Whistle While You Work Pairs Aesthetics With Booze

Spend enough time at your local dive, and just about anything can seem like art. A mound of butts in an ashtray becomes worthy of the title installation. The bartenders, bouncers and drunks are performance artists, appropriating the machinations of a shithole ​filled with weirdos.

Art Basel mania would seemingly prove that Miami loves art. At the very least, it loves the art of partying. Visual artists and bartenders, Autumn Casey and Laura Duran, detected some resonance between the closely aligned worlds of aesthetics and booze and created tomorrow's one-night-only installation Whistle While You Work.

The show is the third in a series of wholly immersive, location-based

installations Duran and Casey have orchestrated. In December 2009,

they rented out four rooms at the Shalimar Inn, a seedy Biscayne

Boulevard motel with a dingy Art Deco facade, and filled them with site

specific sculptures that constructed grimy visual narratives inspired by

the setting.

Duran coyly describes the show as a "one-night stand," a

pun on the 24 hour period in which the material was arranged, exhibited

and taken down.

Dana Bassett

Dana Bassett
Sculpture by Kelly Williams inside one of the rooms at the Shalimar

According to Duran, Whistle While You Work "is meant to be an

experience of the work. These projects are meant to be exercises of our

practice" -- shilling hooch, presumably -- "They are not panel style or a forum. This one in particular is a


In keeping with the party motif, and the pair's desire to use spaces

outside of the gallery/warehouse circuit, the show will be hosted at Bachata

dancehall, Club Tipico Dominicano. Though the curators have been

tightlipped about the work, the event's parameters required participating artists to also be bartenders.

Still from, "Fuck it," Autumn Casey's video filmed at her day job, Churchill's Pub

many times you'll get the question, 'So what else do you to besides

bartend,' Casey laments, "and I always have to take an existential pause

on how to answer that." She continues, "Not that this show will answer

that question either," but the pair do hope to set the psyche of the

bartender on display.

Sometimes that psyche is fraught with insecurity and self-doubt.

"The subject of finding a 'real' job always comes up," Casey explains.

"As if we are just in a bartending limbo that doesn't really have an end

in sight."

Duran confirms this anxiety, and cites external sources as

extra contributors: "At the first bar that I worked at, my asshole boss

would always ask me why I kept going to art school if I would end up

being a bartender."

As Casey reveals, the respective trades can

be quite harmonious. "Bartending offers enough freedom and quick cash

that making art usually calls for." In that sense, Whistle While You Work

ultimately locates itself in the eternal self-reflection and

self-distinction of the artist identity by the eternally

self-reflecting, self-distinguishing artist.

Most tellingly, Duran adds

that the greatest overlap between making work and bartending is "the

arbitrary assignment of value - in both the art market and the club."

Whistle While You Work is tomorrow at Club Tipico Dominicano (1344 NW 36th St., Miami). The show starts at 7 p.m. and is curated

by Autumn Casey and Laura Duran, featuring work by seven bartenders that

are also artists: Nicholas Arehart, Autumn Casey, Cynthia Cruz, Cat

Dove, Laura Duran, Jesse Laino, and Sleeper. Visit the event's Facebook page.

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Matt Preira