore shows in 1984, in the next stall, made the visit worthwhile. (As did something else, which . . . more on that later.)

gallery hop

Here’s a bit of the actual “hoping.” Say what you will, but it’s September in fucking Miami, and it’s nasty hot outside. The industrial beauty of Wynwood is undeniable, but I was unplesantly sweaty all night, despite making any trip longer then a block in an airconditioned car. Maybe I’ll skip September and October and see you folks in November.

gallery hop

But no, because our last stop made everything worth it. A performance by Tracy + the Plastics. It’s funny, but though the “live performer + life-sized video of the same performer interacting” is so much of a genre as to be a cliché, when done right, it has undiminished power. Tracy’s was a piece of live performance art that also spanned elements of installation, (2-channel!) video, music, digital illustration, poetry, audience participation (the audience didn’t particularly rise to the challenge, actually), and more then a little sound design (microphone hiss that came and went depending on dramatic need, not any technological factors). It was a little drama wrapped inside a riddle (involving sheets), and it came down, as all performance art might, of being aware of yourself in the moment in which you exist. Which it couldn’t have been more successful at: I’m still aware of myself in that particular moment, a full day later.

gallery hop

By the time I got home (a road that involved a visit to Denny’s, and not to the Forge), there was a guy passed out in the street across from my building. It seemed fitting somehow; I feel like that guy. Don’t worry, he’s OK—I passed by looking for a parking space a few minutes earlier and he was in the same spot, but sitting up. And the cop cars swarmed the next morning around a completely different spot, down an entire block. Life goes on.

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Friday September 8, 2006

Art Saturday

the order of perfect happiness

Too early in the fall for my taste, but the art season is back. Stuff I’m planning on hitting Saturday night, tentatively:

Probably more at TnFH soon.

Update: I’m adding more the the list above. I guess you can keep checking.

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Thursday September 7, 2006

Hey, I have an idea: let’s forget all this crap about XHTML, accessibility, hyperlinks, and all that bollocks, and just put everything on the internet in the form of gigantic jpegs. (I got an e-mail that linked directly to this jpg, by the way: it’s not part of another page somewhere.)

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The chilling effect

new ac

Here’s Brook Dorsch hanging out on the roof of his Gallery, with one of three gigantic new A/C units, which are recently purchased (e-bay, baby), shipped from California, installed, wired, debugged, and switched on. And they work great — the opening this Saturday (Lucas Blanco and Marc Roder) shall take place in a pleasantly cooled gallery. So I sat down yesterday to chat with Brook about the A/C, the future of the Dorsch, and Wynwood in general.

The units were purchased (new) from California at a bargain price because a recent law made them uninstallable there. But it turns out that wasn’t the problem; nor was the problem installing them. The big pain in the ass was wiring them for power, which required a whole new electrical panel for the gallery, and ended up costing thousands of dollars. But nevermind: they work.

Standing on the roof, it’s impossible to miss the gigantic new power-lines running down the block eastward — not the ones you see in the picture, the much bigger ones supported by the fat pole rising in the the mid-right). They were rush-installed by FPL to power the almost-complete Midtown development, and they crackle softly in the damp air, murmuring about the changes rapidly approaching for the neighborhood.

When Dorsch moved his gallery from Coral Gables to Wynwood six and a half years ago, the only art-related thing there was “Locust”: and maybe the “Rubells”: (though they weren’t open to visitors yet). He was the first of dozens of galleries which flocked there at first because rent and property values were cheap, later because everyone else was there. But now, thanks to Midtown, the art-ification of the neighborhood, and general property-boom, property values are maybe about ten times what they were then. And when Miami 21 hits and almost certainly re-zones the whole area from industrial to some sort of residential/commercial combination, it’s really going to take off. At some point (methinks less then five years), the forces of the marketplace are going to force the galleries to begin to move out, and the Lincoln Road cycle will begin again somewhere else.

Update: Brook mentioned this about a million times, but not enough for me to remember: Onajide did a podcast Steve Kaplan did a podcast on Onajide’s blog about the AC. I haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet, but there it is. Why isn’t Critical Miami podcasting? Why is the Miami Art Exchange blog opening in a funny box (rendering permlinks useless)? What do you get when you drop a piano on an army base? All excellent questions.

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Wednesday August 9, 2006

DDS8IFF

awards ceremony
‘Audience Choice’ award winner Nastassja Schmidt, Julie Lara Kahn, and Brook Dorsch, at the Dixie Dingo Super-8 “International Film Festival”

Okay, so first of all, if Brook ever gives you a little film camera and asks you to make a little movie, only only only ever turn it on in full midday sunlight. OK, we’re talking about the film screening last night, and actually almost all the movies were pretty great. Taken as a group, they just about made up a poem about Miami. Nastassja Schmidt absolutely stole the show. She decided to sing Amazing Grace while her movie played. Now keep in mind that nobody saw the movies before they were screened, right? So, she starts to sing, the movie starts to play, and the screen is completely dark.

Somehow her movie was the most underexposed of them all, and with only one little flash spot of light (which—important—made it clear that the problem was with the film, not the camera), Nastassja sang to a dark screen. She seemed a little taken aback, but not at all thrown. So, ok, she’s an amazing singer, right? And she’s doing this incredible acapella version of Amazing Grace, with little slides and flourishes and stuff, and just as she gets to the “but now I see” line . . . the screen comes a live with just the briefest shot of light, something that looks like a chandelier, or an explosion, or a bouquet of flowers (of which the latter is what it was, she explained afterwards how she had mixed artificial flowers with real flowers, and it was supposed to be about how misleading hasty judgements can be).

So yeah, it was unbelievable. After that, nothing was going to compete, though Crispin Sylvester’s movie was great, and apparently lost by only one vote. Some more thoughts about the night:

  1. TM Sisters did some crazy good titles, which somehow made the whole thing feel a little like the Oscars, and managed to perfectly complement grainy B/W footage, feature dogs (the festival’s named after a dog, remember?), and still be in the TM’s trademark style.
  2. Faktura Pet Projects were taking donations and selling artwork to support animal adoption (the dog the festival’s named after was found and adopted by Brook and Julie).
  3. William Keddell’s amoeba pictures and 3d viewers are great. You’ve seen the picture on the Dorsch site? Well, then, you haven’t seen anything.
  4. Cinema Vortex was involved with the projecting and technical aspects of the whole thing, cause, you know, Best Buy doesn’t sell Super-8 projectors anymore. And for example how they transferred the TM’s titles to Super-8 was the mystery of the night for me.
  5. The Miami-Dade department of cultural affairs gave them a grant to throw this thing.

All of which brings me to say that the Dorsch Gallery has now completed it’s transformation into a full-on cultural center. This is the sort of event that the smartest non-profit in the world might try to do, but for a supposedly commercial gallery? I’d say it’s pretty singular. Just wait until the AC’s in place!

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Tuesday August 8, 2006

Rocket Projects has closed?!

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Monday August 7, 2006

Dixie Dingo Super-8 Film Festival

This is a project that Brook Dorsch and Julie Kahn cooked up last year. They somehow came into the possession of eight Super-8 cameras, and gave them to eight semi-randomly selected people along with a three-minute spool of film. One week later, everything gets returned, developed, and subsequently screened. The screening is the first time anyone gets to see the movies, including the organizers. Nice. I missed it last year, and I’m not missing it again.

Tomorrow Night! (Tuesday, 8 pm) From the website (which as far as I know has no permlinks:

Julie Lara Kahn & Brook Dorsch announce the second Dixie Dingo Super-8 Invitational Film Festival at the Dorsch Gallery on 8/8/06 at 8:00 pm. The DDS8IFF is a free one-night festival of Super-8 films by Miami strangers. The festival celebrates the 3rd birthday of a stray Dixie Dingo puppy named Logan who appeared on the steps of the Dorsch Gallery on 8/8/03. We adopted him and he changed our lives forever. The festival pays homage to the creative possibilities of such serendipitous meetings with strangers. The evening will benefit Faktura Pet Projekts—a non-profit organization run by artists Jacquelyn Johnston and Angela Roell dedicated to using the arts to enhance community by raising awareness, funds and support for the rescue of stray pets. This year”s 8 filmmakers are: Elizabeth Howard; Eduardo M. Lopez, a personal driver, sailor and diver from Argentina; Teresa Mears, an assistant features editor for the Miami Herald; Crispin Sylvester, a Rastafarian; Bethany Quinn, a UM hunger striker; Nastassja Schmidt, a high school actress, singer, model, dancer & aspiring filmmaker; Us Not Him, a local collaborative; Alon Siso, a hairdresser and modern artist who works with oil and canvas.

On a hot day earlier this year, Brook & Julie cruised through Miami neighborhoods handing out cameras & film to 8 random people. Each stranger was provided with a super-8 camera, a 3-minute film cartidge & 1 week to shoot. Their exposed film was then collected, processed and compiled onto a single reel without any editing beyond what was done in camera. The reel will be screened via old-fashioned projector with the help of Barron Sherer and Kevin Wynn of Cinema Vortex at the Dorsch Gallery on August 8th at 8 pm. No one will view the films before the festival, not even the organizers or the filmmakers, we will all be virgins together. In addition to the 8 virgin films, the organizers commissioned credit trailers by Miami-based art duo, the TM Sisters, best-known for their xerography, sewn collage, animation, and video game collaborations. After the films and trailers are screened, the audience will vote for an Audience Choice Award Winner. The evening will conclude with a dance party featuring DJ le Spam and an opportunity to mingle with the filmmakers and their guests.

Update: No AC yet, so dress light.

Update: Sweet Jesus, I didn’t even realize (but KH points out) that it’s 8 folks making Super 8 movies, shown on 8/8, at 8 pm. I’m about to have a seizure.

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Saturday August 5, 2006

Snap Judgements at Miami Art Central

A scene of rooftops taken from an even higher rooftop. Rubble on one roof, people sitting at a table on another.
Randa Shaath, Untitled, from the series Rooftops of Cairo, 2002-3, Twelve gelatin silver prints, Courtesy of the artist [and crudely rephotographed by me in the gallery, hence the crappy quality]

Three men and a boy hang out in a room with newspaper headline posters covering the wall behind them. 'FURY OVER HIJAK HOAX.' 'MOB JUSTICE SPREADS.' 'DO WOMEN NEED OWN VIAGRA?' 'CHIEFS IN THE DARK AS STAR VANISHED.'
Guy Tillim, Ntokozo and His Brother Vusi Tshabalala at Ntokozo’s Place, Milton Court, Pritchard Street, Johannesburg, 2004, Courtesy the artist and Michael Stevenson Gallery, International Center of Photography, New York

Colorful costumes, celebration in the woods.
Theo Eshetu, Trip to Mount Ziqualla, Ethiopia, 2005, Courtesy the artist

You want to make a snap judgement? Enter Miami Art Central’s gallery. You’ll be faced with several huge, drastically out-of-focus pictures of uniforms. You won’t be tempted to go in for a closer look (large out of focus photos tend not to reward close looking), and you might temporarily question the wisdom of your decision to come. As it turns out, the show, despite making this oddly poor first impression, is full of amazing work. And MAC [flash!] has a habit of saving its best stuff for upstairs.

But let me pick on them a little more. From the brochure: “the recognition of African photographers and their unique visual language has come about only recently.” I’ll have to take curator Okwui Enwezor word for it, because the show certainly doesn’t exhibit anything like a particular “unique visual language.” Many of the individual photographers have a UVL, to be sure, but I perceive no more of a hint of common sensibility in this show then in, say, Aura of the Photograph: The Image as Object recently at the Harn. That show presented photography from around the world, and from the entire history of the medium.

Of course this is a good thing; any exhibition claiming to give even the most cursory look at the photographic work of a continent of 840 million people and 20 percent of the world’s land area had better be pretty freaking diverse, and Snap Judgements is. The show has its share of uninspiring pictures, but it’s full enough (too full maybe; pictures are packed tightly, double-hung in places) to include dozens of pictures that are, in turn, beautiful, alarming, tender, and haunting. Just go already.

Miami Art Central
5960 SW 57th Avenue
Miami, Florida 33143
Free Sundays, $5 other days

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Tuesday August 1, 2006

An old-school thread at Artblog. Sure check out Franklin’s ovalup (new term: coined!), then skip down to comment #11 and read as long as you can stand it. Yay for Artblog discussions!

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Monday July 24, 2006

My one big complaint with last December was: “Not enough art fairs.” Well, this year it’s going to get a little better. The lineup: Art Basel, NADA,Pulse, Aqua. Scope, Bridge, Design Miami, DiVA, and Flow. See Artnet for brief descriptions and dates of all but the last (scroll way down). (via dig)

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Thursday July 20, 2006

Elisa Turner reviews Snap Judgements. I can’t wait to see the show. (Note to the Herald web team: Please hit “refresh” and look at the articles when you post them. On this one all the body copy is in italics.) (via TnfH)

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Wednesday July 12, 2006

Bicentennial Park/Museum Park

First of all, before you get all exited, this has nothing to do with the design of Miami Art Museum, Miami Museum of Science, or any museum. This is all about the park that will (maybe) contain them, plans of which have been released. MAeX linked to a Herald article which linked to the Miami Planning website which linked to two PDF documents, a big one (which crashed my computer) and a little one.

We get a restaurant, some fountains, some open space, a “promenade,” some fancy gardens, no parking to speak of, and room for two buildings, the models of which are there just to fill space, ‘cause nobody knows what they’re going to look like yet. In fact, they may never happen, which who knows what that does to the park layout?

In the interest of sparing you downloading the PDFs, and of burning some bandwidth, each of the images below links to a (near) full-size graphic. Enjoy.

map

model

model

model

renderings

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Saturday July 8, 2006

A comprehensive list of art-related activities for the weekend. Every single thing on KH’s itinerary sounds worth doing.

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Sunday June 11, 2006

The report from Saturday night

Dino lights candles at Dorsch

Dino Felipe sets up for his performance at Dorsch last night. The preparation was fraught with technical difficulty, but got up and running stunningly, a parody (homage?) to Lies, among much else. Even crouched down on the floor and lighting candles, he somehow dominates the room. Dino was also one of the judges in last week’s laptop battle, and has been reviewed by pitchfork and deleted by myspace.

The work in the exhibition was a mixed bag, but there was lots of good stuff to see, especially in the project room, for those who braved the absurd heat. I’m serious, though, it was something like 85° and 80% humidity and no breeze, try standing in an unventilated warehouse with 500 of your closest friends (and another 500 on the street outside). The good news is that I have been personally assured by Mr. Dorsch himself that this is the last exhibition ever without AC. The units are on the roof, and the duct-work is getting run right after the show closes. It’s going to be the end of a sticky era.

Even with all that, the highlight of the evening was Cliff Chidree’s new film, Somethin Awful. Cliff splits the difference between Charlie Chaplain and Matthew Barney, and this 30 minute short (On 16mm! With sound performed live! Shown at the esteemed Bas Fisher Invitational!) must be seen to be believed.

Speaking of homages to Guns n Roses, we stopped briefly at “The Bar” in Coral Gables, where the worst cover band ever played Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door (yes I know it’s a Dylan song, but they were covering GnR, trust me) and attempted, rather unsuccessfully, Honky Tonk Women. Could not have gotten out of there fast enough.

TNFH went out too, and has more stuff.

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Friday June 9, 2006

Something Awful Friday

production still from Something Awful

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Wednesday May 31, 2006

Salzinger at ArtCenter

stereoview image with breast masturbation toy

Holy crap: my pal Samantha Salzinger just got written up in New Times by Carlos Suarez De Jesus for the show at ACSF her work is in:

Through the other viewer one gazes upon an alpine clearing where a rubber replica of a porn star’s breasts bursts from a patch of daisies and heaves toward the clouds. One is immediately struck by these works’ shared sensibility with glory holes found in seedy XXX book shops that allow perverts to drop in on the action in coin-operated film booths.

Good job. Samantha worked super hard on these and she deserves to get some credit. If you’re extra slick, you might be able to can stare at the above images, cross your eyes, and get a taste of the 3d effect (though you need to check them out in person to see how amazing they really look).

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Tuesday May 23, 2006

The City of Miami beach is soliciting designs for new manhole covers. Anyone who lives in Miami Dade county can submit a design, due July 5. The city’s Art in Public Places Committee will review the designs, and the city Commission will approve the final selection. Fun?

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Friday May 19, 2006

Nostalgia weekend

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Thursday May 18, 2006

KH of tNFH reviews the Anna Maria Maiolino show at MAC for Miami Sunpost. I wasn’t crazy about the show myself, but I intend to see it again.

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Monday May 15, 2006

One of these days I’m going to write up a whole big thing about how Miami Art Guide sucks so so bad. Meanwhile, check this out – they’re apparently biting content from tNFH. Nice work, guys.

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Saturday May 13, 2006

KH and Jose have art-things to do tonight.

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Sunday May 7, 2006

An article about the local art scene covers artists’ jumps from gallery to gallery in absurd detail, but has a great quote from Snitzer: “All the artists that are mad at me because I won’t represent them? Tough shit. It’s my dime.” (expletive restored)

Meanwhile, Turner reviews Novoa.

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Friday May 5, 2006

Breakin' weekend

mlp hip hop

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Wednesday May 3, 2006

Huh? Abrsoino Gallery has decided not to participate in ABMB06. “Even though our participation in the past few years was economically very successful, I felt that this year we needed to give our artists a fresher exposure and more challenging venues.”

“Is Art Basel Miami Beach played out?” Jose wonders. I doubt it, and I doubt that Ambrosino’s withdrawal would really be the indicator of that. But between this, and last year’s snub of Steinbaum, we have the makings of an Art Basel Miami Beach with very little Miami in it, which makes me sad.

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Friday April 28, 2006

A nifty idea is to have your graduation show run concurrently with a show at an established gallery, which is what GisMo did. Kyle reviews the latter at ignore. A good job all around.

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Thursday April 27, 2006

FIU BFA Spring Exhibition 2006

Ross Harris,  pumpkins, oil on canvas, 5x8 in., 2005 (from ongoing series)

This Friday is the reception for FIU’s latest batch of art majors. You might think that the school would publish a little brochure, maybe with an image of each of their work, or at least do up a little web site, but you’d be wrong.

Well, my pals Ross Harris, GisMo, and Silvia Llopis are in the show, as are Lisa Ashinoff, Kathleen Bulger, Reneé Cagnina, Gary Fonseca, Javier Gonzalez, Andrew C. Horton, Efren Izquierdo, Kelly Kuylen, Luisa Maria Mesa, Adam Pedrone, Laura Ploude, Danielle Rottler, Nicole Soden, Donna Lee Steffens, and David Tamargo.

FIU runs a decent art program, and the show will be worth checking out (even if it sounds like a lot of work to cram into the Frost’s space). By the way, please let me know if there is an applicable web link for any of these artists that I missed.

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Monday April 24, 2006

Let’s talk about panty-dropping.” I agree that Carlos Suarez De Jesus’s ‘panty’ comment was pretty gratuitous. More importantly, KH is at her best when riled, and her deconstruction here is a great read.

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Friday April 14, 2006

Natalia Benedetti, Cristina Lei Rodriguez, Frances Trombly, and Wendy Wischer have a joint studio space in the Design District. Apparently they were planning an event which didn’t happen, but the location is secret unless you bought a ticket. Very undercover.

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Precious little weekend

clubbin' as far as the eye can see

Not much going on this weekend that I can see. I guess it’s the

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Friday April 7, 2006

Artblogging panel

The panel was fun. There was a little of an information gap, but overall, my worst fears were not realized. To wit: I wondered, since the five of us are obviously articulate in writing and perfectly fine expressing whatever we need to on the blogs, whether there would be about this forum that would add to that. The answer turned out to be “yes.” And while I’m sure there were moments that were painfully dull for the audience, there was also some good back-and-forth. The library didn’t close promptly at 8 pm as was threatened, and so the conversation was allowed to run its course very naturally. One of the questions that came up afterwards was “so what do we do for part 2”? The answer seems clear to me now: different bloggers!

One of the points I found myself making was how different blogging is from journalism (this was particularly apparent during a great chat I had with Omar Sommereyns and Tiffany Rainey of SunPost at the post-panel chowdown at Parilla): a journalist starts a story with an idea, then goes to gather the facts through phone calls and research, then fits it into the space allocated, and into a fairly well defined “story arc.” As a blogger, my approach is almost the reverse of this – I start with experiences that I’ve had, and things that I’ve done or thought because of my personal interests, then fit them into posts; in a sense, the “idea” for the post comes last. I can write as much or as little as I want, and I can do it whenever I want. So, well, it’ll be interesting to see where this stuff is 10 years from now, when blogs and newspapers have gone through whatever integrating they’ll go through, and the percentage of human beings with blogs has plateaued, and this stuff’s place in society is established and not feared.

Oh right, the panel… Well, KH and Alfredo got into a little back-and-forth with Franklin, but there was too much love for real sparks to fly. Helen Kohen was a great moderator; she approached it with the freshness of an outsider (who, as a journalist, did her research!), and was very good about passing the [proverbial] mic around.

Oh, and so Rebecca Carter liveblogged the first hour of the talk (and summarized much of the rest) at Greener Miami, and I think caught much of the more interesting content (the photo above is also hers). Nice work, Rebecca! Meanwhile, over at this Artblog thread Jack gives his assessment at comment #18 (note to Jack: at the dinner after the panel, someone suggested checking Artblog to see what you’d said about it, so we all saw your comment moments after you posted it, about an hour after the end of the panel).

Update: KH has some reflections here and here.

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Thursday April 6, 2006

Yellow arrow

It’s taken a long-ass time, but Yellow Arrow [made me download a new version of Flash] finally has some traction in Miami, with 128 arrows (this one is on the sidewalk on Lenox Ave on the Beach). Yellow Arrow started in NYC years ago.

The basic idea is that you use the arrows to tag stuff in the real world (can’t be private property) with arrows you get from the site, and link the unique code on the arrow to your comment about the thing. Others who come across the arrow can get your comment by SMS from their cell. I can’t link to the specific pages on the site (drat that flash!) but poke around.

Tracking these down can’t possibly be worth the effort, but they’re definitely something to be on the lookout for. Better yet, plant some of your own – you order the arrows for 50 cents a piece, and you can do the whole thing from a cell, out in the real world.

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Wednesday March 29, 2006

John Szarkowski at the Margulies Warehouse

John Szarkowski (this photo is probably about 40 years old) will be speaking at the Margulies Warehouse this Thursday at 7 pm.

Szarkowski, who was Director of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art from 1962 to 1991, was instrumental in the medium’s acceptance as a valid vehicle for art. His books, including Looking at Photographs, argue vigorously and eloquently for the aesthetic value of excellent photographs. This is not to be missed.

The Margulies Warehouse, the private collection of Marting Z. Margulies, includes one of the most respected collection of photographs in the world (though the collection also includes video and sculpture), including many photographs by the early masters, and some stunning contemporary work. The collection is huge and dazzling. While it may not make sense to compare it with traditional cultural establishments such as the Miami Art Museum, it may also be the one must-see stop for an art lover visiting Miami.

The collection will be open for viewing from 6 pm on Thursday; see their website for regular hours and directions.

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Monday September 19, 2005

The Lincoln Road effect

This guy came up recently on Artblog, though folks have been chuckling about him for months. He’s an artist/model being used to advertise a condo development in Wynwood. The joke is that (1) he’s not much of an artist and (2) unless he’s a stockbroker of lawyer by day, he’s not going to be able to afford $250,000 for 386 square foot efficiency. And if he can afford it, why’s he using brushes that cost $5 for a 10-pack? Brook, who snapped our picture, says

Update from the heart of Wynwood. That famous photo of the artist with the clean brushes is reproduced as a gigantic banner outside of the sales office here in da hood. Some clever artist(s) have graffitied the banner to add a big X over his mouth and a $ over his eye. I makes me smile everytime I drive by.

We’re biding our time. The cycle or artists moving into a poor neightborhood, attracting the rich, and getting squeezed out by rising rents has been repeated numerous times, even in a city as young as Miami (before lincoln rd it was coral gables). The smart (like Brook) buy early, and reap the benefits. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they get to stay. As high-rise condos go up, property value appraisals do, too, and with them taxes.

Let’s say you own a small apartment building in Wynwood. You see all this development happening , but let’s say you want to keep your rents low for the sake of your tennants.

Well, when your taxes start to go up, you’re essentially forced to raise the rent. Since your building isn’t nice enough to justify the increase in rent, the only option at that point is to sell, because you don’t have the money to kick everyone out and pay out-of-pocked for a 12-month restoration. Wow.

Mayor Many Diaz wanted to do something about it, changing the way appraisals are done to more favor these building owners, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to fly.

Update: Bonnie Clearwater touches on how all this has effected artists in the essay for Moca and Miami (this via The Next Few Hours):

In the late 1990’s, inexpensive rent made it attractive for artists to live in Miami. The real estate boom in recent years has made it difficult for artists to find affordable houses and studios, thus creating a great demand for subsidized studios at such places as Art Center/South Florida. It seems that as soon as they set down roots in one neighborhood and become involved in dynamic relationships with other artist residents, their homes are demolished to make room for condominiums or, more ironically, “artist” loft-type living.

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