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ART: Worlds Collide

1 1. How & Nosm, Wynwood Walls, Miami 2011 Image courtesy of the artists and Wynwood Walls

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2. Os Gemeos Mural, Wynwood Walls Photo: Allen Benedikt 3. Kenny Scharf Expanded Mural, Wynwood Walls Image courtesy of the artist and Wynwood Walls Photo: Martha Cooper

the galleries. But they’re getting involved.” Undeniably Miami’s fine art king, Nader was also quick to credit his neighbor, “street art king” Tony Goldman, for his revolutionary contribution to the rise of Wynwood. “What Tony Goldman did there is such a fantastic example of the uniqueness of Miami,” Nader said. “This is a visionary – he created SoHo, he created Miami Beach, now he’s trying to make a difference in Wynwood.”

Wynwood Walls

A half mile west of the Gary Nader Art Center is the true heart of Wynwood, the industrial area that still sits along the railroad tracks. Traces of the former apparel district are still alive; there’s a hosiery wholesaler that’s still in business directly across from the entrance to the Wynwood Walls proper. The entire neighborhood is slathered with colorful graffiti of varying quality and fascinating style, but the courtyard that constitutes the Walls is in a league of its own. “The general perception of graffiti or street art or mural art is that it’s renegade work and that it does not have great artistic value,” Goldman said. “That’s more uneducated and unexposed than it is enlightened. What I wanted to do was to take into one place the best of the best. And that is local, national, and international artists.” After a 3 a.m. epiphany that struck him one night in 2008, Goldman resolved to convert his own property into an art space and a town square in one. “It’s this group of properties which was six buildings. And this empty parking lot and load78

CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE

ing zones. Just warehouses with virtually nothing, just white walls on buildings. So I looked in my mind and said, ‘Why don’t I take something like this and make one single town square?’” It’s often been called the “museum of the streets,” but the murals curated by Tony Goldman and Jeffrey Deitch in 2009 are a few steps off the street, accessible through an open gate where any passersby is welcome to stroll in and peruse. Just as in the Nader Art Center, visitors can expect a lot of space and privacy on a typical weekday. And then there you are, face to face with a breathtaking wheat-pasted Shepard Fairey, a part of the artist’s “Obey Giant” campaign. To your left, there’s a masterful, vibrant mural consisting of oscillating color blocks by infamous New York City street artist Futura 2000, spanning at least 300 square feet of wall space. Deeper in the courtyard, there’s a dimension-rich depiction of indigenous peoples by Brazilian artist Nunca. Further still, in a yard decked with fat rubber tires that serve as benches (in keeping with the “street” ethos), Greek artist Stelios Faitakis’ detailed work stops

the viewer mid-stroll. His detailed work blends contemporary figures with elements of ancient Egyptian art and classical frescoes. “What I wanted to be able to do was to eliminate the barriers, eliminate all boundaries, and I mean that geographically,” Goldman said. “I wanted to eliminate the gender pre-determinations. Whether it’s a female or a male artist, whether the artist is from Miami or the Ukraine. My passion about street art is that it is the pure telegraph system of the streets and of the culture that it comes from. So if I could place in one place, the pure vision of the artists from every corner, and let you walk through it, what you will find is a diversity of image but a uniformity of heart and of spirit that is produced by lots of different people, from lots of different places.” Wynwood, it would seem, is an evolving art neighborhood that caters to lovers of pure, gritty creation, as well as those who prefer the time-tested works of master painters and sculptors. Regardless of which school you belong to – or whether you flirt with both – you can count on plenty of air and elbow room to accompany you on your Wynwood tour.

VENU Magazine #14 July/August 2012  

VENÜ Contemporary Culture Magazine highlights the regions finest professional and emerging creative talent with stunning visuals and intrigu...

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