A placid Patricia Hernandez, a.k.a, Patti Her., starts with plastic wrap. She ties it around her eyes. She continues until her face is coated and her chest heaves in suffocation.
The uneasy, uncomfortable moments flash on a flat TV screen. On an adjacent screen, potent images flutter of land mines exploding, car jackers murdering and butchers sizing up meat.
"A lot of it stems from myself," says Patti, the artist and a 25 year old art student with gold hoop earrings that read, Die Slow. "A lot of my decisions are based on fear."
The work, Factor Miedo, or Fear Factor, is part of a series promoted by MTV Latin America to use art to display their research on youth culture. The exhibit opened Thursday night at the ArtCenter/South Florida, 800 Lincoln Road, on Miami Beach. A Miami curator gleaned the pieces from works proposed by college seniors at the New World School of the Arts based on network-fed topics such as fear, stress and branding.
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But the well-intentioned exhibition, running through April 9, can come off like a gimmicky public service announcement as in the case of the installation of a bathroom stall with a huge stuffed sperm and gigantic torn Trojan. Under the works are preachy-feeling explanations in Spanish about what research showed that distract and detour from the art itself.
The company should lay off the thought molding -- at least directly under the works -- and let the art connect to its observers. Trust the works to reflect their conclusions. Many are powerful enough.
-- Janine Zeitlin