ARTLURKER

A Miami based contemporary art newsletter / blog

The Cocks of Wynwood: How the fight for credit over legitimized murals is turning us on to less laborious fodder.

cock

Uncredited cock sculpture outside Dorsch Gallery, one of a number in the area.

Miami is home to a lot of street art. This week the Biscayne Times played host to its own messy drama concerning the credit it mistakenly usurped from Primary Flight in its coverage of Deitch and Goldman’s graffiti initiative, ‘Wynwood Walls.’ The issue basically boiled down to an unhealthy marriage between marketed language and shabby journalism – something we are pretty familiar with in Miami – and while it was both sad and fun to hear Primary Flight founder and curator Lynn Yohana Howard rant at Jim Mullin in ‘Letters to the Editor’ and again more generally in the article ‘Street Art Has Arrived’ by Anne Tschida, we can’t help feeling like these guys are all trying to put a price on the sky. So, while disgruntled parties battle for recognition and absolution, baring claws and backpedaling in a flurry of fat caps and ruffled feathers amidst monolithic murals that in the chilly, desolate aftermath of the fairs look distinctly as though they were left behind, forgotten, we thought we would give props to some little guys whose work, while perhaps not as grandiose, is by comparison – largely by virtue of the fact that we can’t source any information about them – absolutely worthy of the respect that all things offered by those who expect nothing in return, not least recognition, should demand.

Despite being overshadowed by all the big, officiated and often garish stuff that accompanies fair week like a maggoty chariot of endless banal surprises a few things stood out (and sometimes proud) not for their prominence or execution, but because they represented themselves (like an impoverished defendant) and left little clue as to their existence – which likely threw the majority of visiting ‘patrons’ who seem to feel entitled to work which does little other than explain itself into a funky spin.

There is along history in Dade and surrounding counties of under-documented, under-appreciated and mercifully non-commercial creativity. Today we have  among others the homeless guy on NE 79th Street who in addition to claiming to be Mickey Rourke’s step brother adorns telegraph poles with adobe faces; the mysterious totemic-come-scarecrow-like structures that appeared at the junctions of NE 43rd and North Miami and NE 19th and North Miami; and the guy who does the blue bikes – many will have seen the entirely blue, powder coated bikes around Wynwood. Courtesy of some guy from Hollywood, the bikes began appearing before Art Basel Miami Beach first came to town in the Hollywood Arts District in Broward. Initially intriguing and few and far between they have now lost all mystique, appearing on almost every street corner in Wynwood in various states of dilapidation having been stripped, for the most part, down to their frames.

While most of this stuff is admittedly as annoying as the guys who tag up trees, once in a while one of these little guerrilla treats strikes just the right balance; mediating between anchoring some unspoken point of reference to a hither-to unsuspected impending reality and being plainly, deliciously controversial! One piece, or pieces rather, which straddle these necessary parameters with the grace of an old whore would have to be the penises that appeared during Art Basel Miami Beach, most notably outside of Dorsch Gallery.

Both welcoming the onslaught of the fairs and saluting their swift departure, these cocks, numerous and turgid in their folky, fecund glory, remain now as passive (if not flaccid) observers. Like benign android minotaurs flying under the radar (and waistline) just enough to retain a reputable and learned distance from the crowd, they prompt us too to look beyond our one point perspectives, free our one track minds, and in the squall of furious niggling surrounding the ‘beautification’ of an area whose fabricated individuality can’t hold a candle to countless other authentic painted neighborhoods, offer us all something familiar to hang on to[.]

This post was contributed by Thomas Hollingworth.

4 Comments

  • billyfornow

    it ought have been a bit lower so that one might go a head and “try it out”

    hehe, wynWOOD…

  • Lynn Yohana Howard

    FWIW, my RANT was because the ARTIST responsible for the erroneous picture they posted in the Biscayne Times giving props to the other group was not mentioned.

    I was standing up for my artists who work tirelessly and often for no recognition or pay. His work was used via a front page photo from Primary Flight 2009 to promote the Deitch Goldman deal, So here’s to El Mac and Retna!!!!! You deserve the props my friends. As for the cocks fighting, you can call it what you want, but NO ONE screws over MY BOYS!

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The Cocks of Wynwood: How the fight for credit over legitimized murals is turning us on to less laborious fodder.