Just a few months after from lampooning a naked and silver-spackled Kim Kardashian for our Basel cover, Bert Rodriguez is ready to join the queen of reality TV on the silver screen. The artist is the subject of Making Sh*t Up, a feature documentary film by the Miami-based contemporary art filmmakers Wet Heat Project, who have followed the artist's career the past three years.
The movie captures pivotal moments in Rodriguez's rise on the national and international art market and is making its world premiere March 9 at the Tower Theater in Little Havana. It's an official selection of the Miami International Film Festival and will be spooled just a few blocks from where the homegrown talent once lived as a kid.
Jaie Laplante, the festival's new director says the decision to premiere the movie was based on celebrating our thriving cultural scene. "Miami has an incredible art scene, and in Wet Heat Project's fascinating portrait of one of our city's most intriguing figures, Bert Rodriguez, we found the perfect film to celebrate this vibrant aspect of Miami's culture."
Filmmakers Bill Bilowit and Grela Orihuela tailed Rodriguez from solo shows in Miami, Los Angeles, and New York to the numerous art fairs he's participated in to the studio to watch the artist creating work.
The action moves from the artist's Whitney Biennial installation in which he gave strangers art therapy sessions inside a white cube to interviews with art world honchos providing commentary on Rodriguez's conceptual oeuvre, to the corner on Biscayne Boulevard where the artist suffered a brutal head injury after becoming the victim of a hit-and-run.
Some of the art world figures Wet Heat interviewed include artists Marina Abramovic and Vito Acconci and New York Magazine art critic, Jerry Saltz.
During one scene, in which he is preparing for the Whitney, Rodriguez muses that there is no separation between his daily routine and what he creates "that people end up calling art." Rodriguez observes that if "art didn't exist, I would probably be doing something like this and figuring out a way to share it with other people. And I'd probably fucking look crazy and be homeless." He considers himself fortunate that the art industry supports "that sort of behavior."
Bilowit says "the forces behind Bert's work come from a need to prove something to himself. As though if he doesn't constantly up his ante of quality and relevance he'll suddenly become a poser, resting on his laurels, the kind of guy he'd want to punch out at a party."
See Making Sh*t Up on March 9 at the Tower Theater (1508 SW Eighth St., Miami). Visit miamifilmfestival.com.
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