Thanks to the gentrification of central Miami and the wacky ingenuity of local artists, the monthly Wynwood Gallery Walk has become a colorful addition to the otherwise formulaic local party scene. On the second Saturday of every month, those looking for stimulation in a place other than their pants can wander among the galleries around North Miami Avenue and NW 23rd Street like revelers at a hipster Mardi Gras celebration — sans the bare breasts. At this month's edition, energy swelled with every passing troupe of strollers armed with plastic cups of wine. Surely there was an acquaintance to be met on every corner. But with many donning similar variations of fauxhawks, thick-rimmed glasses, and train-hopper-chic duds, distinguishing friend from stranger felt like an exercise from Where's Waldo.
At Ingalls & Associates (125 NW 23rd St., Miami; 305-573-6263), artist Jane Hsu lurked about for her first Miami show, "And There Were Two: Diary of a Road Kill Eater," recounting the tale of a homosexual couple that drives around Florida and eats road kill. The exhibit comprised video footage of dirty, abandoned rooms and empty white roads, as well as large sketches of creatures covering the walls. Despite the showcase of creativity, the displayed artwork gathered only dismissive glances from visitors before they made a mad dash for the free booze.
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I asked Juan, a music student at New World School of the Arts, how many people he thought were there for art. "Like 20 percent," he replied. "The rest are here for wine." This seemed for the most part true; a steady flow of gallery-goers left as quickly as it arrived once drinks had run out. But that was of no concern to tattooed Jesus-look-alike Niko Romero. "I'm here for the art," he said with a shrug. Romero's experience was cut short when the lights began to flicker. It took a few moments before visitors got the hint: closing time. Outside, a friend shared the last few drops of his red wine with Juan before they headed off to nearby nightclub Circa28.