The cycle of gentrification can be harmful if not closely monitored. Gallery Diet's new outpost, far afield from the clamor of Wynwood, South Beach, and the Design District, marks the first foray into uncharted territory for the art world. A considerable schlep inland from Biscayne Boulevard, Nina Johnson's move from the gallery's first location on NW 23rd Street at Second Avenue marks a turning point for not only gallerists but also Miami's art scene at large.
During the past year, increasing numbers of artists and curators are being priced out of Wynwood in place of upscale boutiques, restaurants, condos, and juice bars. Little River, Allapattah, and Little Haiti are quickly becoming the low-rent havens for those fleeing real-estate inflation in once-overlooked neighborhoods.
Gallery Diet's new venue (6315 NW Second Ave., Miami) is a four-building setup located across the street from the only other artistic outpost on the block: & Gallery. Nestled amid convenience stores, motels, and gas stations, Gallery Diet is blazing a trail — pioneering efforts to bring new life to a neighborhood forgotten by the establishment.
Designed from a brutalist's perspective, the halls and exhibit space are hollowed-out, leaving the white walls and concrete floors bare. Borrowing from famed architect Claudio Silvestrin, the features have been reduced to their barest essentials before some decorative flourishes (a flower arrangement or colorful side table) were peppered in to soften the palette.
The stripped-out interior, with exposed beams and concrete, pairs perfectly with Nicolas Lobos' work on display, which deals with subjects such as urban decay and the chemical aspects of consumer objects. Outside, in the courtyard, Trees in Oolite marks the gallery's first installation of outdoor furniture and lighting. Set against the backdrop of Floridian greenery, the alfresco exhibition juxtaposes the interior decor with a tropical brutalism.
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During the opening, attendees were dazzled by performances and wowed by the shear size of the space. Easily dwarfing anything within the realm of affordability available in downtown or Wynwood, Diet Gallery chooses space and resources over proximity to the action.
Though off the beaten path, the new venue could serve as a space to transform the barren landscape into something much more vibrant and permanently alter the lives of the residents in the neighborhood.
Trees in Oolite
Through January 9, 2016, at Gallery Diet (6315 NW Second Ave., Miami). Visit gallerydiet.com.