Can an artist exist without an audience? Was Picasso, who often painted furiously until 3 a.m. and eventually died of a heart attack, content believing that the purpose of his existence was a painting hanging on a museum wall? We'll never know. Just like we have no idea why the other 26 artists featured in Charest-Weinberg Gallery
's "Why Were You Born?" exist.
The exhibit includes the highly recognizable -- Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Walt Disney -- beside other luminaries like influential Cuban artist Wilfredo Lam, Chilean surrealist painter Roberto Matta, and the photographer whose exploration of homosexual eroticism was at the center of censorship controversies in the late 20th century, Robert Mapplethorpe.
Their work joins that of local and international artists from different time periods that vary in degree of fame and notoriety: Pedro Barbeito, Bhakti Baxter, Janusz Orbitowski, Kara Walker, Ouattara Watts, Purvis Young, and many others.
"You typically don't find a Renoir next to a contemporary artist," says
gallery owner Eric Charest-Weinberg. "The idea was to create a
conversation that was relevant to a time that once was and a new
generation of artists...to bridge different time periods together."
The exhibit shows works from generations of creators who found varying
levels of success. The one thing that never changes, though, is the
artists' search for meaning. Why were they born? Probably for the same
reason we were, and we have no idea what that is either.
Philosophize with the famous and obscure this Saturday at "Why Were
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You Born?," on display through October 6 at Charest-Weinberg (250 NW
23rd St., Miami). Admission is free. The gallery is open Tuesday through
Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 305-292-0411 or visit