As summer heats up, the Miami art world tends to cool down as the rising temperature sends everyone into hibernation. Still, you’ll have plenty to do at this Saturday’s Art Walk in Wynwood and Design District. Here are five of the exhibition openings on our radar.
With Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and the rest of your Miami Heat just starting their playoff run, the Borscht Film Festival this week released the full version of “Adventures of Christopher Bosh in the Multiverse,” which premiered at Borscht 8 back in December.
Fresh off of receiving a $500,000 vote of confidence from the Knight Foundation and landing two spots in the Sundance Film Festival’s 2013 Short Film Program, the Borscht Film Festival is getting ready to present its eighth edition of Miami-inspired independent cinema. (See ticket giveaway details at bottom of post.)
Congratulations to Miami’s Borscht Film Festival and media studio Rakontur for landing their short film, Life and Freaky Times of Uncle Luke, in the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Written by Borscht’s “Minister of the Interior” Lucas Leyva and directed by artist Jillian Mayer, the film premiered back in April at Borscht 7, which drew a sell-out crowd to the Arsht Center.
A modern Miami adaptation of the 1962 French short film, La Jetee, Life and Freaky Times of Uncle Luke stars former 2 Live Crew frontman and recent Miami-Dade County mayoral candidate Luther Campbell. It recounts his actual rise to fame and experience winning an obscenity case against 2 Live Crew’s 1989 album, As Nasty As They Wanna Be, and then transitions to a fictional past in which Campbell becomes Miami’s savior and mayor. (In real life, Campbell lost his mayoral bid and then endorsed the eventual runner-up, Hialeah mayor Julio Robaina.)
With the Art Basel spaceship making a beeline for Miami, galleries across Wynwood and the Design District are breaking out their best exhibitions (“best” ≈ “most likely to entice deep-pocketed collectors”) for Art Walk on Saturday. Here’s what’s on our radar.
Love Trips: A Triptych on Love @ World Class Boxing
The centerpiece of this Jillian Mayer solo exhibition is a triptych within a triptych. Titled “Everyone’s Been Lost at Sea”, the three-part video installation comprises “Temporarily Yours”, in which the artist practices making romantic passes for our spying eyes; “endless lava, I wish for”, which finds Mayer performing acrobatics within the mouth of “an erupting, crudely-made concrete volcano”; and “H.I.L.M.D.A.”, an embellished account of how the famed Venus de Milo lost her arms. (“H.I.L.M.D.A.” = “How I Lost My Damn Arms”? Just a guess.) The show will open on Saturday and run through February alongside a Jack Strange solo exhibition titled G. To learn more about Love Trips, visit the exhibition’s Facebook event page.
209 Ignition @ Kelley Roy Gallery
Featuring a video collaboration with choreographer Yara Travieso called “V1-V3″, 209 Ignition is Miami-born painter Mira Lehr’s first solo exhibition in her hometown in nearly a decade. The show is anchored by Lehr’s signature paintings — the results of a volatile technique that involves lit fuses, gunpowder, and poured resin — and furthers her attempt to capture “nature’s less tangible and more baffling nuances.” 209 Ignition opened on Oct. 15 and will close on Saturday, so make sure to see it while you can. To learn more, visit kelleyroygallery.com.
ANR’s Brian Robertson looks more like a lacrosse player than an interpretive dancer, but dance interpretively he does in the band’s new video for “It’s Around You”, the first single off of the Miami duo’s recently re-released album, Stay Kids. (ANR originally dropped a 10-song version of the LP in March. The re-release is a “deluxe edition” with 14 songs. You can stream it in full after the jump.)
The video premiered Thursday on rollingstone.com, a deserved coup for a band that has been making really good music for a long time now. Created by artist Jillian Mayer and Borscht Film Festival director Lucas Leyva (who also directed ANR’s “Big Problem” video), the “It’s Around You” footage features Robertson doing his best Hurricane Irene impression, ANR singer-drummer Michael-John Hancock doing his best Bryan Norcross impression, and a host of Miami gals dancing like they damn well oughta when the big ‘cane comes a-barreling our way. Here’s Hancock’s explanation of the song in Rolling Stone:
“The idea of the song, and the chorus in particular, is to sonically and even lyrically connect with the traditional halftime modern R&B crowd, participation song style, but to have the actual concept of the song relating to evacuation procedures during a natural disaster. The chorus is telling people how to use their hands, feet, and voices to signal a helicopter from the roof of a house or building. What’s ‘around you’ in this case is water and debris.”
Bathed in blues and greens, the video plunges you simultaneously into the the murky world of imminent catastrophe and the comical, only-in-Miami universe of the Borscht Film Festival. Its three-and-a-half minutes are packed with memorable moments, with the three shift-clad dames dancing under the swingless swing set accounting for many of them. (2:42 is pure gold.)
ANR is currently in California on the second leg of a 21-date tour. With the wind of a Rolling Stone plug at their back, they may well show the West Coast what a hurricane feels like.
On Saturday night, ≈2,000 people packed the Arsht Center’s Knight Concert Hall for the Borscht Film Festival (aka Borscht 7), three hours of for-Miami, by-Miami work commissioned by a group of brash cineastes who have assumed the lofty responsibility of forging Miami’s cinematic identity.
This was the festival’s seventh run, though only its second fully above ground. The last one, back in November 2009, drew 1,600 people to the Gusman Center to watch — possibly for the first time — Miami films not directed by Michael Bay or called Scarface. Which is what Borscht is all about: transcending, subverting, and, in some cases, warmly embracing the stereotypes that define Miami for millions of people in and outside of the city.
While the 2009 fest had its hiccups — the projector showing up two hours late, for example — it’d be hard to label it anything but a success. Besides the big crowd and the beautiful venue, several of its films eventually screened in the world’s most prestigious film festivals (Cannes, Sundance, Tribeca) and the Knight Foundation was impressed enough to give the Borscht crew, spearheaded by 24-year-old Lucas Leyva, 150,000 smackers for the next two years.
Thing is, I thought most of the films at the last Borscht were terrible, particularly the infantile Of Metrorails and Megasaurs, a tale of a little girl’s first visit to the Magic City that unironically depicted Miami like it was Magic Kingdom (there were animated dinosaurs). In fact, the only film I liked was Daniel Cardenas’s short animation “XEMOLAND”, which went on to screen at Sundance.
Still, I went into Borscht 7 with high hopes. With $150,000 to play around with and 18 months riding the learning curve, I had faith in the Dudes of Borscht to deliver on the hype, and in a lot of ways they did. First of all, they jammed the Arsht with the biggest young crowd I’ve ever seen at a homegrown Miami event. It was amazing to look around that grandiose space and see so many faces from the grimy clubs and dive bars around town. It felt, in a really empowering way, like the kids had taken over City Hall.
In 2010, when Jillian Mayer was 26, it was a very good year, one that included having her “Scenic Jogging” short video featured in the Guggenheim’s Youtube Play Creative Video Biennial and a spot in MoCA’s Optic Nerve. Mayer is on her way to having another a good year with the opening of her first solo show, Family Matters, on Saturday, April 9 (Art Walk), at the David Castillo Gallery.
A multimedia exhibition, Family Matters represents a search for identity in the artificial worlds of 90s family sitcoms. On Monday night, I spoke to Mayer as she drove from Wal-Mart with a truck load of flat screen TVs that will figure in her show. We discussed the dearth of avant-garde households on cable, Judy Winslow’s transformation into “Crave”, and Mayer’s collaboration with the Borscht Film Festival to remake an obscure French art film starring Uncle Luke.
Tell me about the show and why you chose the name.
JM: The show is called Family Matters. I picked that name because I thought it would be really funny. The people from our age demographic can relate to that name as a TV show name, but it’s also a play on words. I like to take on serious matters with a satirical approach, and always intertwine comedy into it. A lot of my personality and my work is heavily informed by all the television I watched when I was young, so I thought the name would be a perfect fit.
I think I was really fascinated with the characters that existed inside this little TV in my room when I was a kid. For a long time, I guess I thought that those were real families. You know, now I work in production and I know how fake every aspect of it is. But I remember really thinking they were real when I was little. I didn’t understand when people said it was all constructed and existed on these sets.