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this past weekend

Post #539 • May 16, 2005, 11:52 AM • 20 Comments

My to-do list hit fourteen items today, so I won't treat this post with the thoroughness I'd prefer, but I'm putting it up because people are champing at the bit to talk about the shows this weekend. (The good news: Go See Art is going to rock.)

The press release from the Rubells for At This Time: Ten Miami Artists claimeth:

The exhibit will demonstrate the connections and similar concerns of artists who call Miami home. It has been a considerable period of time since any museum in Miami has exhibited a significant overview of area artists so this show will be an important time for us to evaluate what artists have been doing in Miami over the last number of years.

Only an idiot would regard the show this way. As I've already pointed out, six out of ten of the artists hail from Snitzer Gallery all of the work comes out of the Rubell collection, so the show has passed through at least one or two heavy filters that render it useless as an overview. Furthermore, it doesn't do much for many of the artists included; I felt that it especially slighted Jaie Hwang, who has done better work than the little pencil princesses on graph paper that represent her in At This Time. More than a few works, including Naomi Fisher's flowers-down-the-britches photos, date to the late nineties, prompting me to ask myself, at which time?

Purvis Young's work has never registered for me, but installed wallpaper-style in one room in the exhibition, it came off with all the raw force and freedom that people praise his work for and unquietly stole the show. Hernan Bas's work seemed to hang everywhere, and confirmed my feelings about his abilities: on paper, about forearm-size, he can execute a touching, intriguing image. Going larger and moving to canvas put massive strain on his ability to compose and his feathery, tentative drawing, the latter of which works for him well otherwise. Mark Handforth's cast resin jujubes had a pleasant, colorful presence.

Christina Lei Rodriguez's baroque sculptures of plastic plants continue to look good, although the bigger one that usually sits outside on the sculpture patio seemed like it had no light on it for some reason. Cooper's rambling construction with its rambling title conveys no urgency or life despite its size. Norberto Rodriguez's comment on his identity powerlessly expended a wall.

Carol Jazzar's show featured some funny, gross-out graphic images by Monique Leyton that wore thin after awhile but used an appropriate, aircraft-disaster-instructions style to illustrate modifications that might better suit one for modern living, such as a permanent smile. Sexy, campy photos by Gismo will change the way you look at fat girls forever. I didn't spend much time in front of Lou Ann Colodny's video - my apologies.

Anyone who considers himself an artist has to check whether his work ethic matches that of Julie Kahn by half. Off and on since 1999 and continuously for over a year, she documented the culture and culinary practices of central Florida, culminating in disturbing, powerful body of photographs and videos on display at Locust. A catalogue, panel discussion, and wild game tasting accompanied the exhibition. Kahn has the whole package: talent, drive, vision, and big, big plans.

I haven't applied to a juried exhibition in years, on principle partly, and because the sponsors tend to overhang them with too wide a range of work, but the Juried Biennial at the Art & Culture Center, curated by Nick Cindric of Rocket Projects, changed my mind about that. (Update: I mean that in a good way. Nice hangning, cogent selection. Sorry if I didn't make that clear.)

Speaking of work ethic, I have to go take care of some of mine. Have a good day.




May 16, 2005, 8:04 PM

Having been duly alerted by Artblog, I girded up my loins Saturday evening, got in my ancient Mazda (which, alas, will soon have to be put to sleep) and journeyed to Fearlessness Central (aka the Rubell Collection). As expected, le tout Miami was there, or so it seemed (though I didn't spot Marty Margulies, Rosa de la Cruz or Craig Robins, but maybe I didn't look hard enough). There was also a smattering of the wrong sort of people (like me) who usually manage to infiltrate the conclaves of the fabulous. In deference to le beau monde, I would have passed myself off as fashionably sleazy neo-Eurotrash, but I just don't have that kind of talent. Still, I did manage to get some free Coke, and tried to look as interesting as possible while sipping it (my posing skills are very primitive, though).

I initially had trouble finding the Miami show, because many rooms had other stuff in them. When I came to a room with three small paintings that looked very much like Hernan Bas, I figured I'd found it, but they were by Elizabeth Peyton. Natural mistake--but there was plenty of Bas elsewhere, all equally precious. To be fair, a few of his works on paper, such as "Floating in the Dead Sea," were the best things in the show. He's clearly less successful on canvas; his offerings in that mode, such as "The Swan Prince," came off like badly recycled Oskar Kokoschka.

Purvis Young was a curious case. There was a room whose walls were completely covered by a profusion of his paintings. Young is a hit-and-miss artist, but he can hit, yet even though I looked at each individual piece, none struck me as a first-rate example of his work. I've definitely seen better Young at shows in Ft. Lauderdale and the Bass Museum (though his piece at the Lowe is not first-rate, either). I can't understand how the Rubells could have bought so many things by him without getting something better, unless they (or curator Mark Coetzee) just didn't show it.

There were lots of Naomi Fisher's trademark photos of tropical flora doing vaguely Penthouse-mag-type things--too many. They were more or less interchangeable, and they're so familiar by now that the effect was monotonous, sort of like a one-trick pony, though I know she does other things. Again, the curator may be to blame.

Jiae Hwang's drawings of young girls were very lightweight, almost evanescent, but they have a delicacy which appears genuine and natural, and that always carries a certain persuasiveness. Also, it's not as if she's trying to be a Kathe Kollwitz, meaning her style suits her purpose and subject matter.

The Pablo Cano marionette show was actually quite charming, as a divertimento. The whole thing felt very 18th century, Viennese actually, like something Mozart might have enjoyed (and I did, too).

As for the installations by various people, I'll let others comment on that. While I might find such work interesting or intriguing (or banal, or pointless, as the case may be), it's often too contrived or theatrical for my taste, too much like stage design. I was somewhat surprised that Robert Chambers was not among the chosen, but perhaps he's not as in as he once was (though I'm not the best person to ask).



May 16, 2005, 10:01 PM

What I would like to know is why the press release didn't state curated by the Rubells?



May 16, 2005, 10:19 PM

It says that Mark Coetzee curated the show. Mark has worked for the Rubells for a long time as their curator.



May 16, 2005, 10:46 PM

Someone mentioned the date of one of Hernan's pieces and come to think of it...majority of the artists work was older work. Jiae is doing work of clouds AT THIS TIME. Norberto is making work about love AT THIS TIME. Naomi is making work with machettes AT THIS TIME. The title seems inaccurate don't you think?


gogo la rue

May 16, 2005, 10:57 PM

The show at the Rubells was good. I enjoyed it. We must remember that this is a private collection sharing it's acquisitions(sp!?).
Its up to the local museums to top this show.



May 17, 2005, 12:14 AM

I think, XXX...

Gogo, the museums have to compete against the Rubells in general. That beautiful building has more display space than MoCA. Did you like everything equally, or did you enjoy something in particular?



May 17, 2005, 12:16 AM

can anyone explain Naomi Fisher's work, i really dont get it.



May 17, 2005, 12:30 AM

Saturday night I saw Beatriz Monteavaro's show at Snitzer. It is quite strong. See it for yourselves



May 17, 2005, 12:53 AM

yep, i was confused with the miami now thing. i thought these artist were given a project space to make new work in. instead its the same thing i saw last year.


Alfredo Triff

May 17, 2005, 12:54 AM

Some of the association between the Rubell show and Snitzer is simply off. The Rubells have enough money and prestige to buy from whomever they like (they dont need an Ok from Fred). So, the show has a range of artists and dates that reflects their taste. Mark Coetzee did a nice job at finding interesting and meaningful connections between this bunch (which speak of broader issues for many other artists who visit this blog) such as the boat, the horse and the altar. I dont make so much of the title --it means a general token to glue this idea of Miami art seen within the confines of a collection. Seen this way, the argument that some of the artists come from the Snitzer roster becomes a non-issue. It only reflects a coincidence of tastes (about whats contemporary) between collector and gallerist. Which leads me to this question: Are there other artists in Miami that are as talented as this bunch? The answer is yes.



May 17, 2005, 1:25 AM

Actually, absolutely no one needs an OK from Snitzer, or any other dealer, or any other person ("expert" or otherwise). At least, no one should.



May 17, 2005, 1:33 AM

If its not OKs there looking for maybe sometimes they should try and find some taste. But hey, it's not my money.



May 17, 2005, 1:48 AM


The Rubell's money and prestige have no bearing on whether they need an OK fron Snitzer. Even a casual look at their collection (and don't get me wrong, I LIKE the work) is contemporary art collecting by-the-numbers. Certainly the very opposite of the "Not Afraid" label they've labeled themselves with. So as a hip collecting family in Miami, naturally they have some work by hip Miami artists, which happens to mean Snitzer. There may be a coincidence of taste between Snitzer and the Rubells, but I smell a more, shall we say, CAUSAL relationship.

Hey Franklin, why have I been seeing so many "?"s in place of apostrophes lately? It seems to have started abruptly a couple of months ago?



May 17, 2005, 2:11 AM

Alesh, casual how? Don't you go back to record stores, book stores and the like, if they have the kind of product you are looking for. Don't you come to trust some bands that you like and buy their music and soon as it's available? Maybe certain record labels produce so much music to your ears that you keep coming back for more? Maybe the Rubells like Snitzer's eye.



May 17, 2005, 2:44 AM

Jack, your contribution( #1), was a most enjoyable read . I love that you put us into your state of being while you related your experience and the work that you saw at the Rubell collection last Sat night. I would be very happy to see that type of writing here much more often. On this topic, I must also say that I appreciate Franklin's even handedness in his postings and comments in general.




May 17, 2005, 3:00 AM

i feel that it was, the show at the rubells, just another show. nothing too too much, except the amount of bas, and the overall feeling was one of, lets get together and feel alright, kinda pat on each others backs, about, yes there is something in the summer...

mostly, this is what is interesting-the art crowd. it is so miami. and although i might enter into my own version of the shindig, there really are toomany personal details that go into it, too much for here anyway...

cofee anyone?



May 17, 2005, 3:12 AM

Jorge, Betty's work often is. I've been meaning to see it myself.

So, the show has a range of artists and dates that reflects their taste.

Alfredo, the Rubells called the exhibition At This Time and claimed that "this show will be an important time [sic] for us to evaluate what artists have been doing in Miami over the last number of years." If you can slide over that, fine, but I think it frames the show in a disingenuous manner. And thus the fact that the majority (not just some) of the artists come from Snitzer becomes a sticking point. I think we let this go unchallenged at our peril - we'll get another load of manure thrown on us and we'll say that maybe it didn't smell as bad as the last one.

Jack, Alesh, KT - yep. Alesh, could you send me a screenshot?



May 17, 2005, 4:22 AM

Reguarding the aforementioned press release, the first sentence holds the key: "connections and similiar concerns..."



May 17, 2005, 5:25 AM

You guys are all taking yourself way to serious. Who cares whether the Rubells are At this Time or At Any Other Time? The only decent art in the this exhibit was Mark Handforth (albeit this was not nearly as strong as Mark's newer work) and Hernan Bas. And I don't know, nor care whether Snitzer represents them or not. PS The Julie Kahn exhibition is incredible.



May 17, 2005, 6:44 AM

Thanks, kt. Glad you liked it.



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