KnightBlog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Arts
Jul 22, 2011

The act of art work worship

Posted by Anne Tschida

These paintings in the ground-floor entrance area of the Bass Museum (a Knight Arts Challenge winner) are figurative, seemingly bucolic, most of them small. They are punctuated by a triptych in the middle, facing the ramp that leads to the Bass's main galleries upstairs. The works are from Madrid-based Peruvian artist Sandra Gamarra, part of "At the Same Time (Al Mismo Tiempo)."

On first impression, the green-infused pieces feel like unassuming, updated interpretations of "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte." But then something strange happens; you realize you are looking at little painted versions of others looking at art, maybe a littler version of you. Gamarra snapped photos of people studying art, then painted them. The ones featuring the objects of admiration that are large, outdoor sculptures are the best — the various scales, including from you the observer, add a bit of a disorienting quality.

Gamarra's premise is that museums are their own place of worship, where people make pilgrimages to honor, pay respect, look on in awe at art works … or relics.

The previously mentioned Bass ramp has already been covered in incredibly bright-colored vinyl tape, in a piece from Jim Lambie, in preparation of the upcoming show upstairs: "Vanishing Points: Paint and Paintings from the Debra and Dennis Scholl Collection," curated by Gean Moreno, which will open Aug. 5.

Also of note: the museum was just awarded the Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a $100,000 grant to place site-specific, public art works around the arts district of Miami Beach — about a 40-block area. Pieces should start popping up around Art Basel time.

"Sandra Gamarra: At the Same Time" runs through Oct. 16 at the Bass Museum of Art, 2100 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; www.bassmuseum.org.

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