Locust Projects Kicked of Art Basel with Trio of Experimental Exhibitions

 Installation view of HUFFER COLLECTIVE's SAVE YOURSELVES; Installation view of Kaite Bell's Backsplash II. Photo Credit: Zack Balber, www.gingerphotoinc.com. All images Courtesy of Locust Projects, Miami.
Installation view of HUFFER COLLECTIVE’s SAVE YOURSELVES; Installation view of Kaite Bell’s Backsplash II. Photo Credit: Zack Balber, www.gingerphotoinc.com. All images Courtesy of Locust Projects, Miami.

Last night, the not-for-profit exhibition space Locust Projects kicked off Art Basel with a trio of experimental exhibitions. Founded by artists for artists, the organization continues its 18-year-long mission to provide contemporary artists the freedom to experiment without the imitations of conventional exhibition spaces.

In the main exhibition space, Alexis Gideon debuted The Comet and the Glacier, a new video opera and immersive installation. Originally trained as a musician and composer, Gideon is best known for his animated live video operas and related multidisciplinary artworks. For his first large-scale exhibition, Alexis Gideon’s musical compositions, sculpted clay reliefs, glass paintings, stop-motion animations, videos and live performances came to life, transforming Locust Projects into a surreal dreamscape, populated by the personal effects and relics from the creation of The Comet and the Glacier and Alexis’ own past, both real and fictive. These elements reinforce the complex narrative world of the artist’s invention, where reality and fiction are confused and interspersed along the many stratified layers of his story.

Installation view of Alexis Gideon's The Comet and the Glacier; Alexis Gideon performing at Locust Projects
Installation view of Alexis Gideon’s The Comet and the Glacier; Alexis Gideon performing at Locust Projects

Gideon further pushed the boundary between the real and the imagined with his live activation of the piece. He performed a musical arrangement that corresponded to the videos housed in each of the installation’s rooms, like chapters informing the overall narrative. In moments of virtuosity, the animated characters mouthed along in sync to the lyrics sang and rapped by Gideon, embodying the real and fictional Alexis at once.

In the project space HUFFER COLLECTIVE created the city’s first monumental pyramid, in a continuation of their attempts to annihilate Miami’s status as an “art world mecca for rich tourists”. HUFFER COLLECTIVE mined their homes, studios and storage spaces for personal artifacts that piece together their individual and collective memories; and, by extension, construct an impression of Miami. Titled SAVE YOUR SELVES, the collective will present a monumental pyramid-like structure, including artifacts that reference the high crime, seedy motels, punk venues, underground clubs and graffiti that once distinguished the surrounding neighborhoods.

 Installation view of The Comet and the Glacier; Installation view of The Comet and the Glacier
Installation view of The Comet and the Glacier; Installation view of The Comet and the Glacier

Also on view was Backsplash II an installation by Brooklyn-based artist Katie Bell that serves as a visual and conceptual sequel to her previous exhibition in the space, Backsplash. Utilizing wood, laminate, paint, foam, hot tub fragments, shock absorbers, cork, and rope, the artist has created physical, sculptural paintings that evoke the domestic sphere. The artist’s materials become abstracted from their original purpose, and act as ruins and relics.

Extended Gallery Hours During Art Basel Miami Beach: November 28-December 3, 10am-7pm
Exhibitions on View Through January 21, 2017