Trading Places II

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© Courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Art - North Miami (MOCA NOMI)
Trading Places II
Curated by: Bonnie Clearwater

770 NE 125 Street
33161 North Miami
September 13th, 2012 - November 11th, 2012
Opening: September 13th, 2012 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM

nomi, north miami
Tue-Fri, Sun 11-5; Sat 1-9
photography, installation, sculpture


in 2005, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), North Miami launched an experimental program called Trading Places in which South Florida artists swapped their studio spaces for space in the museum’s galleries for the period of two months.  From September 13 through November 11, 2012, MOCA has invited five South Florida artists: Dona Altemus, Onajide Shabaka, Magnus Sigurdarson, Rick Ulysse and Antonia Wright to participate in Trading Places 2, the second installment of this program. Trading Places 2 is part of MOCA’s Knight Exhibition Series program.

The emphasis of Trading Places 2 is on the research and development of projects rather than specifically working toward an exhibition, although works may be exhibited or performed at the museum. The artists selected have reached critical moments in their careers when they can most benefit from the opportunity to work with MOCA’s curatorial and technical staff.

This program provides the artists with studio spacein the museum’s galleries, materials and technical assistants, and opportunities to interact, respond to and investigate each others’ practices and engage in periodic discussions with the public.

A new component of Trading Places 2 is the role these artists will play mentoring the teens and young adults enrolled in MOCA’s free afterschool educationclasses and intern program, as part of the MOCA Art Institute, MOCA’s extensive education program for students of all ages.

Trading Places 2 is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami under the direction of MOCA Executive Director and Chief Curator Bonnie Clearwater. It is made possible by MOCA’s Knight Exhibition Endowment.

Dona Altemus, the youngest artist in Trading Places 2, is a 2012 graduate of New World School of the Arts, where she earned her BFA with a concentration in painting.  For Trading Places 2, Altemus will investigate installation as a tool and explore spatial relationships that are activated when separate works interact.  Altemus first came to Clearwater’s attention when she presented her work at MOCA’s unique Artist Critique program held twice a year, in which approximately 15 students from South Florida art schools present their work to MOCA’s curators for critique at each session. Clearwater notes, “I was impressed by the initial presentation and the maturity of Altemus’s vision. Trading Places will provide her with the opportunity to determine her post-graduate path.”

Onajide Shabaka’s work makes references to the anthropological, geological and biological through a visual aesthetic that is challenging and visceral, with a grounding in African Atlantic culture.  Since 1997, his work has largely moved into the Florida wetlands, upper Minnesota and Oregon woodlands. He will use Trading Places to bring his art practice back into the formal gallery through photography, drawing and sculpture of natural and industrial materials.   Bonnie Clearwater first worked with Shabaka when she selected him for the exhibition New Art: South Florida at the Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale in 1993, and notes that his recent body of work based on botanical studies conducted in South Florida marks a new path for him to develop.  “With his extensiveexperience teaching at the college and university level, Shabaka will play an important mentoring role for the teen and young adult students in MOCA’s afterschool programs,” she said.

Antonia Wright’s project will reflect her background in performance art within the mediums of video, photography and installation to explore the environment of MOCA.  A poet and photographer, Wright introduces social critique into a broad conceptual framework with imagination and conviction. She received an M.F.A. in poetry from the New School University in New York and studied at the International Center of Photography.  Wright was one of the finalists in MOCA’s Optic Nerve XIII film festival in 2011.

Clearwater notes, “One of the essential aspects of any art community is the interaction between its artists. Trading Places helps to forge a stronger relationship between multi-generational artists and the students they mentor and to engage the public in the creative process.”

About Trading Places
 This program was launched in 2005 with Miami artists Salvatore La Rosa, Maria Martnez-Canas in collaboration with Alaska artist Kim Brown, and Frances Trombly. The artists occupied the museum’s galleries from July 29 to September 4, 2005.


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