Tao Rey, one of the resident members of the art collective known as "the House," gathers his personal items from the chaos of what is soon to be an abandoned home. He stacks paintings made by his former housemates against a wall at the front door of the 1920s building that will become a historical footnote; an identifying locale that speaks to a certain period in the creative movement.
Around him are the remnants of a recent art installation, including cavelike dwellings made of foam. Ficus trees can be seen through kicked-in holes in the foyer walls. Bottles full of colored beads made by artist Julie Kahn stand in a neat row above the sink in the kitchen, looking like a memorial to dearly departed House artists Bhakti Baxter, Martin Oppel, Rey, and Daniel Arsham.
Luxury lofts are taking over, fueled by dreamscape ads of leggy models lounging by pools.
The House, at 2330 NE Fourth Ave., looks like a haggard Biscayne Boulevard prostitute in comparison to the lofts' gloss. Everything around it is gone, leaving the home of a thriving Miami art scene the final structure to be demolished.
"It's been a place where artists could do anything they want," says Rey, who moved in in 2000. "You didn't have to compromise."
As a final hurrah, the House will be opening "The Last Show," a one-day exhibit featuring the works of all artists and others who wish to contribute an object or offering that reflects the spirit of the art scene cultivated at the House. A tandem event, "Obituary," taking place at Placemaker Gallery (3852 N. Miami Ave.), will exhibit the works of House artists Rey, Hernan Bas, Naomi Fisher, David Rohn, Ashram, Tom Scicluna, Natalia Benedetti, and others.
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