The Gen Art session that was held at Oxygen Lounge in the Grove on Friday seemed, at first, to be everything it should have been – a hip venue for new artists of different mediums to showcase their talent.
The mood of the lounge was expectedly relaxed and colorful, with blue teardrop lights and slide shows setting the background for the young socialite scene.
Jacques, the bartender, seemed to have no problem dishing out free Stoli mixed drinks and Heinekens to the eagerly accepting crowd. Perhaps this fountain of free drinks was an effort to distract people from noticing something funny about their surroundings – there was not more than an ounce of art in sight.
Three videos were looped continuously throughout the evening and a few attendees stood or sat around observing and discussing them, but most of the crowd seemed oblivious and more involved with their “crazy night last night in South Beach.” One of the short films was entitled What to Believe by Mario Escobar, and depicted a commentator, a lot of military propaganda, and repeated shots of large, bloodshot eyeballs. The word ‘capitalism’ flashed repeatedly throughout the film.
One fellow UM student noted that the film resembled the recent horror flick The Ring. “I feel like if I watch it to the end I’ll die,” she commented. The film seemed to deliver the message of a long lost anti-war film from the 1970s, aside from the spliced images of President Bush.
After the free drinks had worked their magic, a new video, Gang Girls 2000 by Katrina del Mar, livened up the screen as a preamble to the night’s fashion show. This video, loaded with petite, retro biker babes, street fighting and lesbians kissing on a beach, distracted people from studying the bottle menus. A man standing nearby commented that “this video, to men, is beautiful.” Finally the night was becoming more than just another well-lit gala as the art took front-and-center.
Fashion designer Jennifer Block noted that Gang Girls 2000 was the core inspiration for her collection. An alumni of the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, Block has designed clothing for Lil’ Kim, Sofia Bergara, and