MAC Fine Art gallery opened last fall amid a jumble of warehouses where Flagler Drive parallels the railroad tracks, just across the street from hipster bar Laser Wolf in a neighborhood owner Mary Ann Cohen believes is ripe for transformation. Her 12,000-square-foot, lime-green space is six blocks from FAT Village, Fort Lauderdale's hub of arty irreverence, which she says is just far enough to be a "mild inconvenience" to monthly art walk visitors.
Distance may hardly matter during Art Fallout on Saturday, Oct. 18, when 14 galleries, studios and museums will simultaneously throw open their doors to the public all over downtown for an evening of interactive exhibitions, live mural painting and pop-up presentations. It's not so much a supersize art walk as a supersize art ride, with free trolleys linking visitors to art spaces as far south as Sailboat Bend Artist Lofts and the NSU Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale and as far north as Cohen's gallery, this year's new addition to Art Fallout.
"There's a lot of creative stuff happening in Fort Lauderdale, and it's all linked together by Art Fallout," says Cohen, who moved her gallery of 17 years from Wynwood to the "more relaxed," big-potential Flagler Village. "We want to build a better network of vibrant artists. The neighborhood is starving to be better connected."
Opening Saturday to coincide with Art Fallout is MAC Fine Art's group art show "Sidetracked," which curator Rochi Llaneza, formerly of Hardcore Art Contemporary Space in Wynwood, says will contain roughly 60 pieces and an interactive installation by Gretchen Scharnagl.
Scharnagl's 33-foot-long walkable path "Implied Lies," made with pencil, graphite powder and stained coffee and root beer, will snake through the gallery bearing images of grasshoppers and barbed wire. She says visitors can write their own artist's statements on the work.
"The works were created by artists who got sidetracked by something else," Llaneza says. "Sometimes, the sidetracked things that you're looking at are more interesting than what you're supposed to be working on."
RADIO-ACTIVE RECORDS AND GIRLS' CLUB COLLECTION
Art Fallout this year also spills over to Made in Broward at the Cottage (500 NE First Ave.), a nonprofit that teaches gardening, sewing and art skills in a modified residential home. Radio-Active Records, meanwhile, will contribute the cheekily titled pop-up installation "Chicks With Discs" at Girls' Club Collection. Curated by Radio-Active's Natalie Smallish, the vinyl-themed project assembles the groovy collections of seven of the store's female record-collecting customers. The diverse showcase includes LPs by Black Sabbath, Joy Division, the Killers, Grover Washington Jr., Dolly Parton and "Bob Dylan, of course," Smallish quips.
"It's not that we wanted to put a feminist spin on this, mind the pun, but [my co-worker] Mike [Ramirez] was explaining how, for a long time, record-collecting was a male-saturated industry, very 'High Fidelity,' but now there are more females than ever before," says Smallish, adding that one of the collectors, Katrina Toimil, may spin tracks from Siouxsie and the Banshees and from riot grrl bands throughout the night. "Actually, if you just look at the collection alone, you can't even tell to which gender they belong. People are just worshipping the true aesthetic, which is vinyl."
Also featured at Girls' Club is "Unframed," a showcase of 100 works on paper, which the public can comment on and critique with Post-it notes during Art Fallout, gallery director Sarah Michelle Rupert says. Wynwood's Gramps Bar will serve cocktails, and the Super Duper Grub food truck will hold court outside.
"I think we're finally seeing a cool shakeup of Fort Lauderdale's diverse art scene, with a combination of slicker commercial stuff and grungier lowbrow," says Rupert, who with creative director Michelle Weinberg originated Art Fallout in 2010 to unite the downtown art spaces during October's Arts and Humanities Month.
CADENCE POP-UP GALLERY AND FAT VILLAGE
At architectural design firm Cadence, an Andrews Avenue-facing gallery features the nature-inspired piece "Urban Swamp," by Lake Worth's Ashley Nardone. Framing the gallery's window is a papier-mâché cypress tree built with discarded blueprints and concept sketches donated by Cadence, with a series of aluminum boxes, which resemble cheese graters, perched on the branches. The boxes are designed to represent futuristic houses, the 29-year-old Nardone says.
Nearby is a mangrove tree built from galvanized-steel EMT conduits, which are studded with recycled piano hammers. The wooden hammers resemble leaves.
"The show is about my love for South Florida and its landscape, which I grew to appreciate after I moved away for a while," Nardone says. "It's not meant to be environmentalist, but I wanted to show a fun reversal of urban and rural environments. So instead of seeing trees next to houses, you see houses in trees. Think of it like a utopian, urban-living reality."
Saturday also will feature the closing reception for "Acid Reflux" the psychedelic-themed group art show curated by Lisa Rockford, at the Projects art space in FAT Village. The tongue-in-cheek show includes trippy works from Carmen Tiffany (her videos include alcoholic animals and singing dolphins), Amanda Madrigal, Francesco LoCastro and others.
SAILBOAT BEND ARTIST LOFTS
"Naughty by Nature" is the 13-artist show clogging up the 1310 Gallery at Sailboat Bend, which will feature works exploring themes related to the human body. Co-curator Zack Spechler, who operates the art collective Bedlam Lorenz Assembly at the Young at Art Museum in Davie, says the display will take up the gallery's three floors, with the top level featuring an all-video installation titled "Peep Show."
Works on the lower floors include Caroline Collette's meat market-esque piece, which features 25 silicone sculptures suspended from meat hooks that are designed to resemble "skin grafts," Spechler says. There is also Griselle Gaudnik's "Flower Vaginas," which include abstract sculptures made from fabric and paper and stained with coffee and tea.
"The idea that really intrigued me is how we can be so obsessed with our bodies, and the sexuality of others, but we can be in a room full of body parts and not even recognize them," Spechler says. "So you can stand in this exhibit and see various body parts, but they are abstract. You're like, 'Wait, is that a leg?'"
NSU MUSEUM OF ART FORT LAUDERDALE
Wine, beer and light bites will be two-for-one during the event, and there will be ample opportunity to view the stunning exhibit "Café Dolly: Picabia, Schnabel, Willumsen," a survey of 75 modernist works by French Dadaist Francis Picabia, New York artist Julian Schnabel and Danish expressionist J.F. Willumsen.
Three NSU Shark shuttles, provided by the NSU Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, will whisk art lovers for free to 14 gallery and museum stops in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Transportation will run from 5 to 9 p.m. at 20- to 30-minute intervals. Metered street parking also is available at the museum. Stops include NSU Museum of Art, 1310 Gallery, FAT Village, Cadence Pop-up Gallery, MAC Fine Art, Made in Broward at the Cottage, Margi Glavovic Nothard/Glavovic Studio, Tin Ly/Mary Lou Siefker Studio, Henning Haupt Studio and Michel Pellus Studio.
When: 5-9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18
Where: Various locations in downtown Fort Lauderdale
Cost: Free admission for all participating galleries and museums
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