Taking place in Miami during Miami Art Week (Dec 6-9) at Satellite Art Show, at 18 NW 14th Street in Wynwood – just a stone’s throw from NADA – SOFT POWER marks a once-in-a-lifetime experience for visitors. Satellite guests can encounter the transcendental sensation of two distinct site-specific installations by the art world’s brightest stars: Brooklyn-based artist Julia Sinelnikova and the Vancouver-based artist Zandi Dandizette. Featuring the intricate iridescence of Sinelnikova’s intriguing sculptures paired with the absurdist creations of Vancouver-based artist Zandi Dandizette, SOFT POWER exalts the queer aesthetic through the lens of amorphic creations referencing meme culture and Disney nostalgia.
Re-orienting the stunning brilliance of the queer experience to disorient the visitor in a dizzying array of forms and fields, Sinelnikova and Dandizette employ the concept of soft power to tantalizing effect. New sensorial surprises await the visitor at every twist and turn of the installation, with multimedia installations, soft sculpture, performances and more providing an unforgettable encounter with an artistic probe into the ultimate spiritual, nonbinary source: the origin of the creative spirit. Fostering a sense of intimacy, wonder and transcendence, Sinelnikova and Dandizette each realize independent exhibits in harmony within a 40-ft container space, bringing to bear the deep and lasting impression soft power can manifest.
Formal elements of the exhibit transcend the physical by referencing aspects of rebirth and transformation, such as the cocoon and the cave. Both Sinelnikova and Dandizette, queer artists working within a conceptual approach, have created these site-specific art installations for Satellite Art Show as a once-in-a-lifetime encounter with a transformative art experience. Keep your eyes peeled for Cornelia Singer performing as a living doll on Dec. 6th & 7th at 7pm. Make no mistake – you’ll never encounter an immersive experience quite like SOFT POWER again, so don’t miss your only chance to interact with these works at Satellite.
Akumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico – Sunlight bakes the streets of Akumal Pueblo, suffusing the ground in pale coral. Palm shadows decorate the sides of tents and small food carts, set up in anticipation of the evening’s festivities. It is 4 PM on Friday November 9th: the opening day of the Akumal Arts Festival (Festival de Arte de Akumal) in Akumal, Mexico. Students are clamoring through the town’s streets, heading home from school with their family, as flags flutter in the breeze with artwork created by the same students. Sharks and skulls, flowers and seaside scenes populate the small scraps of fabrics rippling through the breeze, strung with hanging lights between palm trees on the median between the town’s streets.
Dancers and performers assemble in the town’s central park to prepare for the evening’s festivities, while street artists who have gathered from around the globe in Akumal put finishing touches on their murals in the persistent heat of the Mayan Riviera afternoon. Time ticks on as guests begin assembling in the recreational park, families seating themselves in the town’s stadium, while another set of guests gather nearby. The cackling and barking of blackbirds native to Akumal fills the trees in the median adjacent to the park, rustling and cawing incessantly through the palms. “It’s like this everyday,” my new friend and Akumal resident, Harold, explains. “In the morning and in the late afternoon, here they come, they are very loud like this every day.” Harold and his friends have joined me in assembling alongside these other guests for the festival’s opening ceremony, while four-legged friends get in on the action as well, returning the birds’ greetings. Finally by 5 pm, visitors – avian, canine and human alike – were assembled at the park, awaiting the much anticipated kick-off of the inaugural Akumal Arts Festival.
Introduced in 2018, Akumal Arts Festival (Festival de Arte de Akumal) is a free art festival open to the public and accessible to visitors walking the streets of Akumal Pueblo. Taking place November 9th through 11th, with artwork lasting at these sites for the foreseeable future, over 70 international urban artists have assembled to create masterworks for both walls dotted through the town’s streets and for the iconic bridge linking the two sides of Akumal: the pueblo (town) and the playa (beach) sides. Featuring the artistic stylings of artists such as Skela, Davel, TooFlyNYC, Funqest, Iena Cruz,Kid Crayon, Ms. Yellow, Nomad Clan, and Nate Dee – among many others – Akumal Arts Festival gave visiting artists the chance to polish the existing shine of Akumal while enriching educational programming in the town with workshops, live painting and more. Guest artists visiting from the US, France, Great Britain, Japan, and Mexico – including several other countries – all descended on Akumal to enliven the town’s many streets with surprising, colorful and vibrant artworks.
The excitement throughout Akumal was palpable, as everyone from town administrators to lifeguards, diving trainers to restaurateurs alike saluted artists visiting the town. Native Akumal residents, adults and children alike, frequently waved to visiting artists, shouting greetings from their bicycles as they passed and offering food and drinks. Some zealous residents approached artists, asking them to paint the gates and walls of their own homes. For the week prior to the opening festival, and continuing throughout the weekend, artists gathered for breakfast at the cafe of festival co-founder, Jennifer Smith (Turtle Bay Bakery & Cafe) for a breakfast gratis before gathering their supplies and protection from the sun to hit the streets and skillfully apply layers of paint to their creations. Murals varying in size from ten feet to forty feet across, and ranging in height from ten feet to forty feet, began emerging across the grid of Akumal town. Artists gamely approached each project, churning out the finished piece with help from festival staff including Smith, Jake Klone (artist director & artist,Klonism) and production staff Rena Gray & Erin Ko, along with several other support staff. Artists all finished their incredible works with help from the crew, and in spite of the burning heat of the Mayan Riviera sun – oh, and the occasional tarantula!
Akumal residents were not the only ones thrilled to have artwork integrated into the heart and soul of Akumal – the artists themselves were thrilled to create site-responsive works in such a welcoming environment. With an effusive welcome from Jennifer Smith and festival co-founder Iran Beltran, Delegado Municipal de Akumal, the artists set off to work with a firm understanding of the impact they had on the town’s residents. Artists approached their artworks with care and understanding for the community, making sure their imagery reflected priorities and celebrations integral to the town’s legacy. Artist Ivan Roque, visiting Akumal from Miami, Florida, was quick to point out how he was spurred on to work by the enthusiasm the town extended to his team. “I’ve had three days to make this artwork, and people were surprised over time at how quickly it came together,” Roque shared. “People are honored to have us and appreciate the art being here, I’ve had nothing but total positivity and love from the locals of Akumal.” One reason for this warm welcome is surely the dedication that artists are putting into the local schools: from leading workshops on videography/filmmaking to portraiture and hosting live painting sessions, artists became an intrinsic part of the fabric of the community. For the duration of the festival, artists worked with small groups of Akumal students to help them realize their dreams and paint from their imagination.
Working directly with locals deeply resonated with the artists taking part in the festival, with some artists in particularly seeking to honor the Mayan heritage that existed in the community for millenia, with over innumerable generations of residents calling the Akumal area home. Artist SINNED and collaborator Ria Burns-Wilder noted of their artwork on the Akumal bridge the local ties that the subject of their art held for residents of Akumal. “We’ve been so lucky to speak with locals in Akumal including indigenous Maya residents such as Paschin – a friend we made here,” noted Burns-Wilder. “Communicating in a blend of English and Spanish, Paschin taught us that the Mayan term for this place isn’t Akumal, but “Aak-luu-mil”, or “place of turtles”. We want to honor Mayan culture by adding this name into the mural itself.”
All of this effort and creativity infused the opening festivities with a certain electricity: a presence filling the air with excitement and anticipation. Local municipal leaders, government officials, and festival producers all gave heartfelt reflections to visitors at the park this Friday night. As the sun began to set and the blackbirds cawed on, traditional Mayan dancers exuberantly performed the choreography of their ancestors as indigenous leaders burned incense on a makeshift altar honoring this important occasion. Local students performed dances with renewed vigor, propelled on by the excited shouts of the crowd and hours of practice leading up to the opening ceremony. Visitors stayed on to celebrate late into the night, by the time constellations themselves had delicately begun peeking over at Akumal to watch the ceremony for themselves. The start of Akumal Arts Festival was officially underway, and due to the hard work and exquisite mastery of these dedicated, international artists, it seems that Akumal is no longer home to turtles alone, but to these unique artworks that reinvigorate the spirit of creativity running through the heart and soul of Akumal, Mexico.
Akumal Arts Festival kicks off Friday, Nov 9 in Akumal, Mexico. Situated on the Yucatán between Tulum and Playa del Carmen, Akumal is a long-standing diver’s paradise turned conservation area, with pristine white beaches flanking the beach-comber. With a dedicated local community, Akumal residents – with the guidance of Executive Producer Jennifer Smith (of Tortuga Escondida fame) & team – have pulled together Akumal Arts Fest. With a dedicated team of volunteers and staff, the arts fest welcomes over 70 urban artists from near and far to infuse Akumal’s streets with bright colors, detailed figures and incredible geometric design. With a line-up including artists Funqest,Davel, Rif Raf Giraffe, TooFly,Iena Cruz,Ivan Roque, and PawSki, among others, the 3-day festival kicks off a colorful new Akumal.
Mayan culture permeates Akumal and the surrounding area, a locale held sacred by the Mayan people, and Akumal Arts Fest fully embraces this heritage. Honoring the legends of the past while welcoming contemporary artistic expression, Akumal Arts Fest meets at the boundary between past and future, firmly embracing the present and centered around community engagement.
Activities over the course of the festival include street tours, art demonstrations, live painting, dance and martial arts. Everything kicks off at 5 pm on Friday, November 9 with activities interspersed throughout the weekend as per below. Public events will be held in the Akumal Pueblo, the Paseo de Akumal, at the park, bandstand, and
community center. Artists’ works adorn the town’s iconic overpass bridge, various municipal buildings, the park, and local schools. When Akumal Arts Festival concludes, the art will remain on view in Akumal for the foreseeable future.
With an opening celebration set for Thursday, November 8 from 6-8 pm, Dichotomies– a solo show of works by Carol Crawford – is set to enthrall visitors to Atlantic Gallery, (548 W 28th St Suite 540). Dichotomiesis on view Nov 4-24, and features new works by the artist working across photography, print-making and drawing. Combining materials in order to evoke our rapidly changing political realities, Crawford’s show opens new dimensions and pathways of understanding the current climate of terrorism and extremism surrounding us. These must-see works form a nexxus of critical examinations charting the pathways of human resilience amidst ongoing conflict and suffering.
An interdisciplinary artist working across a variety of mediums, Crawford’s body of work takes assumes a lens of social critique in Dichotomies. Questioning how we as humans are preserving our cultural legacy, works incorporate layers of printmaking and photography to probe the layers of history and memory embedded within our society. While Crawford is considering these subjects, the artist makes great strides not to document these issues in a clinical, journalistic sense. Rather, the artist strives to evoke the emotions and psychological toll of our current sociopolitical moment. Crawford imbues her work with these charged experiences of refugees charting a new, unknown future, miles away from their homes, in an uncertain world of fear and confusion.
The works on view create a visual relationship to one another through the Atlantic gallery space, tracing artist’s steps as she follows in the path of generations of migrants. Refugees fleeing famine, war, and genocide view one another’s faces across the gallery, taking in and reflecting the ubiquitous, unending social strife determining the course of human history. While not all of her works on view overtly reference current events, one work that does is Ode to Palmyra. In this work, Crawford evokes the moment that ISIL destroyed this site in a UNESCO-branded “war crime” in 2016. While the violent act was a means of suppressing human history and destroying a centuries-old structure, Crawford shows flowers blooming at the site. A hopeful glimpse of strength in the midst of adversity, and a thoughtful and nuanced perspective on the human condition, permeates Crawford’s practice on view in Dichotomies.
More information on the exhibit can be found on the artist’s website.
(cover image, artworks by Jamie Martinez for “Color Matters” at Galerie Richard on view through Nov 17)
Color Matters, a group exhibit featuring seven artists on view at Galerie Richard through November 17, presents a detailed exploration of contemporary artists’ use of color. A fascinating juxtaposition of color expressed in both analog and digital artworks, Color Matters includes masterful explorations of color by artists Koen Delaere, Dennis Hollingsworth, Kim Young-Hun, Jamie Martinez, Noriko Mizokawa, Carl Fudge and Joseph Nechvatal. The exhibit continues a dialogue initiated by the art critic Saul Ostrow-curated summer show, Position Matters. Spanning a range of cultural and stylistic approaches to color, these artists are re-defining how color impacts composition in the contemporary moment.
Combining multiple mediums including ink, oil and digital printing methods, the artworks on view converse in a wide lexicon reflecting the present moment in art-making. The show is introduced with works by Kim Young-Hun and Dennis Hollingsworth, flanking the front of the gallery space. Evincing a painterly approach, Young-Hun’s work balances a delicate sense of line with a post-abstract style expressed through the traditional Korean method of painting known as Hyukpil. In contrast, Hollingsworth mounts his oil paints onto the canvas or onto supports attached to canvas by sculpting the medium onto the surface. This juxtaposition of works charts the use of color on a global and chronological scale, particularly when one considers that these artists perfected their practice in the interstitial period between analog and digital art.
The vibrant underpinnings in Carl Fudge and Jamie Martinez’ digital paintings continue the theme of contrast appearing throughout the exhibition. Both artists evoke a graphic sensibility in the exhibition: Fudge’s screen prints trace a subtle gradient of color, marking individual artworks within a cohesive new body of work. Martinez similarly presents a graphic, geometric sensibility in his compositions. The artist’s formulation of his digital paintings in accordance with his principle of Triangulation, composing his paintings of various triangles. The dynamic effect this exudes throughout the artist’s works are palpable, with compositions seeming to leap from the surface of the works. Martinez mastery of his craft is evident in the expert balance between line and color defining the artist’s practice.
Works by Joseph Nechvatal, Noriko Mizokawa and Koen Delaere complete the exhibit. Nechvatal’s works reflect a targeted approach to color, as each hue reflects tones found throughout the human body. Brown, orange and pink shades permeate the artist’s digital paintings and allow an intimate means of experiencing the figure through a nuanced, abstract perspective. Koen Delaere allows color to infiltrate his scattered pattern of lines, with neutral tones and bright hues alike seemingly dancing across the surface of his paintings. Mizokawa draws from a homogeneous lexicon of forms: her organic shapes and dots similarly arrange themselves across the surface of all of her works. The artists range of color from bright hues to pastel tones articulates the unique approach she mounts in creating each unique artwork. Congruent yet surprising, Mizokawa’s compositions delight both long-standing fans of the artist’s work and those new to her practice.
Color Matters is on view at Galerie Richard, located at 121 Orchard Street on New York’s Lower East Side, through November 17. Gallery hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10am-7pm and Sunday 12pm-6pm.