Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Miami Part III: Hello Meth Lab with View

By day three of Basel most folks when asked would tell you that the tops thing to see before leaving Miami was the meth lab. "Go to the Station," was on everybody's lips from the Vuitton wearers of the world to your average art school grads.

On my final day in Miami after a thorough numbing in Scope, LM and I trudged over to the Station, a multi story exhibition in an under construction retail space in midtown Miami. Feeling exhausted after slogging through a roller coaster ride of unpredictable work, curators Shamim M. Momin and Nate Lowman did not disappoint.

Afterwards I told a colleague that "the meth lab made me happy" which struck me as an absurd thing to say the minute I uttered it but then was assured by my dining companions that I was not the first to utter that phrase. We then joked that Station t-shirts should be made with that statement screened on them. The design could mimic an Orange Crush T-shirt. Classy.

I've been seriously chewing on this since I got home and I feel pretty confident that Hello Meth Lab with View was the best thing I saw in Miami. I truly can't remember the last time I saw a work that possessed that kind of attention to detail, narrative, concept, and intelligence. At one point when I was on the top floor of the piece I discovered that I was totally alone and became instantly unsettled. The theatre of Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe's installation was so effective that for a split second I forgot that I was standing in an artist's creation and not the actual scene of a crime. It's the sort of transformative experience one always hopes for when viewing work and rarely receives.

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