Trading Faces

Collect Havana's artists, along with some bubblegum

When Baselites first parachuted into the Magic City five winters ago, Julie Lara Kahn gave them a crash course on the local scene via OPEN SEASON miami, a set of bubblegum trading cards profiling 88 hometown artists, collectors, curators, critics, and museum directors. This year Kahn will introduce locals and visitors to 88 personalities from the Havana art community, with whom she collaborated during several visits to the island.

The second set in her trading cards series, OPEN SEASON havana made its debut during IX Bienal de La Habana, where actors and actresses from the city's Teatro El Público, costumed as cigarette girls and boys, swapped the cards with the public in exchange for sundry objects. Bartered items ranged from house keys and underwear to freshly clipped dreadlocks and drawings.

The OPEN SEASON havana cards feature a portrait of an individual "player" on the front and personal "stats" on the flip side. Beatriz Landaburu's card is emblazoned with the art dealer's puckered gob and informs she is afraid of frogs, smells like a rose, tastes like peaches, and was a nun in a former life. The cards are packaged in random sets of five with a checklist and chewing gum. To collect the full set, participants in Kahn's public art project must engage in trade.

The artist has recruited Circ X, a traveling performance troupe based in Miami, to barter 10,000 packs of cards at a series of events and openings during Art Basel. "I've given them parameters to decide when we've collected enough lipstick and condoms to get people to trade more personal or sentimental items," Kahn says.

Her project will culminate with a 2007 exhibition of the full sets of cards along with the collected bartered objects, plus video from both Miami and Havana. To find out where and how to collect a full set, visit www.openseasonhavana.com.

 
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