End of Story: Optic Nerve XIII

By | August 31st, 2011 | 3 Comments
From "Her Slip Is Showing"

Disappointing overall, Optic Nerve XIII had its moments, including this one from Jennifer Levonian's "Her Slip Is Showing".

Optic Nerve XIII, MOCA’s annual short film festival, screened Saturday night for a crowd of, say, 100 people. In a change from previous years, which exclusively featured Miami filmmakers, the festival’s hour-long program featured the work of filmmakers from 14 different cities, including Miami, Brooklyn, NYC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago. One entry was to be purchased by MOCA and placed in the North Miami museum’s permanent collection.

The program began with “Pile of Demon Heads” by Sarada Rauch (Brooklyn), an endearingly silly tale of good-decapitating-evil that appears to take place in a second-grader’s diorama. The short got a chuckle from a still-warm crowd that didn’t realize this was as much story as Optic Nerve XIII had to offer.

Next up was Tara Nelson’s “Hull” (Jamaica Plains, Mass.), a visual poem shot in 16mm and deliberately paced to unnerve the restless. Despite its compelling imagery — a woman’s torso dissolving into the contours of a receding seashore, a pair of disembodied hands wrapped thick in dark turquoise latex — the five-minute film moves at the speed of dripping syrup (going so far as to include a shot of dripping syrup) and hobbled the festival too soon out of the gate.

Skipping ahead, the first film I enjoyed was “Hot Circuit”, mainly due to the ingenuity of San Francisco filmmaker Christina Corfield, who manages to fabricate a serviceable living room, classroom, diner, hot rod, and gas station out of mere paper.

In “Hot Circuit”, we have a skeleton storyline: Mid-century blonde heeds chauvinistic mores handed down by her mother, gets knocked up and subsequently abandoned by inexplicably silver-clad cad, ends up abandoning newborn and hitchhiking to hell (literally) along U.S. 121. But the kitsch narrative is basically a game of hopscotch that fails (assuming it is trying) to elicit the viewer’s empathy. As for its stated aim to raise “questions about our growing dependence on new technology and myths”, that’s just a string of artspeak pulled from the paragraphs of an undergraduate syllabus.

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Top Ten Miami Arts Events in January

By | December 31st, 2010 | 4 Comments
Nick Cave Sound Suit

Nick Cave's breathtaking "Soundsuits" are on display at the Norton Museum of Art until January 9.

1. Good & Plenty @ ArtCenter/South Florida (ends January 2)

A concise exhibition featuring resident ArtCenter artists from the last 26 years, Good & Plenty is a mixed bag with some great pieces, including Gavin Perry’s delightful epoxy-covered hanging area rug. The exhibition closes tomorrow, so try to catch it before it’s too late!

2. Second Saturday Art Walk @ Wynwood and Design District (January 8, 7-11 p.m.)

Still riding a post-Basel high, Miami’s art galleries should have some exciting shows this month (fingers crossed). With art lovers and scenesters alike out in full force, the streets and galleries should be packed. (Check out our previous Art Walk coverage and our Top 5 list for the January 2011 Art Walk.)

3. FotoKonbit Panel Discussion @ MOCA (January 8, 2 p.m.)

In conjunction with Bruce Weber’s woefully overshadowed photography exhibition Haiti/Little Haiti, this panel discussion will feature Haitian activist Jan Mapou and photographer Maggie Steber sharing their insight into Miami’s large and still-marginalized Haitian community.

4. Nick Cave: Meet Me at the Center of the Earth @ Norton Museum of Art (ends January 9)

If you live in Broward or (worse) Miami-Dade County, you may be reluctant to make the trek up North. But trust me: Meet Me at the Center of the Earth is worth the gas money. Cave’s sound suits and assemblage works are nothing short of breathtaking. And while you’re there, make sure to check out STARE, a fantastic photography exhibition including works by Walker Evans, Diane Airbus, and others.

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Top Ten Miami Arts Events in November

By | November 1st, 2010 | No Comments

With the Miami Short Film Festival and Miami Book Fair International going down and several exciting exhibition openings in the run-up to Art Basel, November threatens to overwhelm even the most ardent arts enthusiast. To help guide your search for existential meaning, aesthetic beauty, and a Patti Smith autograph (see below), here is a list of ten can’t-miss Miami arts events in November.

11/6 – Smash & Grab @ Locust Projects ($50 – $425)

In its eighth year, Smash & Grab is a large fundraiser for Locust Projects exhibitions and programs. More than 100 local, national, and international contemporary artists donate work for a silent auction, and everyone who buys a raffle ticket will receive a piece of art. Learn more HERE.

11/7 – Focus Gallery: Purvis Young closing @ MAM ($10 for non-members)

This exhibition features work from the career of self-taught Overtown painter Purvis Young, who died in April at the age of 67. It opened on July 30 and mainly consists of pieces from the MAM permanent collection. Learn more HERE.

11/7 – Susan Rothberg: Moving In Place opening @ MAM ($20 for non-members)

The artist’s first museum show in over a decade and first exhibition in South Florida, “Moving In Place” features 25 Rothenberg paintings that span her 35-year career. The exhibition includes two major paintings from the Miami Art Museum’s permanent collection: Folded Buddha (1987–88) and Pin Wheel (1988). Learn more HERE.

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Ladies Night at Guyton/Walker Lecture

By | October 2nd, 2010 | No Comments

Last night I went to the Rosa & Carlos de la Cruz Collection in the Design District to hear artists Kelley Walker and Wade Guyton (known collaboratively as Guyton/Walker) discuss their new site-specific installation. Nine times out of ten in the art world, these kinds of events focus on men. By the end of the last night, however, it was the women who really resonated with me.

Rosa de la Cruz
Rosa de la Cruz presents the works in her extensive contemporary art collection to visitors.

Let’s start with Rosa de la Cruz. Exuding passion for her art and the confidence of a major player, she spoke engagingly about each of the pieces in the front section of her permanent collection. One of my favorites was this mobile by contemporary Polish artist Paulina Olowska (think Alexander Calder meets Slawomir Elsner).

Paulina Olowska mobile at de la Cruz Collection
As far as I know, the girl in the bottom left corner was not dangling.

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