Miami Beach, FL – Scope, a satellite show during Miami Art Week showed brighter colors, more direct political messages, but still backgrounded the images with images of flora and fauna. Mirroring the Miami Beach vibe, gold, primary colors, flowers and greens dominated this fair, while the work clearly messaged rules were on hold, and all political bents were represented and questioned.
French artist Jacques Bosser’s Argentic photograph on Cibachrome, “Wax Spirit (MOBA)” at Galerie Sebastien Adrien showed images of black Congolese President Kabila with an ivory-white woman between them in Congolese flowered dress and turban.
The flower motif continues in French artist Bernard Rancillac’s “Enfer Paradis,” an acrylic on canvas shown by Galerie Sebastien Adrien. A central flower separates the worlds of fascists; Nazis, Osama bin Laden, and a church official consuming a human leg with other politicos on the side; the fragrant smell of the flower covering up all political sins.
Cecile Plaisance’s “Marie (proche),” 2018, “Fuck the Rules” series, a lenticular print shows what appears to be a veiled Arab woman with Christian palm to palm peace pose. The work’s coded forward-facing woman subtly speaks through pose and costume to comfort between cultural opposites. Plaisance’s “Hanna Pope,” (2018), from the same series, lenticular print, shows a blond long-haired black woman wearing a cardinal’s headpiece and robes with images of intertwining leaves. Even more blatantly political and in-your-face confrontational is Plaisance’s “Alex smoking burqa,” (2017), lenticular print showing a lace corseted woman wearing a burqa smoking a thin cigar. This juxtaposition of covering up and revealing dares the viewer to look, while the model idly smokes her cigarette. The impossibility in our present world of these confrontational models is revealed, while the comfort of the Arab woman between two oppositional men challenges sensibilities and cultural norms of some factions of society.
Equally, Alexandre Montoya’s “The Choice,” oil on canvas, at Peimbert Art, shows a shoulder-baring model displaying a cut watermelon, eating the cut piece, while a McDonald’s type burger balances on her head. Whereas the gallery director explained that this shows her eating a healthy fruit while thinking about the less healthy burger, I think the message is sexual. She consumes the piece of watermelon that she has cut into, revealing the raw red within the healthy green shell. The choice is not which food to eat, but rather what she has done to her body or its production.
The choice of subject in Knowledge Bennett’s black silkscreens on gold paper at Struck, “Biggie Cojones,” “2 Pac Tupac Shakur” and “Jean-Michel Basquiat Cojones” shows suited rap artists backgrounded with gold, holding liquor bottles, all ingredients that led to their ruin; clothes, wealth and booze.
The grenades labeled with the Chanel double C’s and the Hermes H, “Struck Moto,” sculpture with watch parts, by Dawn Tenenbaum at Struck, blatantly shows the trademark required by those who can afford top brands even in their grenades. Truthfully, how different is this than designer pepper spray? We will apparently label anything with designer signatures, and buy anything with those logos.
Gutsy, subtle work abounded at Scope. The artists and curators are due kudos for getting the message across, making us question our morals, ethics, and practices while the work is still artistically fine.
(Artscope Magazine’s national correspondent, Nancy Nesvet, will be reporting throughout the week from Art Basel Miami Beach 2018 and Art Week Miami 2018.)