The BFI #BuildFutureInvestments has moved to the Downtown ArtHouse, a new space in Downtown Miami, and is pleased to announce the opening of new Weird Miami programming with the exhibition Shell-Reflexive and a bus tour led by art space Spring Break.
Inspired by Miami's relationship to Art Basel Miami Beach, the yearly art event that transforms the city into an international arena of art and commerce, Shell-Reflexive operates on a principle of self-reflexivity seeking to inhabit the mechanisms that convert meaning into monetary value in the cycle of art.
Art's meaning – in all of its forms and discords – is the categorical phenomenon that continues to set the art object apart from the mere object. Against an information-driven, production-ready global landscape, we begin to see that the contemporary art object has developed a mechanism that helps to preserve its special status as art: an invisible shell of meaning. The critical discourses that grow around an artistic gesture, the monetary and institutional agreements that manifest it, as well as the social dynamics that surround it, work in tandem to bring the work of art into visibility.
Inspired by the objects that usually lie just outside the exhibition space – museum merchandise – the artists in Shell-Reflexive reflect on the nature of these objects as material carriers of meaning, and present their own versions and mutations of “art merchandise.” What the visitor will encounter are not altogether artworks or merchandise, but a different type of object altogether: a series of shell-elements. Objects not precious, conceived as support elements to artworks not present.
Shell-Reflexive can be understood as a mechanism that evaluates the current status of art in relation to its shell. By turning the exhibition inwards – dissolving the order of visibility that says artwork first, mediation second – Shell-Reflexive seeks to inhabit art's shell as a site of value-creation. The economy created by the merchandise sold will be collectively invested in the stock market by the artists and curator, which, depending on the success of the investment, could serve to finance a future exhibition. A gesture meant to highlight that art is never innocent, especially today, when meaning is a hybrid shell that hovers outside of art itself.
With an architectural contribution by Norwegian artists Audar Kantun and Joar Nedberg. Shell-Reflexive's visual identity is defined by Bjørnar Pedersen and Viveka Forsman in collaboration with the curator. Special thanks to T293 and Kraupa-Tuskany for their support of this project.
Shell-Reflexive is curated by Agatha Wara, a south Florida native, who in 2008 co-initiated the BFI's Weird Miami project. After completing her studies at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Wara relocated to Norway to work on the triennial Bergen Assembly, where she is presently a research and curatorial associate.
All new BFI programming is part of Weird Miami. Through exhibition, events, and bus tours, Weird Miami offers publics a behind-the-scenes look at the city of Miami and its artistic and cultural offerings. BFI invites artists to create bus tours that reflect on one's relationship with the city, exploring South Florida as a site for cultural and artistic production. Upcoming exhibitions and Weird Miami bus tours in 2013 will be presented by Tyson Reeder, and Ana Mendez.
Weird Miami programming is funded through the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation's Knight Arts Challenge, which aims to bring Miami together through the arts.