An Artistic Tale of Two Cities

By: Jodi Mailander Farrell


There’s more than an interstate connecting Miami and New York.

In “I-95 South,” an art exhibit at ArtCenter/South Florida, the works of emerging artists with studios in Brooklyn’s Navy Yard and Miami illustrate how the urban landscapes and cultural scenes of both cities influence creativity – and how closely connected the two art worlds have become, particularly since Art Basel Miami Beach started in 2002.

The group show, on view at ArtCenter’s Richard Shack Gallery, 800 Lincoln Road, in South Beach from Aug. 3 to Sept. 29, displays the work of three Miami artists and four New York artists ranging in age from 24 to 33.

The exhibit features Miami’s Johnny Laderer, Gustavo Oviedo and Luis Pinto and New York’s Tyler Healy, Dean Levin, Kyle Yanagihara and Evan Robarts (who was raised in Miami and now has a studio in Brooklyn).

The free exhibition asserts the importance of place and how that influences medium, technique, narrative and iconography.

Oviedo's "Periodic Table" depicts a series of hieroglyphs displayed on a 10-by-10-foot grid, accompanied by a legend for visitors to translate each symbol. Nearby is Oviedo's "Coladas," a bag of coffee-stained Styrofoam cups once filled with cafecito, each of which were drunk by Oviedo during the creation of "Periodic Table.”

Laderer's fruit stand in the window display carries an attractive bundle of colorful lemons, limes and oranges that upon closer inspection are made of concrete. During frequent road trips from Miami to his hometown of Bartow in Central Florida, the installation artist would spot roadside fruit vendors touting ripe bounties of Florida-grown citrus. When he pulled over to examine the fruit, he discovered the ruse: Some produce was created with hand-painted balls of concrete, which triggered the amusing idea to re-create the phony fruit stand at ArtCenter.

"I see concrete as a symbol of development and change I grew up around, so seeing these roadside attractions was like a loaded image to me," says Lederer, 26.

Robarts' part of the exhibit features three boogie boards he purchased at a Lincoln Road shop. He cut out the middles and inserted flat-screen monitors. Each one loops a short video taken with a cell phone. One of them pictures the polluted surface of the Gowanus Canal near his Brooklyn studio. Another video shows the glossy floors of the midtown Miami Target store gleaming under fluorescent lights in a way that suggests rippling waves. And the third depicts palm fronds gently swaying in the breeze.


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