This week, the entire art world is focused on Miami Beach for Art Basel —- and you'd better believe that the Broward County artists next door are going to take advantage.
“As Broward County continues to rise as a viable art scene, it’s important that local artists and our community connect with larger contemporary art world industry currents,” says Sarah Michelle Rupert, gallery director of Girls’ Club, the Fort Lauderdale gallery that showcases intriguing contemporary art.
“An insular art community is a static one,” she explains. “Our relevance as an art scene/hub here in Broward is directly affected by the connections we forge with our contemporary counterparts — with those across the county line, across the country and across the world.”
Rupert will show some of her own work at Laundromat Art Space (5900 NE Second Ave, Miami) as part of “100+ Degrees in the Shade: A Survey of South Florida Artists” — a sprawling, definitive exhibition that sprawls across nine venues and showcases the work of 170 serious, contemporary, local creatives. The show was curated by Jane Hart (formerly of the Art & Culture Center of Hollywood) and includes pieces by Broward art darlings such as Lisa Rockford, Jill Weisberg, Francie Bishop Good, Sri Prabha, and Samantha Salzinger. (See 100degreesintheshade.com.)
The Broward crowd is hoping to draw some adventurous Basel attendees up north of Miami- Dade during the week. On Saturday, December 5, free shuttles will transport attendees back and forth between the Miami Beach Convention Center and the NSU Art Museum of Fort Lauderdale, where museum director Bonnie Clearwater will also host a Director’s Brunch at 10:30 a.m. Shuttles will also usher people to FAT Village’s Project Space. (Details at NSUartmuseum.org)
Also on Saturday — which some people are unofficially calling “Basel in Broward Day” — Girls’ Club will hold its annual ABMB Artist + Curator Brunch from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the gallery. Guest curator Micaela Giovannotti will lead a conversation, and visitors can check out the “Self-Proliferation” exhibit as well as parts of the 100+ Degrees show. During the brunch, Hart will release a 224-page book that accompanies her exhibit.
Down in Miami, on Wednesday, December 2, Nerissa Street, a working resident artist at Sailboat Bend Artist Lofts, will moderate the 2 p.m. panel discussion that kicks off “what’s INSIDE HER never dies…a Black Woman’s Legacy,” a group show at Yeelen Gallery in Little Haiti (294 NW 54th St., Miami; yeelenart.com), produced in collaboration with Poets & Artists magazine. “We are proud to pay homage to the beauty and resiliency of the black woman,” said gallery owner Karla Ferguson. “We aim to continue to fight for her rights and equal respect.”
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Broward resident Francesco Lo Castro — who makes awe-inspiring geometric paintings with exquisite color palettes using a unique and arduous layering technique — is showing new works at Scope (scope-art.com), in the Machine Show at Swampspace (facebook.com/swampspace), Iridescence at Shore Club (artofiridescence.com), and as part of the 100+ Degrees show at the Madonna Building (3900 N. Miami Ave.) where there will be an artist reception on Tuesday, December 1, from 7 to 10 p.m.
Fort Lauderdale’s MASS District gallery Mac Fine Art will exhibit “POP Exchange,” at the Red Dot Art Fair (reddotfair.com). It will show works from Argentinean artist Claudio Roncoli, who created the poster for the Latin Grammys, and Miami native Alex Nuñez, whose reclaimed pieces include a reworked Tina Turner record cover.
Anyone tackling Miami on their own might also check out Girls' Club's top suggestions. Every year the gallery compiles a list of exhibits and events that feature contemporary female artists, curators, and writers. Access it at girlsclubcollection.org/resource/a-girls-guide-to-abmb2015.
As Rupert puts it, Art Basel is the time to “share ideas that shape the contemporary art world. I believe Broward's artists and community members at large are hungry to be part of that conversation – and deserve it, too.”