"Enter at your own risk," warns interior decorator, furniture designer, and photography curator Juan Carlos Arcila-Duque about the Design District space where he'll show the work of controversial Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki. Like many people in this unsure post-9/11 world, Arcila-Duque has scaled down recently, shuttering his large furniture showroom for a less constraining existence. Continuing to work as a decorator, he'll still devote himself to showing fabulous photographs. This time it's in the former Kevin Bruk Gallery space, temporarily rechristened a-d.
What will people see there? Well, nothing, sort of. Lights will be turned off, rendering the room pitch black. Fluorescent tape will line the floors and in the style of a modified peep show, Arcila-Duque will hand out flashlights and let the curious view the 50 images in their own way. Sounds gimmicky but somehow apt since on its way into the United States, Araki's work was dubbed "pornography" and held up in customs for a few days. Why? Many of the prints depict nudes restrained by rope. What resembles bondage to American eyes actually is an example of kinbaku, the Japanese art of erotic rope tying. In addition to that slightly racy stuff, the ten-year retrospective includes portraits, candids, and still lifes in black and white and color. Those who are frightened of the dark can visit Art Miami next month and see Araki's stuff under hot bright lights.
Staying in the neighborhood on the evening of December 13 won't be such a bad idea, though. Almost every art venue and design showroom in the neighborhood will offer exhibitions -- some indoor, some out. Juan Lear's giant photos of the backs of trucks also can be seen at a-d. The Living Room Building will act as a makeshift hanging area for artists not affiliated with galleries. A half-scale model of modern architect Philip Johnson's famous glass house created by Rirkrit Tiravanija will be on view at the Buick Building. And that's just a small sampling of the daunting display. The catch-phrase of the day may as well be: "Don't be afraid of the art."