By Sandra Schulman
The art world has moved virtual, adapting to the new physical unreality we are all living through. Spring season has a variety of new shows that may or may not be able to be seen in person, so museums, galleries and artists have made online tours to see the new work. Here is a roundup of some of the best.
While the galleries are temporarily closed, ICA Miami has introduced a slate of digital offerings, including artist stories, exhibition walkthroughs, interviews, and more. The highlight of ICA’s online tours is the first U.S. museum retrospective for American artist Allan McCollum.
Since the late 1960s, McCollum has created an unusual set of repetitive works that vary only slightly, making commentary on mass production that forces the eye to look for both the similarities and the differences. Amplify this by the thousands and it becomes a sea of rolling art that covers entire walls and tables and floors. With more than five decades of his work here, the production and repetition factor overwhelms the senses in ways that are startling and numbing.
McCollum uses photography in way that Antonioni’s film Blow-Up does, by enlarging them so much the original image is no longer recognizable. In his Perpetual Photos (1982 – ), which reproduces artworks used as props on TV, he blurs them out to mere pixels that create abstract patterns. (In 1984, I exhibited one of these works in a group show in New York City called Pop, at Spiritual America Gallery.) He was part of the Pictures Generation that included Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman and Richard Prince, who all used contemporary images from TV and mass media as a basis for their art.
The Perpetual works are pop in the way that they are not image or “content,” only the idea of “art” because the artist says it is.
In case you missed it live, there is a grand video of Judy Chicago’s wild Purple Poem for Miami, her sixth Atmospheres performance in seven years. Chicago is mainly known for her sexually charged ceramic dinner plates and painted car hoods – both of which she showed at ICA 2 years ago, but her smoke shows are wisps of wonderment, infusing the landscape with billows of colorful smoke. Chicago set up a rectangular grid of spewing lines that pulsed out lavender, violet and blue waves of smoke to create clouds of color like a Turner skyscape come to life.
Another great show to catch up online is the Larry Bell exhibition that featured major bodies of Bell’s work, from his early Cube series to his large-scale color-glass installations. Larry Bell: Time Machines used the museum’s architectural space to flood rooms with color, waterfalls with projections that filled the air with humid ions, as well as video and photography.
The Bass Museum has been sending out emails with links to their website and social media that update weekly. Take a virtual tour of Aaron Curry’s solo exhibition Tune Yer Head, on view at The Bass last year. The playful exhibition had painting, sculpture and collage in quirky installations that viewers can lead themselves through room by room by pointing and clicking the images.
The Haas brothers Ferngully exhibit got a lot of media attention as the brothers’ art that looks like little creatures has become a global phenomenon. It also falls in line with The Bass’s curatorial aesthetic of showing big, cartoony work. \
Pérez Art Museum Miami virtually presents a large-scale, newly commissioned work by Meleko Mokgosi created for the museum’s distinctive 30-foot double-height project gallery. The project centers on the 1966 film Unsere Afrikareise (Our Trip to Africa) by the seminal filmmaker Peter Kubelka. Kubelka is one of the founders of the Structural film movement, which distills the film-watching experience to its essence.
This strange, intense, grotesque work is unsettling in its depiction and contrasting Europeans leisure activities tailored to the upper class – swimming, sunbathing, teasing their native attendants, hunting for sport. The action is drastically intercut with Africans’ daily labor that is not so leisurely – carrying water from wells, pounding a mortar with a pestle, and killing wildlife just to survive.
For something more lighthearted, Romero Britto, Miami’s Mr. Rogers of the art world, presents a video through the Miami Children’s Museum that is part studio visit and part instructional. A stroll through his studio shows off his bright colorful art and sculpture that combines cubism, Pop art and graffiti painting. Britto then demos how to make a winged heart drawing and cut it into shapes to create a puzzle.
Habatat Glass Gallery has gone virtual with Andrei Kazantsev’s “Real Steel” sculpture exhibition, a variation on the glass art they usually show. After seeing a faceted sculpture design made from folded paper much like origami, welder Kazantsev decided to use his welding technique on his own sculptures using folded steel.
He creates animals from steel with rounded planes that change and reflect the light at different angles. Pitbulls, wolves, and eagles are recent subjects. Using a scanned animal, a press brake and a type of manual controller, Kazantsev takes his precut sheets of metal and folds them to spec. The press brake allows him to set the angle for each fold based on his scanned CAD data, which leaves him with less guesswork.
Once all the pieces are folded and numbered, he welds them with bended corners to appear more faceted. They also get colored with metallic paints or polished to a high silvery sheen. You can also see the fantastic glass works the gallery has on display in its luxe showroom in Northwood.
Sri Prabha makes cosmic installations, using trippy timelines that include dinosaurs and astronauts. A multidisciplinary artist originally from Hyderabad, India, he is now based in Hollywood, and explores imagery from ecology, geology, spirituality, and science to manifest a range of mediums that include video, sculptural paintings, public art, and photo-based works.
He delves into geography, nature, time, human origins, and the cosmos, asking how intellect compares with emotional responses to scientific discoveries. Sri has exhibited at The Florida Prize 2019 at Orlando Museum of Art, won the 2016 South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship, was named “Best Visual Artist 2015” and included in “10 Visual Artists You Need to Know” (2016) by Broward Palm Beach New Times.