For the past several days, Antonio Manfredi, the director of the Casoria Contemporary Art Museum near Naples, Italy,has been burning artworks
to protest the lack of government funds for his institution.
That's just uncivilized. Rather than setting any more paintings aflame, what the cash-addled Manfredi needs to do is crawl out of the basement of the public school housing his museum, torch some kush, and find a more enlightened way to seek financial help than ruining close to $10,000 worth of paintings.
Cultist invites Manfredi to get into the spirit of 4/20 and seek inspiration to create rather than destroy. He should follow the footsteps of Miami artists whose work alters perception while getting us to experience the joy of our surroundings.
Or, in layman's terms: Lighten up dude, spark up a bone and check out these 10 homegrown and visiting artists that will leave you buzzing peacefully and quell your inner firebug.
At the Fredric Snitzer Gallery Zhivago Duncan's MASCHINE is a Rube Goldberg-type of contraption -- essentially, a remote-controlled spray-painting machine. Titled "Futile," Duncan's solo evokes the struggle between man and technology while distancing the painter from the canvas and speaks to surrendering control. Is it art if it's created by a machine, even if that machine is created by man? Trippy stuff.
Sinisa Kukek's Head & Tail, on view at Spinello Projects, reminds us to beware the type of excess likely to cause you to lose your head. While once playing "quarters" with his buddies and knocking one too many back, Kukek ended the party by swallowing the coins on display and later fishing them out of his feces after they traveled through his entrails for the resulting artwork. On this day of stoner revelry, try to remember to
toke take it easy.
Robert Chamber's Ptolemaic Device bobbing in circles on a lake at the Florida International University south campus, courtesy of the Frost Art Museum, is a favorite of scholarly stoners sneaking a puff of brain cell-sharpening ganja between exams. Most days you can regale in a whiff of weed at FIU's gazebo, across from Chamber's dizzying spinning piece, where students congregate like every passing grade is a reason to celebrate 4/20.
Tina La Porta's A Hard Pill to Swallow at the Robert Fontaine Gallery shifts your view from the artist's own struggles with schizophrenia to draw attention to the growing abuse of prescription drugs in our society today.You'll feel a lot better about having gotten stoned the natural way when you're confronted with this gluttonous display of lab-produced meds.
Ted Vasin's Side Effect at 101 Exhibit in the Design District, part of the San Francisco-based artist's solo, "Poison Bliss," belongs to a suite of hallucinatory paintings inspired by psychotropic drugs. His wild, skull-searing canvases are remarkable for their transparencies and diffuse use of color. They oscillate from drug-induced reveries to outright paranoia that one-eyed monsters are crawling out of your toilet. So yeah, it's basically guaranteed to blow your mind.
Want to get, like, super-freaked-out? Just take a gander at Ruben Millares' "Man or War" exhibit at the WDNA Gallery. The artist transports you into a cave-like environment boasting drawings, mobile sculptures, and a video riffing on the conflict of man and finding balance in a world gone to pot, but unfortunately not of the wholesome, lung-tingling kind.
Face it, marijuana won't cure the world's ills. But it does help make it a better place. Just look at Lucinda Linderman's "Reclaiming Miami," project at Cafeina in Wynwood, where the gallery-cum-hipster watering hole is preparing to host a "green-inspired," eco-market in a few days. If a few puffs off the pipe can inspire us to turn trash into an opus, we're game! (It doesn't hurt that there's plenty of munchie-appropriate food on site, either.)
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If your are like us, then you'll love Margaret Ross Tolbert's "Sirena in Rapture" solo at Little Havana's 6th Street Container.. Enter the 10-gallon aquarium-sized alt haven after sharing a spliff, and you'll find yourself immersed in an otherworldly underwater theme park where the fashionable denizen of Florida's magical fresh water springs will seduce you to dive in.
Get higher still on Little Havana's things seem so fuzzy I can't feel my face vibe, when the 6th Street Dance Studio presents "Comet Lovejoy Survives." Dance diva Brigid Baker promises to transport 4/20 revelers to a wacky planet, uniquely her own, with constellations of recycled water bottles, twinkling lights, a gold-showered set design to catapult spectators to the ether, and a cast of torch singers, urban hip hop and contemporary dancers, gospel singers, B-Boys/B-Girls and an environment where you yourself become part of the art.
And what would 4/20 be without the accompanying hangover, reminding us not to party like a fool? (For a little while, anyway.) For those of us given to going overboard while indulging in our little orgies of hedonistic excess, JC Carroll comes to the rescue with her half-baked clown fresh out of the kiln, smacking sense into those one-percenters with their holier-than-Jesus I never partake of the stuff stick up their ass. Next weekend, you can get high on the thrill of art all over again by putting in a bid on her jazzed-up jester during the "Bridge Red Ballyhoo!" silent auction supporting arts in South Florida, where we buy art rather than burn it for a good cause. Ya get that, Manfredi, you clown?