By John Thomason
By Benjy Caplan
By Artburst Miami
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Daniel Reskin
"Pig to Man, Man to Pig, Then Pig to Man Again" Through December 30, Rocket Projects, 3440 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-576-6082. Opening reception December 4, 7:00 p.m.
The closest thing the notoriously conservative residents of Basel have to a Miami blowout is their Fasnacht, a distinctly Swiss version of carnival, where they indulge in well-behaved mayhem and out-of-tune guggenmusik. Well, it appears the Swiss, universally admired for their banking and chocolates, have learned to pack the hangover bromides and loosen their girdles, earning some street cred with this year's happy hour at Art Positions.
Container-village cocktails on the sand and DJs Mark Leventhal and Stephan Luke get the art shaking with a primer on how we transform party into a verb. Baselites can consider this a dress rehearsal for Saturday night, when Miami harlots herself out full throttle in the Design District and Wynwood for Art Bacchanal. -- Carlos Suarez De Jesus
Happy Hour at Art Positions December 2-4, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., beachfront at Collins Avenue and 21st Street.
The U.S. premiere of Autobiografíaby pioneer interdisciplinary Cuban artist Tania Bruguera takes place Friday night as part of the OmniArt "urban intervention." The work, primarily a sound installation, consists of a solitary microphone dangling over a platform in a spare room. Spectators are invited to step up on the stage and speak into the mike.
On opposing walls, speakers blare excerpts of speeches by Fidel Castro while the spectators' microphone remains turned off. A controller at a soundboard across the room adds to the tension between the fragmented elements, creating an unspoken commentary on the illusory aspects of power.
Brugera, who splits her time between Cuba and Chicago, where she teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, explains that the work elaborates on the idea of autobiography and how political speeches -- on an emotionally visceral level -- have been markers in her life. "It relates to the illusion of democracy," she says, "and how a single person's voice can become diluted by the collective." -- Carlos Suarez De Jesus
Autobiografía December 3, 8:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m., Warehouse 1, NE 2nd Avenue at 13th Street, Miami. 305-576-2950.
Curator Patricia Risso has worked some magic for the Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation Department, organizing "Art Expressions" at the county's Matheson Hammock Park and Tropical Park, where fifteen local artists have created head-turning works to the delight of the unsuspecting. At Tropical Park check out Patricia Van Dalen's Picnic Garden, evoking a field of tri-colored tulips executed from 15,000 marker flags. Visit Richard Medlock's meditative Zen space or ponder Carolina Sardi's delicate, latticed, beehive-like structures.
Over at Matheson Hammock Park, Cesar Trasobares has installed orchids made of dollar bills, Veronica Scharf-Garcia has laced apron poems around palm trees, and Carol Cornelison has created jumbo bird nests. Other artists include Tim Curtis, Corina Maddalozzo, Brian Reedy, Claudia Scalise, Alette Simmons-Jimenez, Daniel Fiorda, Ivan Martinez, Matthew Cox, and Peter Kuentzel. -- Carlos Suarez De Jesus
Art Expressions Through January 7, Matheson Hammock Park, 9610 Old Cutler Rd., Coral Gables; Tropical Park, 7900 Bird Rd., West Miami-Dade; 305-755-7948. Call for park hours.
Preeminent American conceptual artist Jenny Holzer recently debuted her fist public work in more than a decade. Since October Xenon Projectionshas visited the surfaces of buildings in New York City, Washington, D.C., Liverpool, and Berlin. In Miami the Freedom Tower will provide the background screen for Holzer's trademark epigrams. A powerful projector will beam across the tower's faade poems by Walt Whitman and others, text taken from declassified government documents, and appropriated slogans such as "Whatever you are, be a good one," a quote from Abraham Lincoln. Though Holzer's aphorisms can be provocative and bewildering ("Protect me from what I want," "Any surplus is immoral"), the act of viewing her luminous, scrolling texts is oddly soothing, and the reaction of the beholder becomes part of the work. -- Jean Carey
Xenon for Miami December 1-5, 6:00 p.m. to midnight, Freedom Tower, 600 Biscayne Blvd., Miami.
In town installing a project at Aqua, the residential island development of real-estate whiz and art collector Craig Robins, New York artist Richard Tuttle became enamored of the Wolfsonian-FIU Museum's vast holdings of applied arts and propaganda. Tuttle's artistic intervention, commissioned by the museum and funded by the Fernwood Art Foundation and other sponsors, will adorn the building's exterior and penetrate deep into the museum's collection.
Tuttle's project, beauty-in-advertising, translates his signature understated aesthetic into long vertical streamers for the outside of the museum and continues inside to an installation that links more than 60 objects from the collection with print-advertising images that address the concept of beauty. A rooftop pyrotechnics display by Grucci Fireworks of New York will mark the work's 8:00 p.m. unveiling. In the bridge tender's house on the sidewalk in front of the museum, SALT, a Miami/New York collective of artists, presents In Advance of a Broken Heart. -- Michelle Weinberg
beauty-in-advertising December 3 through January, Wolfsonian -FIU Museum, 1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-535-2622.
One of Spain's leading young galleries, Espacio Minimo of Madrid, unpacks Orain, Berriz, Gulliver, a site-specific project by Basque artist Manu Muniategiandikoetxea, which utterly transforms the gallery's cargo container at Art Positions. Caja tumbada, a large central piece made of wood, iron, and acrylic, obstructs the viewer's entry "like a stopper, like a boat built inside a bottle," say gallery owners José Martinez Calvo and Luis Valverde Espejo.