Off the Wagon – Your Weekend Art Binge 6/08 – 6/10

Don’t let the rain keep you in this weekend.  If the wet won’t slow you down, the art will keep pace this weekend.  Just drive safely.  We’ve got a recommendation on either side of the Bay this weekend.

Morean Arts Center – Leave a Message: Urban Art in Florida    Sat 6/09  6pm-9pm

Saturday night the Morean Arts Center opens Leave a Message: Urban Art in Florida.  With the recent quasi-drama of the Warehouse District’s murals, this exhibit couldn’t be timelier.  In fact, the artist at center of the sort-of-controversy, Akud-Acut, will be among the group exhibited This making the cities initial stance all the more silly: you can pay Akud-Acut to paint on your walls, but only certain ones.  I get the uneasy feeling the city wants Miami’s money draw without turning into the Wynwood district.  It’s like ordering your McNuggets while asking them to hold the chicken.  But that’s neither here nor there.

Street Art stopped being edgy about seven years ago.  However, rather than get boring it just grew up.  It’s like putting down Rage Against the Machine to listen to Fugazi.  This is why the Morean Arts Center’s exhibit is timely in larger sense – Street art has grown into a mature form worth spending some time considering.  Directly and indirectly, urban art now tackles heavy issues such as property, permission, and class concerns among others.  The aforementioned Warehouse District goings-on  gives the work a concrete relevancy that I wish happened more often.

If somehow this exhibit hasn’t yet reached your cool threshold, there is also an after party down the street at Sake Bomb.

USFCAM – In Residence, Reception and Panel Discussion    Fri 6/08  6pm-9pm

The USF Contemporary Art Museum is exhibiting the work of four Miami based artists in the show In Residence.  Expect this show to be much more cerebral than the above mentioned.

I wrote my latest editorial for Sarasota Visual Art prior to reading about this exhibit.  Oddly, the last three paragraphs of the article describing a peculiarly Floridian art culture reads like a preview to this exhibit.  In Residence addresses the relationship between people and place, humans and nature.  At times the relationship is depicted as a power struggle, other times as nearly sexual.  For example, consider Christy Gast’s video work.  A figure in a Tuxedo taps along the Herbert Hoover Dike – an enormous example of civilization attempting to exert control over nature (and a reminder of nature’s ability to overwhelm civilization).  It’s difficult to tell if Gast’s dancer is celebrating the environment and the structure, or it she is being sarcastic.

The drama of the natural world and the city is not exclusive to Florida.  However these artists show how the state uniquely typifies it.  The scenes and ideas should be familiar but innovatively presented.  Please, don’t miss this exhibit.

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