Show at Miami Art Space – December 6, 2007

Posted on Saturday, December 1st, 2007

Jay Davis, Michael Joo, and Michael Rakowitz for More Art: When Art Goes Back to the Community.

Exhibition features innovative collaborations between contemporary artists and New York City teens.

Opening: December 6th, 6 to 8 PM

Beginning December 4th, More Art will commandeer the Miami Art Space in the Wynwood Art District (Miami) to showcase new projects by Jay Davis, Michael Joo, and Michael Rakowitz.

Jay Davis, Michael Joo, and Michael Rakowitz for More Art: When Art Goes Back to the Community, curated by Micaela Martegani, is on view through Sunday, December 9, 2007 at this newly-opened non-profit gallery located at 244 NW 35th Street, around the corner from the Scope Art Fair.

Michael Joo’s work is represented by a multi-media installation with video projection, mirrors and sound. For Bodhi Obfuscatus (Allegiance), a video helmet, devised by the artist as the equivalent of 48 live surveillance cameras, examines every detail of a group of New York teenagers’ faces as they tell stories about their lives and attempt to recite the “Pledge of Allegiance.” In the video installation, the close-up portraits, at once representational and abstract, are presented as a dense matrix of recorded projection and reflected video imagery.

Joo’s video helmet is part of an ongoing project which has been used to record sculptures in the examination of the relationship of science, technology and religion within institutional spaces. In this new work, the static icon has been replaced by living beings, themselves icons of adolescence, for a meditation on the uneasy balance between uncertainty and conviction that signals change.

Jay Davis’s project, entitled Untitled (Inside); Untitled (Outside), 2006-07, assembles mobiles constructed from a group of collages created as part of a group process by the artist with 13 teenagers from the Clinton Middle school in Chelsea.

Davis initiated the process by asking the students to take photographs of their living spaces, focusing on what they saw when looking out from those spaces and had them select one image from these many views and make a contour drawing of several objects in that photograph.

All the drawings were converted into adhesive vinyl facsimiles. Students were asked to select one to keep and then each young artist made a collage of the 13 other vinyl drawings onto his or her own. “In the end, instead of each creating something solely from their own memory, and aesthetic, the students ended up with something involving a part of each, taking their personal effects and memories into a larger conversation with each others,” Jay Davis recalls.

Collaborating with his Iraqi-Jewish mother, Michael Rakowitz compiled Baghdadi recipes and taught them to different audiences, including youths at the Hudson Guild Community Center in Chelsea, New York City (organized by More Art). The project is intended to continue as a pilot for a cooking show featuring Rakowitz and the students from Hudson Guild, to be broadcast on public access television and the Internet. The project also plans to incorporate a series of lessons for chefs in New York City Public School cafeterias, for serving Iraqi food as part of their everyday menus.

“For the first incarnation, I cooked with a group of middle school and high school students who live in Chelsea and participate in after-school and summer programs at the Hudson Guild Community Center. Some had relatives in the US Army stationed in Iraq. Preparing and then consuming the food opened up a topic through which the word ‘Iraq’ could be discussed—in this case, attached to food, as a representative of culture and not as a stream of green-tinted images shown on CNN of a place with which we have been constantly at war,” the artist states.

For this exhibition, Michael Rakowitz presents the history and documentation of the project titled Enemy Kitchen; Iraqi food is served at opening night. The project also includes the publication of a group of Iraqi recipe cards telling the story of the project, which will be available to the public.