Halfway through his DJ set Wednesday night in Little Haiti, British electronica wizard James Blake seemed to disappear onstage, his form clouded behind curtains of smoke and daggers of light.
Not that Blake needed to be seen. A Grammy-winning singer whose computerized chill sounds are indebted to Stevie Wonder and D'Angelo, Blake stayed quiet behind the decks at Magic City Studios, content to let waves of throbbing dubstep and glitchy house rule the night.
Joined onstage by members of his UK grime collective 1-800 Dinosaur, Blake kicked off the III Points Art Basel Concert Series at Magic City Studios, a new 30,000-square-foot concert venue in Little Haiti. The venue, part of a 15-acre campus of warehouses billed as the entertainment district Magic City, is the brainchild of Tony Cho, a Miami real estate developer and Bob Zangrillo, a Silicon Valley investor. Blake's concert, the first one in Magic City, will be followed Thursday with performances by Young Thug, Shlohmo and IndigoChildrick, Friday with Todd Terje and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs (at next-door Factory, a 15,000-square-foot warehouse) and Saturday with Nick Murphy (aka Chet Faker).
Blake and company bounded onstage just after midnight, a sea of audience smartphone cameras greeting their smoky figures, and plowed through tracks from 1-800-Dinosaur's debut album, "1-800 DINOSAUR Presents Trim," a collection of percussion-heavy beats and chirpy synths that slither around the voice of UK rapper Trim. (Trim did not attend Wednesday night.)
Before the DJ set, which finished about 1:30 a.m., concertgoers milled in Magic City's sculpture garden, a corner lot distinguished by a 30-foot-wide "MAGIC" sculpture, which glowed with hues of purple and blue. A neon-tube installation by British artist Tracey Emin glared hot-pink nearby, an inscription that read, "You are exactly where you need to be." Quite right, Tracey.
Pinta Miami at Mana Wynwood Convention Center
Every minute, a patron destroys Matias Quintero's salt installation at the Pinta Art Fair.
At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, the Colombia-born Miami artist crouched in the center of his untitled work, a 15-foot-wide circular maze, with a paintbrush, dutifully sweeping sea salt into tidy lines. At the center of the maze is a metal rod wrapped in copper wire. Only seconds before, a group of 20-something Pinta patrons passing by unwittingly stepped on Quintero's salt lines, leaving behind messy shoe prints.
"The act of people ruining the maze is actually part of the installation itself," says Mattias, pausing mid-brushstroke.
Say what? "I think of it this way: The more I fix it, the more it gets destroyed," Mattias explains. "The maze is based on the [Greek] myth of the Minotaur, and the heroic action of entering the labyrinth to kill it. I suppose that means I'm impersonating the hero."
For Quintero, fixing the maze is much like the Greek allegory of Ariadne and Theseus, lovers who escaped a labyrinth after slaying a Minotaur. Just replace the Minotaur with scatterbrained tourists.
Since Pinta Art Fair opened Tuesday, Quintero says he has spent four to five hours a day brushing granules back into place, a fix-and-repeat routine that was itself a spectacle Wednesday night. Once, a group of well-heeled women trod through the maze in high heels. One woman stopped, scanned her feet with an expression of shock, gazed at Quintero, and moved on. Quintero never looked up.
"I get the panicked reactions all the time," Quintero says. "The best reaction happened yesterday, when three kids went inside the maze, following the lines all the way to the center."
The III Points Concert Series continues 10 p.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 1-3 and 2-5 p.m. Dec. 4 at the Factory at Magic City Studios, 6300 NE Fourth Ave., Miami. Admission is $30-$40 via Showclix.com and IIIPoints.com.
Pinta Miami is open noon-8 p.m. Dec. 1-3 and noon-7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, at Mana Wynwood, 2217 NW Fifth Ave., in Miami. Admission is free. Go to PintaMiami.com.
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