Recently, one of Miami's cultural nerve centers, the Miami Art Museum in downtown Miami, closed its doors for the last time and was officially put to bed and laid to rest. But fear not - the museum will open a new set of doors in its reincarnated form as the Pérez Art Museum Miami at Museum Park near the very beginning of the MacArthur Causeway come December. And for those who've set themselves up as friends of the museum by lining its coffers, PAMM will host its first event: a fundraiser at the Standard.
This Thursday, the Pérez Art Museum Miami and the Standard will be hosting an evening with the multimedia performance duo Los Jaichackers, whose bodies of combined work span from New York to Phoenix, from Mexico City to LA. This will be the second collaboration between PAMM and the duo of Eamon Ore-Giron and Julio Cesar Morales, and will be a precursor for their performance during the Museum's opening weekend in the midst of Art Basel in December.
"It's our first event as the Pérez Art Museum Miami as we prepare to move to our new space in Museum Park that will open in December," explained Tracy Belcher, director of marketing and communications for PAMM.
"The Contemporaries is our young patrons group," she continued. "They do all kinds of art crawls, they have some social events, they have an Art Fair Survival party. They do a lot of really fun, energetic events and this is one of their most anticipated annual events. It's called the Friendraiser, and it's specifically a party for new members. Anybody who joins the contemporaries between May 1st and the event gets to come, and any existing members who refer a friend can also come."
This particular Friendraiser is taking place at the Standard on the Venetian Causeway near Purdy Avenue and South Beach. And in case you were wondering what one of those lovely Contemporaries memberships will cost you -- the membership that gets you into the party, as well as the museum for free for 12 months -- the price tag is a $200 donation to the Pérez Art Museum.
Los Jaichackers have decided to call the evening "Night Shade," a reference to shade fruit, the phrase used to describe both plant life that was seen as dangerous or evil in ages past, as well as narcotics like cocaine in more recent times. The idea with the latter being that the drugs find their way into the hands of the dealers and into the streets at night, much like a night blooming fruit.
"Los Jaichackers will also be collecting sound and video for their performance in December at the opening of the Pérez Art Museum," Belcher noted. "We've been working with them throughout the year to put together an all out amazing event come December and this is part of the build up."
Diana Nawi, who is curating this event for the museum and who's been working with Los Jaichackers to make these events come together, hopes that this will be an enjoyable, laid back kind of night.
"This is sort of a preview of what December holds," Nawi began. "We thought it would be great for them to do something more low-key with some DJ sets mixed in with some video. This event is very much a party, while the December opening will certainly be much more of an elaborate evening."
"The work that they're doing is very relevant to what we're thinking of at the Museum," Nawi went on, "which is largely focusing on how culture is translated back and forth and transmuted. They're very poppy and they're very intellectual and I think they just set the perfect tone for this event."
The Los Jaichackers duo is not an easy one to categorize simply. They don't fall squarely in any one particular niche because their passions bleed from one medium of study into another -- co-mingling sampled video editing with cumbia-based beats, or putting together personally impacting cultural installations and complementing them with lectures by professors of Latino American history.
For most of their shows as Los Jaichackers, Ore-Giron makes the music, while Morales works on the visuals -- but they both work in all areas of the productions and always cross pollinate one another's ideas.
"My musical practice," said Ore-Giron, "is under DJ Lengua. I use a lot of archived and old Latin American music that I've remixed and do a lot of production with."
The music Ore-Giron and Morales work with tends to sit outside the mainstream of today's Latin American music, genres and artists Giron described as having been "buried under years of bad Latin pop music." Their material is incredibly diverse, ranging from "cumbia from Mexico City, mambo, electro rock, lost albums of Pérez Prado, Peruvian disco, Argentinian disco, refrito music from the border, soul and funk from Tex Mex bands, and just all the oddities, the rarities."
To Los Jaichackers, the idea that nothing is sacred is central to the work they do. Music shouldn't be static, hermetically sealed so as to keep it from evolving or mutating or growing into something new and different and wild. Their greatest interest, musically speaking, is in the evolution and mutation of music that comes about as a result of rewriting a certain style's DNA when it is recoded and mixed with the genetics of some wholly other type of music.
"Nowadays," Morales noted, "you can mix Aztec instrumentation with trashy European techno jams and it's fucking insane. That's what we're really interested in, that clashing of cultures and the hybridization that it produces."
Los Jaichackers are in many ways an experimental group, working with multimedia concept projects that could easily strike many as unappealing or be misunderstood. Simply put - they are not what one might rubber stamp as a safe bet for a roomful of warm hearted applause. But they are fascinating and new and they are doing something distinctly their own, something that is unique and even daring.
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So for the Pérez Art Museum Miami to choose them not only for this event, but for the opening of what portends to become Miami's most important art museum during Art Basel, by far the most important art fair in the city and one of the most important in the world, shows that, if nothing else, they aren't trying to play anything safe. PAMM is aiming to make its first splashes with boldness and integrity rather than flash and cotton candy, something that tends to stand apart from the average opening party featuring Pitbull or the gala with Flo Rida headlining. Let's hope they keep the splashes weird and interesting once the doors open in December.
PAMM's Friendraiser will be at the Standard Spa and Hotel (40 Island Ave, Miami Beach) from 7 to 10 p.m. on Thursday, June 27. For more information, call (305) 375-1727