Local artist Aholsniffsglue's signature eyeballs splack the side of a warehouse facing I-95 in Wynwood. Inside, the Margulies Collection's "New Exhibition" will leave your optics in the same wide-eyed state of wonder. The show is programmed by longtime Margulies curator Katherine Hinds to "activate the space" via video works and massive sculptures.
Walk into the first room of the show and two giant stones smash your notion of indoor objects into smithereens while several videos play across the space. Just beyond, over 250 photos, paintings, and videos address the continent of Africa. Further in is the work of Michelangelo Pistoletto, a glass-smashing wild thinker.
To top it all off, there's a special theater showing the animated works
of Brian Alfred. His music-collaborative video work depicts a familiar
urban world full of graffiti and power lines.
New Times: Why Africa?
Katherine Hinds: The collection had a lot of items and work that pertained to Africa, some acquired recently and some over ten years ago. We come up with our exhibitions based on the work that we have. We think about it, we talk about it, and when the time is right we show it. This year, we're showing painting for the first time in 12 years. In the past we always focused on photo, video, and sculpture, so we're having fun.
We do a lot of tours here, so our hope is to shed light on that part of the world for the students that come here. Some of the work is media documentation of conflicts and events, but we also have works
from everyday Africans living their lives. It's not just the typical conflict
photos that we see in the press. We have a multi level video dealing with Apartheid, and also a portrait of Haile Selassie.
Does anybody ever say, well, so what, so you've got a couple big rocks in a room?
They have a very polished surface and are highly formed and designed so it's evident that they have been marked by man and excavated and carved. But it's the scale of them that creates the impact. They have the power of something you would normally see outside. They were actually on loan to FIU for many years.
Who is Pistoletto and what's the deal with the broken mirror?
Hinds: Pistoletto is one of the leading artists coming out the of the European school of painting and sculpture and performance. He has a major retrospective in Philadelphia right now and after that it's going to Rome. He's really at the forefront. He represented Italy in the last Biennale and did a performance with the breaking of the mirror. He's a very thoughtful artist who conceptualizes the use of material. It's not your normal, orthodox, oil on canvas. He sees the mirror as space and time and sees the breaking of it as a galactic explosion not destroying an image but creating infinity.
Next to the piece we have the video of his performance of it, breaking and smashing the glass with a rubber mallet. For us, it goes along with our educational program. To see that it's not just a broken mirror with a quote next to it from the artist, but to see that it was a performance is important. A lot of the performance practices that we see from younger artists have a link to these artists that have been making work for 40 years.
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What's the significance of video to the collection?
We think it activates the space in a very important way. As soon as you walk into the room you see, hear, and are drawn to them. We have at least 4 or 5 or 6 videos playing as soon as you walk in, not in a theater, not in a closed room, and I like the sense of this work of art that takes place over time. There are also some small rooms for pieces that require focused attention.
For example, Brian Alfred collaborated with artist musicians to put together this animated film about the urban core. I think we have about 18 videos on view now. People can see them and move on and go in and out. It adds to the experience of coming here, and we like it.
See "New Exhibition" at the Margulies Collection at The Warehouse (591 NW 27th St., Miami). Call 305-576-1051 or visit margulieswarehouse.com. Admission is $10 (benefiting Lotus House), and the gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11:00a.m. to 4:00p.m.