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small format volume 6

an ArtCenter/South Florida publication Winter 2016

Truth, Reality and Language Susan Caraballo Jorge Wellesley employs different mediums including painting, drawing, installation and video art. His work is based on three basic concepts—Truth, Reality and Language—and the sometimes antagonistic relationship between them. Wellesley describes language as a convention, an agreement or consensus to establish order. However, through his work, he demonstrates that language cannot always capture reality. Language is an arbitrary structure and becomes abstract because text is an abstract graphic. He comically addresses its abstract quality in a 2009 watercolor series My Work Should Be… where, for example, he uses the text “univer” and the image of a salt dispenser to represent the word “universal” since the Spanish word for salt is “sal.” He has been working with the concept of “Truth” since 2002. Although not the first piece in this body of work, Árbol Semiótico (Semiotic Tree), currently exhibited at ArtCenter, metaphorically defines Wellesley's work. Wellesley started looking for the concept “Verdad” (Truth) in a dictionary of synonyms and antonyms thinking he would reach some logical outcome, or somewhat explain the whole universe of meanings behind this powerful word. This idea started as an experiment, but after two days expanding the network of meanings, the words were taking him in an opposite direction. He discovered the word "Mentira” (Lie) while looking for synonyms and thus the work was born. He utilized the visual of a genealogical tree, using ancestors and descendants, as a metaphor to present the relationship and the cyclical sense of things. Ten years later, for the 2012 Havana Biennial as part of the outdoor exhibition Detrás del Muro

Jorge Wellesley, Semiotic Tree, 2004, installation detail (White vinyl on black wall), 13’ x 39’


Jorge Wellesley, My work should be...I-IX, 2008, watercolor on paper, 27.5’’ x 39.25’’ each

on Havana’s famous “malecón,” Wellesley proposed series of recent paintings titled Wrong Reading the project Astigmatism that was never executed where he manipulates text found on billboards due to limited resources and political sensibilities by deleting words and letters to create new at the time of the biennial. A model of the phrases such as “nobody likes bliss” and proposed piece was exhibited at The 8th Floor, “Are you God?” an exhibition space in New York City founded by the Shelley & Circling back to the Donald Rubin concept of “truth,” Foundation. The Wellesley seemingly piece presented the questions the truth words “Verdad” in advertising as (Truth) and well as questioning “Mentira” (Lie) as the truth in the a bright LED sign political propaganda set up similar to promoted through the famous Hollythe billboards in his wood sign, a form native Cuba. The of advertising billlatter is a much board. The words more local reading merged into one of the work, yet another to form unavoidable given what looks like an the political underJorge Wellesley, From the series “Wrong Reading,” 2015, acrylic on paper,11” x 15” undistinguishable tone present in logo—similar to most work created what you would see if you have astigmatism. by Cubans raised on the island. In a broader This installation proposal is a direct reference reading of his work, Wellesley is questioning to his earlier 2004 work, Árbol Semiótico the truth in language as in the end, language (Semiotic Tree). is a utilitarian tool created by humans to facilitate communication. Wellesley’s manipulation and elimination of language is a constant in his work. He began Jorge Wellesley is a graduate of the regarded using the billboard early in his career. For Academia de Bellas Artes San Alejandro and the instance, he used them in The Damn CircumInstituto Superior de Arte (ISA) in Havana. He stances…, Democracy, and in the series The was a founding member of the Departmento de Power of Text and the Text of Power. In these Intervenciones Públicas (DIP) and the five-artist works, he used the billboard—a universal project Espacio 08. His work has been exhibited advertising mechanism—to completely eliminate at the Queens Museum, the Bronx Museum of language, as well as images. He continued this the Arts, the Musée National d´art Moderne et in the 2013 series of drawings, Tribute to Contemporain Algiers, Art Museum at National Emptiness, created in Mexico. He employed Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque and similar billboards, this time in the US, in a the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Havana.

Sara Reisman, Mobility and Its Discontents (New York: The 8th Floor, 2015).

Lujan Candria, Triptych #1, From the series “The Abyss of Loss,” 2013, photograph

In Search of Authenticity Andrea Sunder-Plassman “The poetic image is a sudden salience on the surface of the psyche.... The poetic image exists apart from causality.” Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space Several weeks ago, I participated in MIA_BER: You Are Leaving the American Sector, a group show at ArtCenter/South Florida’s Project 924. After a few days of walking on Lincoln Road, I started zigzagging in order to avoid those youngsters who were trying to lure me into one of those glamorously decorated shops to sell me some wrinkle-eliminating cream with pure gold in it for an exorbitant price. In other words, the ArtCenter and its artists, located in one of the most commercial pedestrian precincts in Miami, seem like an island of authenticity in an ocean of artificial youth and superficial beauty. To work in the middle of this context, can be as demanding as it is inspiring. During my two-day studio visits, I had the chance to meet some of ArtCenter’s resident artists. Amid my 30-minute conversations with each of them, I could only catch a glimpse of their studio practice; nonetheless, I learned a lot about their skills, concerns, frictions, critiques, sensitivities and doubts. The search for authenticity seemed a recurring interest in each of the artists’ esthetic investigations— the nearly transparent portraits of Michael Williams, the archaic and two dimensional prints of Loren Abbate, the sensitive yet confrontational interventions of Laurencia Strauss, the immaculately crafted yet ironic language-based works of Elysa D. Batista, the photographically documented physical space interventions of Ariel Baron-Robbins, the metaphorical and performative transformations of Veronica Fazzio and the patiently multi-layered and assembled color works of Heloisa Botelho.

Another series, Luminaria, shows transparent, colorful and blurred lights transforming themselves into abstraction, yet distinct. The images nearly create a sound experience to the sensitive viewer. Candria’s work is poetic and very subtle. The way she directs our attention to the smallest sensations, makes us conscious of our breath in that instant, helping us become aware of the atmosphere, the slight changes of temperature, the movement of shadows on the wall and the air pressure. It is not the explicit what we observe, it is the implicit, not the noise, but the silence that speaks to us which becomes authentic and makes us authentic.

making is a collaboration of all her research towards a certain theme and her intuition regarding the treatment of the material. It is a highly concentrated process in which she searches step by step for the most basic relationships between what is in her hands and her mind, her physical and her mental being. The material informs the idea and straddles the public and the private realms. Her creations are manifestations of deeper ideas and thoughts. Themes like displacement, rejection, oppression and the struggle of existence are captured in her collages through intentional and unintentional interferences in both a material and a mental state.

The work of Dona Altemus appears very differently. Her multi-disciplinary collages and installations are not only incredibly well done, with a highly developed sense of aesthetics, but also share the beauty of fragility and transition. Looking at her work makes us aware of every little spot on the wall, any thread that dances out of the weft, any color nuance on a piece of sun burnt paper. It invites us to become aware of everything that is around us and maybe even inside of us, the experience of here and now. Her drawings, books and stitched combinations allow the viewer to see something that is imperfect — a reflection of the human hand.

As an artist who constantly has been searching for the reality and material appearance of the sublime, the question of authenticity and creativity is most relevant nowadays, in a time where “apps” are taking control over our body. The communication channels fragment our perception in a way that makes us lose track and focus. Our body’s genes are being sold to the highest bidder as we consume without even questioning the circumstances of production. Our time is disjointed and rather than creating processes, we experience a multilayered sequence of incidents that never seem complete. As if the only possible solution to this unconscious consumption and constant breathing and taking in, is breathing out.

Authenticity is crucial for Altemus. She doesn’t intend her creations to be decorative. The act of

The search for authenticity is subtly weaving through everyone’s artistic concerns, most obvious in the works of photo-based artist Lujan Candria and in the very poetic collaged arrangements of the artist Dona Altemus. Candria is a seeker of light. Her series Hogares Encendidos, shows urban architectural situations scarcely lit at night. It is not only a photographer’s pleasure—a concentration of reflected light in the very darkness of a black night—but also a representation of a certain social temperature, the temperature of what we call home. She captures ephemeral moments in time, one instant of atmospheric light that belongs to the past and still magically seems eternal, like a painting of Edward Hopper.

Dona Altemus, Unaltered Edits, 2015, works on paper, 2’ x 1.5’

Octavio Abúndez, Naturaleza Muerta. From the series “The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be,” 2012, 63 fake books, dimensions variable

The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be Susan Caraballo In contemporary times, violence is prevalent in our daily lives in the media, television programs, movies and video games. We see war-torn scenes in Afghanistan, stabbings in Israel and state brutality in Venezuela on the news every day. Children grow up playing with toy guns and shooting in video games. Violent scenes are commonplace and it seems as if we have become immune to it…until it hits home. In 1999, the Columbine High School massacre sent shock waves throughout the nation and abroad. The United States was shaken like never before in 2001 with the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Then, the massacre at Virginia Tech in 2007. The 2009 Fort Hood shooting in Texas. The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012. The movie theater mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado.

The Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. The Navy Yard shooting in Washington, DC. Then, Fort Hood again in 2014. The 2015 Charleston Church shooting in South Carolina. The Umpqua Community College shooting in Roseburg, Oregon. The Planned Parenthood Clinic shooting in Colorado Springs. The San Bernardino terrorist attack in California. And the list goes on and on. One could argue that this type of violence is hate-driven whether it is about race, gender, sexuality, religion, ideology or politics. The American Psychological Association defines violence as “an extreme form of aggression, such as assault, rape or murder. Violence has many causes, including frustration, exposure to violent media, violence in the home or neighborhood and a tendency to see other people's actions as hostile even when they’re not.”1 According to Kirk Schneider, there is one overarching reason that drives these destructive acts—the sense of insignificance.2

There is a national discussion about the increased gun violence in the United States. The US has the highest rate of gun-related injuries among developed countries, as well as the highest rate of gun ownership.3 The main debate is whether the root of the cause is gun control laws or lack of mental health care. The debate has escalated to the point where early this year President Obama took executive actions to reduce gun violence. In the case of violence against African-Americans, especially by police brutality, an argument can be made for “fear” and an inflated sense of empowerment and self-esteem.4 While in 2012, ninety people were killed in shootings like the ones in Newtown and Aurora, Colorado, that same year, nearly 6,000 black men were murdered with guns.5 This phenomenon was the motivation behind the exhibition, The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be. The work of ArtCenter alumna Rosa Naday Garmendia is a quiet, yet powerful statement that echoes this fact and commemorates the Black Lives Matter movement. Rituals of Commemoration is reminiscent of a wall where the individual bricks have been engraved with the name and year of the black unarmed men and women killed by police and/or security guards since 1980 across the United States. Stephanie Syjuco also addresses hate crimes against African-Americans. Dark Matter (Grey Cloud) is a nod toward the Trayvon Martin controversy that erupted in Florida in 2012. According to Syjuco, she had been working with “black, white and grey as a metaphor for political extremes, ethnic monikers and the idea of grey as ‘neutrality’ in a world that demands definitions and choices.” The work, clothing racks stocked with grey hoodies, also reflects Syjuco’s interest in art as a commodity especially at ArtCenter’s exhibition space, Project 924, located on Miami Beach’s most popular shopping pedestrian mall.

Rosa Naday Garmendia, Ritual of Commemoration (detail), 2014-16, installation, dimensions variable

Ananké Asseff’s work, Lineup, places the viewer as the potential victim, a situation that many black men and women, as well as anyone


Definition by APA adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology.


Kirk Schneider, “Why Are Humans Violent? The Psychological Reason We Hurt Each Other,” Alternet,



Firestone, Lisa. “The Inner Voices Behind Violent Behavior,” Psychology Today, (March 3. 2011).


Lois Beckett, “How the Gun Control Debate Ignores Black Lives,” ProRepulica, (November 24, 2015).


If the viewer is sensitive to gunshot sounds, it is advised to enter at his/her own risk.

Antonia Wright, Are You OK? Paris, 2014, video still

with a Middle Eastern appearance encounter and live with daily. This work was created while Asseff, who is based in Buenos Aires, was working on her most recognized series of photographs, Potential, that documents middle to upper class Argentineans apathetically holding onto their handguns in their own homes. Their stoic nature contrasts the proud American gun-toting image promoted by the US media. Lineup is participatory and elicits caution when entering the exhibition space.6

In their video works, Donna Conlon and Jonathan Harker as well as Gisela Motta and Leandro Lima use trash as a metaphor for how we deal with contemporary life and issues. Conlon and Harker’s video piece, Under the Rug, points to how easily we all sweep things under the rug. According to the artists, “we do the same collectively, when we hide the most terrible episodes of our histories under a blanket of silence and obscurity.” While their work may be directly referencing the Panamanian nation where they reside, the work more universally addresses the way important issues are “swept under the rug,” everything from gun violence to racism to pollution. In Motta and Lima’s video installation I.E.D. (Improvised Explosive Device), they used a camera to record in high speed, a representation of a heart created out of debris including soda cans, cigarette boxes, empty bottles, etc. This serves as an analogy to the fragile stability of contemporary life. The imminent violence in our daily lives is reveled in the latent potential of this explosion.

Ananké Asseff, Rueda de Reconocimiento (Lineup), 2007, interactive video installation

Monterrey-based artist Octavio Abúndez adds a touch of humor to the darkness of this exhi-

bition with his work General Instructions I. The work is a black board with a series of instructions on how to survive an apocalypse ranging from major natural disasters to alien invasions to nuclear warfare. The other work in the exhibition by Abúndez, Whistle Loudly, from the series The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be, adopted as the exhibition’s title, adds a kernel of hope that we can still write the future’s history. Overall, The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be examines violence and man-made atrocities in general and reflects on how the future before us looks bleak and far from what we envisioned the 21st century to be. Without explicit and violent scenes, the works in the exhibition challenge the viewer to think about the violence that we humans have triggered and continue to inflict in this world. The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be curated by Susan Caraballo will be on view February 17 through March 27, 2016 at ArtCenter’s Project 924 located at 924 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach. Regular gallery hours are Monday –Thursday 12pm–9pm, Friday-Saturday 11am–10pm and Sunday 11am–9pm.

Through her work, ArtCenter alumna Antonia Wright presents another culture's perspective. Are You OK?, Paris is part of an on-going performance piece where the artist wearing a black dress goes into the streets crying while awaiting the reactions and responses of those passing by. While this project explores the concept of social structure and tests the rules of behavior, it also portrays the sadness of the violence in the world epitomized by Wright crying on a busy street corner. Wright initially did this piece in New York and most recently in Havana. This iteration in Paris particularly remembers the January 2015 attacks at Charlie Hedbo and the more recent coordinated terrorist attacks in November 2015. Paris was also the site of COP21, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, which addressed the atrocities that humans inflict on the Earth.

Donna Conlon and Jonathan Harker, Under the Rug (Bajo la Alfombra), 2015, video still

Photo by Cherese Crocket / Courtesy ArtCenter/South Florida

New World Symphony and ArtCenter/South Florida: A Harmonious Pairing Liz Tracy When New World Symphony Fellows violist Hannah Nicholas and violinist Nathaniel Wolkstein entered a recent gig, they were immediately greeted by dozens of little arms, eagerly hugging their legs. They saw excitement on the small faces, all hungry for a new experience. As part of ARTreach,* the newest collaboration between the New World Symphony (NWS) and ArtCenter/South Florida, the two classically trained musicians were performing for and interacting with children at McLamore Children’s Shelter of the Children’s Home Society of Florida. Wisconsin-bred Wolkstein, who is in his final year of his three year fellowship with the symphony, says that they’ve never before gotten such a warm welcome. The two Miami Beach nonprofits have been working in conjunction to bring music and art to the community for approximately three and a half years. One of the first projects the now former ArtCenter Artistic Director, Susan Caraballo, worked on was the monthly live music program, impromptu: culture at your own pace. Fellows play chamber music during the artist’s open studio days in a variety of genres. People are encouraged to move throughout the gallery and look at the artwork to melodic sounds. Caraballo describes the free, two-hour experience as flexible, like a “classical music jam.” She also noted that the event has a fan base, “It’s such a nice, intimate setting, people just want to stay the whole time.”

it very rewarding. She and her trio, which includes Wolkstein and double bass player Dave Conner, The Alt Default, played almost every impromptu: last year. “It works on two levels,” she says, “It’s purely about interactive performance and a relaxed atmosphere. It’s been a really cool opportunity to try out new songs and styles [for the band].” The two organizations decided to expand their working relationship to include educational outreach for children on October 6, 2014, with the Creative Care program. Creative Care brings the arts to patients at the Michael Fux Family Center at the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. New World brings live music and an instrument “petting zoo.” On other days, there are interactive tales with popular local storyteller Mij Byram and hands-on art-making–including printmaking, sculpture, and painting –with Jena Thomas.

Now only in the 924 building on Lincoln Road, NWS Fellows perform on the second floor with plans to be mobile throughout the gallery. Music is piped outside for passersby. impromptu: really solidified the ArtCenter’s growing relationship with NWS.

At the helm of this program and ARTreach, which launched on October 6, 2015, is the ArtCenter’s Education Director, Tammy Key. She believes the Creative Care program helped shape the ARTreach program at the shelter, but explains that the audiences are in essentially different life situations. At the children’s hospital, the program has to be very flexible because patients are going in and out of appointments and maybe don’t always have the energy to do hands-on activities. It was there that the instrument petting zoo was developed – kids can come up and handle instruments and interview the musicians. She says Creative Care also benefits the families, “The parents are really the ones who are suffering… They know the full scope of what’s going on.” Many of them spend long periods of time at the hospital, and she reflects that, “it’s a good break in the day.”

Nicholas, a Philly native in the second year of her NWS fellowship, co-runs the program, calling

Key knew there was a huge need to bring the arts to the children at the Children’s Home Society.

They are aged zero to twelve and in protective custody – either they were removed from their homes or abandoned. At the shelter, housemothers create a sense of normalcy for the children. The first class was developed by Wolkstein and Nicholas with the theme of “lullabies.” Key says, at first she wasn’t sure ARTreach would work out, but, “It was absolutely amazing.” About 25 children, all in the midst of chaotic excitement, clamored for their attention. Once the housemother got them seated, Nicholas remembers, they reacted positively to the consideration and care the musicians brought. “They were actually quite calm,” she says, calling them “sweet, extremely receptive, and very good listeners.” She hopes this experience will encourage them to love music. The duo played a variety of lullabies, including a Venezuelan song and one by a German-Jewish composer, mixing it up to keep the kids engaged. The petting zoo portion was a huge success. Some of the kids had never touched an instrument before. Nicholas relates, “Every single kid there asked for a second turn at holding them.” One little boy requested “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and sang along softly at first, his voice growing louder as it went along. The housemother brought out a newborn to hear the tune. “I’ve never seen those kids so excited,” Key recalls. “It is such a joy to go there.” If you are interested in supporting ArtCenter’s outreach programs, contact Tammy Key at

*ARTreach is made possible with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners. ARTreach is funded by The Children’s Trust and the Miami Foundation. The Trust is a dedicated source of revenue established by voter referendum to improve the lives of children and families in Miami-Dade County.

Photo Courtesy Moonlighter

Building Creativity Together Thomas Pupo This year ArtCenter/South Florida & Moonlighter Makerspace started a partnership to nurture creative expression in Miami. Local artists and designers can expand their horizons, introducing new collaborations and mediums into their work. ArtCenter has continued to be a leader in South Florida as a world class cultural center, fostering a contemporary arts and design community through their creative learning center, residencies, exhibitions, public programs, and outreach. Moonlighter shares their mission to provide opportunities for experimentation and innovation.

Moonlighter is a membership-based digital fabrication lab, creative collaboration and learning space, and an arts + design exhibition venue. It features and supports local designers and aspires to engage our communities with fun S.T.E.A.M. educational experiences that foster the growing maker movement. The Moonlighter facility is located in the Wynwood Arts District in Miami and it is home to the most advanced equipment available for personal manufacturing, including: Makerbot 3D printers, resin 3D printer, laser cutter, CNC milling machine, littleBits Pro Circuit Lab, Sprout immersive workstations, 3D printing pens, vinyl cutter, heat press, industrial sewing machines, woodworking tools, and more. This partnership enhances ArtCenter’s current facilities with access to the range of digital fabrication technologies at the makerspace in Wynwood. This begins with an exclusive membership for ArtCenter resident artists, visiting artists, alumni, students and staff, but may expand to other programs and opportunities. This is an exciting moment, unleashing art & design, exposing them to new technology and

Photo Courtesy Moonlighter

engineering communities. By embracing crossdisciplinary collaborations, every industry is enhanced with new perspectives, ripe for creative innovation. ArtCenter and Moonlighter are committed to building Miami’s evolving cultural identity together. All memberships include discounts on events, lectures, workshops, materials, snacks and more! To sign-up for a membership visit Moonlighter is located at 2041 NW 1st Place, Miami, FL 33127. Hours are TuesdaySaturday from 10:00am - 10:00pm and Sunday 12:00pm-8:00pm

ArtCenter/South Florida

Winter 2016 Thursday, February 11 | 6-9pm


Opening Reception: Rosa Naday Garmendia

Wednesday, February 3 | 7pm

Artist Talk: Ananké Asseff

Project 924 | 924 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach Wednesday, February 3 | 7-10pm


924 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach

On view February 3 - 10, 2016

Monsters & Muses: Loren Abbate & George Goodridge

924 Lincoln Road #211, Miami Beach Wednesday, February 10 | 8pm

Listening Club: Recording the Living Soundscape

Curated by David Dunn Audiotheque @ ArtCenter 924 Lincoln Road #201, Miami Beach

Wednesday, March 2 | 7-10pm


924 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach

On view through April 3, 2016 O Cinema Wynwood | 90 NW 29 St, Miami

Wednesday, March 2 | 7-10pm

Wednesday, February 17 | 7-10pm

Performance by New World Symphony Fellows 924 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach

Opening Reception: The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be

On view through March 27, 2016 Project 924 | 924 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach Thursday, February 25 | 7pm

Book Presentation: Report from Miami by Massimo Ghirardini

Project 924 | 924 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach

impromptu: culture at your own pace

On view through March 6, 2016

Semiotic Tree (Árbol Semiótico): Jorge Wellesley

Vitrine | 924 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach Wednesday, March 16 | 7-10pm

Book Presentation: Nico's Guide To Foreplay by Beatricia Sagar

Project 924 | 924 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach

February 29 – April 9, 2016

ARTstudies Spring 1

Art classes and workshops: painting, drawing, printmaking and more 924 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach

Sunday, April 3 | 11:30am

Closing Brunch & Screening: Rosa Naday Garmendia

O Cinema Wynwood | 90 NW 29 St, Miami

To register, to apply and for all ArtCenter programming information call 305.674.8278 or visit


924 Lincoln Road Miami Beach, FL 33139 T 305.674.8278

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The Inertials

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Editor: Anais Alvarez | Project Manager: Leila A. Leder Kremer | Publication Design: Francesco Casale | 2016 © ArtCenter/South Florida. All rights reserved.

Exhibitions and programs at ArtCenter/South Florida are made possible through grants from the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade Mayor and Board of County Commissioners; the City of Miami Beach Cultural Arts Council; the Miami Beach Mayor and City Commissioners; and the State of Florida, Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts; and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Additional support provided by Celebrity Cruises and Walgreens Company.

Cover: Gisela Motta and Leandro Lima, Alvo (Target), 2008, multimedia Installation

Vinny Diaz, Facilities

small format Vol. 6: Winter  

Features articles by Susan Caraballo, Liz Tracy, Andrea Sunder-Plassmann and Tom Pupo.

small format Vol. 6: Winter  

Features articles by Susan Caraballo, Liz Tracy, Andrea Sunder-Plassmann and Tom Pupo.