The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Depending on your height, you’ll get a somewhat different perspective of the Yinka Shonibare dolls sitting on a wooden platform, part of the “Pivot Points: 15 Years & Counting” exhibit at MOCA, the huge group show celebrating the North Miami museum’s 15th birthday. If you are short, you’ll have to look up to see their little feet; if tall, you’ll look down to see their headless torsos. The British artist of Nigerian descent makes unique, gorgeous works, and this one is no exception. His colorful dolls are always all over Art Basel Miami Beach (and Art Basel) due to his popularity, but they are not frivolous things.
Coming from two worlds, one of the colonizer, one of the colonized, he often explores that difficult relationship that the European and African cultures have long had. So when his creations are covered in elaborately embroidered cloth, it evokes West Africa, but sometimes the outfits are Victorian dresses. None, however, has a head – literally voiceless subjects.
This sculptural piece is just one example of the great show MOCA and Museum Director Bonnie Clearwater have put up. In an introductory room is a freaky, multimedia installation from art duo assume vivid astro focus – anyone familiar with their work knows they always make it freaky. You won’t want to miss it. To continue in the crazy vein, there is also a video from up-and-coming Ryan Trecartin, who MOCA showed several years ago with a series of films where you could lie on the beds to watch them. The beds are back. Those are just some of the highlights.
But local artists are also well represented in the exhibit – great to see. MOCA is a museum that has collected many of them and been part of the current growth spurt, so it’s only fitting to include the works of Pepe Mar, Juan Carlos Zaldivar, Jorge Pantoja and Naomi Fisher among notable others.
“Pivot Points: 15 Years & Counting” at MOCA, 770 N.E. 125th St., North Miami; www.mocanomi.org.