Perhaps mindfully conjuring the poignant love story by the late Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera, PRIZM 2019 presented its theme in a banner greeting you at the entry headlined “Love in the Time of HYSTERIA.” Though it was Stephen Biko’s thinking, and not Marquez’, quoted in the exposition below this headline, this title nonetheless set this writer on a search to see how PRIZM’s exhibited works meshed with that novel’s meditation on how true love can be challenged by its own passionate energy, or by the societal diseases in the milieu where it hopes to bloom.
Compelling PRIZM 2019 Portraiture
The most direct connection, or perhaps the most compelling, in the view of this writer/photographer team, was in the predominance of portraiture in the best of the best short list of must-sees at PRIZM 2019, and perhaps Miami Art Week as a whole. Though there were art works of many styles, materials, and topics, the ones that arrested most seemed to be those that more literally put a face on the African diaspora and the zeitgeist of our times. The pre-opening for press was being shared by tours of would-be collectors, whose keen interest in what they were seeing was palpable.
PRIZM 2019 ‘s collection also struck this writer as what one might dub high IQ art infused with symbology keenly aware of history’s reach into our today. In more common parlance, it might be called woke. Here there is a math equation that reminds of the so-called and foul-to-its-core 3/5 Compromise. Like the recent Whitney Biennial, there is art shining a light on the football players that took to knee this past year. We saw braids tying heads together, suggesting community bonds. Recurring in work by more than one artist, boxing gloves and broken shackles came to mix in our mind’s RAM. And, as one found in exhibits throughout Miami Art Week, there was also searing commentary on climate change. A standout for this writer was found in Louisa Marajo’s OR (French for “gold”), titled Sargassum Gold, where one is lured to peek closer to what seems like a capture of floral splendor, only to learn how it is the sulfur-smelling, asthma inducing algae that fertilizer run-off is now moving across the ocean from Africa to the Caribbean, killing coral and more in its pathways.
Black Lives Matter, replete with a friendly acupuncturist, was again on hand at PRIZM 2019 to amplify the message of needing healing spaces in the African Diaspora. Time permitting, PRIZM also includes a healthy number of seminars and special events throughout their Art Basel Miami synched run. Next time…
For more information and to bookmark for announcements on next year’s event, visit the PRIZM website.