The Center for Visual Communication in Wynwood kicks off Art Basel Season with the world premiere of the new exhibition The Miami Creative Movement (Nov. 19‒March 15) curated by Barry Fellman. It will coincide with the launch of his new photography book Miami Creative: A Decade of Transformation, published by Letter16 Press. The landmark book chronicles a pivotal decade in Miami’s art scene with 200+ photographs by Barry Fellman, essays by Alberto Ibargüen (President/CEO of the Knight Foundation) and Jordan Levin (arts writer), and contributions by Dr. Carol Damian, (art historian).
Letter16 Press is a 501(c)(3) non-profit publishing house founded by designer Francesco Casale and journalist Brett Sokol. The publishing house is dedicated to championing Miami’s most talented photographers from the ‘60s through the ‘90s, who sought out a sweet spot between photojournalism and art. Much of their visually arresting imagery from the pre-digital era currently remains trapped on 35mm film, hidden away in boxes, and largely unknown to today’s audiences.
“The combination of this spectacular grouping of artists in the Miami Creative Movement exhibition, alongside the launch of the new book Miami Creative: A Decade of Transformation, is the coveted ‘insider’ experience that visitors who flock to Art Basel Miami Beach love,” said Alberto Ibargüen.
The group art exhibition is a testimony to the spirit of the new book, with paintings by fifteen of Miami’s leading artists who embody the creative movement propelling this city. This blockbuster exhibition promises to take Miami Art Week by storm, featuring a stellar line-up of artists: Carlos Betancourt, Edouard Duval-Carrie, Mira Lehr, Robert Thiele, John Bailly, Jacqueline Gopie, Karen Rifas, David Marsh, Paola Gracey, Asser Saint-Val, Robert McKnight, Gustavo Oviedo, Regina Jestrow, Pablo Contriciani and Kathleen Staples
“Now is Not the Time for Cultural Amnesia”
The more than 200 photographs by Barry Fellman in this new book capture a decade of artistic growth in Miami during a time of transformational public funding for the arts and major private donations.
But an unexpected turn of events during the publishing timeline changed the book’s direction. The book was conceived well before the Covid-19 pandemic (as Fellman compiled and catalogued ten years’ worth of photographs chronicling this surge in the arts scene). When it became time to finalize the publication, it was the Spring of 2020, and the pandemic lockdown shut down all cultural events and travel to Miami. Looking back at these photographs suddenly also meant looking forward for a glimmer of hope and creative solutions.
All of a sudden, the photographer Barry Fellman and the thought-leaders he gathered together for this book were left wondering how the city might reinvent itself with the help of artists. “Miami’s urban rhythms, like its economic cycles, have always been boom and bust. The photographs in this book celebrate how our artistic scene grew during the past decade, and now these images can inspire us as we reinvent it going forward,” writes Jordan Levin in her essay.
These unforeseen flashes of insight, due to the book’s precarious timing, transcend the usual coffee table mindset in ways the authors could not have imagined.
But nevertheless, they seized the moment and added new and important questions before going to press ― “There’s a seed of possibility . . . to use this profound disruption as an inspiration to change the city for the better . . . this could be the moment to give a more central role to the artists who have done so much to make Miami so vital,” wrote Levin. “Who better to reimagine the city than prescient, instinct-driven creatives? Now is not the time for cultural amnesia.” Then the book went to press, and these questions might appear to remain frozen in time. Or are they?
During Miami Art Week this year, the public is invited to open- house events to meet the artists on-site at the Center for Visual Communication, located in the heart of Miami’s Wynwood arts district (from 3:00-6:00 p.m. each day on Wednesday, Nov. 30, Thursday, Dec. 1 and Friday, Dec. 2.). Free and open to the public. Space is limited ‒ RSVP required in advance: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/miami-creative-movement- meet-the-artists-open-house-tickets-444590601457
“Through his camera lens and the pages of his book, Fellman takes us on a photo-safari across Miami’s cultural terrain, during one of the most pivotal decades in Miami’s storied history – when a civic belief that culture is vital to our city meant transformational financial investment in the arts. Now, especially because the publication of this book coincides with the 20th anniversary of Art Basel Miami Beach, it makes sense to launch this book alongside a group exhibition of artists who have impacted Miami’s cultural trajectory,” adds Alberto Ibargüen.
“At our most delirious Miami moments, we know what’s true,” adds Jordan Levin. “For decades Barry Fellman has been the omnipresent, tirelessly enthusiastic witness of the art scene; always there, smiling, marveling, shooting, avid to capture the experiences he loves. His pictures reflect his own delight and the joy he discovers in others. His way of saying we should remember these moments, because they matter. This is who we are, at our best.” Read more about the Center for Visual Communication and the new book
A Miami native, Barry Fellman is celebrated as “the ultimate Miami art insider” (with one foot firmly planted in New York’s art scene too). He has served as the Director of the Center for Visual Communication since 1997. Prior to this, he served as Curator of Photography for the Metropolitan Museum and Art Center in Miami (the predecessor to PAMM). He is the artist/photographer of the new book Miami Creative: A Decade of Transformation and is the curator of the new exhibition The Miami Creative Movement during Miami Art Week 2022 at the Center for Visual Communication.
Fellman’s history in the art world goes back more than 30 years, in both Miami and New York. He is the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in New York; a Miami-Dade Art in Public Places Grant; and a City of New York Artists Space Grant. Fellman attended Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design.
Fellman has curated major exhibitions by: Berenice Abbott; Carlos Amorales; Richard Avedon; Lluis Barba; Wynn Bullock; Clyde Butcher; Richard Diebenkorn; Lewis Hine; William Gottlieb; David Hockney; Diane Keaton; Andre Kertesz; Clarence Laughlin; Robert Motherwell; Renate Ponsold; Robert Rauschenberg; Aaron Siskind, and more. Fellman also spearheaded a Miami Masters Series of exhibitions, featuring the work of Darby Bannard, Eugene Massin, Andrew Morgan and Bunny Yeager.
For several years, Fellman programmed the art gallery on the ground floor of the Deutsche Bank building in New York, across from the Museum of Modern Art. His work as a photographer is represented in nationally recognized public and private collections, including: American Express, NY; JP Morgan Chase, NY; Center for Creative Photography, AZ; Credit Suisse, MA; Miami-Dade Art in Public Places; Morgan Stanley, NY; and RISD Museum. His public commissions and installations include: the Henry Street Settlement in New York; the U.S. National Park Service; the eMerge Americas Conference; Locust Projects; the Miami-Dade Parks Department; and Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, among others.
His solo exhibitions include: the Miami Center for Architecture and Design; Art Miami; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Coral Gables Museum; Locust Projects; Tropical Audubon Society; the Frost Art Museum FIU; Museum of Art and Design at Miami-Dade College; Miami Science Museum; the Wirtz Gallery; Vizcaya Museum and Gardens; the Puchong Gallery in New York; the Bates Art Resource Center in Boston; the Joseph Dee Museum in San Francisco, and the Woods Gerry Gallery in Rhode Island.
About the Center for Visual Communication
For more than 25 years, the Center for Visual Communication has organized and presented museum quality exhibition programs of visual art and new media. Exhibitions are presented at its permanent location, and at other public locations in collaboration with governmental, educational and non-profit organizations. To accommodate its expanding programs the Center relocated to a newly renovated 10,000 square foot space in the Wynwood Arts District in 2007.
Exhibitions at its new location have included comprehensive retrospectives of works by Clyde Butcher, renowned master of the Florida Landscape; Clarence Laughlin, father of American surrealism; Robert Rauschenberg, one of the most important artists and innovators of the 20th century, and the Fiftieth Anniversary exhibition of legendary New York printmaking studio ULAE. The Rauschenberg show is currently on tour at museums in South America. The Center has established a multimedia, electronic imaging and performance program at its new location as a resource for visual and performing artists. The program supports the use of electronic and computer technology for the creation of visual
art, performance and new media.
All photos in this post are by Barry Fellman, from his new book “Miami Creative: A Decade of Transformation”
Thank you to Jose Lima of News Travels Fast for the Editorial