Looking for an introduction to a good chunk of Miami-based artists? A group show at Spinello Projects is a succinct place to start. Twenty practitioners—each with a distinct voice and representing varied art world orbits—have converged for an exhibition that reflects on the neighborhood of Little Haiti, the ever-contemplated “status” of the Miami art scene, and of Miami itself.
The show, titled Mere Facade, begins on the outside of the gallery with a mural of Barack Obama by Serge Toussaint. A celebrated local painter, responsible for many a store facade and commission works, Toussaint has redone an old image of his that has become a visual landmark in Little Haiti. Originally executed during the 2008 election, the image of Obama goes up anew as a comment on the tectonic political changes in the past six months. Inside the gallery, things get more local, but also national and global (and beyond).
A video of archival footage by Kevin Arrow shows the demolishing of the Gianni Versace mansion. Sunday paintings by Eddie Arroyo show the buildings that comprise Little Haiti’s visual identity. Angel Garcia’s video work addresses the imagined/real identities that come from Miami. Justin Long’s sculpture of stacked coolers speaks for itself: a column of history, an ode to the beachside party. A neon sign that reads “Real Estate” by Tom Scicluna.
These are Miami artists through and through, but they also, in their own ways, break the mold of what that’s supposed to mean. There’s an embrace of the Floridian aesthetic—bright, highly saturated colors, plants and rocks and concrete—but also a challenge to the typified conception of what Miami is all about. There’s a map of Florida sanded down by artist Agustina Woodgate, so that Florida is just a ghostly apparition, barely there; a video of performer and poet Antonia Wright screaming in a pool.
All of it together represents the chaotic multitude of thinking about (and living in) Miami: the tropical heavenliness, the social chameleons traipsing around, the bright sun baking your skin. Cara Despain’s “Sea Unseen” sits outside, close to Toussaint’s mural. You can’t really see it, but you can hear it, and it comes from the most unlikeliest place.
Through September 9, 2017
7221 NW 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33150