Tattoos of a City

TATTOOS OF A CITY

Urban development, city planning and regentrification projects typically include some form of public art in their design. In a more organic form, much of the art dotting city landscapes is created by artists who passionately seek to produce their work on an open-air canvas. “Graffiti art” is a hallmark of creative freedom and expression, and is deeply etched on the map of Miami. All forms of public art- ranging from stealth graffiti to commissioned monuments, are visual landmarks uniquely defining every city in the world, and documenting every era of civilization.

women

Art and architecture memorialize both a time in history and a style of local culture. Italy is an example of a country deeply enriched with centuries of public art. From the art of Ancient Rome that proliferated from 750 BC to approximately 400 AD, to such works as Michelangelo’s David and the Trevi Fountain, the image of Italy is closely connected to its public art. David, created between 1501 and 1504 and originally commissioned for a different purpose, was ultimately installed in a public square in Florence; and the Trevi Fountain in Rome (1732-1762, commissioned by Pope Urban Vlll), both exemplify the visual treasure chest of Italy.

As a young city, Miami has quickly developed global renown for its art scene. What does this mean vis a vis public art?

Miami’s Wynwood district is internationally acclaimed for its art, ranging from a growing gallery community, to prolific graffiti art – including the eponymous Wynwood Walls. Emerging from a neighborhood of disrepair, is a bright and edgy growth of artistic expression. The public art is viscerally changing the face of the map.

Both Miami and Miami Beach are cities that are strongly committed to art, as exemplified through the Miami Beach “Art in Public Places” program. Established in 1984, there were already several works of art throughout the city. Mermaid, created in 1979 by Roy Lichtenstein, is a highly visible and recognizable work of art located at Washington and 17th Street. In total, there are now nineteen unique and original works of art positioned throughout the city.

Public art is typically installed with the authorization and collaboration of the government. In different municipalities, the local government actively encourages the creation of public art by implementing a policy based on a percentage of real estate development costs. The City of Miami Beach Art in Public Places Ordinance has established that 1.5% of the cost of city-owned construction projects must be allocated for “works of art in public places other than museums which enrich the public environment.”

Some of the most important projects of the Art in Public Places program have been completed in the past several years. They include Urban Deco, 2008, by Garren Owens; Morris’, 2009, by Dan Graham; Tempest, 2010, by Brian Tolle; Liquid Measures, by Wendy Wischer, 2010; and most recently obstinate lighthouse, by Tobias Rehberger, 2011.

The most recent addition to the portfolio, unveiled in 2011 during Art Basel Miami Beach, represents the promising future. Not only is the obstinate lighthouse a monumental, fifty-five feet tall art work, a stunning addition to the pristine South Park, but the caliber of the artist is world class, and highly regarded by critics across the globe. The winner of the 2009 Venice Biennale’s highest honor, the Golden Lion, Tobias Rehberger and his obstinate lighthouse represents a beacon of commitment to public art in Miami and beyond.

 

Art Basel Miami Beach 2013

We welcomed 300 VIP guests to an amazing evening at the elegant Villa Azur.  Celebrating the Power 100 issue of Art+Auction magazine.  Sponsored by Champagne Nicolas Feuillate, and Sotheby’s International Realty.

judy catalina

Describing Labor

 

Describing Labor

 

Describing Labor is a thought-provoking, emotionally-charged art exhibition commissioned by The Wolfsonian-Florida International University in Miami Beach Florida, created by artist Esther Shalev-Gerz.

 

Occupying the entire seventh floor of the museum, the project actually begins in the elevator; with the background voice of museum founder Mitchell Wolfson contributing to the experience of “describing labor.”

 

The exhibition is brilliantly constructed, creating direct and relevant contemporary content that links to the heritage of the museum as well as to the historical place of manual labor around the globe- from the period of 1885 to 1945.

 

Shalev-Gerz theorizes that this period of time, roughly beginning with the industrial revolution and ending after the Second World War, was the last time that laborers were conveyed and depicted as prominent subjects of art, and with the emotion of “heroism.”

 

At the core of the exhibition are art objects relating to the figure of laborers during that stretch of time.  Approximately forty pieces of art –ranging from paintings and prints to sculptures and photographs (mostly belonging to the private collection of the Wolfsonian), were carefully selected by Shalev-Gerz as the integral layer for the exhibition.  She then recruited twenty-four people from the art industry as participants.  These artists, curators and professors were each asked to choose one of the pieces, based on their personal connection and artistic bias.

 

Subsequently, the participants were asked to locate a place to photograph their selection within the massive archives of the museum, which stores over 100,000 objects.  The final photograph of each art work renders each piece indelibly connected to its surrounding framework, and to its unique curator- creating a link of the historical art work and depiction of labor with the present.  These twenty-four photographs, shot with depth and detail, in predominantly dark setting, create the next layer of the exhibition.  The individual works are also presented as an ensemble, on one wall within the museum. The contrast between the framed images in a free-form collage displayed a stark white wall and each image ensconced in a powerful photographic dark frame is one of the brilliant aspects of the exhibition.

 

As alluded to in the title of the exhibition, the project contains layers and subtle messages formatting the depiction of the theme.  Each of the twenty four participants is individually interviewed and discusses the theme of labor as well as the reason for the selection of their piece.  The interviews are shot at close range with a black background, and run in a video loop side-by-side with another image scanning in detail their individually selected work of art.  The juxtaposition of the voice and expression of the individual participant with the intentionally discordant view of the art work perhaps reiterates the idea that “describing labor” is not merely a simple answer derived from the presence of its objects.

 

 

 

 

 

Each resulting tableau depicts an entire story about the participants’ interpretation of the theme – choosing different aspects and emotions connected to labor.  Social injustice and disparity, subjugation, heroism, monotony, stoicism, solemnity, power and strength are just some of the emotions evoked in the exhibition.  The observer may reflect on how and why the concept and practice of labor have shifted so dramatically over time.  A Shalev-Gerz points out, we are now visually flooded with the faces of politicians, celebrities and athletes, but the visualization of those who create objects has all but disappeared from art and from prominent media.

 

Museum Director, Cathy Leff muses, “Describing Labor insists that the luster of things does not lie hidden beneath the patina of time; rather, the patina itself holds latent meanings awaiting activation.”

 

The relationship between words and images is integral to the exhibition.  In discussing the work with assistant curator Matthew Abbess, he draws attention to the concept of art “speaking to us.”  How and why different people see art in a certain light, and respond viscerally from their own experiences and historical perspective is often what connects us to history, or a physical object or image.

 

Describing Labor shares with the viewers a panoply of ideas, strong visual images, and with intellectual stimulation and exploration of the theme of labor, it challenges the audience to consider the changing role and voice of labor over time, and how people today relate to the past.

 

The exhibition which debuted during the week of Art Basel Miami Beach on December 3, 2012 will remain open to the public through April 7, 2013.

Announcing… Art Concierge Miami

Art Concierge

A Private View of Art in Miami

www.artsconcierge.net

 

BTA Billy the Artist live at Scope 2011

Internationally known for its beaches and nightlife, Miami also has a burgeoning and exciting arts and culture scene.  Art Concierge is dedicated to exploring this shining facet of Miami, and sharing ideas with those who may not have all of the knowledge or guidance they need.  For residents and visitors alike who are curious about what’s happening in the art scene in Miami, or those who may be interested in viewing or purchasing, Art Concierge is a vital resource for the best art and culture in Miami.

 

Because the area is so dynamic and diverse, it can be difficult to navigate.  It is also challenging to grasp the nuances between the various art and culture venues and events.  Art Concierge helps you decide where to go and what to do!

 

The Art Concierge website is predominantly focused on visual arts, and explores the top spots of Miami and Miami Beach.  The categories included are: public art; galleries; museums and private collections; art fairs.  Included are the incredible public art installations interwoven throughout Miami Beach, highlighting the program developed and run by the City.  In the section on museums and collections, the viewers will enjoy some of the best art that is “not for sale.”  In addition to wonderful museums, with their vast array of art, Miami has a number of dedicated private collectors who open their collections to the public.  Galleries and art fairs offer the public a view of art “for sale.”  All of the locations and events featured in Art Concierge exemplify the pulse of the art world, and each one is selected for its importance.

 

Additional content is provided for equally exciting and essential aspects of culture… performing arts; fashion and design; as well as some great restaurants and hotels to enjoy in the area.

 

Regularly collaborating with the owners, directors and marketing teams of the various organizations featured on our site, Art Concierge endeavors to provide one consolidated resource for the best information about the top cultural destinations in Miami- including the crown jewels of our community- Bass Museum of Art, Miami Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, The Wolfsonian-FIU, New World Symphony, Miami City Ballet, Florida Grand Opera, Miami Theater Company.

 

Each month, the website will feature some of the most exciting openings and events – so make sure to visit the site often and sign up for the mailing list!

 

In addition to the information provided in the curated website, local residents and travelers have access to Art Concierge art services and consulting.  Clients are assisted with purchasing of art- whether for personal enjoyment or investing.  There is also a service to direct and escort clients to the top galleries, museums and private collections for a unique point of view about culture in Miami- available in English, Spanish and French. 

 

We hope that you will enjoy the art of Miami as much as possible, and look forward to sharing the experience together.

 

 

Thank you!

Judy Holm, Founder and Chief Editor

BTA Billy the Artist live at Scope 2011