Walking down Lincoln Road not too long ago, I overheard a snooty conversation about art. A man and a woman carrying shopping bags stood in front of a gallery with their heads titled to the side, like a couple of trendy philosophers.
“Installations,” the woman said through her nose. “These are the hottest thing in art right now.”
I’ll bet you my tiny New Times paycheck they weren’t from Miami. Take Saturday night’s Wynwood art walk for proof. The walk was a chance to see everything from mixed media crochet to abstract video shorts. But one thing - thank God - was missing: artsy pretentiousness.
No name dropping. No noses in the air. In the small, overlooked Miami art scene, there seems to be more comradery than competition. The whole thing was much less hoity-toity than I expected.
Which brings me to Jo Jo Corvaia’s “The Human Factor,” showing through June 10 at In-Dependant on Northwest 22nd Street. The Venezuelan artist has a simple, straight forward concept.
Three of the gallery walls are filled with portraits of people with different ages, nationalities, races and religions. The photos are all taken using the same pose and lighting - just a clean shot of the face and his or her bare shoulders.
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Next to the photos, Corvaia hung a sheet of questions person had answered. The questions, meant to be vague and universal, are along the lines of, “What is happiness?” and “What’s your statement of belief?”
There’s something really personal about reading the responses - in each person’s own distinct handwriting - and then looking right into a close-up of his or her face. A middle-aged Jamaican woman wrote happiness is “a full belly.” A man next to her scribbled happiness is “distraction.”
The exhibit sparked a lot of good conversation, at least on Saturday. It’s worth checking out.