PAMM’s ‘Heaven’s Gate’ Highlights Miami’s Art of Summer
If you needed confirmation that we are finally coming out of the dark, just take a look at Miami’s cultural scene.
The Cleveland Orchestra has announced its return to the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, with two performance weekends in January 2022. The Miami City Ballet plans to release a live performance schedule for fall and winter later. this summer.
As for the visual arts, there is no need to wait. Almost all of the museums are open and the galleries are launching new shows, providing a lot of air-conditioned relief for the tired heat.
FROM THE NETHERLANDS
Pandemic isolation created both the breathing space – and the impetus – for the latest work by video artist Marco Bambrilla, now on display at the PÃ©rez Art Museum in Miami.
For Brambilla, the lockdown has brought the onslaught of daily COVID reports and relentless political messages to a deafening crescendo. The 24-hour news cycle and social media have combined to make the pandemic “a sensational event as well as a disaster and a biological event,” he says.
The result is “Heaven’s Gate,” an eight-minute video ascending – literally – up a 14-foot-high column incorporating thousands of footage from films. Fans will recognize scene snapshots – Beyonce from “Austin Powers”, Audrey Hepburn from “Funny Face”, Christopher Walken from “King of New York”, Matthew McConaughey from “Wolf of Wall Street” and Leonardo DiCaprio raising a drink from ” Great Gatsby ‘as they journey on a satirical, dante-esque journey through time from the Jurassic era to the Capitol Riot of 2021 (which Brambilla foresightedly incorporated into the project ahead of the actual event, date at which the movie ended.)
The dizzying result is a kaleidoscopic homage to 16th-century painter Hieronymus Bosch who âtests how much tolerance a person can assimilate,â says Brambilla. âA younger person can feel very comfortable with density; a different generation might feel overwhelmed. Especially when it comes to the VR version. (Yes, there really is.)
The film is the fourth in a series of video collages that Brambilla launched in 2012. During his career, he has also collaborated with NASA, Kanye West and Marina Abramovic. Last year he led a short film with Catherine Blanchett. Until 2021.
A CUBA-AMERICAN ICN
Emilio Sanchez was best known for his paintings of architectural forms, from a simple house in Cuba to tall skyscrapers in New York City. Later in his career, the late Cuban-born artist added other graphic forms – notably flowers and sailboats – to his artistic language. His use of light and color brings dynamism to the subjects, imbuing them with life despite the absence of people.
This remarkable work is celebrated with the publication by the United States Postal Service of a forever stamp, marking Sanchez’s 100th birthday.
Locally, LnS Gallery marks its influence with âEmilio Sanchez Revisitedâ, a retrospective featuring works from each decade of his professional life, as well as memories collected by friends, to present an intimate portrait.
Gallery owner Sergio Cernuda chose the exhibition because of the importance of Sanchez’s modernist work, in the tradition of contemporaries Georgia O’Keefe and Edward Hopper. He collaborated with University of Miami lecturer Victor Deupi, author of “Emilio Sanchez in New York and Latin America”.
And of course, because of his pioneering role. âHe was the first Cuban-American artist accepted onto the New York art scene of the 1950s. He was truly a pioneer,â Cernuda said. Sanchez is also the first Cuban-American artist whose work has been depicted on a postage stamp.
âAs an American of Cuban descent, I felt such pride that people all over the world will receive letters with these stamps,â Cernuda said. Until August 14.
Art lovers who remember those pre-pandemic days long ago – in 2019 – may recall an Art Miami booth presented by gallery owner Mark Borghi filled with striking black sculptures made from rubber tires. Even those who didn’t enter inside were treated to a curvy, larger-than-life artwork marking the entrance to the fair that seemed alive, both old and young at the same time.
These magical, sometimes threatening works come from the hands and mind of New York-based sculptor Chakaia Booker. Although Booker is now in his late sixties, his first comprehensive museum investigation exhibition has just been shown at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Miami. An entire floor is filled with monumental portals, creatures and surprisingly human figures that appear both scaly and elegant crafted from sturdy, ragged tires – an exploration of race, culture, gender and trash.
It is perhaps not surprising that earlier in practice Booker focused on the flamboyant sartorial art. Some sculptures appear ready to dance on the ground like scarified tribal dancers.
The artist’s paintings and photographs are included in the exhibition. Although engaging for the context, the works are swept away by the scale and majesty of its rubber dragons.
“Chakaia Booker: The Observance” runs until October 31st.
LENS ON MIAMI
For those who mistakenly think that Miami’s art scene started with Art Basel, a visit to the Patricia & Philip Frost Art Museum FIU is clearly a must.
Back in the ’60s, when tie-dye t-shirts and yoga in the park were first a thing, the local pop culture tie was Coconut Grove. Jack Lemon kept a winter home there, driving through the shady alleys in his convertible and chatting with the neighbors.
In the historic Coconut Grove of the western Bahamas, Robert McKnight, Dinizulu Gene Tinne, and Pamela Kabuya Bowens-Saffo were among those who spent time at the Miami Black Arts Workshop teaching arts and activism.
White artists – including Ronni Bogaev, Charles Humes, Erika King, Martin Kreloff, Eugene Massin and Neith Nevelson – painted, glued, drawn and sculpted, giving rise to the Coconut Grove Arts Festival (dating from 1963), the Goombay Festival (created in 1977) and the satirical King Mango Strut Parade, founded in 1982.
Those heady days of counter-cultivation are over, lost to rising land prices and a more toned way of life. But they live in a new show, “Place and Purpose: Art Transformation in Coconut Grove”. Until September 18.
âPeggy Levison Nolan: Blueprint for a Good Life,â presents domesticity through the eyes of a longtime Miami photographer and FIU instructor.
“When my youngest was about 3, my dad gave me an old Nikon and said, ‘take pictures of the grandchildren,'” Nolan said in a statement. âAnd I got hooked. I’m so addicted that I can’t even describe it to you. A roll of film got me.
Black-and-white images from the ’80s and’ 90s recall moments from everyday life – haircuts, naps, relationships – through the eyes of a single mother of seven in a working-class neighborhood. Until August 211.
IN THE GALLERIES
Miami’s gallery scene is getting more and more robust, with fascinating exhibits deserving of attention.
âª Interdisciplinary artist Kameelah Janan Rasheed is a New York-based educator, writer, and artist acclaimed for her narratives in video animation, murals, publications, installations, collages – even audio. Piero Atchugarry Gallery, near the Design District, presents its first show in Miami, “Everyone Will Be Saved by Algebra (A casual mathematics, II)” with video animation, public fresco, mural and prints large-scale schematics. Until July 24.
5520 North East 4e Avenue, Miami; 305-639-8247; pieroatchugarry.com.
âª In another first, the Bill Brady Gallery presents the first American solo exhibition of the work of Nigerian artist Victor Obah. âLife is a beachâ reminds us of the importance of joy, friends and celebration. Until July 17th.
90 NW 72nd Street, Miami; 305-418-0733; billbradygallery.com.
âª Although Miami-native Bhakti Baxter now works and lives in California, he remains a favorite with the local audience. His current exhibition of paintings and drawings, “Heat Transfer”, is painted outdoors in arid conditions where the paint dries quickly even if it is first soaked in water. Through this collaboration with the elements, Baxter continues his ongoing exploration of the relationship between science, spirituality, and geometric systems in nature. Until July 31 at the Nina Johnson Gallery.
6315 NW 2nd Ave., Miami; 305-571-2288; ninajohnson.com.
MUSEUMS AND MORE
âª Oolite Arts has become one of the fiercest champions of local artists in the region. In his current show, Natural transcendence, Oolite features the work of seven artists who explore our newfound appreciation for nature forged by the isolation of the pandemic. The show, curated by filmmaker Rhonda Mitrani, features works by Adler Warrior, Megan McLarney, lead glue, Anastasia samoylova, Jennifer Steinkamp, Wendy wischer and Antonia wright. Until August 26 by appointment.
928 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach; 305-674-8278; oolitearts.org.
âª The Boca Raton Museum of Art presents the museum’s first solo exhibition of the work of Miami-based artist Vickie Pierre. “Be My Herald of What’s to Come” presents a fairy tale bursting with dark history and hope for a better future through massive, baroque installations that explore colonialism, decor and femininity while paying homage to lives black lost. Until September 5.
501 Plaza Real, Boca Raton; 531-392-2500; bocamusÃ©e.org.