Art Basel Miami Beach is around the corner, the satellite art fair tents are going up in Midtown, and the III Points Festival, celebrating music, art and technology, is set to rock Wynwood this weekend.
That means many of the local spaces are trotting out some of their best shows of the year while new upstarts are planting their flags on the Second Saturday scene, hoping they can draw crowds and collector's checkbooks as the season shifts into high gear.
At the Mindy Solomon Gallery, two brothers from Guadalajara open the portals to the looming Basel lunacy with a wildly original display featuring hallucinogenic imagery while the Magic City's own MSG graffiti crew inaugurates the fresh squeezed Vice Gallery and globetrotting art purveyor Art Bastion sets up shop in the hopping nabe.
Beginning at 6 p.m. on Saturday, you can savor a glut of offerings that will leave even the most jaded art aficionado sated starting with our top five picks to savor this weekend.
See also: III Points 2014's Activation Schedule
The work of Einar and Jamex, AKA the de la Torre Brothers who hail from Guadalajara, Mexico and are based in California, teeters from the sublime to the mind blowing and is freighted with ironic and side-splitting iconography. The infamous siblings typically hijack pre-Hispanic and Catholic motifs in their surreal assemblages to great effect and are presenting a garishly colorful collection of glass sculptures, lenticular prints and Led lightboxes at the Mindy Solomon Gallery that are among some of the more original and attention-grabbing works you'll discover in Wynwood this weekend.
You can't overstate the influence the homegrown MSG Crew has had on the 305's graffiti scene the past two decades. You can travel from Wynwood and Homestead to Little Havana and Opa Locka and see why their handiwork has earned them institutional icon status by the likes of HistoryMiami. Now the notorious Big Mango bombers are shedding the confines of the street for the cubed-cheese and white wine veneer of a white box space to remind one and all that, despite their urban roots, they have evolved into fine artists. Boasting recognizable names such as Abstrk, Atomik, Crome, Quake, Hest, and Hox, among others, MSG is popping the champagne cork at the new Vice Gallery which has been co-founded by George Aguilar and John J. Hanson to elevate local urban and street art to an international platform.
You can't chirp about being a cultural citadel without a sanctuary to crow from. But that's all about to change for self-styled international art collector and curator Sebastiano Varoli, who's hung a shingle in Wynwood and plans to shake up South Florida's booming art scene by offering "multi-sensory experiences incorporating the art of sound, taste, touch and smell," according to a PR handout. "While Art Bastion boasts strong artistic ties to Paris and New York, we chose to launch our first physical gallery space in Miami's epicenter of art, fashion, design and food," gushes Varoli who specializes in art consultation for buyers and sellers, managing collections and organizing "pop-up" exhibitions. Varoli, who launched his brand two years ago, is dipping his toe in the tropics with the works of Cuban-American painter Renelio Marin who also shares the art broker's flair for drama. "I strive to elevate myself above and beyond the constrictions of my upbringing and break apart the limitations of the social cell I was tossed in at birth. Thus, I consider myself a modern artist in ethos and pathos, somebody who doesn't belong to any social class or any political typecasting." This exhibit merits a visit alone if only to hear the duo's chatty banter.
This visually striking show by James McNabb, a Philadelphia-based artist, delivers a timely reminder that Wynwood is in the midst of a tectonic expansion. With plans for a slew of condos and parking garages as well as rumors of hotels moving into the artsy district, McNabb's elegant wood constructions deliver a fresh take on booming urban areas. McNabb blends traditional woodworking technique with experimental mark making and calls his process "sketching with a bandsaw." The resulting abstracted architectural compositions reflect unbridled gentrification transforming the neighborhood.
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Lisa C. Soto's solo (My Storm), at the Tub Gallery employs an arsenal of media to explore themes of strength and fragility with equal nods to chaos and order. In her installations and mixed media works Soto uses elements as disparate as tangled nylon line and fishing hooks, shattered mirrors soaked in salt water and the detritus of her surroundings to convey notions of uncertainty and the fear of threatening circumstances beyond one's control and was inspired by a Fountainhead artist's residency in Little Haiti this spring. "Next door to the Fountainhead studios lies the remains of a drug den razed to the ground by the FBI in November 2013," Soto explains. "As I searched through the rubble, the idea began to develop. I collected the scattered, empty crack bags, barbed wire, seeds from the trees and the rubble itself as a starting point. Reflecting on the chaos of drug addicts, their desperation and emotional range, the atmosphere of this environment, and the conflict of the illegality of these interactions, resulted in the concept of a storm," Soto adds.