Jose Elias has been a heavy hitter in the Miami music scene for decades, playing with some of the best Miami bands. Through the years I’ve witnessed him perform with the Spam Allstars, Nag Champayons, Elastic Bond, and Cortadito. Only recently did I learn that Elias is the man who began the Afro Roots Festival 20 years ago; Elias and some friends formed the musical collective the Afro-Polyphonic Space Orchestra and performed at Tobacco Road as a tribute to the music of Sun Ra. All these years later both national and international acts have been participating in the event, and this year includes a performance by none other than the Sun Ra Arkestra.Continue Reading …
At this point Art Week has long since come to an end. The big white tents have come down, the visitors are gone and so is all that precious artwork. While I try to collect my thoughts for this piece I am left to sift through hundreds of photos, business cards, and great memories. I’ve been attending the festivities for nearly ten years now; every year I learn better ways to maneuver from fair to fair but still get completely worn out. This year a cold caught up with me a couple of days afterwards; which is one excuse for my delay in reporting. Here are my four highlights of the week:
Recently, through an accident of technology absent information other than my taste in general – not shuffle – Jane’s Addiction‘s Classic Girl and Radiohead‘s Talk Show Host played one after the other from the card in my car. It was like when you and your current partner (Radiohead) bump into your former flame (Jane’s Addiction) and you see why you like/d them both, but the flaws in the one make the other… You’re happy in your current situation, and now have critical insights on who you were and what that other relationship meant back in the day.
Both songs hinge on gun violence.
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(T)he price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side.
James Baldwin, The Black Boy Looks at the White Boy, 1961
A couple of years ago, I encountered Fredric Jameson’s idea that, too simply put, the worlds we build in science fiction are the worlds we’ve built and will thus inevitably build; science fiction doesn’t predict but rather is the blueprint for the inconceivable present and the subsequent, unavoidable future. For two years, I’ve been bothered by this idea.
Like PRIZM’s Mana Building showcase of African Diaspora, Pinta presents Latin American art at a Mana-developed property. And while both fairs feature very strong work, that’s were the comparisons end. At Mana Wynwood, Pinta has the resources to approximate the conditions of traditional art spaces.
PRIZM Art Fair, now in it’s fifth edition, is dedicated to showing the work of Contemporary African Diaspora artists. So, it was my pleasure to make PRIZM‘s opening my first stop this week. My buddy, Tayina who has been volunteering at the fair, raved about the work on view and she’s not wrong – many of PRIZM‘s offerings are diamonds in a rough environment.
The toughest thing about Art Week is trying to make it through the work day knowing I’d rather be at the fairs. Some lucky people take the entire week off in order to burn the candle at both ends and regain the strength to carry on for another day. Fortunately this week has been busy and I’ve had to focus on what I do during the day; that being said arriving to Untitled with less than one hour to close made it impossible to see 1/4 of the fair. I did meet some great people and encountered impressive art works but I will be back over the weekend hopefully with less stress.
It was opening night at Art Miami; the closer we got the more traffic began to crawl and I could tell it was going to be packed. The various groups of lines into the tent were slightly misshapen and unorganized. Upon entering I could see the delay was attributed to an added security measure akin to TSA, replete with concrete Jersey barriers, a metal detector, and wands. The new bay front location appears to allow for larger tents, ample valet parking (with various nearby options), and for those lucky enough to utilize it effectively – the Metro Mover.Continue Reading …
Trying to figure out a solid schedule for Art Week is a challenge, I want to be everywhere at once. Even writing about what I want to see is difficult, I can’t help but rely on my experience from last year. One of my more memorable experiences was at the gorgeously located Untitled, which was just as impressive inside. A spacious and organized layout where you don’t feel claustrophobic or rushed, the art contained therein was cutting edge, well executed, and eye-catching. Located on Ocean Drive and 12 street, Untitled features 137 exhibitors from 26 different countries and is an event not to miss.
There are a couple of things that I do as a practicing artist: I am systematically critical of my own perspective, my goals, and how what I make will ‘be’ in the world; I am leery to the point of skittishness about what ‘art’ means in Western culture and its colonies. My self-monitoring makes me keen to know how others who share my interests – in any field – manifest their perspectives and to what ends. My apprehensions around taste and access and power mean that it is near to impossible for me to have a transcendent moment in any ‘art world’ space, and frankly, I wouldn’t want to as that would mean I’d lost my bearings. And so, every opportunity I get to be with art, I take, even when it’s in a space I absolutely do not trust. Of course, my annual visit to Miami Art Week facilitates the one in the other.