After a day at Art Basel Miami Beach, that dazzling abattoir of art, a stroll through a graveyard might be just the ticket. That’s the thinking behind the project Cemeterium, a project of Regina Rex—a collaborative, artist-run exhibition space on Manhattan’s Lower East Side—which has teamed up with friends to create a sculpture garden that could also be interpreted as one of the cheekiest gallery booths in town. The exhibition features 30 “tombstones” intended to evoke the artists who made them, from Amanda Ross-Ho to Siebren Versteeg.
Staged in the outdoor yard of Wynwood gallery Emerson Dorsch (151 NW 24th St., Miami), the show was conceived in response to the deadening scale of Miami Basel week, says Hilde Helphenstein, a Regina Rex collaborator who works at Emerson Dorsch.
“Seeing the nature of the beast, you realize how small you are,” Helphenstein says.
Cemeterium, which remains open through Sunday, feels true to its inspiration, inviting quiet (and often wry) reflection on a graveyard full of artistic personalities. Esther Ruiz’s cheery neon arch planted in soil provides an amusing translation of her minimal sculptures in the setting. Versteeg’s plot commemorates, in the form of a digital print accompanied by a small shovel, a cemetery marker for a dog whose owner chose the early adopter name “Pixel” in 1989. Jeff Degolier and Ben Vida’s Dread Toner, a nondescript wooden box to the eye, produces a grating, low-pitched sound that embodies anxiety, another offering this week in Miami.
On Friday, December 5, a midnight reception is scheduled to include a funeral procession performance with artist William Powhida in a coffin. Regina Rex is also participating in the NADA fair.
Megan Voeller is a visual art critic for Creative Loafing in Tampa and an education curator at the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum. She co-hosts WEDU Arts Plus, a public television series about the arts.