Launch of new public art program in Miami with Nina Chanel Abney Mural – ARTnews.com

A new $5 million public art initiative will bring major commissions from world-class contemporary artists to downtown Miami. First, a monumental fresco by Nina Chanel Abney.

The artwork is a joyous mix of graphic figures, bold color schemes and musical notes inspired by Overtown, a historic black neighborhood in Miami. It spans the length of a walkway under a property in the mixed-use development called Worldcenter, a self-proclaimed “city within a city.”

“I created a pictorial language to tell an imaginary narrative that investigates community renewals and deletions,” Abney said in a statement. “The location of the mural, a tunnel formed by the dark passage under the building, inspired me to consider the legacy of preserving sacred spaces with a story. I hope to spark a dialogue around gentrification and encourage viewer curiosity to engage and learn about previous and adjacent neighborhoods.

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To realize the program’s aesthetic vision, art dealer Jeffrey Deitch, who manages gallery spaces in Los Angeles and New York, worked with the Miami-based curatorial collective Primary, who spearheaded a mix of public projects. and exhibitions from galleries across Miami that center the center of the city. diverse history.

“We believe that the most successful public art should be visually engaging and engage with the immediate environment,” said Books Bischof, founding partner of Primary. ART news. “Historic Overtown is a stone’s throw from the Nina Chanel Abney mural. Allowing that story to inform his art is the most important public work.

A wave of building construction is currently transforming downtown Miami, which for decades suffered from a lack of local investment. The 27-acre, $4 billion Miami Worldcenter is the second-largest of such mixed-use urban developments in the United States, behind Manhattan’s commercial playground, Hudson Yards.

As part of its commitment to the city, Worldcenter has emphasized the importance of community involvement. He created an art advisory board of cultural professionals that includes Franklin Sirmans, director of the Pérez Art Museum Miami; Nicholas Baume, director and chief curator of the Public Art Fund; and Cecilia Alemani, Director and Chief Curator of High Line Art in New York, as well as Artistic Director of the 2022 Venice Biennale.

In addition to Abney’s mural, Worldcenter has also commissioned designer, sculptor and performance artist Nick Cave, Miami-based painter Viktor El-Saieh and Texas-based artist Trenton Doyle Hancock to create new works for the site so far. Worldcenter plans to unveil two more large-scale artworks this year, with more details to come.

Bischof added: “It’s magical to see [Abney’s mural] materialize; for the Miami World Center program, this is just the beginning.

Kayleen C. Rice