In 2016, Ibett Yanez planned to launch an art project emphasizing collaboration to shine a light on Miami's talents. The lyrics to David Bowie's song "Space Oddity" — which begins with "Ground control to Major Tom..." — were floating through her head. Specifically, she recalls, it was the haunting lines that mark a turning point in the modern mythological astronaut's journey. "Though I'm past one hundred thousand miles/I'm feeling very still/And I think my spaceship knows which way to go."
For 15 years, Yanez worked as the founding director of the de la Cruz Collection, a private art collection that's open to the public. She recently left the organization to pursue new ventures, including her latest project, the aptly named Ground Control Miami (GCM).
"Every day was a learning experience," she says of her time at de la Cruz, "that helped me build the platform, network, and community support that has allowed me, with great determination, the ability to pursue my independent practice... After all, personal growth comes from taking leaps and giving yourself the chance to do so."
One lesson Yanez learned at her old post was collaborating to promote Miami's art scene. She says that lesson has helped her greatly in her new endeavor. "We have worked on numerous projects bridging artists, creatives, sponsors, and institutions by identifying instances where their practice and missions converge," she says of GCM. "These relationships are cultivated to generate ideas and discourse."
GCM members also include artist Carlos Rigau, Lily Yanez, and Tiffany Chestier, director of cultural programming at the local real-estate company with a hankering for the arts, Dacra, and its CEO Craig Robins' art collection. Pooling their resources and experience in the art scene worldwide, they are finding new opportunities to elevate the cultural landscape locally.
For "All That Is Solid," a show that coincides with the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus movement, GCM teamed up with another art collective with a similar vision, the roving gallery Placeholder, led by Javier Hernandez, Diego Machado, and Ana Clara Silva. "They brought a dynamic vision to the exhibition and allowed us to learn from their curatorial aesthetics," Ibett Yanez says. "All That Is Solid" is an homage to that early 19th-century movement that made art functional and examined the dynamics among art, society, and technology. The show looks at how the social landscape — including the economic and urban development of the city — informs the artistic community.
The exhibition includes work by Edward Holland, Jessica Martin, NUN, Alan Reid, Deon Rubi, and Anastasia Samoylova, as well as performances by Oly, Sabrina Talamo, David Brieske as Fsik Huvnx, and Jenna Balfe. "We are identifying practices that, although may not exist in the same scope, have a fluidity that allows for the exchange and pollination of ideas," Yanez says. "This approach was a driving force in the early organic drive behind the early stages of the Bauhaus movement."
"All That Is Solid" is on display at Space S/223, a gallery in the Design District's Paradise Plaza, a corner of Miami that also shows installations by Yona Freidman and Urs Fischer. The Design District was once a stomping ground for Miami's homegrown artistic types and students from Design and Architecture Senior High (DASH) but was built up in recent years by Dacra as both a megamall for the very rich and a haven for fine arts. The show isn't a criticism of this change but rather works within the evolved paradigm and embraces the opportunities it provides.
"One of the roles of art and art-making is to address change, progress, and how our creative communities adapt to this change," Chestler explains. "Miami is a young city that will continue to grow and develop in exciting ways. Art has played a significant role in all of Dacra’s projects, allowing artists and curators to have a voice in addressing urban growth and its function in generating a cultural scene."
Yanez echoes that sentiment. "The implications of urban development don't necessarily need to be categorized as a negative outcome for our growing community," she says. "The Design District has always supported the local community... and S/223 is a perfect example of their ongoing commitment to our artists and the cultural wealth they provide."
"'All That Is Solid' is an excellent example of how independent artists, curators, and community support — no matter where it comes from — is essential to the livelihood of that community," Chestler says. "The exhibition brings together all these key players that believe in the power of support and collaboration to further a city’s cultural mission... [It] highlights some incredible emerging artists that continue to explore their practice through experimentation and growth. Artists in the exhibition are not bound by geography, aesthetic, or narrative, and reveal to our visitors a moment of active collaborative process and possibilities generated by our creative unity. The exhibition also offers a fresh approach to art-making and how important it is to have an open mind to encourage new possibilities."
In every way, "All That Is Solid" embraces a new Miami. The show creates a solid platform that allows artists to penetrate what was once a glass ceiling, linking South Florida to the rest of the world. Ground Control is a proven launchpad for the those who are ready to explore and expand their practice, whichever way their spaceships may go.
"All That Is Solid." Noon to 7 p.m. Thursday through Sunday and by appointment through August 31 at Space S/223 in Paradise Plaza, 151 NE 41 St., Suite 223, Miami. Open .
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