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Miami Project Spaces

Locust Projects: Jason Hedges’ Aesthetic Experience #13 (Lamb) and Clifton Childree’s installation in progress.

Despite being well advanced into a month that would ordinarily be characterized by cultural desolation, there were some openings of note. Once again, the beauty is that the attention was doted not on the gallery shows, but rather the project spaces.

At the Fredric Snitzer project space Marie Lorenz’s exhibition, as promised, presented a selection of large rubbings together with the blocks from which the rubbings had been taken. Her expansive approach to art making worked well within the confines of the space.  After passing through MAP Magazine’s lounge party we fueled up with lamb at Locust Projects where Jason Hedges was performing his long awaited “Aesthetic Experience #13 (Lamb)”, a modular spit triptych upon which 3 whole lambs (minus the heads) were being deftly bronzed and butchered.

Inside Locust Projects was an installation in progress by Miami’s Clifton Childree. Childree is the first artist to receive the Locust Projects Hilger grant; a generous initiative by the non-for-profit to support Miami artists made possible by collector, gallerist and scholar Ernst Hilger. The exhibition, entitled Dream-Cum-Tru, opens on September 13th and is the artist’s attempt at creating his very own miniature Coney Island utilizing an apparently inexhaustible supply of salvaged scrap materials. Although being far from completion, scarcely more than an avalanche of wood, there were haunting architectural forms beginning to take shape around the periphery.

Shelf Life from left to right: Tom Scicluna Untitled (shelves), 2004. Alexandra Kuechenberg Untitled (frame), 2008. Jay Hines’ installation.

Our last stop was “Shelf Life” an exhibition organized by Twenty Twenty Projects and as always filled with the youngest, hippest specimens (press release). The premise of the show revolves around the idea of rot or lack of it present in various cultural and/or material endeavors. This long awaited exhibition which showcased a host of Miami’s rising stars saw owner Scott Murray temporarily exchange his hole-in-the-wall-for-those-in-the-know venue in Wynwood for a space in the design district whose proportions allowed for a greater aesthetic versatility. 

Shelf Life from left to right: David Rohn installation view. David Rohn after his performance. Daniel Newman’s video room.

Each project space had its own approach to the concept of an exhibition and if Locust Projects’ spit roast was the most unconventional then Twenty Twenty’s Shelf Life was equally the most conventional. In light of the different approaches it would be somewhat unfair to postulate which project space was the most successful but an interesting consideration is that at a time when project spaces seem to be coming to the fore as key sites in the development of Miami artists, Twenty Twenty Projects preferred to cling to the edifice of the traditional white cube.

Shelf Life from left to Right: Nick Lobo Hair soy sauce pirate egg lava lamp, 2008. Jason Hedges Corks #1, 2006. Nick Lobo Terrazzo Glide Slope, 2008. Nick Lobo and Sheila Womble with Terrazzo Glide Slope, 2008.

Unlike Marie Lorenz’s exhibition where her ‘without walls’ approach to art was stuffed into the smallest space in town, or Jason Hedges’ food-fair, Shelf Life, though wonderfully lively and informal, seemed somehow limited by a more traditional venue and visitors reactions to that. To its credit many of the works worked really well in the space and although there were some ‘issues’ the beer did last, the event was well attended and the show was varied enough both in terms of artists and display methods to keep everyone interested. Nevertheless, we can’t help but pine for a more haphazard, pointedly chaotic and experiential approach to art making and viewing – a good example in Miami of what we are talking about would be FriendsWithYou’s recent installation at the largely ignored Miami Art Space (MAS) in which patrons were encouraged to biff-baff each other with giant inflatable nodes.

At this time of year the local galleries really seem to be fair weather friends and it becomes apparent that the true locus of art production (if not consumption) is squarely in the foyer of the alternative event and project spaces, at least here in Miami. This perhaps comes as somewhat of a rude awakening for us as apparently the rest of the geographic art world figured it out ages ago.

Biscayne Times Art Columnist, Victor Barrenechea’s birthday cake, minus the cake outside Shelf Life – Happy Birthday Victor!

For more information about this exhibition please visit:

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Miami Project Spaces