Island Tease

A shapeshifting artist's first major U.S. survey lands in Miami.

She dispels the "hot-blooded" stereotypes of her island neighbors via photographs of frozen clothes and comments on the Dominican Republic's love affair with baseball, using collages on newsprint featuring disembodied and sexualized ball players in daisy chains.

In her series Jugando con la Adversidad (Playing with Adversity, 2001), Henríquez transmutes a badminton shuttlecock into a pincushion and fashions balls into hats, handbags, and belts.

She comments on the chaos and absurdity of donkeys and cars vying for supremacy on Santo Domingo's streets by creating a vinyl mural in which animal and machine mutate. An image of an ass pooping compact cars suggests that during rush hour, the four-wheeled beast holds sway.

One of Quisqueya Henríquez's collages: Take me out to the maul game.
Courtesy David Castillo Gallery
One of Quisqueya Henríquez's collages: Take me out to the maul game.

Details

"The World Outside, A Survey Exhibition 1991-2007": Through July 20. Miami Art Museum, 101 W. Flagler St., Miami; 305-375-3000, www.miamiartmuseum.com

Color photos of ramshackle public spaces, crumbling monuments, graffiti, and derelict fountains drive home the point that for many Dominicans, life is not all fun in the sun.

A work that spectators can take home if they purchase the exhibition catalogue is Brand New Shit.

It's a piece of gift-wrapping paper folded around the catalogue, which Henríquez designed with octagonal shapes bursting with images of the world's garbage marooned on the beaches of the Dominican Republic.

She originally conceived of the wrappers as a participatory project, inviting local storeowners to use her designs to package customers' purchases.

One can't help but wonder how many of these ended up in clueless tourists' hands.

For the show's opening, Henríquez even served patrons dollops of a visually appealing turquoise treat that turned out to be salty rather than sweet. For those able to digest it, Helado de Agua de Mar Caribe (Caribbean Seawater Ice Cream) was a reminder that some things are rarely what they seem.

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