Agustina Woodgate Shines at Art Basel Miami Beach 2012

About fucking time!

That's what we have to say about Art Basel Miami Beach's organizers finally inviting Spinello Projects to exhibit at the big show. Last year, we got into an argument at the Miami Beach Convention Center with another Miami gallery owner when we told him Art Basel was bullsh*t for excluding local galleries.

He retorted back saying he didn't think there were any good Miami galleries. We rattled off names including Spinello Projects (and Primary Projects, Locust Projects, Dorsch Gallery, and a few others) and quickly shut him up.

So we almost feel vindicated after a gallery we championed finally made it through.

And for Spinello's Basel debut, gallerist Anthony Spinello chose wisely in exhibiting his quickly rising star Agustina Woodgate. Located in the Art Positions area of the fair, Woodgate's solo exhibition, "New Landscapes," can seem a bit unassuming at first, but at closer inspection you're mesmerized by the multi-colored dust that Woodgate scrapped off of an atlas, map, and globe.

Are you nervous? we asked Woodgate when we met up with her at last night's Art Basel vernissage.

"Not anymore."

Woodgate quickly grabbed us by the hand and gave us a personal tour of her work. The small booth is filled with seven pieces. The atlas has been scrubbed clean of any images. All we could notice were the deep red lines that at one point probably let the viewer know about a major roadway or boundary.

"It took me over four months, seven days a week, seven hours a day," she explains. "I cried."

Woodgate describes the process as therapeutic and meditative.

"There is only so much music I can listen to."

The dust collected from the atlas produced two pieces. One piece features all the scrapped colors layered in a rectangle. Staring at it feels hypnotic. It almost feels like the world has come together in unity.

But it's the second piece we felt more strongly about. As Woodgate scrapped the colors off the atlas with sandpaper, dust collected around the book. When finished and picked up the book, the negative space was framed by gray dust all around it.

The whole process reminded us of Woodgate's piece If These Walls Could Talk, which was a site-specific creation at a school where she scrapped the drywall and placed it along the bottom of a chalkboard.

But "New Landscapes" seems to provide insight into Woodgate's mindset today, a woman who seems full of wanderlust (she and Spinello have been traveling a bit outside of Miami lately), and will surely visit new cities after her Basel exposure. But like she told art critic Carlos Suarez de Jesus, Miami is her home.

Before we departed, we asked Woodgate if she had already met with important people at Basel.

"Yes. A lot."

Have you sold anything yet?

"I don't know and I don't want to know. That's Anthony's job. Getting involved with that taints the process, because I don't do it for the money."

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Jose D. Duran is the associate editor of Miami New Times. He's the strategist behind the publication's eyebrow-raising Facebook and Twitter feeds. He has also been reporting on Miami's cultural scene since 2006. He has a BS in journalism and will live in Miami as long as climate change permits.
Contact: Jose D. Duran