Edge

Art display ‘strangely charming’

Sylwia, an aluminum piece by Pawel Althamer.

The Rubell Family Collection has transformed a dodgy space into a considerably more inviting, if hardly less provocative, site for one of the world’s greatest collections of contemporary art.

Housed in what formerly served as a DEA storage facility for the cocaine and cash seized from drug dealers across Miami, a sign advising those with more delicate sensibilities to sit this one out is displayed unabashedly by the door.

If you turn back though, it’s your loss. The Rubell Family Collection, whose library, film and lecture theater and 27 small galleries sit on 45,000 square feet of concrete and steel, delivers on the promise raised by this sign in the best of ways- its pieces are bold, honest, occasionally explicit and consistently compelling.  And their most current exhibit, “How Soon Now,” just might take the cake.

The exhibit, which boasts a delicious mixture of mediums (some fairly conventional, others dramatically less so) is housed entirely on the second floor, and upon reaching the top landing, it hits you like a ton of bricks.

Or perhaps like a ton of wet clay. Dedicated entirely to Swedish Nathalia Djurberg’s short, claymation-style films, whose twisted scenarios have the disarming habit of looking deceptively like fairy tales, the first gallery borders on hypnotic.

Djurberg’s characters cry long, doughy tears as gleeful scenes of mutilation, rape, bestiality and slavery develop around them, yielding a product that somehow grows increasingly hilarious the more outlandish and disgusting the film becomes. Add Hans Berg’s slightly haunting soundtrack and nine more examples of Djurberg’s stop-motion tour de force, and the result is a room that is simultaneously disturbing, strangely charming and absolutely transfixing.

Another stand-out is Kaari Upson, whose work ranges from oil on canvas, to charcoal and wax sculptures, to video displays. And it all seems to center around a mysterious “Larry,” who’s abandoned personal belongings Upson discovered in a burnt-out LA mansion. The whole affair reads like a study in obsession, and a project that began as an attempt to discover more about an anonymous man’s identity evolves into one in which identities are created, interchanged, interfused and finally exorcised.

The experience is voyeuristic. Pieces such as the Playboy inspired “The Grotto,” call for nothing short of a peeping Tom, who must literally peer through the crevices of the monolithic structure to see the video installments within.

Despite being composed of wildly disparate elements, “How Soon Now” is arguably brought together by the feeling that many of the artists deal in ideas of personal histories within the context of collective, made-up identities.

The pieces- by turn beautiful, disquieting, whimsical and hilarious- experiment with a moment in which identity can be constructed or manipulated, creating a “now” that is as enthralling as it is unique.

Amanda Gomez may be contacted at agomez@themiamihurricane.com.

If you Go:

95 Northwest 29th Street
Miami, FL 33127-3927

$5 for students

Exhibit is runs through August 26

April 25, 2011

Reporters

Amanda Gomez

EDGE Editor


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

After this past University of Miami football game, coach Mark Richt said the crowd came alive during ...

The attorneys for University of Miami men’s basketball coach Jim Larrañaga expect indictments to be ...

Few could have imagined this scenario coming into Saturday’s University of Miami football game at ho ...

Alex Cora’s success hasn’t surprised Miami Hurricanes baseball coach Jim Morris. Cora, according to ...

A six-pack of Canes notes on a Thursday: • Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has an interesting theor ...

Univeristy of Miami’s Wynwood Art Gallery holds its annual faculty exhibition featuring thought-prov ...

From a game simulating how whales navigate to a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, the U showcased some of ...

A new mobile game called Blues and Reds, now available worldwide, aims to help researchers study int ...

A major Lancet Commission report, a three-year project headed by UM’s Professor Felicia Knaul and co ...

With a $6.8 million NIH grant, the UM School of Nursing and Health Studies and FIU Robert Stempel Co ...

Behind a historic performance from senior Olga Strantzali, the University of Miami volleyball team b ...

Thirty years ago, the 1987 Hurricanes achieved perfection. This weekend they are back where it all b ...

As a Hurricane Club member, you are invited to participate in the 25th Annual University of Miami Ha ...

The Miami women's tennis team opened play Friday at the ITA Southeast Regional Championships Pr ...

The Miami soccer team will conclude its 2017 home slate Sunday against Notre Dame and recognize its ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.