Art Walk Guide: Fried Beanie Babies, Roach Ball, Bear Jews

By | October 5th, 2011 | No Comments

With the Wynwood Art Fair scheduled for the end of the month, October should serve as a dry run for Art Basel as the intimidating winter extravaganza draws nigh. Meanwhile, galleries in Wynwood and Design District will be limbering up this week with exhibition openings in time for that other beloved-behated Miami art affair: Second Saturday Art Walk.

As usual, we’ve got you covered with a guide to all the new shows we could find. As unusual, we will be taking part in Art Walk proper ourselves this month. Look out for our setup among the food trucks in the Wynwood Market, where we will be getting the word out about Sketchy Pink, a project to raise money for breast cancer research during October. Update: All the food trucks in the Wynwood Market will have donation jars for Sketchy Pink!

You can check out the Pink portrait series at sketchymiami.com/pink. To RSVP for our Oct. 23 Pink Party at The Betsy-South Beach, click that pretty pink flyer in the sidebar (under the scary one). Without further ado, deep fried Beanie Babies.

Deep Fried Beanie Babies! @ Robert Fontaine Gallery

Deep Fried Beanie Babies by Scott Snyder

Beyond disclosing its artist — Scott Snyder — the gallery’s website doesn’t offer any elaboration on this tantalizingly titled exhibition, so I went to the source. Here’s an edited blurb from Snyder’s website, culturalcoroner.com, about his Deep Fried and Ingot series:

I have taught, curated, and worked as an artist. From these three occupational vantage points, I see the beauty and absurdity of culture and the art market. I play with the notion of low art versus high art through the use of kitsch items deemed by some to be collectable … Much like candy and junk food that permeate our consumer culture, there are parallels of popular consumer culture to fine art or object collecting. For some, consumption and collection is purely dictated by (perceived or impulsive) need. For others, collecting is based on research and speculation of a “market” (i.e. beanie baby or abstract expressionists). Yet for others, ownership gives self-worth and legacy within their caste, whether it be acquisition of a ‘millennium bear’ or a de Kooning.

A new trio @ Dorsch Gallery

After owning September’s Art Walk with its plate-shattering Matter of Fact show, Dorsch comes correct (long live ’90s lingo!) with three new and promising exhibitions: John Sanchez’s As They Are (paintings), Amanda Burnham’s Terminus (works on paper), and Richard Haden’s (RAD) Running a Derive (photography, video). The latter finds Haden, best known as a sculptor, “reflect[ing] on the physical and emotional limits of our city”, which, as you see, can be exhausting. Learn more about the exhibitions on dorschgallery.com.

Entering the Republic of Misery by Richard Haden

Tamim @ Fredric Snitzer Gallery

This solo show, photographer Zack Balber’s first, takes its name from the Hebrew word for “pure”, “unblemished”, and “complete”. It’s a provocative title considering Balber’s subjects are shirtless “Bear Jews” whose liberally tattooed skin would be a shanda to many a Kosher Keeper. From the press release:

Using portrait photography as his vehicle, Balber intimately uncovers the camouflaged identity of some of Judaism’s most unfamiliar Jews … Born and raised in gritty inner-city neighborhoods throughout the country, both the photographer and many of his subjects were void of Jewish role models. Instead of praising their ancestry, they concealed their culture behind tattoos and vanity in a pursuit to assimilate. These men portray themselves as Bear Jews, the fighters, and the Sunday-School delinquents: they are the truly unconventional Jews.

Learn more about Tamim on snitzer.com.

Pimpy Pat by Zack Balber

ROMPELOTAS @ Gallery Diet

Bhakti Baxter’s first solo exhibition in Miami, the artist’s home base, in four years, ROMPELOTAS is hard to picture from the gallery’s description.

ROMPELOTAS is a collection of work assembled through a careful balance between play and placement. Found objects such as soccer balls and office desk drawers collide with concrete and enamel to behave like irrational models of natural phenomena. Though various layers of media stack up against each other unsettlingly throughout the gallery, the work consists of very basic organic and geometric patterns such as branching, spherical implosion, vertical and panoramic support structures, both rendered and actual … Working closely with the laws of gravity, density, and the malleability of mass, Baxter transforms quotidian objects into forms imbued with metaphysical propositions, further defined by the self-made aesthetic of these forces.

Mainly, I’m struggling to wrap my mind around “irrational models of natural phenomena”. On the other hand, I fully understand “working closely with the laws of gravity” beacause I do that every day. Learn more about ROMPELOTAS — a play on the Spanish phrase for “ball breaker” — on gallerydiet.com.

Subliminal @ David Castillo Gallery

First, let’s look at something.

Faith by Fabian Peña

That, my friends, is a baseball covered in cockroach wing fragments. I’m not sure if the piece — which artist Fabian Peña calls “Faith” — is one of the four large-scale paintings in Subliminal, but we can be almost certain that cockroach wings will play part in the show as the artist seems quite fond of the material (see also “Fifty-one Cockroaches”). Another quasi-certainty: No one will try to touch the art in this show. DCG, go ahead and give your security guards the night off. To learn more about the exhibition, visit davidcastillogallery.com.

The Family of Man @ de la Cruz Collection

This show is closing on Saturday night, not opening. So Art Walk will be your last chance to catch artist George Sanchez-Calderon’s train … station sign. A bit of explanation from the Collection’s website:

George Sanchez-Calderon is best known for his large-scale projects that engage architecture and address our modern condition. For the installation “The Family of Man”, the artist is exhibiting a Solari train station sign as an assisted readymade. Appropriating the title from Edward Steichen’s seminal 1955 photography exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, the artist creates an environment that invites the audience to see a matrix of destinations and timing impaired by the function and sound of this modern relic.

If you love trains and travels, you will find this installation exhilarating. The sound of the Solari changing over is enough to arouse long-dormant wanderlust. If you’re a stay-at-home kinda person, well, you may not want to travel over to the Collection to watch a sign change over. Here’s a video of the piece to help you plan your trip.

Saturday is also your last chance to see Optic Nerve XIII, MOCA’s annual short film festival, at The Collection. You can read my review of the festival — “End Of Story” — to get a feel for the program. To learn more about what the Collection’s got planned for Art Walk Saturday night, visit delacruzcollection.org.

It Takes All This to be Me @ Primary Projects

Kenton Parker’s first solo project since 2007, It Takes All This includes “My First Ralf”, a nine-minute short film starring Parker as “a vandal for which a public service announcement is made to viewers not through the transmission of practical information, but rather through his own culture-bending acid trip.” The show will feature work created over the last four years that is “deeply rooted in the cultural incubator that is Los Angeles,” where Parker lives.

It Takes All This To Be Me by Kenton Parker

America, like it or not @ Lunch Box Gallery

As its title suggests, this show takes America on its own terms. Featuring work from three photographers — Kirk Crippens, José J. Figueroa, Rodolfo Vanmarcke — America, like it or not “aims to gather three different visions of America today, from the transgression of the American culture into other societies to the visual consequences of the Great Depression.” To learn more about America, like it or not, visit lunchboxgallery.com.

Foreclosure, USA: Knob -- Kirk Crippens
Foreclosure, USA: Knob — Kirk Crippens

Envision @ The Awarehouse

Featuring a slew of artists and musicians, Envision will gear up at The Awarehouse (the site of our upcoming Sketchy Halloween Party on Saturday, Oct. 29) as Art Walk winds down. Bands include Dusthead, Cog Nomen, and Telekinetic Walrus and The Pride of Ions for their first show since opening for Del the Funky Homosapien in May. For more information, visit the Envision Facebook page.

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That’s all I got! Believe me, I know there are one or two or ten new shows that got left off the list. If you know of any, let us all know in the comments section. If you want to refresh your memory about ongoing shows that opened last month — including Understory at Praxis International Art, Andy Coolquitt’s + at Locust Projects, and Leon Ferrari’s show at PanAmerican ArtProjects — check out the September Art Walk guide.

Don’t forget to look for our Sketchy Pink table in the Wynwood Market on Saturday. I’ll be the one with Sriracha sauce drizzled down the front of a pale pink shirt.

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