homework in Miami, Florida

By December 05, 2022
An installation show of a large warehouse space with white walls, steel ceiling, and concrete floor. Paintings of shapes on the white wall, hanging textiles from the ceiling and a large black stone like object on the floor in the foreground.
Installation view of v00001: Charlie Quezada, Gustavo Peña, Patricia Encarnacion, Elisa Bergel Melo, Carlos Llamas, Varkito Garcia, Mayte Nicole, Tropiblue, and Julián Chams in December 2021 – January 2022 at The Knoxon, Miami, Florida. Photo by Billy Casimir and courtesy of homework.

Location/Address: Miami, Florida
Hours: wed—fri: 11-6pm | sat: 12-6pm | sun, mon, tues: by appointment
Website: https://www.homework.gallery/
Founded by: Aurelio Aguilo and Mayra Mejia
Operated by: Aurelio Aguilo and Mayra Mejia
Opened: 2021
Most Recent Exhibitions: Richard Vergez: Trains of Thought; project room: homework x la obra de arte soy yo: Paula Sarmiento; salad days: Thomas Bils, Beth Rhodes, Dylan Matamoros, Falopapas; traces and visions: Julián Chams; project room: into the abstract: Mayte Nicole; v00001: Charlie Quezada, Gustavo Peña, Patricia Encarnacion, Elisa Bergel Melo, Carlos Llamas, Varkito Garcia, Mayte Nicole, Tropiblue, and Julián Chams. 

Akin To Realism: MELISSA HUANG AND CHRISTINA A. WEST on view at Swan Coach House Gallery through February 9
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Isabella Marie Garcia: You both are based in Miami, and have lived in the community since before the gallery’s founding in 2021. How has the arts community shifted from the time you were first introduced to it and in what ways has Homework triggered and/or been a response to those shifts? 

Aurelio Aguilo: Like the gallery, we’re pretty nomadic ourselves. Originally from Santo Domingo, we lived in Miami from 2008-2013 and were pretty familiar with the art scene of the city back then. In 2013 we moved to New York and got really immersed in the art scene over there. We worked in and around it for years and from there came the idea to start a nomadic art space that followed the rhythm of the art world to help give exposure to emerging artists that we felt needed to be shown during critical times of the art world calendar. 

With the pandemic brewing in 2020, right before it exploded, we moved back down to Miami and have been here ever since. The arts community has clearly evolved since we last lived here. It definitely feels different. Art centers in the city have shifted, some places have disappeared and a lot of new ones have popped up. 

Lately we’ve seen a lot of places we’ve come to love closing down and there’s a bit of uncertainty of what’s going to happen next. We know that when faced with these kinds of adversities or threats, be it gentrification or things like that, the arts community anywhere in the world finds a way to survive and thrive. 

IMG: One aspect of your space that called out to me while reading more about the space was the idea of nomadic allowance in what physical parameters an exhibition can exist within. The concept of homework also fuels this idea of a challenge to be met by a deadline through unconventional responses. Can you provide some insight into the thought process behind these words being foundational pillars of the gallery’s mission? How does having roots in Miami while not physically tied to the city influence the programming produced through Homework?

Installation view of traces and visions: Julián Chams in May 2022 at Ace Hotel, New York, New York. Photo by Daniel Kukla and courtesy of homework.
Installation view of traces and visions: Julián Chams in May 2022 at Ace Hotel, New York, New York. Photo by Daniel Kukla and courtesy of homework.

AA: That’s an aspect of the gallery that we’ve come to embrace more with each show. We love the challenge of staging exhibitions in different, unconventional spaces. It does present unique challenges each time and were constantly putting out fires within minutes of opening each show, but it’s gratifying none the less. Many of these spaces we work in are not prepared to have the kind of shows we produce in them, be it no lighting, damaged floors, etc…but our small team embraces the challenge. We find it curatorially more interesting than working within the same set of parameters. 

Akin To Realism: MELISSA HUANG AND CHRISTINA A. WEST on view at Swan Coach House Gallery through February 9
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As for your last question, being nomadic, our goal is to activate the emerging artist community wherever we have a show in the world. We do this by showing local artists or by bringing in other artists from other parts of the world and seeing how they interact with the community. Our goal is to embrace the local arts community and hopefully give them unique avenues of expression through collaboration with whatever we have going on during that stop. 

We are currently based in Miami, and our last show, Salad Days, was completely community focused. All the artists were local, either native born or immigrants based in Miami. This was also true of all the performers, DJs and panelists who participating in the many activations during the show’s run. We did this as a way to embrace the local arts community and have them get to know us a bit better.

On the other hand, our first show, v00001 during Miami Art Week 2021, was a large group show with no local artists. We did this as a way to catapult artists that we love during the critical dates that surround Art Basel Miami Beach, when the whole art world descends on Miami.

IMG: You both have your own artistic practices and have contributed to creative initiatives outside of Homework. Can you tell me about what it’s been like operating an independent art space while growing your own practices? 

AA: My artistic practice is always brewing in the shadows. I’m always working on ideas and experimenting. 

Running Homework and working with amazing artists and visiting their studios has definitely sparked a desire to ramp up my own artistic practice. This is something I plan on focusing on more next year.

IMG: What’s on the horizon for Homework?

AA: We want to do shows around the world and build out a more solid virtual component to the gallery through our website. 

One thing we plan to do early next year is to travel, look for new spaces and meet new artists. Ultimately find exciting people to collaborate with in new experimental art space[s]. 

Installation view of v00001: Charlie Quezada, Gustavo Peña, Patricia Encarnacion, Elisa Bergel Melo, Carlos Llamas, Varkito Garcia, Mayte Nicole, Tropiblue, and Julián Chams in December 2021 – January 2022 at The Knoxon, Miami, Florida. Photo by Billy Casimir and courtesy of homework.
Installation view of v00001: Charlie Quezada, Gustavo Peña, Patricia Encarnacion, Elisa Bergel Melo, Carlos Llamas, Varkito Garcia, Mayte Nicole, Tropiblue, and Julián Chams in December 2021 – January 2022 at The Knoxon, Miami, Florida. Photo by Billy Casimir and courtesy of homework.

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