Saturday, June 30, 2012

LOCAL ART TOPIC: Controversial best-in-show choice at Rossetti Fine Art Gallery

 "Untitled" by Russell Rand (Image courtesy of Rossetti Fine Art)
Just this morning, I was talking with someone about art shows, and saying how much I loved this thing that the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood once did at a Biennial show. At the exhibition, which has a different judge or judges each year, they had a little station where you could sit and look at every single work that was not accepted into the exhibition.

It was there that I discovered one of my very favorite works, a piece that I still remember to this day.

Just hours after talking about that today, I was going through my e-mails and found a message from Tom Rossetti of Rossetti Fine Art Gallery. Earlier in the week I'd asked him for an image I could run in the guide with an item about his Abstracts show. This morning, he sent me a few, including pics of some of the winning works announced at last night's opening, noting that "The best-in-show piece was highly controversial!"

Curious, I scrolled down in his message to see the image, which Rossetti noted has been sold to a collector for $1500. I didn't see an artist statement for the untitled work, which artist Russell Rand made from oil paint-splattered plastic bags wadded up and bound together with fishing line. I gather it's about the environment but the controversy Rossetti cited isn't about Rand's stance on the environment. It's about the fact that his work took best-in-show and that someone paid $1,500 for it. .

The image of the work, posted on Rossetti Fine Art Gallery's Facebook and elsewhere, has spurred commentary ranging from "What total crap" and "I'm no art critic ... but what the hell are they supposed to be?" to "Respect the success of others."

Again I found myself thinking about that photo station and finding my favorite work among the many that never even made their way into the show. It's all relative, isn't it? And these shows are, in the end, the opinion of one person with whom others may or may not agree.

That said, here is the work (posted above) that the show's judge Byron Keith Byrd deemed the best, along with some thoughts about his choice in an excerpt from his judge's statement: 
"Everyone has an opinion. At times the opinion may transpire into a critique or judgment. These cerebral intricacies are based on ones’ personal standards and/or life experiences. Certainly my time spent in New York City has affected my own artistic sensibilities ...
Awarding the ‘Best in Show’ was a spontaneous instinct for me. Russell Rands’ jarring untitled work with plastic and oil had the same impact I experienced while viewing the work of sculptor Lynda Benglis in New York some 30 years ago. And the visual stimulation which I have encountered over the past few years at Art Basel only cements the fact that Mr. Rands’ work is current and quite profound on many levels.  While some may question this choice, I find the enigmatic work to be provoking if not somewhat controversial in nature."
Asked about the controversy surrounding this choice, Rossetti notes that he selects judges he feels are very qualified and gives them free reign. "I think for the most part artists and people in attendance just didn't get it," he says of Rand's work. "You find conceptual art and pieces like this in New York and Art Basel. It's pushing the envelop a bit and for an abstract show this was the most edgy and truly abstract work entered. Many judges don't want to be safe, they want the unexpected. Even the artist thought it was a joke of sorts, considering it took him minutes to create while, on the other hand, a sculpture like William Reed's 'Drill Baby Drill,' was beautifully executed and took him hundreds of hours to create. But art is art and everything is subjective."   

Or as Rossetti put it more informally in a discussion about Rand's work in the comments section of Rossetti Fine Art Gallery's Facebook, "Though I don't understand the artist's statement or his intent, I congratulate him for having the balls and vision to enter it and stand by it."

For info on more South Florida art news and events, visit

SATURDAY: Paint for your Liiiife

David JF Taylor is among the artists exhibiting in Paint for Your Liiiife (Photo courtesy of The Bubble)
The Bubble
810 N.E. Fourth Ave., Fort Lauderdale, 954-562-3804,

Paint for Your Liiiife, billed as "a local multi-faceted art experience representing how life and art are one," will include art vendors, food, a mini-rock opera by Good Theatre, burlesque by Sofia Luna, extreme juggling by The Great Pablini and music by The Midnight Hour, Yuri Keyes, Dooms De Pop and Drawing Bored.

The party, hosted by Billie Bee Good as Oprah and comedian Pam Bruno, runs 7-11:30 p.m. June 30. Admission is $10 and includes free drinks all night. An afterparty will be held at Poor House in Fort Lauderdale.

For info on more South Florida art news and events, visit

Friday, June 29, 2012

Imagination Squared

Robyn Vegas has 1,000 blank squares (Image courtesy City of Pembroke Pines)
Robyn Vegas, City of Pembroke Pines Cultural Arts Coordinator for Studio 18 in the Pines, has a whole lot of squares and she wants to share them.

The plan is for these 1,000 wood squares to become part of a giant community mural project called "Imagination Squared." Artists of all ages and skill levels are encouraged to create squares using any type of arts and crafts supplies, photographs, found objects etc. "You are limited only by your imagination and a few simple guidelines on the application," notes Vegas.

“The mission of this project is to showcase the importance of arts and artistic expression in all our lives and provide a stage for a single community’s creative momentum,” she adds.

Participants need only to pick up their squares and hear a brief presentation about guidelines.

Here's a list of the times and locations where this can be done: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 10 at South Regional Broward College Library, 7300 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines (954-201-8825); 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. July  13 and  10 a.m. to 2 p.m.. July 14  at Studio 18, 1101 Poinciana Drive, Pembroke Pines (954-961-6067); 1-3 p.m. July 13 at Walter C. Young Library, 955 N.W. 129 Ave., Pembroke Pines (954-437-2635); and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 14 at Southwest Regional Library, 16835 Sheridan St., Pembroke Pines.

All squares will be donated to the project, and suggested (but not mandatory) donation is $1 for wood.  Finished squares "appropriate for public venue and children," should be delivered between 8:30 and 5 p.m. Aug. 1 at Studio 18, 1101 Poinciana Drive, Pembroke Pines.

The unveiling and public reception for the project will take place 7-9 p.m. Sept. 7 at Studio 18, 1101 Poinciana Drive, Pembroke Pines. Call 954-961-6067 or visit

 For info on more South Florida art news and events, visit

The Art of Friday

Handmade 3D's "Superman Monster" (Image courtesy of Bear and Bird Gallery)
Bear and Bird Gallery
Upstairs at Tate’s, 4566 N. University Drive, Lauderhill, 954-748-0181,

Sew Nerdy: A Geek Craft Extravaganza. Bear and Bird's third summer exhibition of handmade goods, is a celebration of all that's nerdy ... and by nerdy, Bear and Bird means "anything related to science, mathematics, technology, comic books, television programs, films, role-playing games video games and other things relating to fantasy and science fiction." Think Star Trek, Dr. Who, Ghostbusters, Goonies, Napoleon Dymamite, PeeWee's Playhouse ... You get the idea.

Artists and crafters will include A. Pants; Allison Hoffman, Andreanna Di Benedetto, Crafty Dork, Cutesypoo, Denn Rodriguez, Drop Dead Quirky, Handmade 3D, Jenna Dickes-DeleoKjersti Faret, Lana Crooks, LeaseAPenny, Leeanna Butcher, loveandasandwich; Mariangela Tan, Michelle Coffee; Mr X Stitch, Nerd Jerk, Nimble & Quick Threadcraft and Pixel Stitches.

If you're heading to the show in Lauderhill, you might as well check out this list that Amanda Magnetta-Ottati and Tate Ottati posted to the Bear and Bird blog. It contains all their favorite nearby places to eat — seven spots, all located within 5 miles of the gallery.

The show opens opens 6-10 p.m. June 29 and runs through Aug. 11. Some images of works from the show can be found above. Expand by clicking lower right hand corner and then click on show info (at top) for titles and artists ... or just view the Flickr set.

Rossetti Fine Art Gallery
132 S.W. 15th St., Pompano Beach, 954-247-9580,

Abstracts, is a group show judged by Byron Keith Byrd, a New-York based artist who curated The Afterlife group exhibition at ArtCenter/South Florida and has work in the All Florida Juried Exhibition and Competition at Boca Raton Museum of Art. The exhibition will run June 27 through July 20, with an opening reception 8-10 p.m. June 29.

Downtown Miami Lakes
6709 Main Street, Miami Lakes

Gallery Night on Main Street, featuring art by Barbra Baron, Cheryl Leon, Elsa Cuellar, Emilio Estrada, Eugenio Jaramillo, Gilberto Limardo, Julie Orsini Shakher, Marlene Gaziba, Miguel Payano, Nelba Gonzalez, Nora Medina, Roman Garcia, Sandra Lane and Yaritza Rollan, will include Henna body art by Angela Molina, music by Andres Lasaga on June 29 and music by Mini-Combo on June 30. Hours are 7-11 p.m. each night.

Miami Airport Convention Center
711 N.W. 72nd Ave., Miami, 305-261-3800,

Florida Supercon
, billed as "South Florida's comic book, anime, animation, video game, fantasy, sci-fi and pop culture convention," will include celebrity guests, comic book creators, voice actors, industry guests, cosplayers, artists, writers, panels, films, costume contests, vendors, parties, anime, workshops, and video gaming. The festivities kick off at noon June 29 and 11 a.m. June 30 and July 1 and run until 3 a.m. the next morning. On July 2, the hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Exhibition room hours are 2-9 p.m. June 29, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. June 30 and July 1 and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 2. One-day tickets are $25, $15 on Monday and can be purchased on Eventbee.

For info on more South Florida art news and events, visit

SATURDAY: F.A.T. Village Art Walk

Peter Symons working on his installation for Modded at The Projects (Photo courtesy of the artist)
 It's time once again for F.A.T. Village's big end-of-month blowout, and this one will include an indie craft fair, video projected on mist, a dress made of money, masks, graffiti-related photographs, food trucks, music and unicorns.

The art walk, which takes place just west of Andrews Avenue between Northwest Fourth and Sixth avenues in downtown Fort Lauderdale, is held on the last Saturday of each month. It runs 7-11 p.m. June 30, though some events may start a little earlier or run a little later.  Read on for some of the highlights, and feel free to check back as there may be some updates and additional pics added.

Leah Brown's "Lady of the Lake" will be on exhibit at at The Project/North (Photo courtesy of the artist)
The Projects/North
523 N.W. First Ave., Fort Lauderdale 

Modded, a group exhibition in which artists Leah Brown, Ryan Farrell, Jonathan Rockford and Peter Symons combine technology and found and sculpted objects in works such as "It Takes a Community," Ryan Farrell's interactive work made from auto parts and bicycles that power car headlights, "Mist Projections," and Peter Symons work that incorporates video projected onto mist.

Other works will include "Piggyback" a large sculpture Symons made from cut plywood;  "Report," Jonathan Rockford's work made from stenographs, tripods and paper that come together to form the shape of a star; and "Lady of the Lake," a large head that Brown made from foam, foamcoat and paint.

The artists in this exhibition consider themselves inventors and scavengers who are engaging the past to find a conception of the present. They've been hard at work this week installing the show, so it should be interesting to see what Saturday has in store.

C&I Studios
541 N.W. First Ave., Fort Lauderdale, 954-357-3934,

This camera will be among the goods offered at Night Owl Market
Night Owl Market offers a chance to browse through art jewelry, handcrafted and vintage items offered by more than 50 local artists and vendors while enjoying free wine, craft beer and cocktails all night. As the invitation from Indie Craft Bazaar puts it, "liquor up and shop till you drop." But bring a designated driver and don't get too carried away because you don't to have to return all those Migdalia handbags that, after 8 cocktails, you thought you could afford.

To help soak up some of those free drinks, there will be food trucks on hand and music from DJ Mikey Ramirez of Radio-Active Records. Proceeds from the event will help raise money for a community garden and a sign to help make Flagler Village more identifiable. Oh, and the event will apparently feature unicorns. Yes, unicorns. Or maybe that's what you'll see after all those free drinks. No wait, it's true. It says so right in the invitation. Unicorns. The event runs 5 p.m. to midnight and the organizers really really want you to come. If you don't believe that then check out the video above.

Laura Atria's "Economic Development in the year 2045" (Photo courtesy of the artist)
World and Eye
109 N.W. Fifth St., Fort Lauderdale, 954-540-9897,

Money is a group exhibition in which artists explore that paper stuff that's at the root of so many people's struggles. The show examines money-related questions such as "who has it? How does it connect to questions of power and helplessness? How are we connected and/or divided personally, societally and globally by issues of wealth and poverty."

The exhibition "Economic Development in the Year 2045," a dress that artist Laura Atria made from pennies, Cenigma's "Is The Economy Killing Your Sex Drive?" which will be raffled at the event, and Allan Pierce's "White Picket Fence," a photograph that depicts a yard with a decaying wood fence, a mattress in the corner and what looks like blocks of cement, perhaps part of a house foundation, strewn everywhere. A person is laying on the ground. The photo recently took a first place award at The Artists Guild Gallery in Delray Beach.

Other participating artists include Randy Hendler and Mimes, Perry Pandrea, and Judith Schwab.

Ry Nielsen's masks will be on exhibit at Sheuat and Green's Art Studio (Photo courtesy of the artist)
Sheuat and Green's Art Studio
115 N.W. Fifth St., Fort Lauderdale, 

Ry Nielsen, the guest artist at Sheuat and Green this month, will exhibit vessels and masks that he describes as adult re-imaginings of cartoon snippets that puzzled him as a kid. "Some look goofy, others a bit ominous," he notes. "All play on the questions that animated characters threw at my childhood psyche. Cartoons blurred the boundaries of what was conceivable to my young mind and I'm still fascinated by that ambiguity."

Nielsen, whose works will appear alongside Sheuat's and Green's sculptures and paintings, has been considering the contrasts and commonalities of he and his two fellow exhibitors. "Our cultural backgrounds and choices of materials diverge broadly, although we each sort of rage against the
landfill and tap nostalgia to some degree," he explains. "I see Julio's work as the most profound and more cerebral, even though he's chronologically youngest. Cisco's got the party happening in everything I've seen, no matter how serious his concept might be. I'm definitely longer in the
tooth, but my work is mostly ironic and spoofing."

Nielsen's work will remain in the studio through July 21.

DigiDave will exhibit at Rolling Stock Gallery during F.A.T. Village Art Walk (Photo courtesy of the atist)
Rolling Stock
506 N.W. First Ave., Fort Lauderdale, 954-822-9725,

While Rolling Stock is best known for exhibiting graffiti artists, it's most recent show is a photography exhibition. Titled Snapped, it will feature the work of Digi Dave, who gallery owner Ryan Stock explains is "primarily a graffiti photographer."

"He does a lot of work with various graffiti artists and will go around and photograph artists while they're working and things like that," he says. "So the tie-in for me was that he works within that media. Obviously he does shoot a lot of other things but is very in tune to the graffiti lifestyle and to going out there and shooting in the middle of the night or early in the morning."

The show will be accompanied by cocktail, music from DJ Kruz, food trucks and more. "Saturday night, we'll have some body painting going on, live painting, a DJ, the whole party," Nation says. "It's gonna be a bunch of good times ... a whole mess of wonderful."

For more details on F.A.T. Village, visit

For info on more South Florida art news and events, visit

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Symbolism: Pushing Boundaries opens at Boynton Beach Art Walk

Karla Walter's "Venus: Cast, Conform, Reform" will be on exhibit in Symbolism: Pushing Boundaries at ActivistArtistA Gallery. (Photo courtesy of ActivistArtistA Gallery)
ActivistArtistA Gallery
422 W. Industrial Ave., Boynton Beach, 786-521-1199, 

Symbolism: Pushing Boundaries billed as a show that "will highlight traditional imagery (symbols) in works done on non-traditional surface," will feature works by Cesar Garcia, Juan Erman Gonzalez, Debbie Lee Mostel, Nikki Saraiva and Karla Walter.

The exhibition will open 6-9 p.m. June 28 during Boynton Beach Art Walk where artists Rolando Chang Barrero, Denny Reed, Chan Shepherd and Richard Beau Lieu will have open studios and Suga Wack will play its "post-modern, freely improvised, jelly-filled experimental chamberjazz."

PS561, a food truck whose motto is "hot dogs too good for the lunch line," will also be on site. The festivities kick off around 5:30 and end around 9 p.m., but Symbolism: Pushing Boundaries will remain on exhibit through July 26.

For info on more South Florida art news and events, visit

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sew Nerdy: A Geek Craft Extravaganza

Bear and Bird Gallery's tradition of summer shows featuring handmade goods began in 2009 with "Stitch Wars," a show that paid tribute to "Star Wars." Now the gallery is gearing up for its third summer show of handmade goods and this one's called Sew Nerdy: A Geek Craft Extravaganza.

"Yoda" by Andreanna Di Benedetto (Photo courtesy Bear and Bird)
Basically, it's a celebration of all that's nerdy ... and by nerdy, Bear and Bird means "anything related to science, mathematics, technology, comic books, television programs, films, role-playing games video games and other things relating to fantasy and science fiction." Think Star Trek, Dr. Who, Ghostbusters, Goonies, Napoleon Dymamite, PeeWee's Playhouse ... You get the idea.

Artists and crafters will include A. Pants; Allison Hoffman, Andreanna Di Benedetto, Crafty Dork, Cutesypoo, Denn Rodriguez, Drop Dead Quirky, Handmade 3D, Jenna Dickes-DeleoKjersti Faret, Lana Crooks, LeaseAPenny, Leeanna Butcher, loveandasandwich; Mariangela Tan, Michelle Coffee; Mr X Stitch, Nerd Jerk, Nimble & Quick Threadcraft and Pixel Stitches.

If you're heading to the show in Lauderhill, you might as well check out this post that Amanda Magnetta-Ottati and Tate Ottati posted to the Bear and Bird blog. It contains all their favorite nearby places to eat — seven spots, all located within 5 miles of the gallery.

The show opens opens 6-10 p.m. June 29 and runs through Aug. 11 at Bear and Bird Gallery, upstairs at Tate's, 4566 N. University Drive, Lauderhill. Call 954-748-0181 or visit

For info on more South Florida art news and events, visit

An Evening With Roofless Records

Museum of Contemporary Art

Joan Lehman Building, 770 NE 125th Street, North Miami, 305-893-6211,

An Evening With Roofless Records, featuring DJ Matt Preira's eclectic selections, live music by jazz ensemble Dion Kerr,  and Radio Test, Roofless Records experimental sounds performance that incorporates "dance, interaction and spectacle." Roofless, an independent Miami-based label, has been focusing on experimental music by Florida artists since its 2007 launch. The event runs 7-9 p.m. June 27. Admission is $5, $3 for students with ID. RSVP on or by calling 305-893-6211.

For info on more South Florida art news and events, visit

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Local spotlight: Patricia Schnall Gutierrez

Patricia Schnall Guitierrez will exhibit Self Portrait With Polka Dots at Women's Perspectives Dina Mitrani Gallery (Image courtesy of the artist)
"Self Portraits With Polka Dots" encompasses nine black-and-white photographs, each showing artist Patricia Schnall Gutierrez standing in a hallway between the doorways to her bedroom and her art studio. Wrapped in a weighty cloth that trails behind her, she's surrounded by digitally added circular and oval dots.

The dots — in orange, purple, yellow, aqua, black and green — represent the cheery facade of a woman trying to balance family and career.

Patricia Schnall Gutierrez
"What's on the surface is not always what's underneath," Gutierrez says of the work that hangs in "Women's Perspectives," a group show running through Aug. 24 at Miami's Dina Mitrani Gallery. "There are demons that all of us have in those dark moments at 3 in the morning when we wake up."

For Gutierrez, these demons were about the guilt she consistently felt over not spending enough hours on her art or her family.

"I was taught when I went to school during the feminist movement, that we can do it all," she says. What she learned, after getting married in 1976 and having the first of three children, is that we can't do it all as perfectly as we might like. ...

Read the rest of Arterpillar's story in the Sun Sentinel's June 24 Lifestyle section.

For info on more South Florida art news and events, visit

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Rainy But Art-Filled Saturday Night

David Zalben: A Love You Can't Live Without
I went to Miami Beach this weekend to check out Day 18 of David Zalben's 41-night work-in-progress window exhibition, A Love I Can't Live Without, and catch the opening of The Afterlife, a show featuring work by Franklin Sinanan, Byron Keith Byrd and Alex Heria.

We arrived early enough for a beer at Zeke's. The place was pretty quiet inside until the wind kicked up and the rain started. As a seemingly endless stream of people came in seeking shelter and beer, you could hear signs blowing down and glasses rolling off tables outside the restaurants on Lincoln Road.

Suddenly, Zeke's was crammed. We'd nearly finished our first beer and having completely forgotten about the cash-only policy, couldn't afford a second. After sipping for awhile and contemplating our next move, we decided to escape the increasingly claustrophobic conditions and head into the pouring rain for dinner at Icebox. One umbrella didn't cut it, however, so we arrived soaked, but had fun anyway.

After dinner, we walked to ArtCenter/South Florida where even on this wet night, we found a little crowd outside the window where David Zalben (my recent Q&A with Zalben) was bending wire into words. After watching for awhile, we headed in and while winding our way to The Afterlife show spotted a sign near a stairway that indicated the direction to Adriana Carvalho's studio. It's behind a stairwell and somehow I had always missed it when visiting there, so we went back downstairs to see if she might be in.
She was and chatted with us in the cozy space where she was sketching among her many works, which ranged from a sculpture that resembled a giant pair of ruffled underwear and was made from an old rain gutter to another of a fancy little dress on a hanger. The latter was made from a Fancy Feast cat food can. She also showed us a very cool calendar that contained some of her other works.

Afterwards, we checked out The Afterlife, but while taking pics I got a little tap on the shoulder from someone who told us no photography was permitted. I guess, in a world where everyone's always snapping pics like crazy on their phones or cameras, I sometimes forget to even inquire. So I don't have pics to share from the three-artist show but it runs through July 22 and you can view two images from the show and some details at

My slide show above contains pics from Zalben's A Love You Can't Live Without and images from the studio of Carvalho, whose solo exhibition, 101 Dresses, will open Sept. 29 and run through Nov. 11 at ArtCenter/South Florida. (my interview with Carvalho last fall).

Despite the rain, it was a really fun night out.

For info on more South Florida art news and events, visit


Studio Vérité: Amy Gross from Jacques de Beaufort on Vimeo.

South Florida fiber artist Amy Gross has posted a fabulous video that artist Jacques de Beaufort made about her and her work. (Video is above).

Girls' Club has the lowdown on the call to artists for Florida Atlantic University's Fine Arts Festival (Deadline: July 6) as well as details on a Broward County Arts & Economic Prosperity study.

Jon Hunt posted "KittyBot," his adorable live art from Tattoopalooza, on his blog 26 Hour Day (Courtesy of Hunt)

Rob Goyanes, winner of the Miami Writers Prize 2012, examines artist Misael Soto's recent Beach Towel project in an Artlurker post titled Soto's Beach Towel and the Stuff of Miami Mythos.

Miami Rail, an editorially independent expansion of the Brooklyn Rail, has published its first quarterly of critical coverage of Miami arts and culture.

Anne Tschida shares some of her memories about former University of Miami art history professor and writer Paula Harper, who died on June 3.

"Blue Nude Flying" by Virginia Erdie (Courtesy of Erdie)
Artist Virginia Erdie discusses turning her attention from her angst over the condition of the world to "intangible things like science, fractal theory, string theory, etc etc etc and the unseen threads that connect our more intelligent unconscious mind."

Art is About's Eddie Arroyo posts some truly bizarre images from Call Time 7 p.m./The Nightclub, along with his thoughts on being a participant who, like others, gets eyes painted on his eyelids and has the experience of being in a room full of people and visual distractions, without being able to actually see anything or anyone.

The Art Place Wynwood has posted its list of the 19 artists selected for its first annual juried painting show

Antisteetz posts its Q&A with Miami artist Kazilla.

Images courtesy of Jennifer Love Girdona

Jennifer Love Gironda discovers a resemblance between her Bettie and Caravaggio's Medusa circa 1596.

Two years after leaving Miami, Ross Ford posts his images and memories of "feverishly hanging 120 paintings in a day, staying out late with good friends, then flying to Massachusetts for a wedding and a reunion, then packing our whole life into a truck and driving non-stop to NC."

Betweeners is a regular feature that allows Arterpillar to justify her time spent reading other local art blogs and surfing for local art news ... and to talk about herself in third person in italics.

For info on more South Florida art news and events, visit

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Local Spotlight: 20 Questions With David Zalben

For the last 17 nights, Miami Beach artist David Zalben has arrived in the 12 X 12 white space in the front window of ArtCenter/South Florida, where he sits in a very low lawn chair, his beverages and harmonica beside him, and continues bending one very long ongoing string of 16-guage wire into words. These words, which hang in loops all around him, reflect the conversation he's been having in his mind. It's a conversation about love, lust, romance, expression, inspirations and muses, but mostly it's about all the things his title, A Love You Can't Live Without, might suggest.

His words are filling up the room and attracting the attention of writers and curious onlookers who stop to watch, read some of his words and take photographs. Yesterday, I called Zalben to talk abut his project, which will continue through tonight's opening of The Afterlife show at ArtCenter, and every night through July 16.

Here are his replies to 20 questions I asked him about his project and his first 16 nights behind the glass.

Photo by Kevin Foltz
I guess you've been the subject of many photographs.
Yeah it's amazing ... people doing videos and still pictures and for the life of me i don't understand exactly. I mean I understand it from one point of view in that the work is turning out as I had hoped. Visually, its really dramatic. It's quite something to see but they're taking pictures of me and I'm thinking "Really?" I'm just bending wire. I don't really get it but for whatever reason they find it fascinating.

When you're working in the window, do you listen to music?
Oh yeah, I have to. I can't do it without listening to music. You know what I kinda do? I try to create my studio down here in the window. So I have my harmonica, I have my beverages ... I have the music, something that puts me in that mind frame to write, something I find inspirational in some way.

Do you play the harmonica a lot?
Not very often. Only a few times I played it. usually when no ones around. I try not to do it when people are looking at me . I feel a little too shy about that, I think.

Is there a significance to the number 41, as in 41 nights?
 No, not really. The art director gave it to me for 41 days and that's really the main significance. I  mean I could do it 10 days, maybe less, but the reason I do it 41 nights is because I decided that I wanted to fill this room full of wire and it was more practical to do that when I was in the window.  That's how I came up with it. I didn't have enough time or space to do this in my studio and transfer it down here. It would be too complicated with all the wires. This was a practical thing to do.

You're there a few hours every night?
Yeah, I have been starting between 8:15 and 8:30. I don't get in the window past 8:30. It's the length of time that changes from night to night. Sometimes on Friday or Saturday if my hands will hold up I can go three hours, so I might go to 11 but that's kind of rare.

Photo by Gianni Cohen
I understand your initial inspiration was someone you're inspired by or find fascinating. Does the person know this is about them?
Uh, yeah, I believe so, yes. I'm pretty sure about that.

You've also talked about muses, so did the inspiration grow beyond what it was initially?
Yeah, I think you start to meander and incorporate ... I flip in and out of being very specific toward somebody, an individual person, and then it goes back out to more of a general [thought] of women who inspire me. It's not so much about a muse, I've decided. I've come to this understanding ... I'm separating, categorizing muse and people who inspire me.

I think a muse could be anyone at any given moment but inspiration is more profound and goes much deeper so I think the general part its not lighthearted. It's a serious conversation I'm having about these women in my life in a general way but then I go back and focus on this specific person that we're talking about.

Do you consider the words one long poem?
No, I don't think it's a poem really. I realized a couple weeks ago that I'm just having conversation with myself and I just keep writing down conversation and each day — I'm starting to do this now — I have themes before I go in. So maybe the theme will be uplifting and I try to stick with that theme but I have to admit that even with a theme there are times when it kind of goes down a bit in tone and I'm conscious of that and trying to bring it back up. I'm trying to keep a balance.

Photo by Kevin Foltz
Would you say out of all the art you have done that this has gotten more attention than other things, or anything?
I think so. The wire room I did for Wynwood Art Fair got tremendous feedback from big shots in the art world, but I think that [in terms of] overall exposure of everyone in the community for sure. There's no doubt about it . It trumps the wire room. I think this is a broader spectrum somehow. I don't know what it is precisely.

Yeah, I was going to ask you, since people seem so drawn to it, whether you get a feel for what makes that connection for people.
You know, I think passion. There's true love and passion in this room, and my gut feeling is that people see it. They have to see that because it's spoken about in these pieces of what I'm expressing. It's passion, love and all of those things, and humor of course as well. I think everybody can relate to those universal emotions. It's my gut feeling and it's in the title A Love You Can't Live Without. People read that and then they start reading the lines, the wordage and they start seeing the connection between the title and the menagerie of lines of wordage ... then they'll read my little statement and realize I'm doing this not just for one day but 41 days and they're blown away that I would be dedicated enough to be here 41 days. I don't know if they think I'm crazy or they admire that. I really don't know.

What's the most interesting thing to happen outside your window lately?
Young children, girls actually around 8-9-10-11-12, that whole range right there ... I notice they're enthralled with what I'm doing. I mean, they're not reading it, I'm certain, but they're really attracted to this thing that I'm doing. They'll do little heart shapes with their hands at the window. One texted and put her phone against the window so I could see what she wrote. She wrote her name. She wanted me to know her name.

Photo by Adriana Carvalho
Aw, that's nice.
Yeah, its really something, and this woman told me I was a heart surgeon. I'm not sure what that means exactly but it felt touching.

Sounds like people feel connected to what you're doing.
Yeah and I'm happy ... It's a very serious commitment for me. My only thing was that I don't want to be a sideshow, like a circus act, and it hasn't been perceived that way thankfully. All the feedback has been positive as I'd hoped.

After 41 nights, it seems like there has to be a grand finale of sorts. When you finish on Night 41, will there be bubbles, champagne or something happening? How will this end?
Well, I have my own fantasy of how it will work out but that's just fantasy. Reality is that it will probably be ...well there are two things: One is that it will feel anti-climatic because as soon as I'm done it has to come out of the window. It has to come out the end of the next day because they have to patch all the walls and get ready for the next [exhibition].

Oh, gosh.
Yeah, I mean it's just really funny, the very end, but I was thinking and I'm not sure I'm gonna do this yet ... Actually an artist suggested this to me because [the window] is so full ... that the lines of words could go out the side and trail out the door right in front of the window. It would become this big circular piece that I would be doing outside. It depends on the weather and some other factors I might not be aware of, like code violations.

Oh, that would be really cool.
Visually that would be neat and a fitting kind of finish but it could be raining and that would just put a kibosh on the whole thing. I have some thoughts but I want to be spontaneous at the same time, to be flexible about what I need to do.

I think when you take on projects like this where you're involved day after day, there are things you learn about yourself. Do you feel like there are key things you've come to better understand about yourself through doing this project.
Yes and no. I guess I realize how privileged I am to be able to express myself ... you know everybody has loved someone and we all need time to express it and if we don't know how to express it we suffer quietly. I feel privileged that I can show this to people. It seems like a therapy, that through this conversation I'm having with myself I cure myself in many ways. It's about how to let things go and to realize that "OK, maybe there's a little bit of suffering involved but look what I'm creating," and that makes me really satisfied.

It must feel rewarding. I mean, one of the things about being in this window is that you can can see how people connect to it.
Yeah, I'm in the window now talking to you and people are taking pictures while I'm taking to you on the phone. It's funny, the fishbowliness.

Photo by David Zalben
Don't you want to take pictures of them?
Oh, you know I did take one picture and I posted it on Facebook. There are a lot of great scenes which I don't capture because I'm really focusing on what I'm doing but there was this one little girl and she's wearing this dress and putting her little face up against the window, smooshing it against the window and I'm like "Oh my god, this is incredible" and she kept doing it in different spots so I'm like "OK, I gotta get this so I get my phone and go to take a picture and she stops.

But she did do a look, she put her head against the window and she was looking at what I'm writing and it was so sweet. That's the only picture I caught but I thought, "I don't need to take another picture. That says it all."

That's cute. Thanks so much for taking time out to talk about your recent project. Did you have anything else you wanted to say about A Love You Can't Live Without?
No I guess it speaks for itself to a certain point, the title especially. I think that's what I'm trying to say, that we all need people in our lives to inspire us and that's the big privilege, that I recognize that. That's what I want to impart on people. It doesn't matter if the relationship is platonic or romantic or if it stays or if it ends, and if it does end don't be so bitter. That person had to inspire you in some way. Love would be nothing without the people in our lives.

A Love You Can't Live Without runs through July 16 in he window of ArtCenter/South Florida in Miami Beach.

For info on more South Florida art news and events, visit

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Art of Saturday

Byron Keith Byrd is one of three artists exhibiting in The Afterlife at ArtCenter/South Florida (Photo courtesy of the artist)
ArtCenter/South Florida
800 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, 305-674-8278,

The Afterlife: Works by Byron Keith Byrd, Alex Heria and Franklin Sinanan has three artists uniting religious symbols used in their works to create a mash-up. Byrd, for examples, explores life, death and the implications of religion in "Religious Trap," a work that incorporates hundreds of spring-loaded mousetraps to create a cross, while photographer Heria will exhibit sculptures that blend religious icons with jewels, glitter and gold to demonstrate the connection between Catholicism and currency. Sinanan, meanwhile, explores the "push-pull of life, love-hate, violence-compassion and good-evil" in paintings that include iconic images from "Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Santeria, Vodou and other religions." The show opens 7-10 p.m. June 23 and runs through July 22 at ArtCenter's Richard Shack Gallery (800 Lincoln Road).

 While you are there check out A Love You Can't Live Without, wire sculptor David Zalben's installation that's billed as 41 days of lust, romance and relationships. Through July 16, he'll be writing prose in wire graffiti in the main windows of ArtCenter/South Florida. “Each evening, I will write about my many muses, love, lust and other related subjects,” said Zalben in a statement about the project.  “Aside from the physical challenge of bending 16-gauge wire into intricate lettering, there’s the psychological pressure of creating something in public that is normally a private process, and of sharing meaningful thoughts that are an honest expression of my state of mind.”

After 41 days of bending wire into heartfelt words into a 12- by 12-foot white space, viewers will have "literally and figuratively a window into Zalben’s soul."

Villa Sehres
1545 Meridian Ave., Miami Beach

Summer Show and Celebration, produced by Life Is Art and Robin Rile Fine Art, and sponsored by Dan Sehres and Carl Kruse, is a contemporary indoor-outdoor art show for collectors, buyers and art lovers. The invitation-only part of the show opens from 4 to 7:30 June 23, and anyone not invited can check out the show from 7:30 to 11 p.m. Admission is $20 and includes a live band, sponsored bar and light bites.

Chris Lopez Studio
831 N. Federal Highway, Suite F, Fort Lauderdale, 954-295-3269

The Graphic Side, an exhibition of new works by Chris Lopez, opens 7-10 p.m. June 23 with a wine-tasting reception.

Kristin Frenzel's Jean Luc Picard on exhibit at Stark Trek: A Tribute Show at Undergrounds Coffeehaus. (Photo courtesy of the artist)
Undergrounds Coffeehaus
3020 N. Federal Highway, (Mardi Gras Balcony) Unit 5A, Fort Lauderdale, 954-630-1900,

Star Trek: A Tribute Show opens 9 p.m. June 23. As usual, there will be snacks, themed movies and music.

For info on more South Florida art news and events, visit

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Heads Up: A New Art Walk in Town

"Happy," a work by Juan Carlos Arana, one of 11 artists exhibiting at the first Brickell Art Walk in Miami. (Image courtesy of Brickell Art Walk/Arana)
With everyone and their grandma having monthly art walks these days, one has to wonder if there will ever be a saturation point. We've got Coconut Grove Art Walk and NOBE Art Walk on the first Saturday of the month, Wynwood on the second Saturday, Bird Road Art Walk on the the third Saturday, F.A.T. Village Art Walk on the fourth Saturday. There are more such monthly events as as well (Boynton Beach Art Walks, Island City Art Walks, Art Walk Las Olas, South Miami Art Walk etc.)

But it's hard to complain too much art and as far as I know, no one in South Florida is doing an art walk on a Tuesday night, until now.

The first Brickell Art Walk will take place from 5-11 p.m. Tuesday, June 26 (and is now scheduled the last Tuesday of every month). The event will feature exhibitions by nine artists and performances by Josephine Bauza a.k.a. Pepa, jazzman Leo Casino, Miami-based traveling performance troupe CircX, Llamabeats, Pat Hunter, Priscilla Mari and DJ Fabio Domo from 7-9 p.m. in Mary Brickell Village Courtyard.

The mission of Brickell Art Walk is as unique as its mid-week timing. "With a great variety of art styles and prices we want to eradicate furniture store 'art' from the walls of Brickellians," organizers note on

Being "Brickellian" or an owner of "furniture store art," however, is fortunately not a prerequisite for attendance. All you really need is a love for local art, music, food and wine and a calendar that's free on Tuesday night. And really, what else is happening on Tuesday? An after-party will be held at Kyma Lounge @ The Epic, 270 Biscayne Boulevard Way, Miami. Below is a list of exhibitions you will find at Brickell Art Walk. 

Balan's Brickell
900 S. Miami Ave., Miami, 305-534-9191,

Rock Artist in Red,
an exhibition of paintings by Floyd Heglichs a.k.a. Floyd the Rock Artist.

"Sit With Me" from Juan Carlos Arana's "Back in the Day" (Image courtesy of Brickell Art Walk/Arana)
Baru Urbano
1001 S. Miami Ave., Miami, 305-381-5901,


There ... Back in the Day, an exhibition of paintings by Juan Carlos Arana, an artist inspired by people life, nature, and recently, Charlie Chaplin, whose film scenes Arana captures in his work.

Arana notes his appreciation of history and nostalgia for his own childhood. Growing up in Cali, Colombia with many cousins his age and later in New York, he notes that "Fond memories are all I have of a world where there was no responsibility and no social pressure - just pure bliss."

His current work centers around children of the Industrial Revolution. "When viewing photographs of that time, a deep sadness strikes me ... that these children, at such a young age, were put through horrid circumstances as our country was built. Living without a childhood to be fond of stirs me in such a way. I am compelled to create this fantasy world where the children can experience that which most people now long for: running around free from obligations, riding your bike until it is dark out, playing with friends and inventing new games. I give these children that long lost childhood in my work.

Don't Be Afraid of a Little Bit of Pain," from Richard Kurtz's Boxers Inspiration
(Image courtesy of Brickell Art Walk/Kurtz)
Burger and Beer Joint
900 S. Miami Ave., Miami, 305-523-2244,

Boxer's Inspiration is an exhibition of Richard Kurtz's mixed-media paintings featuring boxers, which to Kurtz represent the ongoing battle to remain conscious and present. "When I was thirteen Muhammed Ali was my hero," Kurtz notes in a written statement. "He spoke his truth. I saw him walking on the boardwalk in Atlantic city in 1968. His boxing title had been stripped from him. He walked the planks of the boardwalk with integrity. The boxer series for me serves as a metaphor to focus." Kurtz says the the boxer image is also his way of dealing with demons from within the confines of society – his ring.

Kurtz still recalls cutting up paper and gluing shapes together in his father's study as a kid and feeling mesmerized, intoxicated even, by the process of making art. "The drawn line, the mark, the stroke, contained millions of tiny vibrations," he notes. "They traveled through me."

He continues to maintain a playful style that he feels speaks for the inner child in all of us. "The child preserves myth and wonder, heroes and villains, in a world of violent manufactured control," he notes. "My artwork serves as an alternative to a rigid system, a key for the shackles that bind us."

Christian Bernard a.k.a. Narbero's sculptures will be on exhibit at Cavas. (Image courtesy of Brickell Art Walk/Nafbero)
Cavas Wine Tasting Room Cafe
900 S. Miami Ave., Miami, 305-372-8027,

Dolores by Narbero
will feature sculptures by Christian Bernard a.k.a. Narbero.

"Red Mangrove" from Ernesto Kunde's "Moving Mangroves" (Image courtesy of Brickell Art Walk/Kunde)
Dolores But You Can Call Me Lolita
1000 S. Miami Ave., Miami, 305-403-3103,

Moving Mangroves is an exhibition of a new series by Ernesto Kunde's. Much like Tribute, an earlier series that the Brazilian-born artist painted of landmark Miami buildings and street scenes, it's locally inspired.  The exhibition will be accompanied by live music. 

Ian Fichman's "Bear Your Burden" from Heavy Burden
(Image courtesy of Brickell Art Walk/Fichman)
Mary Brickell Village Courtyard
901 S. Miami Ave., Miami, 305-381-6130,

Heavy Burden is an exhibition of sculptures by Ian Fichman. The artists titles his works, made from Scrap, Stock steel and found objects, in a manner that conveys their most basic meaning.  The works in Heavy Burden, for instance, are about will power leading to achievement and have titles such as "Bear the Burden" and "Hold On to What You've Got."

"Each piece depicts specific physical actions that humans perform as they struggle to reach their goals," the artist notes. "The pieces lack individual facial characteristics as they represent our commonality as human beings."

Photographs by Rubem Robierb will be on exhibit at Oceanaire Seafood Room. (Image courtesy of Brickell Art Walk/Robierb)
The Oceanaire Seafood Room
900 S. Miami Ave., Suite 111, Miami, 305-372-8862,

Rubem Robierb will exhibit his photographs. He considers photography as writing with lights, ratehr than words. After years spent translating his poetry into visuals via camera, the words began to fade away as the photographs consumed increasingly more of his passion. He focuses on the human form, which he views as "a container that can be filled or interpreted in a number of ways."

David Siqueiros's Homage to Andy Warhol at Perricone's Marketplace & Cafe (Image courtesy of Brickell Art Walk/Siqueiros)
Perricone's Marketplace & Cafe
15 S.E. 10th St., Miami, 305-374-9449,

Homage to Andy Warhol, an exhibition of mixed-media photography by David Siqueiros, who was born in Texas and so drawn to photography at a kid that he spent the nights of his junior and senior year of high school in a sleeping bag so he could use his bedroom as a darkroom. After earning his bachelor of fine art in photography, he moved to New York where he met many fashion photographers and photographed models from The Ford Modeling Agency. That's how he met Andy Warhol, who he photographed in October 1985 at Codalight Studio in New York City, 16 months before the artist's death. Siqueiros will be sharing some of these photographs in Homage to Andy Warhol.

"The Entire Universe" from Antonio Guerrero's I Live on a Red Planet
(Image courtesy of Brickell Art Walk/Guerrero)
Red Bar & Gallery
52 S.W. 10th St., Miami, 786-316-0303,

I Live on a Red Planet, Antonio Guerrero's exhibition of mixed-media paintings, depicts a world in which the color red dominates and birds and beaked humans are among the primary residents.

The contemporary Cuban artist grew up with much artistic encouragement but few artistic materials, according to his bio. After getting drafted into the army and sent to Africa in 1986, he became interested in modern expressionism and began creating works and exhibiting them at the military base. Upon returning to Cuba in 1988, he resumed his art, making paintings, engravings, woodcarvings and sculptures, but according to his bio, government oppression and worsening conditions, prompted him, his cousin and their friend, to build a raft and launch it from the coast of Mantanzas. Five days later they were rescued and brought to the U.S.

A portrait Guerrero later painted of himself and his fellow rafters became part of a collection donated to the Jose Parti Foundation to raise money for FIU scholarships. Guerrero continued making art. He views the world as "a cosmic stage for human activity" and his role as a painter as an involved one. "I'm in the system like a computer programmer writing codes with my sketchbook and brushes, playing the critic, here to create and program the unconscious," he notes in his artist statement. "Apart from all the trouble we cause ourselves, I believe we are immersed in a powerful and beautiful mystery. The fact of our existence is a great riddle to me."

For more info on the June 26 Brickell Art Walk, visit BAW's website, Facebook or Twitter.

For info on more South Florida art news and events, visit

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Art of Friday

Kristin Frenzel's "Tesla" will be on exhibit at Black Friday Presents: Dead Celebrity (Image courtesy of artist)
Green Room
109 S.W. Second Ave., Fort Lauderdale, 954-449-1030,

Black Friday Presents: Dead Celebrity, a themed art show featuring works by 20 artists including Jennifer Love-Gironda, Erika Hagarty, Kristin Frenzel, Ian M. Santos and Justin "INVI" Vilonna, as well as on-stage performances, live art by Steven Marino, burlesque by Val Vampyre, Morgan La Rue, Lisa Ann and DJs Brian "Big Boy" Harte, LinderSMASH and Kaos spinning until 4 a.m. the six-hour party starts at 10 p.m. June 22 and there are two-for-one drinks until midnight. Admission is free and it's 21-and-up.

Hyatt Regency
400 S.E. Second Ave., Miami, 305-358-1234,

Tattoolapalozza, billed as "a tattoo and fine art extravanganza" and featuring a roster of artists including Jesse Smith, Ron Russo, Jeremy Miller, Phil Garcia, Frank La Natra, Jon Montalvo, Vince Villalvalzo, Stefano, Liz Cook, Bill Vegas, Paul Acker and Timmy B., June 22-24. Cost: $20 in advance, $25 at door or $45 in advance and $60 at door for a three-day pass, and free for kids 12 and under.

The Wynwood Walls
2550 N.W. Second Ave., Miami, 305-531-0658,

ART: Keep the World Moving, a silent auction to benefit No Boundaries Prosthetic Foundation and sponsored by Macy's, Wynwood Kitchen and Bar, Joey's Italian Cafe Ristorante and NEOX Image, 7-11 p.m. June 22.

For info on more South Florida art news and events, visit

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Artist Opportunities

RedEye 2012 is coming

● RedEye, the annual show held at ArtServe, seeks two- and three-dimensional work in the following categories: experimental and graffiti; lowbrow, pop and surrealism with underground origins (punk, hotrod, tattoo art) and art that makes a statement about sociey or current trends. Intake is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 23. There's a two-piece limits and submission fee is $45, $20 for Artserve members and students with valid ID. The event opens 6-10 p.m. July 14. ArtServe is at 1350 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-462-8190. There's also a call to filmmakers for this show. Entry fee is $20 and deadline is 5 p.m. June 23. All necessary details, applications etc. are on

● Niki Art Studio, Circa24 at 1310 Gallery are seeking vibrant 2D and 3D works of art that are "colorful, cultural, fashion, cosmic, extraordinary, otherworldly" for Culture Clash, its monthlong celebration of art, aliens and fashion. Submission fees, to help offset the cost of producing the show, are as follows: Artists pay  $15 for one work or $25 for as many as three, vendors pay $35 and corporate vendors pay $45. Completed submission and donation must be made by June 26 to be listed in flyer. Artists and vendors keep 100% of their sales.

Confirmed dates for the show include the opening (7-11 p.m. July 21), a community outreah and workshop (2-5 p.m. July 28), a clothing swap (3-6 p.m .July 29), Dr. Sketchy session (7-11 p.m. Aug. 4) and closing party (7-11 p.m. August 2011 (date TBA). 

● De la Cruz Collection in Miami is accepting portfolio submissions.

For info on more South Florida art news and events, visit