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Biscayne Boulevard Times: originally published October 2006

"Wynwood Gallery Walk Delicious"

By Victor Barrenechea

On Saturday, Sept. 9, the Wynwood arts district became the bustling hub of the Miami art scene. With Art Basel only a few months away, the streets were packed with art aficionados, downtown hipsters and casual spectators, as well those in search of free drinks (of which there were plenty to be had).

And even children got in on the action – at least there were droves of them at Edge Zones, the World Arts Building. Most of them gathered around one exhibit where animatronic, penis-headed figures encased in glass danced around when you pressed a nearby orange button. Kids had fun pressing the button and watching the figures dance. They loved it! Underage kids also served Bacardi Raz (a kiddie drink, anyway) to gallery-hoppers while a bland, straight-to-VH1 band plodded along dully.

As far as art, they had Rachel Hoffman doing a performance piece entitled Wunder Tchotcke in a room decorated something like a child’s bedroom, with dolls, stacks of fruit, tacky decorations and a vaguely aquatic theme. Two girls in furry animal outfits lounged on pieces of furniture, making everyone who entered the room feel awkward and uncomfortable.

Another room featured Nelson Gutieres’ Dog Days, comprised of long strips of paper run along the bottom half of the room with dogs drawn in charcoal and blood. The centerpiece was Doggy, a chocolate dog sculpture melting within its glass case.

Victor Payeres’ Above the Clouds featured a bunch of cliché Juxtapoz-styled paintings with an occasional ham-fisted pop cultural icon (Dumbo, Mickey Mouse) thrown in at random.

The most interesting works at the World Arts Building were Magali Wilensky’s mixed fabric pieces. These abstractions were made of coiled, wrapped fabric in intricate swirling designs with vibrant colors. Whatever Edge Zones lacked in terms of decent art they more than made up for with food – pasta salad, nachos, many different kinds of cheese and fun-sized chocolate bars. It was definitely the best food spread of all the galleries.

Ingalls & Associates also dished out an amazing array of refreshments – various assortments of wines, beer and liquor.

One eye-catching piece at Ingalls was Murtropolis, by Charles Huntley Nelson. On a flat screen played a mesmerizing video collage of the classic Fritz Lang film Metropolis that would slowly fade over scenes from Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi’s Goodbye Uncle Tom. It also included other pop culture references like a lightning bolt striking the Capitol building, from an old album cover by D.C.- based hardcore band Bad Brains.

Other pieces at the gallery were purposefully – but poorly – hung. One tiny painting stood alone on the blank wall, hung about a foot off the ground so you had to bend down to get a good look at it, mocking the conventional art space setup. But when you’re inundated with so much art from so many galleries, a challenging setup like that runs the high risk of turning people away and going unnoticed.

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