Miami New Times

All That is Solid Exhibition Takes a Concrete and Clever Approach to Miami's Urban Development

All That is Solid Exhibition Takes a Concrete and Clever Approach to Miami's Urban Development

July 29, 2019

In 2016, Ibett Yanez was planning to launch an art project emphasizing collaboration to spotlight Miami's talents. The lyrics to David Bowie's song "Space Oddity" — which starts with the words "Ground control to Major Tom..." — were floating through her head. Specifically, she recalls, it was the haunting lines that mark a turning point in the modern mythological astronaut's journey. "Though I'm past one hundred thousand miles/I'm feeling very still/And I think my spaceship knows which way to go."

For 15 years, Yanez worked as the founding director of de la Cruz Collection, a private art collection that is open to the public. She recently left the organization to pursue new ventures, including her latest project, the aptly-named Ground Control Miami.

"Every day was a learning experience," she explains of her time at de la Cruz, "that helped me build the platform, network, and community support that has allowed me, with great determination, the ability to pursue my independent practice... After all, personal growth comes from taking leaps and giving yourself the chance to do so."

One lesson Yanez learned at her old post was to collaborate to promote Miami's art scene. She says that's helped her greatly in her new endeavor. "We have worked on numerous projects bridging artists, creatives, sponsors, and institutions by identifying instances where their practice and missions converge," she says of GCM. "These relationships are cultivated to generate ideas and discourse."

GCM members also include artist Carlos Rigau, Lily Yanez, and Tiffany Chestier, director of cultural programming at the real estate company with a hankering for the arts, Dacra, and its CEO Craig Robins' art collection. Pulling their resources and experience in the art scene worldwide, they are finding new opportunities to elevate the cultural landscape locally.

For "All That is Solid,"  a show that coincides with the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus movement, GCM teamed up with another art collective with a similar vision, the roving gallery Placeholder, led by Javier Hernandez, Diego Machado, and Ana Clara Silva. "They brought a dynamic vision to the exhibition and allowed us to learn from their curatorial aesthetics," Yanez says. "All That is Solid" is an homage to that early 19th-century movement that made art functional and examined the dynamics between art, society, and technology. The show looks at how the social landscape — including the economic and urban development of the city — informs the artistic community.

It features work by Edward Holland, Jessica Martin, NUN, Alan Reid, Deon Rubi, and Anastasia Samoylova, as well as performances by Oly, Sabrina Talamo, David Brieske as Fsik Huvnx, and Jenna Balfe. "We are identifying practices that, although may not exist in the same scope, have a fluidity that allows for the exchange and pollination of ideas," Yanez says. "This approach was a driving force in the early organic drive behind the early stages of the Bauhaus movement."

"All That is Solid" is on display at Space S/223, a gallery in the Design District's Paradise Plaza, a corner of Miami that also features installations by Yona Freidman and Urs Fischer. The Design District was once a stomping ground for Miami's homegrown artistic types and students from DASH but was built up in recent years by Dacra as both a mega mall for the very rich and a fine arts haven. The show isn't a criticism of this change, but rather works within the evolved paradigm and embraces the opportunities it provides.

"One of the roles of art and art-making is to address change, progress, and how our creative communities adapt to this change," explains Chestler. "Miami is a young city that will continue to grow and develop in exciting ways. Art has played a significant role in all of Dacra’s projects, allowing artists and curators to have a voice in addressing urban growth and its function in generating a cultural scene."

Yanez echoes that sentiment. "The implications of urban development don't necessarily need to be categorized as a negative outcome for our growing community," she says. "The Design District has always supported the local community... and S/223 is a perfect example of their ongoing commitment to our artists and the cultural wealth they provide."

"'All That is Solid' is an excellent example of how independent artists, curators, and community support — no matter where it comes from — is essential to the livelihood of that community," Chestler says. "The exhibition brings together all these key players that believe in the power of support and collaboration to further a city’s cultural mission... [It] highlights some incredible emerging artists that continue to explore their practice through experimentation and growth. Artists in the exhibition are not bound by geography, aesthetic, or narrative, and reveal to our visitors a moment of active collaborative process and possibilities generated by our creative unity. The exhibition also offers a fresh approach to art-making and how important it is to have an open mind to encourage new possibilities."

In every way, "All That is Solid" embraces a new Miami, creating a solid platform that lets artists penetrate what was once a glass ceiling, linking South Florida to the rest of the world. Ground Control is a proven blasting-off point for the those who are ready to expand their practice, whichever way their spaceships may decide to go.

See media coverage at Miami New Times.

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