Let’s Talk Art
Talks aims to polish the cachet of Miami’s art scene. This program could truly complement intense, market-centric days of Art Basel Miami Beach. The name is simple: Talks. Yet it promises an impact that’s hardly simple.
In November 2018, Talks concluded its first well-received season, bringing six out-of-town curators to Miami to meet artists and give free public lectures at Little Haiti Cultural Complex. Dennis Scholl, president and CEO of ArtCenter/South Florida, collaborated with Lorie Mertes, executive director of Locust Projects, to produce Talks.
It engages the public with latest thinking on contemporary art while enabling local artists to receive close attention from visiting curators, influential professionals who develop museum and gallery shows well beyond Miami. It’s vital, said Scholl, that “this art community we talk about being so vibrant is vibrant to them.” Our community “does have a role on the international stage, but you can’t do that without third-party validation.”
He said curators’ studio visits with around 40 artists have led to some being considered for group shows elsewhere. Average attendance for the public talks was 200-250, said Scholl, offering popular opportunities to exchange ideas.
José Roca, the final Talks curator, has wide international experience, with stints at London’s Tate Modern and Sao Paulo Biennial. Currently he leads the innovative residency and educational program of FLORA ars+natura in Bogotá, Colombia. At FLORA, visiting and resident professionals meet extensively with resident artists, providing candid feedback. Such feedback is, Roca said, “something a really strong artistic scene should have,” especially when there is no art criticism or curators visiting studios. “So that is what we do.”
Is it likely that some Miami artists could become FLORA residents? “Yes. Or artists in the FLORA project could come to Miami,” Roca said. “That way you get double exposure. Local artists get to see artists from all over the world.”
Talks returns next season. See https://www.artcentersf.org/talks/
by Elisa Turner © Elisa Turner
December 14, 2018