tc: temporary contemporary is a city-wide temporary, public art program initiated by the Bass Museum of Art in partnership with the City of Miami Beach. This program seeks to activate the urban landscape with art, surprising and engaging residents, visitors and passers-by with outdoor works of art in unexpected places. Sculpture, murals, sound installations, video and other interactive works of art, will interrupt people’s daily routines and encourage thoughtful interactions with the city and its communities. Public art becomes a catalyst to appreciate the unique character of Miami Beach from the Art Deco façade of the Bass Museum to Frank Gehry’s New World Symphony, to the busy streets and boardwalk and the spaces in between.
tc: temporary contemporary is an ongoing project, as works of art explore interactions and relationships: to an environment, to a site and to each other. This general theme includes the nuances of communication and interactivity, as well as our physical relationship to architecture. The topography of the city will be pointed to, redrawn and redefined by some projects. Others will convey a sense of surprise via displacement, where seemingly common objects in public space are not what they appear. A number of projects are designed to promote new, vibrant meeting places for social interactions in the community.
On occasion, groupings of works will be presented as exhibitions within tc: temporary contemporary. The first such project was developed for Art Public 2012 by guest curator Christine Y. Kim, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at LACMA (The Los Angeles County Museum of Art) and Co-Founder of LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division). A selection of the works included in the exhibition – Alice Aycock, Lourival Cuquinha, Jose Davila, Mark Hagen, Teresa Margolles, Jaume Plensa, Randy Polumbo and Ugo Rondinone – remained onsite and became part of the tc: temporary contemporary program.
Art Public 2012 recalls Barthes’s distinction between ‘speech’ (parole) and ‘language’ (langue). Taking on the notion of speech as an essentially ‘individual act of selection and actualization,’and as a ‘combinative activity that corresponds to an individual act and not to a pure creation,’’ the selection of works reflect altered content within language: the less malleable counterpart from which it emerges but with which it co-exists in reciprocal comprehensiveness. In other words, the works of art take cues and apply or imply meanings that derive from a common tongue, but they reorder and reintroduce curious utterances and phrases that connect to references outside of, but inevitably intertwined with, a specific lineage of modern and contemporary art. In essence, the speech acts represented by these disparate and variable works spring from, enable, converse with, and challenge systems or discourses such as: modern art and architecture; urban myth, monument and archive; and the language of banners, flags and signage, among others. Many of these works are unexpected in scale and delivery but grounded in their connection to – and the dialectics of – language and speech, interdependent, where ‘real linguistic praxis is situated,’ according to Merleau-Ponty. Instead of the effort to ‘weave more texture and openness into more conventional approaches to what is perceived as public art,’ as I wrote about Art Public 2011, Art Public 2012 understands and underscores langue and takes on parole through images, manipulations, forms and phrases.
Art Public 2013 presented ‘Social Animals’ curated by Nicholas Baume, Director
& Chief Curator of Public Art Fund, New York. Public is produced in collaboration with the Bass Museum of Art. A selection of the works included in the exhibition – Carole Bove, Olaf Breuning, Michelle Lopez, Matthew Monahan, Scott Reeder, Santiago Roose, Tony Tasset, Mungo Thomson, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Phil Wagner – remained onsite and became part of the tc: temporary contemporary program.
‘Man is by nature a social animal.’ – Politics, Aristotle
Aristotle could have imagined no better proof of his claim than the international contemporary art fair. Culture, commerce, conversation, celebration; these inherently social activities converge around the art fair, transforming it into a hybrid form of contemporary event. Art, it seems, is the original social medium, made for and by social animals. This year’s Public installation in Collins Park demonstrates that more artists than ever before are creating powerful works for public space. Artists want a direct, unfiltered connection with audiences and to engage with everyday life. At the same time, they mine an artistic continuum that long predates the idea of the museum, spanning diverse cultures and histories.
For many artists raised on a steady diet of art galleries and museums, public space is an intriguing and challenging frontier. It is, in many ways, the opposite of the “neutral” white cube. Inherently dynamic, it is warmed by the sun and lit by the moon, but never in exactly the same way. It is dense, layered, social, and constantly changing. A successful public work must make a virtue of its promiscuity, delighting in the gaze of newfound admirers and critics alike, able to make of its environment a stimulating context.
A blend of classical landscape design and more picturesque elements, the layout of Collins Park creates a series of outdoor rooms. Some are rectilinear and open, others more densely planted and intimate. Social Animals imagines all of the works of art installed in these different spaces to be participants in a temporary community, meeting for the first time and getting acquainted. Some of the works included refer to human and animal forms, while others use organic materials such as wood, water, and stone to express an elemental sense of nature. A number of works are also clearly conceptually based, referring to objects, images, and systems that relate to our everyday lives; yet others use language and sound – often to humorous effect. Artists of widely different generations and nationalities have been included side by side, reflecting not only the global reach of the art fair, but also the supple flow of art history as it continually reinvents itself. The participating galleries have contributed all of the works now taking up residence in Collins Park. They came for the fair, but like snowbirds, many of the sculptures and installations will stay on as part of Bass Museum’s tc:
temporary contemporary program. We hope you will visit them during the fair and beyond; after all, what social animal doesn’t love company?
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tc: temporary contemporary is made possible through the support of The City of Miami Beach, ArtPlace, National Endowment for the Arts, Knight Foundation and Funding Arts Network, Inc.
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