Only a handful of galleries in Wynwood and the Design District are rolling out new exhibitions for the first full-blooded Art Walk since the Art Basel rodeo left town (December’s Second Saturday was a bust). Dorsch Gallery and Lunch Box Gallery are both sticking with the shows they opened last month, which you can learn about in the December Art Walk Guide, and we previewed the shows still on display at David Castillo Gallery, Praxis International Art, and Diana Lowenstein Gallery back in November. Not that there’s nothing new. For starters, there’s this skunk-tailed, vulture-faced, claw-toed cutie.
This Is Not Taxidermy @ Bernice Steinbaum Gallery
The defensive title is not necessary. I saw one of Enrique Gomez de Molina’s sculptures during Art Basel weekend (I can’t recall the fair — I think it was Scope) and there was no mistaking the piece, a rhinoceros head meticulously layered with dark, iridescent beetle wings, for a hunter’s trophy. I’m not sure if that particular piece is in This Is Not Taxidermy, but the show certainly won’t lack for oddity, judging by the gallery description:
“As if frozen in time, the chimera-filled menagerie that sculptor Enrique Gomez de Molina creates in the gallery space recalls stories akin to The Velveteen Rabbit in which toys have a life of their own when no one is watching. The work itself seems to play with the viewer, oscillating in turn between the push and pull of warning and whimsy, revulsion and fascination. The complex conceptual web woven through the work is belied by the aesthetic brilliance of its surface — shimmering beetle wings, glossy feathers, the sheen of beaks and claws, the luster of rich furs. Yet just beneath these fragile, constructed veneers exists sobering aposematic undertones about the consequences of a multitude of environmental and ethical issues.”
To learn more about the exhibition, visit the Bernice Steinbaum Gallery website.
Speed of Life @ Fredric Snitzer
The first solo exhibition for Havana-born, Miami-based artist Mauricio Gonzalez, Speed of Life features sculptures composed of found materials and built with rudimentary construction methods that, according to the exhibition description, explore “the harshness of contemporary society, which leaves little room to fully assimilate and comprehend the jarring events we encounter daily. Vacillating from insecurity, to anxiety, to ecstasy, we experience extreme emotions that often drive us into living lives of both wild– and, as Thoreau stated– ‘quiet desperation’.” Question: How often do you vacillate from anxiety to ecstasy? It’s been a while for me. To learn more about the show, visit the Snitzer Gallery website.
Richard Höglund: Hysterical. Sublime. @ Gallery Diet
With his third Gallery Diet showing, artist Richard Höglund brings together works on paper, photography, and video from his ongoing exploration of the sublime. Now, in case you understand “sublime” as a synonym for “really good”, here’s an excerpt from Höglund’s recent There Is No There interview:
“Any research will tell you that the sublime experience is based on the pain/pleasure paradox. It’s a negative experience in the way that you’re crushed by this colossal force … but there’s the problem of representing the sublime. You can’t re-present it. It’s an experiential knowledge. It’s not something we can discuss unless everyone has their own knowledge of it.”
So, yeah, you should walk into this one with your eyebrows raised high. To learn more about the exhibition, visit Gallery Diet’s website.
Maintain Right @ de la Cruz Collection
This performative installation finds Funner Projects collaborators Justin H. Long and Robert Lorie firing 2x4s from an enormous metal crossbow made from scrap materials into pieces of wood with human figures painted on them. The performance, which debuted almost a year ago at Little River Yacht Club, furthers Funner Projects’ mission to make experiencing art “funner”. From the event description: “Every hour on the hour, the garage door opens. Two men emerge wheeling a large crossbow in to position. They take some measurements, and wind back the bow, the arrow is in place (which is a 2X4). All clear. Fire in the hole! BANG!” To learn more about the performance, visit the de la Cruz Collection website.
Unit @ Dimensions Variable
A project by French artist Alice Raymond, Unit is an asymmetrical structure with an unfinished exterior of raw wood and a finished interior decorated with an unspecified collection of objects provided by the artist’s friends and colleagues. From the exhibition description: “Behind the rough walls, we can see the formation of relationships between the participants and the artist—relationships built over time and by chance. Raymond uses the act of choice in her practice to bring together people and their offered objects for one installation. Instead of decisions about materials, Raymond is interested in social choices influenced by her travels and everyday encounters. This project brings up collective pluralistic ideas and questions the individualistic tendencies popular in the art world.” Two people may enter the structure at a time. To learn more about Unit, visit the Dimensions Variable website.
Free Key West @ Swamp Space
Don’t be fooled: Free Key West isn’t about liberating the Conch Republic. Hosted at the anomalous Swamp Space, the show features “found” objects (the quotation marks imply that the objects were in fact stolen), video, and photography that the artists — “four anonymous victims of an economic recession” — plundered during 48 “haggard” hours in Key West. In the spirit of the island, there will be key lime pie, tropical music, a “surprise spectacle performance”, and compulsory dancing. To learn more about Free Key West, visit the Facebook event page.