MEXICO CITY — Between 1987 and 1992, a group of young art students in Mexico City formed a weekly flux group of creative exchange and critique as an alternative to the overly traditional fine art education available to them.
Even in today’s anything-goes environment, it’s not all that common to encounter a work of art that hews so closely to the mundane that it risks not being recognized as art at all. Let alone two or three in a single show.
But that’s the case with Conspicuous Unusable, a group exhibition at Miguel Abreu that’s a refreshing throwback to a time (the 1970s) when the division between art and life was in a constant state of flux and gallery press releases routinely began with a quotation from Martin Heidegger.
MIAMI — There are many stories about the origins of art: ancient Greek historian Pliny suggested art was born when a Corinthian maiden traced the outline of her lover’s shadow on a wall, while an Asian legend tells of a young man who could not paint the Buddha because of his enlightened glow, and so was forced to paint his reflection in a pool of water. What these two stories share is the emphasis on the rendering of people as a foundational element of art. Fast-forward many millenia, when the story of high-priced contemporary art is vastly different from those origin stories, and walking through the latest incarnation of Art Basel Miami Beach, I was struck by the marginalization of the human form in the blue-chip work on display. What happened?