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  • Writer's pictureLa Pera Projects

Artist and curator Alex Valls and her curatorial collective GOOD TO KNOW.FYI in Miami Art Week, 2020

Updated: Mar 30, 2022

Installation View at Low Res. Image by Mateo Serna

"A Subtropical Affair" is held across three locations opening during Miami Art Week. This exhibition considers the various threats and concerns affecting the sustainability of South Florida as a habitable land, alluding to the dangers we as a society pose to our environment, bringing awareness to the damaged ecosystems that we inhabit and shape.

The show’s main location at the Center for Subtropical Affairs in Little Haiti is a site for civic ecology and the preservation of local flora and fauna. The diversity in artworks presented ranges from work by Brookhart Jonquil which reflects on how gravity shapes the movement of light, to Franky Cruz’s field research-based practice. A sound installation by Nathan Young responds to land and territory from the Haitian and Seminole perspective. Works by Sterling Rook and Clifton Childree are created from sustainable practices, while Michele Oka Doner’s work draws attention to the ephemeral reality of nature. Hector Jimenez Castillo’s site-specific installation comments on production and consumption via the critique of the cold chain supply. Beatriz Chachamovits in collaboration with Natasha Tomchin & Charles Levine present a multi-sensory installation highlighting the biodiversity of coral reefs. Lauren Shapiro’s stacked-shaped ceramic sculptures draw inspiration from geometric patterns in nature. Photographer Robert Andy Coombs with Lo-Hi Magazine will present a live portraiture experience capturing visitors as they inhabit the natural land. Casey Zap of the Center is a contributing curator of this site.

Low Res Space, an upcycled and retrofitted cargo container located in Wynwood, will host the second location of A Subtropical Affair. The site will be wrapped by the installation Free Plan by architect Catherine Crotty with designer Nicolas Harrington, allowing for an open-air gallery independent of walls where the natural environment will control the illumination and feeling of the space. Inside the container, Alberto Baraya´s fake herbarium of botanical assemblages become a nod to the deconstruction of the scientific examination of nature. Gonzalo Fuenmayor’s charcoal works convey the fascinating yet destructive qualities of a tropical decadence, while Mariana Murcia’s melted ice cream sculptures respond to the idea of global warming. Nicole Nadeau’s bronze sculptures comment on the culture of plastic and excess packaging and Brianna Lance’s optimistic paintings propagate organic forms in seemingly endless patterns. Stephanie Temma Hier’s sculptural wall work is employed to address the theme of Earth’s underwater ecology. Finally, Ezekiel Binns & Juan Cardona present an architectural blueprint of an alternative communal and sustainable dwelling based on organic forms. A video by Jillian Mayer highlights the commercialization of Florida’s coastline, and Virginia Lee Montgomery’s video embodies the philosophical theorem that any small wave in our environment may manifest big climatic change. Low Res Space will also feature jewelry by Jenna Kaes which fossilizes real flora and a special clothing collection by Tombolo.

As a final iteration of A Subtropical Affair, a third exhibition curated by Omar Lopez Chahoud will open January 2021 at a new site in partnership with Venny Torre Companies on Giralda Plaza, Coral Gables. Exhibiting artists are Amanda Keeley, Cara Despain, Jamilah Sabur, Beverly Ache, Cinthia Marcelle and Liene Bosque. This final iteration will be aligned with the opening of Illuminate Art Fair. More information to come.

A Subtropical Affair - Installation View at Center for Subtropical Affair

Image: Matteo Prandoni/

A Subtropical Affair is a group show with Alberto Baraya, Bhakti Baxter, Ezekiel Binns & Juan Cardona, Hector Jimenez Castillo, Beatriz Chachamovits with Natasha Tomchin & Charles Levine, Clifton Childree, Robert Andy Coombs, Catherine Crotty, Franky Cruz, Michele Oka Doner, Gonzalo Fuenmayor, Stephanie Temma Hier, Brookhart Jonquil, Jenna Kaes, Brianna Lance, Jillian Mayer, Virginia Lee Montgomery, Mariana Murcia, Nicole Nadeau, Heidi Norton, Sterling Rook, Lauren Shapiro and Nathan Young.

GOOD TO KNOW.FYI is a curatorial collective by Alex Valls, Julianna Vezzetti, Juliana Steiner and Jess Hodin Lévy that provides a platform for artists in non-traditional sites, allowing a space for experimentation, research and creation, while emphasizing on the integrating of local community to its curatorial research and development of each exhibition.

GTK.FYI’s mission includes creating interactive exhibitions highlighting the past, present and future of Miami. As Miami faces serious climate, immigration and gentrification challenges, GTK.FYI’s on-going projects reflect these issues and concerns. A Miami born, grassroots-led initiative, GTK.FYI’s shows aim to address underserved areas of Miami, uplift the community and embrace diversity and an entrepreneurial spirit.

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