Vladimir Putin's invasion of Crimea has raised the specter of the Cold War era earning him the condemnation of world leaders. Oddly his naked aggression in the region comes at a time when the Russian president has been nominated for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, if you can believe it.
A new show opening for this month's edition of the Second Saturday Art Walk delivers a timely reminder of the saber rattling insanity that went on between the Soviets and the U.S. during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
At Locust Projects, the exhibition of new work by Miami-based artist Christy Gast, features a full-scale textile replica of a Nike Hercules missile and a single-channel video entitled War Drums, inviting reflection over the escalating tensions in the Ukraine while referencing South Florida's role in the historic conflict between Kennedy and Khrushchev.
It's one of several offerings on our radar beginning at 6:00 p.m. during Second Saturday this weekend.
Here are our top shows on the marquee for what is shaping up to be a provocative lineup of fresh gallery exhibits.
At Locust Christy Gast's missile sculpture is her largest textile work to date and is suspended from the rafters as if waiting to be triggered. Constructed from botanical textile designed and printed by the artist, the rocket's surface is overlaid with images of tomato bushes, Brazilian pepper trees and lovegrass. The work references Hole-in-the-Donut, the Everglades site Gast examined for the exhibit which was plowed for tomato fields in the early 1900's and later housed three nuclear warheads that remained on high alert during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Her video War Drums, shot in one of the few remaining stands of pine forest in Dade County, booms with an aural assault of Afro Cuban conga beats and military drum corps cadences capturing the cultural conflicts sparked by Cold War conflicts. At Locust's Project Room don't miss Felice Grodin's A Fabricated Field, the artist's new installation covering the entire floor with bundles of wooden sticks and grids of plywood sheets that combine to form an abstract, quixotic landscape. Locust Projects 3852 N. Miami Ave..; 305-576-8570; locustprojects.org.
At the Dina Mitrani Gallery, Marina Font's solo explores issues of gender, identity, and the woman's body through a captivating series of photo-based and mixed media works. Font's show takes Freud's description of female sexuality as its premise, and the artist employs photos of women's physiques printed on poly-cotton then embroidered with thread and yarn in symbolic patterns and mounted on wooden surfaces as a commentary on the psycho analyst's theories. Various works on display include photographs, or installations that refer to a woman's cycles of fertility and how feminine "biological phases are in constant shifting evolution," according to the artist. Dina Mitrani Gallery 2620 NW Second Ave., Miami; 786-486-7248; dinamitranigallery.com.
Made In Miami
Pan American Art Projects focuses its sights on local talent and the city's growth as a contemporary art hub since the arrival of Art Basel in this group offering. The 305-centric show includes work by Gustavo Acosta, Edouard Duval-Carrié, Carlos Estévez and Carolina Sardi, all of whom relocated here from Cuba, Haiti and Argentina. The exhibit explores how moving to the Magic City has played a role in the evolution of the artists' work and how a thriving local cultural scene has focused international attention on Miami's creative production. In the Project Room, Pan American is featuring a selection of photography by locals Rogelio Lopez Marin (Gory) and Pablo Soria. Gory's arresting pictures depict surreal views of an abandoned pool, conveying feelings of frustration and abandonment, while Soria's images evoke similar feelings of isolation with his bucolic views of Northern Argentina's countryside. Pan American Art Projects 2450 NW 2nd Ave, Miami; 305-573-2400; panamericanart.com.
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This group show corrals the work of many of today's leading Urban and Graffiti artists whose oeuvre has moved from the mean streets into the contemporary art world's pristine white cube spaces. At the Robert Fontaine Gallery, you'll discover arresting imagery by the likes of Banksy, Shepard Fairy, Anthony Lister, Dolk, RYCA, Olek, Pure Evil, Paul Insect, Space Invader, Retna and many others. The tidy survey seeks to express how the global street art movement has advanced from the margins to center stage becoming "less of an outsiders club and more of a hugely significant force at a time when the art world is hungry for something more than references to the past," says Robert Fontaine, gallery director. Robert Fontaine Gallery 2349 NW Second Ave., Miami; 305-397-8530; robertfontainegallery.com.
A Line in Motion
For James Chedburn, a Malaysian-born British artist based in Paris, there are no geographic or creative boundaries to fetter the imagination. At her eponymous Wynwood gallery, you'll discover why French dealer Lelia Mordoch has become enraptured by Chedburn's whimsical mechanical sculptures that fuse elements of both fantasy and hyper-realism. In Chedburn's hands, people, animals, trains and other of the artist's dreamy fancies are transformed into striking creations resulting from a marriage of wire and poetry. He uses wires, found objects, wood, and paper-mâché to manifest 3D drawings. Lelia Mordoch Gallery 2300 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 786-431-1506; galerieleliamordoch.com.