A Miami based contemporary art newsletter / blog

Downtown Pop Up Drop Off On!

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Late last night we received an email from an anonymous source containing documentation of a project that was realized just hours before.

Shortly after dusk a small black pickup truck carrying a large, re-purposed shipping crate zigzagged through the downtown area of Miami. As hoards of homeless set up their beds the truck mounted the curb and illegally unloaded its cargo onto a triangle of grass on the South West corner of the junction of NE 1st Ave and NE 7th Street, an oasis of green in a concrete jungle littered with temporary dwellings.

Image courtesy anonymous.

Quickly speeding away, the truck and its occupants vanished, leaving behind the unassuming wooden oblong and some tire tracks. No clue was left to the origin or function of the piece aside from a paragraph of text pasted to its back. Discoverable by the inquisitive and literate, but otherwise hidden it read:

Guerilla Art installation: Cosmic Changes render all social orders and materialistic acquisitions utterly useless. An experiential room constructed outside of a gallery or art space is placed in the public realm open for all to experience without any boundaries or invigilators. As art splits between the production of an elitist consumer market and a rigorous academic, polemic discourse so embedded in its own esoteric means that art has become utterly inaccessible for the public, this installation questions the energy source of such abstruse art making. This piece was created for any audience, it was placed in the most publicly accessible arena, a downtown sidewalk. Its interior presents the demise of a rich décor, in which traditional salon frames showcase images from the Hubble Telescope in lieu of traditional images, skylights illuminate from above as gold millwork decomposes in the hot humidity of the Miami summer. The ultimate destination of this installation, as many other things created by all civilizations, the landfill to decompose in the Earth.

Image courtesy anonymous.

Contradictory of the exterior façade – that apart from a jaunty window and some white hinges would appear just like any other nothing-out-of-the-ordinary dumped trash – a peek inside revealed a squat but beautifully decorated single level hot pink and gold exhibition space replete with a mattress, golden moulding, frames, sky lights and even air vents.

Image courtesy anonymous.

A counterpoint to many of South Florida’s galleries and their contents, the autonomous nature of this piece/space dredges Miami’s reputation as unlawful and clandestine and re-contextualizes it in the art world to evoke a locus of unique production hemmed by unpredictable, masked undercurrents. Its purpose on the other hand as an micro-arena for meta-contemplation – paradoxical to assumptions based solely upon its placement – hints at a returning thrust to question our continual gravitation to (or cyclical obsession with) commercial, industrially produced and highly polished art in favor of something more expressive, resourceful, spontaneous and as such, wholly unexpected.

Image courtesy anonymous.

When we arrived to the scene this morning – eager to find the piece tagged to all hell and/or occupied by vagrants – it was still completely in tact and in spite of our assumption that this was the first wave of a new trend of homemade homeless accommodations, curiously it seemed as though no-one had even ventured inside – perhaps intimidated by the unexpected lavishness of the decor or unsettled by the space’s uncertain, potentially officiated purpose. Considering the caliber of the immediate human traffic, the possibility of veneration as a deciding factor in the work’s continuing good condition is slim, but should probably not be completely ruled out until it degenerates into a bona fide crack-shack before being inevitably dumped for a second time.[.]

Image courtesy anonymous.

This post was contributed by Thomas Hollingworth.


Self-appointed guard: Zino. Image courtesy The Earth and Us Farm School.

1 Comment

  • swampthing

    The homeless need more than art, so this is a weird start. Expect a surveillance video from dept of sanitation , implicate the “artists”.

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Downtown Pop Up Drop Off On!