Miami Art Center,|
Dec 08, 2003 - Feb 01, 2004
Miami, FL, USA
10 Floridians' at Miami Art Central
by Bill Kelley Jr.
The newly opened MAC (Miami Art Central), established by the Cisneros foundation, opened its doors during Art Basel Miami Beach in December with 10 Floridians. Manuel Gonzalez, who organized the exhibit, selected 10 curators who in-turn each selected an artist from South Florida. The artists included were José Bedia (curated by Victor Zamudio-Taylor), Robert Chambers (Paula Harper), Dana Friedman (Clarissa Dalrymple), Jacin Giordano (Ivo Mesquita) Luis Gispert (Rina Carvajal), Adler Guerrier (Thelma Golden), Mark Handforth (Frédéric Bonnet), Gean Moreno (Ivo Mesquita), Glexis Novoa (Marcelo E. Pacheco), and Sergio Vega (Rosa Martinez). This beautifully laid-out show was well received by the Art Basel crowd--and why not? This is an all-star line-up of international curators and well-traveled local talent. Evidently MAC wanted to make a good showing the first time around, and for the most part they succeeded.
Nevertheless, Miami like L.A. or New York or any other city with a large immigrant community, possesses certain dynamics that helps define what that city is. 10 Floridians did not necessarily attempt to stretch the perspective of what it means to be living in Florida, which might have been appropriate, being as that all except two of the artists were actually from Miami. In this exhibit, the task of exploring any myriad of politically charged topics was rightly left in the hands of the artists. Perhaps the collective curatorial vision was also playing it on the safe-side by inaugurating a new space with a group of artists already well established and exhibited in Miami? One wonders what the MAC's contribution will be to South Florida. It'll be interesting to watch.
Perhaps these questions come to mind because of the timing of the opening, no doubt benefiting from the international art contingency visiting Miami that week. There was an undeniable overlap between artists presented at affiliated museum exhibitions, like the MAC and those exhibited front and center in commercial galleries at the fair. For example, the 10 Floridians show featured José Bedia who also had a huge publicly commissioned mural in the Design District and whose omnipresence was echoed by no less than four galleries at the fair. Such marketing is understandable. Bedia is a hot commodity and gallerists were paying between $10-50,000 per booth so you would expect everyone working all the angles to maximize on profits -- as they say, repetition is the key to a lucrative commercial venture.