Myth Universe

For his March 14 opening, Chambers flooded the gallery with banana-scented soap bubbles that spread over the gallery floor and erupted onto the pavement outside, to the delight of the kids in attendance; they covered themselves in the stuff. The foam party feeling was enhanced by other works that vaguely suggested such fashionable trends -- on the floor false eyelashes and a muffin-shape wig of Chambers's own design floated in a puddle of Dippity-Do. Miniature marshmallows in the pastel colors of spring collections filled colored rubber bowls. Something smelled like peppermint.

At the entrance to the room was a huge nineteenth-century bellows, a gorgeous found object of worn wood and cracked leather that could be pressed to blow air into a silk balloon attached to its end (this didn't work too well; the fabric was all wet from the bubbles). With the foam, the slippery floor, the bellows, and various whirring sounds, the sensorial installation had the feel of a science museum display -- a common characteristic of Chambers's participatory works. The most vehemently interactive of these was a special effects cannon, one of Chambers's favorite devices, mounted out of sight on the roof of the studio. Set to a timer, it periodically emitted an ear-buzzing explosion that sounded like a close-range gunshot.

"It's like a herald," says Chambers. "Something to punctuate your thoughts, to clear your mind before you go inside the building."

It worked.

Can't Trust a Big Butt and a Smile.
Through April 26. art1035, 1035 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach; 534-3339.

Robert Chambers.
Through April 5. Space Cadette, 7339 SW 45th St; 261-7585.

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