Written by Adora y Teddy Behr Thursday, 10 December 2009 00:00
Calix Gustav Gallery
Tedy Behr: Ok Adora, now that it s finally over, what was your favorite thing during the Art Basel week?
Adora: I really liked the local shows like Miami Independent Thinkers, Baselita and many other grass roots events staged by local artist run groups. But, the image that really stayed with me was the triptych photo by Jonathan Stein of this cute guy in drag beaten up and with the word ‘FAG’ carved into his forehead at the Calix Gustav Gallery on NW 29th Street. The three images of him as a boy, in drag and as the bloodied, gay bashed victim are so powerful they stayed in my mind even after all the art we saw. I loved the title of the piece, “It’s Just make-up.”
T: That was the show called ‘GRIT’ and it’s about endurance in the face of adversity and art’s relationship with the Wynwood neighborhood. That show was really vivid and sensual. I agree that group of three photos seems to tell a story about fear, brutality and self- acceptance that probably all gay people can identify with.
A: Seeing those images of the gay-bashed guy was really striking after the young man that was murdered in Puerto Rico a few weeks ago and the way people have been beaten up by gangs on South Beach. Art’s great when it makes you feel joyful and free, but sometimes it’s also about awareness. Right now those poetic images of aggression and discrimination are important.
T: I think those images haunted me because they are so poetic and because they remind me of something I don’t like to think about but know that it still happens around the world; a lot of people still have a problem with boys and girls like us. They impose their problems on us and it‘s dangerous.
A: Did you like any of the other work in the show? I liked the big sign that said ‘MAFIART’ which is meant to be about big economic interests in art and Wynwood. In a way it also reminded me of the big “HOLLYWOOD” sign.
T: I liked the one by Spunk and The Orange Kittens, a group of anonymous artists protesting the way artists are exploited. The photos of people having sex on the “casting couch” were really playful. But the really powerful piece was “It’s Just Make-up”. It really captures the sense of rejection and fear gay people can so easily be made to feel.
Check out more art in the Wynwood Arts District at the Calix Gustav Gallery located at 98 NW 29th Street in Miami. For more information on the gallery, visit CalixGusavGallery.com or call (305) 576-8116.