If you’ve ever felt that the “youth” culture is confusing or out of reach– or you are getting behind on your hipster vocabulary – a little dated in your wardrobe or just feeling drab and uninspired due to the darkening skies of winter — then get yourself out to see some art — in MIAMI.
As often as I’ve treated myself to frequenting the galleries, museums and art fairs of wherever I am, I was blown away by Miami’s art scene.
My husband and I were thrilled when we found out our business trip to Miami the first week in December coincided with their art fair — “Art Basel.”
As good as the fair was, there’s no reason to wait until the next Art Basel to go to Miami. There’s plenty of permanent installations thoughout the city that are worth seeing this winter because the Miami art scene is fully embedded in it’s very fiber and frankly, it feels electric.
Let’s just say – no one goes hungry for stimulation in Miami.
We started our visit with a bang when our hip 20-something friends took us to see graffiti art and have dinner at Joey’s in Miami’s edgy new arty Soho area — Wynwood. http://www.joeyswynwood.com
The restaurant was great but there was so much more than the food to focus on. Actually I can’t even remember the food. Let’s just say it was hard to take a bite (never mind order) as the onslaught of visuals distracted us from our plates. I’m not kidding. The food fell to the background immediately – I have no idea what I ate or if I ate at all.
Sitting next to us body art was everywhere and I found myself reading the Tats on the wrists and necks of the people at the next table. Was that Sanskrit, hieroglyphics or Morse code?
Rockers, models, punk and chic all metaled and messaged with plenty of visible breasts and abs — it was a mix of art and porn and we hadn’t even hit the real exhibit.
Body art branded youth were everywhere. Tats on palms and shoulders with messages of peace, love and rock and roll and personal purpose statements begged me to look closer. I’m glad I wasn’t with my kids because they would have scolded me for staring.
After dinner, we went next door to the Wynwood Walls and got our just desserts.
If you ever wondered if Graffiti equals art – it does! And, it can transform dead neighborhoods into vital economic zones when orchestrated properly.
The Wynwood Project is an example of how to revitalize a forgotten “bombed out” looking warehouse neighborhood. This began in 2010 and the area is on fire with art and energy. As an aside, this area reminded me of the art scene in Berlin. We saw this very transformation a few years ago at The Berlin Wall. The graffiti brought a profoundly sad period in history to life through color and play on those concrete barriers.
Really good graffiti art is not to be shrugged off despite its lack of permanence. Plus, it’s a fabulous way for emerging artists to get recognized. Shepard Fairey is just one of the graffiti artists who has contributed to the Wynwood walls but he’s no longer emerging. (You may know him from his Obama poster and “Obey” campaign.) Shepard was jailed many a time for his graffiti art — but not in Wynwood. His stuff was selling for a million plus in the adjacent gallery. This area was “tagged” (that’s art vernacular for this genre) and revived with an invitation to graffiti artists to bring in their work. Every year the Wynwood Walls are reworked and this week a new cast of artists collaborated yet again with amazing stuff that hasn’t gotten pricey – yet!
It’s wonderful to see art that is not just for those with deep pockets and Miami Vice styled living rooms to display it.
It turned out there was so much to see in the ancillary art tents and edgy neighborhoods that surrounded the main Art Basel fair at the Miami Convention Center – that we never got there – and that was just fine by us.
Miami is totally fun and vibrant and as we boarded the plane back to Boston we felt a little hipper a lot happier and a tad younger. Hey, we’d been welcomed into the big 20-something street art party for days on end, and we hadn’t even been aged out or edged out.
We’re definitely going back.
Here’s a few of the fabulous Miami Street scenes from this past weekend.