Jam at MAM

Art can be so pretentious. Who has time to ponder a Sol LeWitt sculpture or analyze a Susan Rothenberg painting? Not many of the folks at the June installment of the Miami Art Museum's (101 W. Flagler St., Miami; 305-375-3000) monthly happy hour, Jam at MAM. On that humid and uncomfortably sticky Thursday evening, the younger half of the crowd seemed to be more interested in mingling than examining, for example, how Doug Aitken's Sleepwalkers video is a reflection of society today.

On the open terrace and in the lobby, bohemians and professionals alike mobbed the donation bar and hors d'oeuvres boys. With a corporate cosmo (the special cocktail of the event) in one hand and a burger or corncob in the other, revelers made their networking rounds throughout the well-attended soiree.

Inside, a video installation by Raymond Pettibon (of Black Flag album art fame) played. I wish I could have watched and listened to Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, but the roar of good times in the lobby made it impossible to hear. Instead I wandered among the large oil paintings and sculptures. The most striking display was of six double-sided light boxes placed in front of 30 framed mirrors. Close-up photos of fire adorned the fronts of the boxes, while images of war victims in Bosnia, meant to be seen as reflections in the mirrors, haunted the back sides. But the installation drew few visitors when I was there, most likely because it was happy hour, certainly not the time for the depressing thoughts the piece might have conjured.

On the terrace the DJ spun just about every genre, from indie and hip-hop to reggae and retro. As the Clash's "Rock the Casbah" played, a man approached me and said, "I love this band. I'm going to see the reunion." He licked his orange popsicle, completely unaware he had confused Joe Strummer for Sting -- immediate grounds for scorn. Nearby, a half-dozen blue-collars gone wild danced in a close line, all of them crotch-to-rear, as "Red Red Wine" began to play.

 
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