A Miami based contemporary art newsletter / blog

Miami Writer’s Prize 2012 Winner Announced

Image courtesy World Red Eye

We, the staff at Artlurker and our panel of distinguished judges, are delighted to announce Rob Goyanes (of Slashpine) as the winner of the Miami Writer’s Prize 2012 for his paper on Emmet Moore’s recent exhibition “High, Low and in between” at Locust Projects.

We would like to extend our gracious thanks to everyone who submitted to this year’s prize, especially Mr. Goyanes who we hope will make a valuable contribution to Miami’s growing community through his coming posts on, encouraging other unsung critical voices to speak up.

Predictably, many of this year’s submissions embodied the problems faced down here in South Florida, but thankfully, nestled among the entries, many of which were too gentle and out of touch or out of touch and not gentle enough, were those whose concision and lack of cliché among other things kept our judges – Noah Becker (WHITEHOT MAGAZINE), Hunter Braithwaite (THEREISNOTHERE), Paddy Johnson (ARTFAGCITY) and Hrag Vartanian (HYPERALLERGIC) – deliberating beyond their deadline.

About the winner the judges send the following message:

“We believe that the pool of submissions was a fair sampling of Miami, both its strengthes and weaknesses. The chief goal of Artlurker, and this prize specifically, is not to provide the city with the art critical final say, but to provide an example–a loose model of how it could be done. Upon realizing this, we began looking for writers who were still making up their minds, but clearly possessed the mental and critical apparati to do so. Its a young city, and it doesn’t need to be defined. After long consideration, we decided to award the Miami Writers Prize to Rob Goyanes, whose review of Emmett Moore’s show at Locust Projects is grounded in observations. The writer never grasps for hyperbole or cobbles together disparate references. It is a tempered, professional effort. To borrow a line from the review, “there is a naturalism… that feels fresh and appreciative of patience.”

Conversely, honorable mention goes to Eddie Arroyo for his ambitious piece on Miami’s struggle for identity in relation to the big party.

An intimate awards giving soiree in honor of Mr. Goyanes is scheduled to take place this coming Thursday (May 24th) at Locust Projects (3852 North Miami Avenue) from 7 pm – 9 pm. Please join us in welcoming this exciting new voice.

And now, without further ado, the winning entry…

Image courtesy World Red Eye

Emmett Moore’s “High, Low and in between” at Locust Projects

Rob Goyanes


Upon entering the Little River Yacht Club, you’re met with boat-builders, masons, and an aquarium owner. All of the tenants are involved in some form of carpentry or construction, and it shows on the sawdusted floor and half-finished hulls. Commercial objects are made in the warehouse, but it’s also a space for several Miami artists, including Emmett Moore, who’s been there for the past year and a half. His recent exhibition, titled “High, Low, and in between”, plays with the layering of interior design, fine art, and architecture in a way that is enthralling for both its bold and subtle techniques.

Located at Locust Projects, the room appeared as an intersection of digital and physical production. The floor-to-ceiling patterns on the wallpapered walls contained repeating squares, matrices, and squiggly ovals that were taken from the security patterns found on the insides of envelopes, the ones that prevent you from seeing inside even when you hold them up to light. Moore had amassed a collection of these envelope patterns that “felt like you’d find them in a design magazine”, and used three of them to plaster the walls of the space. The room also had totemic columns that conveyed heaviness with their marble and grainy laminate surfaces, but were in fact made from lightweight plywood. The majority of the surfaces contained a pattern or texture, and the colors ranged from a playful rose to a subdued yellow, to a green simulating what you’d find on a radar screen. While the coloration ranged from natural to digital, there remained a playful sense of Miamian regionalism.

Image courtesy World Red Eye

The digital aesthetics of the wall patterns were mixed with the obvious presence of craft and labor. One set of relief panels looked like an area of kitchen tile floor, with a wavy surface resembling a flag flapping in the wind, each of which took a dozen or so hours to cut. Another set of panels had sharp, zigzagging 45-degree angles the color of cold concrete. Moore designed the sculptures and panels using 3D modeling and other design software, but spent hundreds of hours creating and tweaking the pieces. The installation stands in contrast to other exhibits that attempt to comment directly on a digitized world through the inclusion of machines, grids, and various screens. Instead, Moore is using his background in design (he graduated RISD with a degree in furniture design) to create art that is about functionalities and problem-solving, though the problem solved in this exhibition was still, largely, an aesthetic one – how to make a space come alive and get the viewer engaged in the work.

As our world becomes increasingly designed and curated – set to trigger emotional response, aesthetic experience, and purchase decisions – we are more easily overwhelmed by expansive information and entertainment networks, and can often lose sight of others and ourselves.  These intertwining digital networks make up an uneven, variegated landscape, and the question of how people fit into them is, and will remain, a question with more than one answer. As information technology and artificial intelligence are integrated and improved upon, there comes with it both positive and negative outcomes. Moore’s installation, instead of illustrating the messiness of modernity, telescopes both the ornate and simple beauties of everyday patterns, colors, and textures. There is a naturalism in the work that feels fresh and appreciative of patience, while at the same time conveying the power of codes and software in the production of art. So, rather than lamenting the alienation that can come with digital technology, the installation uses it and shows its virtuous side, and the possibility of using these technologies to increase the closeness to one’s labor.

Image courtesy World Red Eye

Though craft and hard labor is very present in the installation, Moore also directly addresses the efficiencies and shortcuts made possible by design and its adjoining technologies. Though the columns in the room looked like finely chiseled marble from the front, from behind the viewer could see that they were in fact hollow – the marble and grainy textures only existed as a thin veneer. Moore said that this came from an interest in “architectural tricks” that are used to deceive the eye into believing that something is of a substance or form that it actually is not – reflecting the problem of the real vs. unreal that’s encountered in digital environments. The relationship between the pieces encourage the viewer to consider that while all things are mediated, and beholden to representation, there remains a preciousness in the spending of time to develop a craft.

Moore’s previous works have all dealt at some level with function. His previous show, “Time and Place”, contained wooden, modernly angled chairs with highlighter-orange striping, and triangular, table-like objects. The functionality of these objects was interrupted by a lone palm-tree sculpture, a declaration of form standing on an island of function. This blend of fine art and design is taken to new heights in “High, Low and in between”, as it introduces elements that add an exuberance and complexity to Moore’s work, and challenges the audience not only to consider the heady questions of a digital world, but also to work towards enjoying it[.]

The Miami Writer’s Prize is made possible thanks to funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and artist Carlos Betancourt.

NOTICE: Should any unsuccessful entrants desire feedback on their work or wish to open a dialogue with our publication we cordially invite them to make contact. 




  • BOB

    As Mr. Coagula said “Most art sucks.”

    With all due respect to Mr. Moore, this installation looks like cheap-ass wallpaper.

    Where’s the “art,” dude?

    And how rigged is this contest?

    Guy wins for a review of a show at Locust Projects and the reception is at Locust Projects?

    Is this just a PR stunt for Locust Projects?

    The Knight Foundation supports Locust Projects and the Miami Writers Prize?

    Hmmm… Should I have sent my assistant to sleep with the judges?

  • MiamiArt

    This is exactly why miami can never move ahead as an art community.
    Stop with the jealous comments and behavior!

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Miami Writer’s Prize 2012 Winner Announced