Dirt. God created man from it. We grow our food in it. And it's where all of us go to rest in the end.
For Broward artist, curator and writer Onajide Shabaka, the primordial substance is also the inspiration for "DIRT Yuta Suelo Udongo Tè," a new exhibit opening in Miami's Design District during this weekend's Second Saturday Art Walk beginning at 6 p.m.
Our other picks for this sweltering Art Walk include a cavalcade of Argentine shutterbugs, a Venezuelan's street junk turned to treasure, an exploration of old-fangled photography methods and the harmony between art and music. Here are five exhibits raising a din this weekend.
DIRT Yuta Suelo Udongo Tè
This "Dirt"-inspired exhibit boasts works by a dozen artists who explore different takes on the subject matter: our obsession with cleanliness, cycles of destruction and creation, the fleeting nature of time and memory, the sediment of human existence, and our relationship with the environment. The exhibit includes sculpture, photography, paintings, drawings, mixed media works, and even a delicate piece of Raku pottery.
A photographic self-portrait of Miami's David Rohn depicts the bare-chested artist wearing a matted wig and with his torso and mug slathered in mud while staring at the viewer with a look of utter boredom. In the rib-tickling picture, Rohn skewers our obsession with cleanliness subversively while seeming to suggest that at its root, the business of art itself can also be dirty.
Kim Nicolini's series of haunting photos depict the suburban squalor of Tucson -- the city she lives in. Her pictures of "dirty yards" absent of grass, people, and animals are shot after dusk and lighted from windows in homes, amping up a sense of desolation and eeriness.
Spear Building, 3815 NE Miami Court, Miami. Call 954-270-7404 or visit miamidesigndistrict.net.
Argentine Photography Show
The last time we saw Santiago Porter's provocative pictures of public buildings in Buenos Aires, they featured the eerie sites where Argentine society was submitted to unspeakable political violence behind elegant classical architectural facades that left a lasting impression. Now his arresting work returns to Pan American Art Projects in a group show boasting five other Argentine shutterbugs.
This time Porter plans to get your cranial gearbox churning with fresh images of the shaky financial institutions representing the economic implosion of his country, while Gian Paolo Minelli weighs in with his own stark views of an empty penitentiary implying the stories of people that pass through there including the crooked business types who profited from the crisis.
Pan American Art Projects, 2450 NW 2nd Ave, Miami. 305-573-2400 panamericanart.com.
Stairway to Heaven
In a rare summer solo show, Venezuela's Pepe Lopez transforms Dot Fiftyone into a playground for his conceptual musings. His aesthetic romper room includes a series of tapestry pieces he created from sundry tape strips and his Rhipsalis sculptures crafted from broken umbrellas collected in the streets of Caracas. The works combine to offer a nuanced view into the practice of the artist who displays an intriguing knack for transforming trash into treasure.
Dot Fiftyone Gallery, 187 NW 27th St., Miami. Call 305-573-9994 or visit dotfiftyone.com.
Historic Process/Contemporary Visions
This group offering features close to a dozen artists who employ throwback methods to create uncanny imagery. You'll encounter early 19th Century techniques such as daguerrotype, wet plate collodion, cyanotypes, platinum prints and photogravures. Favoring the hand-made over the digital, participant talent offer a compelling look into how contemporary artists are rediscovering and using historic methods to make photographs while also applying current technology to reinvent the old-fangled.
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French art dealer and curator Lelia Mordoch hopes to hit a high note with a modest group show at her Wynwood outpost featuring four artists riffing on the interdependence between the visual arts and music. Alain Le Boucher's sculptures harness science in the service of art, replacing sound with light while Emmanuel Fillot pipes in with his trademark stone poems he calls musical maps of silent spaces.