Glexis Novoa

...because open source matters

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Art | Baselita

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Artists: Raychel Carrion, Sandra Ceballos, Liliam Dooley, Quisqueya Henriquez, Jose Iraola, Hamlet Lavastida, Alfredo Márquez, Jorge Luis Marrero, Ferran Martin, Gean Moreno, Glexis Novoa, Otari Oliva, Charo Oquet, Ernesto Oroza, Fabian Peña, Emilio Perez, Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova, Lázaro Saavedra, Ezequiel Suárez, Sam Shultz, Cesar Trasobares, Vargas-Suarez Universal and Jose Ánagel Vincench.

by Glexis Novoa & Espacio Aglutinador, Havana.

Press releasse:
Whitney Museum of American Art
945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street, New York, NY 10021. | Tel. (212) 570-3633 Fax (212) 570-4169 | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

New York, October 15, 2009 – Twenty-three artists are participating in 2009 'Art Baselita; mama's little girl', which opens at the Whitney Museum of American Art Miami Annex, Wynwood Art District, on December 2, and runs through December 7, 2009. Installations and performances organized by the Whitney and Art Production Fund will also be presented in association with Rubell Family Collections (36th Street) from December 6-23.

Since its founding in 2002, Art Baselita has evolved into the Whitney’s signature exhibition as well as the most important survey of the state of contemporary art in the United States today. The exhibition will occupy the entire Museum Annex, with the exception of the fifth floor, which is devoted to the permanent collection. For the first time, Baselita will expand beyond the Museum’s Miami Annex building into the Rubell Family Collection’s monumental Drill Hall and historic period rooms, creating an opportunity to present works that could not be accommodated within the Whitney Miami Annex’s walls and remaining true to the fluid, interactive way in which these works were conceived.

The 2009 Art Baselita is curated by Henriette Huldisch, Assistant Curator at the Whitney, and Shamim M. Momin, Associate Curator at the Whitney and Branch Director and Curator of the Whitney Museum at Altria, and overseen by Donna De Salvo, the Whitney’s Chief Curator and Associate Director for Programs. Three advisors worked with the curatorial team throughout the process: Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem; Bill Horrigan, Director of the Media Arts department at the Wexner Center for the Arts at Ohio State University; and Linda Norden, independent curator and writer. Donna De Salvo noted, “Baselita is a laboratory, a way of ‘taking the temperature’ of what is happening now and putting it on view. It influences our thinking on multiple levels and, for the Whitney, translates directly into the choices we make about our exhibitions and collections. In dealing with the art of the present, there are no easy assessments, only multiple points of entry. For the Whitney, and for our public, we hope the Baselita is one way in."

From Art | Baselita's blog:
Art Baselita–Inverting Phenomena
I liken the phenomenon that has become Art Basel Miami (Beach) to that of a circus coming to town: tents and booths are set up, a myriad art objects and installations are put on display, and a plethora of events take over the city (some select parts of the city, of course) and thus the show begins. (In 2003, George Sanchez-Calderon’s Miami Midtown Midway installation in which he re-created a traveling carnival scenario, aptly played with these ideas)  However, the other phenomenon, the one that is Miami as a community is relegated to a simple, two-dimensional, caricature of itself, functioning instead as a backdrop, a movie set to the mammoth European powerhouse that is Basel, the fair.  The question of how Basel actually engages with the complex and often contradictory nature of Miami that lies beyond the surface of that entire spectacle begs to be addressed and challenged.

On many levels, Art Baselita is a response to that disconnect between Art Basel and the community it purportedly benefits.  In its clever, humoristic and iconoclastic character, Baselita both addresses and turns on its head many of the more relevant social, political, and economic issues that get lost in the Basel noise:  the frenzied who’s-showing-where, and whose-who that dominates the fair suddenly seems unimportant for the Baselitas; in exhibiting the work of numerous artists from Cuba without political fanfare, Art Baselita underscores the various multi-media channels and collaborative efforts that extend across geo-political divides through which art circulates today, beyond the mere surface transaction of objects or sought after works that takes defines much of the mood of Art Basel. Like the Brazilian movement, Anthropofagia in mid-twentieth century, in which artists appropriated the visual language of European modernism and recreated new forms using indigenous iconography, Art Baselita cleverly appropriates the marketing language of its big Daddy fair and spits it out in new form.

I chose to attend the Havana Film Festival over staying for the Basel madness this year. Having grown a bit fatigued by the anxiety that Basel produces: “will I make it to all the events, did I miss out on that one artist’s exhibition, that one party that could’ve changed my life, did I see everyone I needed to see and network with…”  I’ll be interacting instead from an alternative site, one that Art Baselita has carved out for a different kind of conversation to take place. Join me.

Elizabeth Cerejido
Miami, November 27, 2009.

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