Setting my sights on Miami

So, I brought my family to Miami for the monthly Design District Gallery Walk.  Having never done it before, I figured we’d go and stumble through it no matter what; just get the feel for it and try to figure it out as we go.  While the Design District’s website is pretty, it is also a little vague on info for the walk…. at least until the day of.  Regardless, we went at it figuring that everyone would be either happily zipping between galleries or doing the zombie shuffle and we’d just join into the flow.  It was kind of to my expectation -but no zombies.  We headed toward Michael’s Genuine restaurant.  It’s in the heart of it and they have $3 valet… “yes, of course we are going to the restaurant, Mr. Valet…”  We had thought we’d eat there, but as we got going through the galleries we got further  and further away.  Next time we will have a better plan, knowing what we know now.

There were lots of galleries, (although, more interior design/shopping which is cool, too) and most of them were within a few minutes of each other.  the first stand-out space was: 101/exhibit.  The gallery was large and the space was free-flowing.  It seemed like maybe 10 artists showing; whatever the number, there was a very diverse group.  A little bit edgy and dark, the art was generally large and very impressive.  Although, I overheard some people questioning that a particular painting was, “still up?”  Either they loved it and couldn’t understand why it hadn’t been sold already, or they had seen it there for a while (more likely given that the piece was enormous, expensive and extremely dark and intense).  Whatever the case, I liked nearly everything I saw; the show was curated very well.

After that, we experienced a number of good galleries with such a diverse range of styles and techniques on display, that it would take me many, many more words than I am prepared to offer up to fully describe what we saw… so, the highlights only.  Avant Gallery is as much design house as it is gallery space.  I kind of like that when it works well; this one does.  My favorite pieces were commentary on social media and ‘digital’ living in the age of email, Facebook, and blogging, (hmmmm…).  The artist, Alejandro Vigilante was in attendance and seemed very pleased to know that I ‘got’ his work.  Nice guy and really cool concept.

The last truly stand-out space was the Spinello Gallery.  Filled to the brim with hipsters and FTW cool-kids, I really liked the energy of the place.  Even my 5 year old daughter liked this one…  The show was a solo shot for Kris Knight’s “A Deadly Nightshade.”  Super impressive work: really intense portraits of young, radiant faces in Bacchus-like revelry.  The show was really well presented and my personal highlight was the smallish canvas of a bat hanging upside-down, it was only found by looking up and seeing it near the rafters of the gallery.  An interesting placement and shows the out-of-the-box thinking that the gallery uses.  A simple idea, but very telling, I thought.

There were other great galleries and I’m very much looking forward to next month’s offerings.  I hope to get a good feel for the galleries and their aesthetics; form some relationships and build on that.  I’m no longer ignoring the cultural powerhouse at my doorstep; I’ll see you soon, Miami.

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