Catastrophic Kitsch

"Cathartic" makes tragedy trite at Abba Fine Art

She explains she wasn't but that a brother-in-law, who is a firefighter, assisted in the post-9/11 recovery efforts. She also informs that while studying at New York's Pratt Institute, she worked as a temp, often at stock brokerage firms inside the World Trade Center.

Given that information, one is mystified by the macabre nature of another installation, where visitors can offer prayers for civilian victims of 9/11. In it one of her older abstract oil-on-canvas triptychs doubles as "Heaven's gate" and brackets an antique chair on which sit a rosary and a small book titled The Great Love Feast in Heaven. A huge gold crucifix and symbols of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity pepper the wall behind the chair as an entreaty for people of all faiths to unite peacefully. Her religious icons are festooned in a black shroud. Running across the length of the wall, above the heavy-handed display, the faces of the nearly 3000 victims of the attack peer down at the viewer.

Holt ratchets up the creep factor with a nearby "memory table," on which she has gathered photos of 9/11 victims culled from the Internet and placed them in standing picture frames, as if mourning deceased relatives. Her morbid arrangement is decorated with seashells, sand dollars, animal figurines, porcelain roses, and silver crucifix candelabra.

September 11, 2001, served up with extra cheese
September 11, 2001, served up with extra cheese


Opens Saturday, September 8, at 7:00 p.m., with a performance of The Cleansing by Jasmine Kastel at 9:45. Through October 31. Abba Fine Art, 233 NW 36th St, Miami; 305-576-4278,

Riffing on renewal, the new section of Holt's cockeyed opus concentrates on manipulated digital imagery. Some of these works depict praying virgins or flowers floating behind waterfalls. One features the sword-pierced Sacred Heart in a nest of white roses; a halo of fire surrounds the garish image.

As a potential crowd magnet for Holt's resurrection, local artist Jasmine Kastel will appear for a one-time opening-night performance this Saturday. She will push a bucket on her hands and knees in the gallery space during The Cleansing. In the piece, Kastel says, she will mop the floor with her hair in an act symbolic of purging and beginning anew. Let's hope she can entice Holt to find salvation.

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