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Post #369 • September 17, 2004, 8:39 AM • 27 Comments

Michael Mills for the Broward/Palm Beach New Times: Current Art Shows.

Charles Passy for the Palm Beach Post: Local artists unite to bring about change. Somehow, this sounds familiar. Oh, right. Good luck to you guys. You'll need it.

Ivette M. Yee for the Sun-Sentinel: Cultural centers in Palm Beach County face setbacks after hurricane. will take a little break and return Wednesday, September 22.




September 17, 2004, 7:17 PM

It's a good thing I didn't remove all those old articles, huh? Change... have mercy, we all need some of that! Actually, I am in the process of making some changes to MAEX. And, speaking of local people and MAEX... I would again like to say providing a 'cover image' is open to submissions. I mentioned it to a previous cover image person, living in Toronto, and he offered me six new images straight away. Only one person in S. Florida has done so so far.

Lest I not move on without noting the shocking loss of Rev. Sardi. Our prayers go out to his family and friends.



September 18, 2004, 1:11 AM

article about miami show in ny



September 18, 2004, 1:48 AM

More's interesting link tells of a show of work brought up from Miami and makes the point that although it is part of an effort by the gallery to show "regional art" there is nothing regional about the show.

How could there be? The only region artists draw from these days is the pages of the art magazines.

The author says there are "no stereotypes". Well, no Miami sterotypes, anyway. Today's Stereotypes are international.



September 18, 2004, 3:17 AM

Astute observation, Oldpro.



September 18, 2004, 4:28 PM

I sort of see that as a good thing. Should Miami artists make "Miami" art? I don't think that's really possible, or desired. It's telling that the article's author expected "sun-infused, pastel-heavy, carefree works, with maybe a token piece here and there focusing on Florida's crucial role in the upcoming presidential election."

Give me a break. That sounds like expecting Chicago artists to make blue paintings with lots of horizontal lines, influenced, as they are, by the wind. It's the sort of reaction that someone from somewhere else would have.

One friend of mine makes art (link below) that is an attempt to deal with what Miami is about, by making it look like a model. He's Dutch.



September 18, 2004, 5:44 PM

Good or bad, I don't know. I was only making the observation that artists do not seem to draw inspiration from their surrooundings any more, nor from each other, at least not in the concentrated, crucible-like manner we have seen throughout art history.. These are the kinds of influences that have always, in part, supported great art. Whether or not the worldwide uniformity induced by picking up hot licks out of art magazines and the internet is a good thing or not remains to be seen. So far, in my view, it has not been much help.

I would welcome some "sun-infused, pastel-heavy, carefree" work, Miami or not. It would be a very welcome relief from the dreary, silly, issue-oriented Pomo dreck were see everyday, everywhere. I don't think any gallery would show it, however.



September 19, 2004, 1:51 AM

I see what you're getting at. Maybe the problem is art history, which usually tries to boil each period down to a style. This suggests that the way to make it into art history is to create work that relates somehow to other "important" work of the time. Which in the mind of an ambitious artist would suggest that you take whatever you think is the best stuff being made at the time you're working (where "best" means "most likely to be considered important") and use it as a springboard for your own work.

Not a laudable impulse, but perhaps understandable.

But i'm not sure I see that happening too much. Take Hernan Bas, one of the current Miami "art stars;" frankly I'm not sure where his artistic influences are, but i don't think they're calculated to secure his place in history. Maybe I'm being naive?

Would the Miami art scene be better if local artists looked to each other for inspiration rather then the art world at large? Well, if Miami art is so bad now, I don't see how that would be the case. There are a large number of foreign artists working in Miami who draw upon their own cultures for their art, but that has been criticized (on these pages, I believe) as well.

Each person will have his own take on all this; personally if I see one really good piece in a hundred it's enough for me.

By the way, the last time I checked (and it's been awhile so things might have changed!) there was plenty of "sun-infused, pastel-heavy, carefree" art to be found in the store-front galleries of Coral Gables.



September 19, 2004, 3:11 AM

I guess I asked for trouble when I expressed a wish for sun-infused (etc) work. Of course there is plenty of the breezy palms & sunny isles take-home-a-piece-of-Florida variety. I was thinking more of an art that took these characteristics and made something interesting out of them. I suspect sunny, pastelly, and carefree are in bad repute partly because of the touristy stuff. But this may be all the more reason why some serious artist of more original and adventurous temperament, someone who is not following the crowd, might use them. That I'd like to see.

Picasso said (something like) "ordinary artists copy, great artists steal". I think if one's frame of mind, as an artist looking for material, is that "best" means "most likely to be considered important", one is pretty much lost at the outset, because worthwhile art does not come to life as a pastiche of imitated forms put together with an eye to acceptance by the market. We have way too much of that already. The "great artist" Picasso alludes to grabs anything that will feed his genius, and this "stolen property" is not applied whole but reformed and reenergized by the artist's talent and imagination.

No, I don't think any prescribed change in the resources of Miami artists will make any difference. We don't need local color; we need a Picasso or two.



September 19, 2004, 3:56 AM

I interpret Picasso to mean that "everybody copies ideas they think are better than their own, but great artists have the confidence to steal them outright, and claim them as their own." I'm thinking for example of Handel. His concerti grossi are almost indistinguishable from Corelli's, and his operas owe a great deal to Keiser (though Handel's are a bit more subtle). Handel even stole from himself, repackagine his previous works into new pastiches and reselling them. He was fearless, maybe even reckless, and dared to make different ideas his own. Today, a few centuries later, with Corelli's familiar only to connaisseurs, and Keiser's name all but forgotten, I'd say he succeeded.

As to oldpro's original thoughts, one could say the Renaissance might have once been considered "Florentine regional art," Impressionism "Parisian regional art," and color field painting "Washington DC regional art." Now they're considered part of the international tradition. Imagine if we'd had international art magazines in the 16th or 19th centuries! Today, with the world so small and the speed of communication so fast, the market of ideas is more widespread, and more artists can contribute to it. I think this is neither good nor bad. I think the important thing is to have enough intellectual competition to drive our culture forward, even if some experiments go in stranger directions than others.



September 19, 2004, 4:24 AM

Hovig: I am all in favor of intellectual competition and strange directions. We have to be smart enough to engage in the first and wise enough to recognize the second. Too often what seems "strange" in art today is being done by so many people it is not strange any more.

I differ with you somewhat about your interpretation of Picasso's statement. He was implying that it is not a matter of copying and claiming but of stealing and using: Inferior artists copy whole and apply; superior artists steal, digest and rework. He was talking about himself, of course. I think whether or not the stolen ideas are "superior" to one's own is beside the point. They only have to be useful.

Music is certainly a good place to fish around for examples. The "bottom line" always seems to be who was the better composer, no matter what went on in the arena of borrowing and stealing. in the 18th C. musical forms evolved into very consistent stylistic patterns. When this happens it is much easier to discern superior talent. The same thing is true in any highly evoved form - baseball, for example, or chess, or mathematics. It used to be true in visual art, but its forms have unravelled through the pervasiveness of pluralism.



September 19, 2004, 7:00 AM

Would you have us draft up "consistent stylistic patterns," and evaluate artists based on how whether they conform to them, Oldpro?



September 19, 2004, 5:14 PM

What an odd idea. I don't know how that would be done even if you wanted to do it. If you want to "evaluate artists" in any useful way I suppose you would make some kind of overall estimation of their art. Circumstances can and will affect art, but they obviously do not provide criteria for evaluation.

My point was (not really a point, more an observation) that great art seems to happen when the the right framework is in place. This may seem obvious, but it is nevertheless resisted strongly in an atmosphere such as ours, where there is not only a very high premium on invention and originality but those concepts are misused and misunderstood.



September 19, 2004, 7:34 PM

Alesh, two words concerning Hernan Bas: Elizabeth Peyton.



September 20, 2004, 12:51 AM

While my ennui continues regarding the local art scene, I did manage to see something interesting today which I can recommend, particularly to those who appreciate drawing. It's a very nice, intimate exhibition at the Lowe on the work of the Moran family of painter-etchers, who were prominent in the American art scene in the latter 19th century. The show is mostly etchings, with some choice watercolors and a few oils. The etchings are the main attraction, assuming you go for that sort of thing, which I do. So did Rembrandt.



September 20, 2004, 7:36 PM

1) FWIW re: the Picasso quote... I'd always interpreted it as Hovig does: that to copy is moderate and to steal, extreme; that bad artists copy in part while great artists steal something successful in whole. The irony and cleverness thereof seem appropriate to the man. Oldpro's is not without merit, but I think it differs from the prevailing interpretation.

Swiped From The Best With Pride

2) Off-topic and with apologies for length (but this is just too rich)...

For all those Floridians wondering "whence this ridiculous hurricane season?", fair-minded Illinois Republicans offer up a theory: Clinton, the UN and shady environmentalists want to drive the elderly from their swamp shacks with an electromagnetic raygun [via ArchPundit]:


"My first thought was, 'That's impossible.' There is no way they will be able to vacate Florida. Anyone who has ever driven on I-75, I-95 or I-10 in early winter has to wonder how everyone is going to fit in Florida.

"Disney struck a goldmine with the development of Disney World and the money millions of vacationing people bring to the Orlando area each year. Ocochobee is known as a fishermans delight. Florida is a paradise and the people will not give it up easily.

"Or will they?

"Living through three major hurricanes in one season this year could certainly dampen the good times and is likely not to be soon forgotten. Not only have they taken a physical hit, emotionally these people have been torn into shreds, as their lives have been totally disrupted. These scars will take a long time to heal."


"The flood of 1993 in the Midwest is a reminder of the use of nature to change a pattern of how an area is inhabited. The flood moved thousands of families away from the Mighty Mississippi corridor when the government bought them out and allowed no new building in the determined flood plain.

"It wasnt difficult. Once people have lived through a flood, most dont want to ever have to relive such an experience, so they leave willingly. However, there were those who wanted to stay in the floodplain, but were not permitted to do so and that should raise some questions.

"A small article in Popular Science magazine in 1993 attracted a lot of attention. The article told of a new project in Alaska that was sending electro-magnetic waves into the ionosphere. Airplanes were restricted from that area.

"The normal pattern is for the air wave patterns to flow from west to east. Spring and early summer rains are expected, but scientists say what happened in 1993 was not normal. While drought conditions were being experienced on the East Coast, the Midwest was getting torrential rains as the air masses seemed to just stop.

"The project was called High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP). Very little information could be found about this research project at that time, but now there is an abundance of information. The HAARP homepage is: There you will see pictures of the high frequency electro-magnetic fields where the equipment is located.

"The Mississippi River Heritage Corridor has been on the drawing table for years. Making it truly a 'Heritage Corridor' would mean removing the majority of the people who live along the river. One simple way to remove people from this corridor to fit into the biodiversity plan would be to flood them out.

"Do we now have research programs that can actually control or change our weather patterns? I have no idea. I do know that in the past 12 years I have witnessed transformations that I would have said previously, 'It will never happen.'"



September 20, 2004, 10:03 PM

Dan: I probably should not respond because I am very wary of the wrangling that has taken place on this blog when I make any kind of positive assertion, but I am quite confident that my interpretaton of Picasso's quote is accurate. I base this on experience, not "prevailing opinion" (which I know nothing of in ths case anyway) or scholarly texts (ditto). The "subtext" here is that the "great artist" is "big" enough to ingest and digest anything he comes across and alter it for his own purposes, while the inferior artist is confined to carrying something over whole. It doesn't matter how good the original is. The art ingested & digested may be superior and transformed (what Picasso and Braque did with Cezanne), superior but merely altered (Picasso's Delacroix series), ordinary but useful (Beethoven, Dvorak, and the rest using folk melodies), and so forth. And I have seen this in my own experience as an artist, and that of my colleagues. One could make a long list, but I am not that interested in proving the point, frankly. If Picasso were around we could ask him, but he would probably reply with something equally interpretable.


Jerome du Bois

September 20, 2004, 10:38 PM


I usually don't troll, but this was too good to pass up, about Picasso, copying, and stealing. If you're interested, read my piece "The Affair of the Statuettes: Picasso the Coward."

And to Dan:

In the future, hurricanes will be destroyed by superabsorbent polymer pellets delivered by electromagnetic rail guns, not rayguns.

Jerome du Bois



September 21, 2004, 12:03 AM

Jerome: I had heard this story years ago from someone who knew someone who knew Picasso (something like that) and read about it again in Richardson's biography. it is probably true in the main, though it is not unreasonable to be skeptical of some of the details; Appolinaire was rather inventive when it came to facts. There is a long account of the matter in Steegmuller, "Apollinaire, Poet among the Painters", Farrar Strauss, NY, 1963. None of it enhances Picasso's reputation as the bold, courageous hot shit he wanted to seem, that's for sure.



September 21, 2004, 1:29 AM

Well, Oldpro, I have long suspected that the more strenuously and overtly someone tries to look like bold and courageous hot shit, as you put it, the more likely that person is to have feet of clay. Of course, there need be no correlation between artistic merit and human decency--it's quite possible to be a raging asshole and still have serious talent. It's rather distressing, but relatively common. The real trouble is when someone has no significant talent and is still an asshole, which is even more common, and, needless to say, intolerable.



September 21, 2004, 9:45 PM

The Offoffoff article surely is off. The author reveals his own fantasies about our town. In a sense, though, it is one of the traditional problems, which may even be described as regional; Miami has long been the repository of other's fantasies. The get-rich-quickers, the partiers, the real-estate boomers, the cheap (ha!) studioers, the fame seekers, the sex seekers, the trend seekers, etc. All kinds of seekers and us, those who live here and try to build something of value rather than mine it. The real Miami is usually invisible to the seekers from elsewhere.

I think that some local work does taste of that true regional flavor, but I do not think that it is the intent of all local work to do so, nor do I think it should be. The premise of the show, as a sampling of the regional, is perhaps itself too vague to stand up to any examination of regionality, as it does not posit any linking theme of said regionality, only that the artists involved in the show are active in the local scene and often interlinked. It is more about groupness than region.

I think the premise misrepresents the show.

Here's the text about the exhibition in question for those who do not have it:

domesticArrivals is the first in a series of White Box exhibitions focusing on distinct regions and areas that have each developed an alternative history fueled by the contexts of their cultural and social environments as well as the globalizing shifts and changes of the last decade. The domesticArrivals first installment takes a look at Florida, the Swing-Vote State in this Presidential Election year. The exhibition brings an exciting selection of visual imagery by a group of Miami-linked artists to the New York foreground. It takes into consideration the many ways in which the international New York art nucleus has influenced the Miami art scene in its outer orbit by focusing on twenty-three artists who have all contributed to the emergence of a dynamic art community, a scene rife with talent and vitality that has fired-up the decades old Miami New York connection and fascination. Similar to the 1980s New York alternative scene, over these past ten years an increasing number of outstanding artists have come out of the Miami alternative experience and, with the rise in worldwide attention and popularity resulting from the Basel Art Fair on Miamis South Beach, New York is paying attention. The city has become an art center in its own right, offering a broad menu of museums and art centers that have come of age by a steadfast dedication to Miami-linked and Florida-based artists and hosting a slew of international artists. Area and national professionals are even nurturing plans for a new and spectacular art museum and some national museums are considering branching out. All this action has in turn emboldened and propelled the local arts communities, fostering a milieu in which artists can flourish on their own terms and paradoxically progress beyond the boundaries of locality.

domesticArrivals in no way intended to function as a survey of South Florida artists, rather it explores a constellation of artists who are all close and have together orchestrated multiple alternative dialogues in spaces such as The House, Box, The Home Show, Locust Projects and other make-shift temporary spaces around town. They are the main protagonists of both the arts communities strength and the international network of artists and curators, collectors and dealers that today continuous to expand their horizon. Following the success of recognized figures such as the earlier Cuban arrivals Jose Bedia, Maria Magdalena Campos and Glexis Novoa and the emergence of artists such as Teresita Fernandez, Naomi Fisher, Luis Gispert and Hernan Bas, the artists selected for domesticArrivals have yet to find representation in New York. With a diversity of mediums such as photography, video, installation, painting, and sculpture, the exhibition will occupy both White Box and its affiliate, The ANNEX located at 601 West 26th Street, 14th Floor.

Major support has been received from Mr. James S. Chanos and Four Season Hotel and Tower-Miami with additional support from White Box Members and the Board of Directors.



September 21, 2004, 10:51 PM



that guy in the back row

September 22, 2004, 1:48 AM

New York is listening alright, they are also talking. I heard one of them saying "this shit looks just like the shit up here. I thought only we had art this facile."


oh no.......

September 22, 2004, 6:07 PM

Domestic Arrivals is just a bland trick or treat bag of same faces and boring work. New York should be bored with that line-up.
But thats the curators fault picking every tom, dick and harry they could find.



September 23, 2004, 6:27 AM

Kathleen, where did you find that text? Bas and Gispert, at least, have New York gallery affiliations.



September 23, 2004, 6:45 AM

Never mind, I found it. Au contraire: Bas, de Nike, Gispert.



September 23, 2004, 9:39 PM

Bas and Gispert were not included in domesticArrivals. here are the artists in the show as listed in the press release:

Natalia Benedetti / Francie Bishop Good / Alejandro Cardenas / Cooper / Christian Curiel / n.b. DASH / Jen DeNike / Jacin Giordano / Adler Guerrier / Jason Hedges / Javier Hernandez / Beatriz Monteavaro / Brandon Opalka / Gavin Perry / Vickie Pierre / Ali Prosch / Tao Rey / Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova / Norberto Rodriguez / A.A. Rucci / Tom Scicluna / Frances Trombly /Eugenia Vargas

Also mentioned on the press release but not included in the show: Jose Bedia, Maria Magdalena Campos, Glexis Novoa, Teresita Fernandez and Naomi Fisher.

maybe you are right about DeNike, but the link you provided doesn't seem to indicate that the space were "Tar Beach" took place is a gallery and/or is representing DeNike. Anyway does this person even live in Miami???



September 24, 2004, 5:16 AM

Oh - I see. The press release says, "Following the success of recognized figures such as the earlier Cuban arrivals Jose Bedia, Maria Magdalena Campos and Glexis Novoa and the emergence of artists such as Teresita Fernandez, Naomi Fisher, Luis Gispert and Hernan Bas, the artists selected for domesticArrivals have yet to find representation in New York." This sentence emerges from hell.



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