Brain Bowl

Tuesday night: I was drinking white wine in a white-walled art gallery and

standing over a plastic bowl containing crumbled sheep brains. "So," I said,

turning to the woman next to me, a tall, fresh-faced woman named Saskia

Jorda. "How many brains have you washed?"

She paused. "Three," she replied, then added helpfully, "I'm going to wash two more on Saturday."

I nodded thoughtfully and considered asking if the brains felt squishy between her fingers, a very un-artistic question. But before I could ask, Jorda explained in great detail how, as the grey matter crumbles in her hands, it makes a statement about everything from "washing out" human perceptions to the

Venezuelan political scene to the American media. Jorda is one of the legions of New York artists that have descended on our fair city during this Art Basel week. Instead of hyper-real photographs or jumbled collages or intricate oil paintings, Jorda brainwashes. Literally. She takes an animal's brain (this week it's a sheep), submerges it in a bucket of water, and scrubs it with orange dish soap, a toothbrush and her fingers.

I asked her how she felt after she washed her first brain, (a cow, freshly killed, in Mexico).

"Very intense," she said. "I cried afterwards."

Jorda will wash two more brains Saturday at the Hardcore Art Gallery (3326 N. Miami Ave.) on Saturday night, around 9 p.m. "I'm thinking about doing something with a heart next," Jorda added.

Tamara Lush

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Chuck Strouse is the former editor in chief of Miami New Times. He has shared two Pulitzer Prizes and won dozens of other awards. He is an honors graduate of Brown University and has worked at newspapers including the Miami Herald and Los Angeles Times.
Contact: Chuck Strouse

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