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Prototipo, born of mystery.EXPAND
Prototipo, born of mystery.
Courtesy of Hernando’s Hideaway, Miami Beach.

Hernando's Hideaway: An Experimental Art Haven in Miami Beach

“I have a running joke that, if I could, I would close the space during the week of Basel to say, 'Hey, we’re here all year-round. Come back next month,'” Gladys-Katherina Hernando says with a wink.

But within the mania of the cackle, Hernando has an ambitious and deliberate plan to reestablish DIY dogma to the overblown artistic panorama of Miami Beach. Through her self-described experimental curatorial framework housed within her residence, Hernando’s Hideaway, she is looking to reconnect the community through art, especially now that Miami Art Week has come and gone.

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She has stripped the focus from commercial leanings and made her space a site-specific gallery for experimental creation. As a returning native of Miami Beach, Hernando brings close to a decade of curatorial work as well as experience as cofounder of L.A.’s JOAN. As a champion of underrepresented artists in L.A.’s scene, she found that astronomic rents were a deterrent to opening a space in more commercial zones.

CAD prints as inspiration.EXPAND
CAD prints as inspiration.
Courtesy of Hernando’s Hideaway, Miami Beach.

“When I walked into this house and entered the garage to find it had its own entrance and its own bathroom, all I could see was an art gallery,” she says of her home. “So I rolled the dice, and Hernando’s Hideaway was born.”

This approach is not novel and has been employed locally before, including by the gallery Emerson Dorsch. It's also been used to great effect in smaller, less art-driven markets such as Chicago and St. Louis to exhibit and foment artistic liberty.

For the Hideaway’s first show, Hernando turned the reins over to Yaron Michael Hakim, a Colombian-born American adoptee who works in predominantly nautical motifs. For Prototipo (Spanish for "prototype"), Hakim repurposed a broken clothesline into a colorful mosaic mast garden sculpture and transformed the gallery into an exploration of discarded ideology.

Using CAD prints he found while exploring an abandoned hotel on the island of Contadora in Panama, the multigenre installation employs sculpture, drawings, and video to tell a story of maritime strife in the postcolonial Americas using islands, or rather the concept of islands, as an anchoring structure for ideas. The pieces were inspired by and utilize the found objects with the main sculpture, a creation dictated by the blueprint of the CAD prints.

Hernando's Hideaway: An Experimental Art Haven in Miami BeachEXPAND
Courtesy of Hernando’s Hideaway, Miami Beach.

In January, the Hideaway will present the work of Sarah Miska, an artist who creates furniture, sculptures, and mixed-media works toying with traditional ideas of femininity.

At once abstract and mythic, a project such as this one could exist only in the freedom of the Hideaway. And the freedom works. Out of the isolation she felt upon returning home from Los Angeles, Hernando has created a comfortable and comforting environment for expression. Her hospitality is a curatorial extension to the artists in residence.

“I am cautiously moving forward to see how the space itself works, if it works, or if it doesn’t,” she says. “That is to say, whether I continue to do projects in my house or if I decide to move into an empty storefront on South Beach or do something else completely. Time will tell.”

Sarah Miska. 1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays or by appointment Saturday, January 12, through Saturday, February 23, at Hernando's Hideaway, 423 W. 30th St., Miami Beach; hernandoshideaway.org. Admission is free.

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