Wynwood Art Walk: Clandestine Culture Takes Center Stage

This past January, Gregg Shienbaum approached a man wearing a hoodie, goggles, and a scarf over his mouth outside his Wynwood art gallery, which was then under construction. The guy was wheat-pasting a poster onto a light pole. "At first he thought I was a cop and froze up on me," Shienbaum says. "I gave him my business card and told him I was interested in showing his work and to visit my gallery."

At first the street artist, who operates under the name Clandestine Culture, was reluctant. He said he preferred the democratic nature of a concrete canvas to the traditional white-box space of a commercial gallery.

The artist might be familiar to many Second Saturday art crawlers. His latex-paint-on-paper posters depict police officers in riot gear or strangers he surreptitiously photographs and then paints. They appear everywhere in the neighborhood with the words Clandestine Culture printed across the bottom.

Former street artist Clandestine Culture is poised to break out big with his images.
Poska
Former street artist Clandestine Culture is poised to break out big with his images.

But the dealer eventually persuaded the urban talent to join his stable. Some of his latex-on-translucent-paper paintings will be on display at Gregg Shienbaum Fine Art (2239 NW Second Ave.) beginning at 6 p.m. this Saturday for the May edition of the Wynwood Art Walk. There will be a solo show this October.

"I just sold his first piece in a gallery to a French collector last week who fell in love with one of Clandestine Culture's images of a cop wearing a gas mask," says Shienbaum, who opened his spot in March. "It went for $2,000. Nobody knows him yet outside of Miami, but I think his work has a strong social message people really respond to and is going to take off."

Clandestine Culture's attention-grabbing pieces will be on view in a group offering that includes Russell Young's image of a sobbing Marilyn Monroe, Sarah Hardacre's scintillating nudes inspired by vintage men's magazines juxtaposed against the phallic outlines of modern concrete skylines, and Magnus Gjoen's turgid bazookas, human skulls, and artillery glossed over with Renaissance masterpieces by Titian, Michelangelo, and Tiepolo.

"I've only been open for two months but have been doing really well with these artists," Shienbaum says. "A lot of new young collectors are coming in who are very interested in the urban art movement with a strong political message." (Gregg Shienbaum Fine Art also showcases a mix of pop art masters such as Warhol, Lichtenstein, Johns, and Rauschenberg along with urban street art by names such as Ron English and Shepard Fairey.) Call 305-205-9089 or visit gsfineart.com.

Other shows you shouldn't miss this weekend: Dimensions Variable (3850 NE Miami Ct.) is presenting "AABBCCDV," by American-born, Berlin-based Erik Smith, whose project explores the shifting nature of urban landscapes in a near-anthropological fashion.

Last year Smith employed a shovel to excavate a section of the former "death zone" of the Berlin Wall. He unearthed a large spiral staircase and presented it as a sculpture.

Smith, who has been in Miami on an artist's residency, continues his investigation of cities in transition by focusing on the demolition of Dimension Variable's former Design District space, which is being torn down for a new development. "Our building also used to house Locust Projects, the Spinello Gallery, and other artists' studios and exhibition spaces," says Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova, an artist and one of DV's founders.

"For his project, Erik strategically placed microphones inside the building to record the sounds of the backhoes razing it to the ground," Rodriguez-Casanova explains. "He also salvaged artworks left behind by former resident artists. He has torn them apart, painted them over, and repurposed them for the exhibit."

One of the artworks Smith is using is a piece that was commissioned by the Miami Art Museum from Rodriguez-Casanova for a group show. "It was an iron-gate wall that was too large for me to carry around anymore, so I left it. I called MAM to see if they wanted it, but they told me no since it was site-specific."

MAM is preparing to move to its new home on the bay, so the discarded gate is an apt reminder of our art scene's rampant evolution.

Smith, who is also creating a limited-edition soundtrack of the site's destruction, hopes to convey a sense of the radical transformation the area has undergone over the past decade. The process is as much "about speculative growth and renewal as it is negation and fragmentation," he says. Call 305-607-5527 or visit dimensionsvariable.net.

At the recently relocated Locust Projects (3852 N. Miami Ave.) New York-based artists are the focus of two intriguing exhibits.

Meredyth Sparks is presenting "So I Will Let It Alone and Talk About the House," which includes her first-ever video animation, as well as her largest installation to date. Sparks employs a concept she calls "extraction," dicing up imagery culled from musical subcultures, art history, labor, and gender to create works oscillating between the minimal and the decorative.

At the gallery's entrance, she has used string to fashion a structure under which visitors can walk on their way to the main space, which houses a suite of collage works. There is also a multipaneled labyrinth including video animation of fluttering hummingbirds, reflecting the circulation of imagery in contemporary culture. That piece draws the spectator into a space for an assault on the senses.

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1 comments
Lucyderojas
Lucyderojas

Hello Miami New Times ,

I love your blog and often read it on my breaks. Today, though I have something that might be interesting to include in one of your posts. Please read on.

What is Don Qui Olympics?Don Qui Olympics is series of graffiti images related to upcoming London Olympic Games. They showcase all things British, challenge political system and are visually entertaining.

What does the theme mean?The artworks combine Olympic sport events with everyday objects, people and their habits, animals and historical events that shaped Great Britain. There are, though few exception where the work symbolises her childhood sporting heroes from Czechoslovakia like Martina Navratilova, Emil Zátopek and Vera Caslavska.

How was the work made?In the beginning there were two sides. One had all Olympic sports. The other side had British people, animals, things and historical events. Then the connections were gradually worked out between individual sides. These connections were sometimes well fitting visually and on few occasions there is deeper if not hidden meaning. At the moment there are 28 sports portrayed. They are all created in Photoshop using my personal photo library and lasso tool.

Where can I view the artwork?The images are shown on website www.donquiolympics.com and also on www.facebook.com/donquiolympic... and there will be an e-book coming out in June 2012 in English, Czech, Spanish and Portuguese.

What does Don Qui mean?The name originates from Spanish classic character Don Quixote, which was given to our cat and then used it to name my graphic design company Don Qui Design Associates. The cat himself can be seen on one of the Olympic events, Athletics – Steeplechase: http://www.donquiolympics.com/... the white cat on the right.

About the author – Lucy de RojasGrew up in communist Czechoslovakia in Děčín, where she spent most of teenage and young adult life rock climbing, mountain biking and cross country running in charming area of Europe’s largest sandstone canyon. Trained as chemical engineer in Czech Republic, then got her university degree in graphic design in High Wycombe Bucks University. Now works as free-lance graphic designer in London and also is a sports photographer as hobby. Married with 3 children.

thank youwith kind regardsLucy de Rojas

 
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