Mostly the words are illegible, and pop up by chance. The gutted books are a jarring reminder that in the age of the Internet, the printed word might soon suffer the same fate as the dinosaur. We'll all end up crushed by ignorance instead.
Brian Burkhardt snares spectators with four frozen spider webs that are gorgeous and embalmed in pristine white oval frames. His manhole cover-size webs are hand-braided with delicate strands of silk string and silicone gel. They convey a sense of the greenhouse effect on the Amazon.
María José Arjona's What Is Performance Art?: We're pretty sure it's this.
"Littlest Sister 07": Through January 5. Spinello Gallery, 2294 NW 2nd Ave, Miami; 786-271-4223, www.spinellogallery.com.
"Particulars": Through December 22. Gallery Diet, 174 NW 23rd St, Miami; 305-571-2288, www.gallerydiet.com.
Perhaps María José Arjona best conveys the spirit at work behind Johnson's vision for the Diet program with her heady show-stealer, What IsPerformance Art? (From the White Series). During the opening, Arjona, clad in a spacey white jumpsuit and harness, suspended herself from a wall at a spine-warping angle. A butterfly-shape stereo speaker was wedged in her mouth. As visitors took turns sitting in a white velour chair beneath her, she channeled phone messages from anonymous callers who offered notions about what performance art is.
"I became an amplifier for all of these voices, and people began to relate to me as an object," she explains.
In a video at the gallery, the Colombian artist appears like a weird human incubator, her closed eyelids trembling and her mouth drooling from exertion after the three-hour performance.
"I've been inspired lately by the theories of the French philosopher Deleuze," she says.
"'The Solar Anus'?" one asks incredulously.
Arjona's eyes flash brightly as she gushes, "I'm interested in the body without organs and the multiplicity of texts."