MIAMI — Most days, breakfast is an obligatory caloric intake to jump-start my brain.
Not so at the Rubell Family Collection, where breakfast last Thursday was an edible Pop Art installation.
A mountain of bananas. A grocery store’s worth of cereal boxes. A lineup of white Mr. Coffee machines. The unexpected breakfast put us in the right state of mind for contemporary art.
Artists, collectors, curators, 7-inch-heel-wearing fashionistas and journalists from around the world turned up at the opening of 30 Americans, an exhibition organized by the Rubell Family Collection in Miami. The show features more than 200 works of art in 27 galleries on both floors of the 45,000-square-foot exhibition space. The artists include David Hammons, Kerry James Marshall, Gary Simmons, Hank Willis Thomas, Glenn Ligon, Kehinde Wiley, Lorna Simpson, Kara Walker and Barkley L. Hendricks, whose painting retrospective was organized by Trevor Schoonmaker at the Nasher Museum and opened last month at the Studio Museum in Harlem.
Jeff Sonhouse, with his striking portraits of African-American male figures, clearly pays homage to Barkley L. Hendricks. As I stood in worship before Sonhouse’s portrait Exhibit A: Cardinal Francis Arinze I was very happy to see Richard J. Powell, Duke’s John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art, Art History and Visual Studies, who also came for the opening. ”This is a really fresh and interesting approach to the figure,” Powell said. We looked more closely at the cardinal’s hat and saw it was made of rows of matchsticks glued onto the canvas. The figure’s red-and-black checkerboard face is framed by a necklace of real charcoal briquettes.
I was also amazed by four sculptured suits by Nick Cave.
I think they must run around in the dark when the Rubell Family Collection is locked down for the night. Above is Soundsuit, a mixed media work from 2008 that is similar to the works in the Rubell Family Collection.
The wild week that is Art Basel Miami Beach is over, but this exceptional show is on view in Miami through May 30, 2009.
Russian journalist Evelina Khromtchenko, from L’OFFICIEL magazine, swore that these Yves Saint Laurent shoes were totally comfortable.
Barkley L. Hendricks hangs out with with Chicago artist Rashid Johnson at the Rubell Family Collection. This photo was taken at a party on Tuesday night.