The news that Miami artists FriendsWithYou, Jen Stark, Alvaro Ilizarbe, and others are relocating to Los Angeles has ignited a debate about whether Miami's art scene can or does support its artists financially. It's left many wondering whether more homegrown talent will follow them west.
It has also inspired debates about which South Florida creatives best represent the Magic City, with names like Jillian Mayer, Christy Gast, Naomi Fisher, Jim Drain, Beatrice Monteavaro, Adler Guerrier, Clifton Childree, Agustina Woodgate, the TM Sisters, Gean Moreno, and scores more tossed into the debate.
The list of Miami artists who've moved on to seek opportunities elsewhere is certainly growing. (See Daniel Arsham, Luis Gispert, Hernan Bas, and Bert Rodriguez, for example.) But so is the list of local talent that has helped elevate the 305's burgeoning art scene onto the international stage. Miami remains a hothouse for visual artists who are making an impact, with a new generation ready to break out and seize the chance to rep our city to the world.
Here is a list of up and coming names we believe could be the next big thing in art -- in Miami and beyond.
A screenshot from Viking Funeral's "Version (Godard)," 2011.
The collaborative duo create works ranging from video to art installations and art books, and can often be found at Churchill's Pub performing as a band. Bridging both the art and music worlds with their edgy, at times moody aesthetic, this pair is adept at battering the brain pan.
This painter transports viewers to an otherworldly place with his narrative, acid-toned canvases that often include a Fellini-esque cast of characters. Think scenes of refugees from a zombie flick lynching mermaids. Aguilar specializes in unsettling imagery as distinctly recognizable as it is grotesque.
Tatiana Vahan's "Untitled (Mondays)," 2008-2009
Ed. note: We've learned that Tatiana Vahan has, in fact, relocated to L.A., though she visits Miami regularly. Our apologies for the error.
She first caught our eye at a group show at the Spinello Gallery with a piece that included a collection of drivers' licenses she collected over a month at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Each day for thirty days, Vahan tweaked her appearance and waited hours in line to get a new ID card and the results Untitled (Mondays) made an indelible mark.
Zack Balber's "Joshua and Goose," 2011
When we first stumbled onto Balber's provocative photos, he was exhibiting portraits of hookers at the Spinello Gallery. He had arranged to split sales with their pimps after paying the streetwalkers $10 for a "date" to pose for him. Since then, he has been signed by the Fredric Snitzer Gallery, where his solo show "Tamim" featured brutish, tatted up, "Bear Jews" wearing Balber's yarmulke in a project the photographer says inspired a spiritual reawakening in him.
Justin Long and Robert Lorie
In addition to organizing events through Funner Projects and the Little River Yacht Club, this twisted duo's practice ranges across diverse media in works difficult to pigeonhole. Most recently Long and Lorie wowed audiences at the De La Cruz Collection with "Maintain Right," a performative installation during which the artists used scrap metal to fabricate a working crossbow and fired wooden staves at human-shaped targets while the ensuing mayhem delighted the crowd.
Loriel Beltran's "Getting the Green Light"
Beltran's process-oriented work often suggests the passage of time. Labor-intensive in nature, it often consists of multi-colored paint Beltran pours into large accumulations until dried. He then slices the paint scab into razor-thin sections before applying to canvas or plywood, creating works that resemble tree rings and oscillate between the natural and manmade. How labor-driven is his work? Suffice it to say Beltran even displayed a gallon of his own sweat at his last solo show.
caught our attention with her short film "Getting Rid of all My Shoes," which snagged her the top prize at Optic Nerve XII, MOCA's annual short video contest. (It was also snapped up by the museum for its permanent collection.) In it, the New World grad emptied her closet of all of her shoes and left them scattered throughout locations in Little Haiti and the Design District before walking away barefoot.
The End/SPRING BREAK, in a nutshell.
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When he's not organizing events as part of the nomadic art project The End/SPRING BREAK, the inscrutable 23 year-old creates work that leaves spectators scratching their heads. This past Basel, Castillo set up a makeshift karaoke bar at Dimensions Variable for a show he called "Duets." But unless you knew the artist personally, or were a guest of one of his friends, seeing his exhibit was impossible in what amounted to a coy commentary on the exclusivity of art fairs.