Justin H. Long is an artist of the true white man Miami sort. To call someone a cracker is just plain rude, so we'll just call him Old Florida. Long has always infused his work with a sense of humor and playfulness, sometimes to the point of impish distraction. Through different mediums, he manages to be subversive and accessible at the same time, and often takes on themes related to South Florida. Long does all of that and more with his upcoming exhibition Bow Movement.
Say it out loud. Bow Movement.
The title, much like that of his two piece band with a jokingly homoerotic songs, the Loose Stools, is funny and potty friendly. Long's own boat is called Knot Gay. Get it? Cause you tie knots on boats. We swung by the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood last week where Bow Movement opens this Friday as Long made the final touches on his museum ready, educational art show focused on sailing.
Bow Movement offers, according to the artist, "a brief history of sailboat racing and important events over the last 35 years." Long has sailed quite a bit and took time to research the sport for this show. He hopes it will contribute to the future of sailing, calling it, "a history museum exhibit of what sailboat racing is. Trying to spark a little interest with viewers." Sailing becomes a form of artistic expression, according to the center's synopsis.
"Every city I go to, that's my first stop," Long admits of his affection for history museums. There's the Field Museum in Chicago and the Natural History Museum in New York. "The whale skeletons are my favorite, and that's what this boat resembles," indicating the 60-foot long wood skeleton of a Twelve Meter. He informs that it "represents a class of boats that have been put to the wayside, and probably never be raced again."
On one wall hangs minimalist paintings with catamarans and trimarans and sailboats that capture particularly important moments in the history of racing. Beyond just the paintings, Long included artifacts like an old tube of glue and clothing items still crunchy from the salt of the sea that he's collected over the years. The space is a little claustrophobic and visitors will experience what it's like to be in the bilge of the boat and on the high seas through these objects, paintings, sculpture, and three videos.
"It's exciting working with him because he provides a unique experience," says fellow artist and Art and Culture Center employee Misael Soto. He believes Long sees "the entire exhibition as an artwork unto itself. As opposed to work hanging on the wall. To him, the mood, the lighting, the text panels, all of the imagery you get even before you come in the door is all part of an experience." The experience of a bow movement.
Justin H. Long: Bow Movement. Opening takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 7. The show is open through Oct. 21.