Take two firecracker curators with a taste for edgy shenanigans, rub them against Miami's marquee collectors, and -- voila! -- you have an audacious exhibit to spark off the art season. "Hanging by a Thread," curated by Nina Arias and José Diaz, features the work of more than 25 artists devoted to the use of stitch and craft in contemporary art, and is brashly entertaining in its wild range of content. "I think this will actually appeal to a lot of people; you can really appreciate the inventive nature and revival of interest in handmade techniques among the younger artists," Diaz affirms.
The show pays tribute to the 1998 exhibition "Loose Threads," curated by Lisa Corrin at London's Serpentine Gallery, which sought to blur boundaries between high art and craft. The connective ties to "Loose Threads" are hammered home by the inclusion of several artists who participated in that show, such as Ghada Amer, Michael Raedecker, and Tracey Emin. The "Hanging by a Thread" roster is rife with top names such as Cosima Von Bonin, Arturo Herrera, and Tal R, reflecting the local collectors' contributions to the glam-sodden quality of the exhibit.
"We are really excited to have had such incredible support in gaining access to work by established artists and of some talented emerging artists who live here as well," says Diaz. Collectors Craig Robins, Francie Bishop Good, Rosa de la Cruz, Arturo Mosquera, the Scholls, and the Rubells all kicked in work to "help make the exhibit happen," he adds.
Some of the more amazing pieces exude sheer box office muscle, brazenly announcing that the up-and-comers can swing toe to toe with the heavyweights. Christian Holstad's disco-infused purple hyena in drag gives the impression that the artist fired a mortar into a Carnaby Street kennel, stitching a menagerie of mangled parts together in a magnum opus. This heinous (in a wondrous way) creation looks like one of those lurid stoles the Queen Mother might drape around her neck while cheering the ponies at her favorite track. Unforgettable!
William Villalongo references mythology, art history, and politics in his black velvet paintings. A work depicting cherubs, a soldier with a rifle, and a felled buck exudes a kitschy veneer reminiscent of fat Elvis or a pack of poker-playing, cigar-smoking hounds. For some, Jacin Giordano's A Rainbow might evoke a sense of Brancusi's Endless Column, only his tower of stacked toilet seat covers, arranged in a gradating prism of fuzzy colors, is also flush with Duchampian sensibilities and brimming over with chutzpah.
Frankie Martin weighs in with a hilarious sendup of the growing mania for reggaeton. She sewed costumes and backdrops for a music video parodying the sweeping music craze. Martin has crafted a savory psychedelic rump-wagging spectacle wryly titled Esto Es Que Tu Quieres? in which she shakes her stuff wearing gold lamé hot pants. "This is going to be totally stunning. The vibe, the energy -- what an incredible way to get the season going," says Arias.