Best Museum Exhibit Miami 2014 - "Eve Sussman: Rufus Corporation"
Between the usual Art Basel madness and the gala opening of Pérez Art Museum Miami, the Magic City enjoyed more than its fair share of fantastic exhibits in 2013. Only one, however, featured Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage dressed in drag portraying a 17th-century German dwarf. That honor goes to Eve Sussman's "Rufus Corporation," a blockbuster at the Bass Museum that not only reaffirmed Sussman as one of the most important contemporary artists working today but also marked the museum's growing profile on the local scene. The stellar exhibit boasted a series of films, photos, installations, and videos, including the star turn by Dinklage. Sussman cast him in her 89 Seconds at Alcázar, a 12-minute film that garnered international attention when it debuted at the 2004 Whitney Biennial. Dinklage took the part — as Mari Barbola, a German dwarf made famous in Diego Velázquez's enigmatic opus Las Meninas, a scene from the Spanish court of King Philip IV in 1656 — before he catapulted to Hollywood fame. The movie re-envisioned what transpired among the Spanish royal family, their servants, a dog, and the painter at their summer palace more than 350 years ago, transporting Bass visitors to an opulent age. But for all of Dinklage's star power, the show stealer was Sussman's feature-length video-musical The Rape of the Sabine Women, which reinterpreted the founding of Rome in an unforgettable way. Originally shot for the big screen, the 80-minute movie was transformed by Sussman into a five-part installation that turned spectators into actors in an epic production. Sussman presented the haunting imagery shot in the Mediterranean with modern actors on 30 screens, including sprawling wall projections; a stand-alone, house-like construction near the rear of the museum; several postcard-size video monitors; and a massive installation of TV sets piled randomly on the floor, reminiscent of a technological junkyard.