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Filling the Void: Fabiano Parisi in Miami

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Fabiano Parisi, "Il mondo che non vedo" ("The world I do not see")

Fabiano Parisi, “Il mondo che non vedo” (“The world I do not see”)

There are a few days left to catch the exhibit Fabiano Parisi: Empire of Light at the Diana Lowenstein Gallery in Miami.  The show ends this Saturday, May 31st.

Empire of Light is a series that Parisi began in 2007 and in which he photographs abandoned buildings throughout the world – Italy, Poland, Germany Belgium and the U.S.  Parisi was born in Rome in 1977.  You can learn more about him on his website at

There’s something fascinating, or at least to me, about abandoned buildings.  I’m not sure why, but this theme recurs in my life.  I recently watched (well, honestly, I only made it through the first 15 minutes) Chernobyl Diaries, a film inspired by eerie photos of Pripyat,  the abandoned village found on this blog.  I saw the recent James Bond flick more than once and that was filmed at the abandoned Hashima Island.  A few weeks ago, I was mesmerized by Villa Epecuen, a town in Argentina that emerged from the ocean after being underwater for 25 years.

My first encounter with an abandoned location was during a kayaking trip on the Hudson River where I learned about Bannerman Castle. A few years ago an Italian photographer, Carlo Tardani, sent me a link to photos he’d taken of abandon building in Tuscany.  In Freudian terms, I guess there’s a parallel to being abandoned as a child by my father and being attracted to the emptiness of abandoned locations, the longing for more, the sense of loss for something that was solid and once provided security.  I wonder if people that don’t have similar psychological baggage are equally entranced?

In Parisi’s work, there’s a sense not only of abandonment, but also of destruction. There’s this sense that what was was once vibrant, breathing and full of life, but is now devoid of life and breath.  However, it could be argued that this absence of life is actually more compelling because the remnants invite the viewer to write a story in their mind.  My story will be different than yours.  I might project something entirely different.  When I look at the photo at the top of this post, I think immediately of the Kirstin Dunst film, Marie Antoinette.  What do you think of?

When you view Parisi’s abandoned theater below, there are so many images that surface and superimpose themselves on it figuratively in your head.  Our brains store images the way a computer files them away in File Manager, associating them with words, ideas and emotions.  Parisi titles his photos, “Il mondo che non vedo,” which translates as “the world I do not see.”  That accounts for the absence of life, but not for our desire to fill the void with our own associations, memories and emotions.  And when you look at an image like this, it’s hard not to see the ghosts of past occupants.  Although the building is empty and decrepit, there’s an impression that remains of the life that was once there.

There is the sense of loss and the mind’s desire to fill the void.

Fabiano Parisi, "Il mondo che non vedo"

Fabiano Parisi, “Il mondo che non vedo”

Written by Jenifer Mangione Vogt

May 30, 2013 at 11:15 am

Cheryl Maeder in Icons & Images

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Dreamscapes, Everglades I, 4/10, Photograph on Plexiglas, 30 x 45 inches in size | Permanent Collection of the Frost Museum of Art

Cheryl Maeder, Dreamscapes, Everglades I, 4/10, Photograph on Plexiglas, 30 x 45 inches in size.   Permanent Collection of the Frost Museum of Art

The exhibit “Icons & Images” opens tomorrow night, Saturday, May 18, at Curator’s Art Voice Projects during the monthly Wynwood Art Walk.  The show will feature work from Palm Beach-based artist Cheryl Maeder.

I’m a fan of Maeder’s work where she creates dream-like images, derived from underlying photographs that challenge the viewer’s subconscious response to familiar scenes by literally blurring the line between perception and reality.  She calls them “Dreamscapes” and that’s also the title of the series these works belong to.  It’s like she’s applied the principles of impressionistic painting to photography and the viewer is left with an impression, rather than a clear-cut image.  Yet, enough of the original image is discernible to make out figures at rest, at play and frolicking on the beach.

I derive a sense of joyfulness from Maeder’s work because in blurring reality she brings to the forefront what’s most beautiful about each image – the light, the color, the sense of motion and expression.  Before launching her artistic career, Maeder enjoyed a lucrative career as a fine art and advertising photographer.  Her work was actually the inspiration for the Dove Campaign onReal Women, Real Beauty that’s been seen all over the world.  You can learn more about Maeder and her work on her website at

Cheryl Maeder Dreamscapes

Cheryl Maeder, Dreamscapes, Sea & Sky V, 4/10, Photograph on Plexiglas, 30 x 45 inches in size

Two of the works form Maeders’ Dreamscapes series will be on view in Icons & Images.  These include, “Dreamscapes: Everglades I” and “Dreamscapes, Sea & Sky V.”   The exhibit is curated by Milagros Bello, Ph.D. and will also feature work from 16 other artists.  In her description of the show she writes, “Through the intertext of the visual images or through univocal frontal figures, the artists signal and echo societal issues: the critical feminine condition, the chaos of urban life, the money factor, death or war, the critical poverty condition in poor countries, lay underneath some of the works.

Curator’s Voice Art Projects is located at 299 NW 25th St., Miami, FL 33127.  You can get more information about “Icon & Images,” including the full schedule of events, at the website at or by calling 786-357-0568.

Written by Jenifer Mangione Vogt

May 17, 2013 at 9:45 pm

Art Basel Miami Beach for JetSet

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I just received the copy of the article I ghostwrote about Art Basel Miami Beach for JetSet magazine on behalf of a prominent dealer and art adviser.


The Art of the Deal by Noah Horowitz

The Art of the Deal by Noah Horowitz

This provided me the opportunity to interview Noah Horowitz, the director of the Armory Art Show and also the author of The Art of the Deal, an amazing book about the economics that drive the contemporary art world and market.  In addition to Noah, I also interviewed Bob Goodman, the Miami spokesperson for the Basel organization and Frederic Snitzer, the only Miami gallerist on the Basel MB selection committee.

One person I interviewed was a particular high – Ron Warren – wait, I should actually say the “uber-famous” Ron Warren, because he’s such an art-world heavyweight and persona, from Mary Boone Gallery.  I wrote an extensive research paper on Mary Boone when I was getting my art history degree.  I idolized her and her gallery.  I was going there when I was a teenager for gosh sake. Also interviewed are Norman Braman, one of the world’s leading art collectors and the man who helped bring Basel to Miami and Carol Damian, the chief curator for the Frost Museum of Art.  Matt Bangser from Blum & Poe provided the perfect quotes and info to round out the article.  It was as though he read my mind.

Up next for me is that JetSet has asked me to write a second feature on the Palm Beach art fairs and this time I’ll get the credit.  I’m working on that as we speak….

Written by Jenifer Mangione Vogt

December 13, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Agustina Woodgate at 2012 Art Basel Miami Beach

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Agustina Woodgate and Anthony Spinello

Agustina Woodgate pictured with Anthony Spinello. Woodgate will represent Spinello Projects in the Art Positions sector of this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach.

This morning great news arrived in a press release from Spinello Projects announcing that the work of Argentinean-born and Miami-based artist Agustina Woodgate will appear in the Art Positions sector of this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach, which will be held December 6-9 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

If you follow my blog and social media pages, you already know that I’m a fan of hers.  I’ve tagged her a few times as an artist I think is worth watching.  I like to think I’ve been around art long enough to spot talent, but it’s great to get the affirmation that I was right. It’s funny, too, because I had just posted on my Facebook page on September 2nd that I predicted great things for her.  Now, I get this.  I’m telling you – this young artist is amazing!  (My next Miami artist-to-watch: Zach Balber).

I stumbled upon Woodgate’s work when she was doing this wonderful “poetry bombing” project where she would go into Miami thrift stores and sew tags with poetry into the clothing.  I found this charming and uplifting and it made me pay attention.  She’s got a palpable energy stream that emanates in everything she does.  She’s dynamic.  The more I learned about her, the more I liked her.  Now, I follow her travels and projects via her Facebook page and she’s always doing something interesting.

Woodgate partners often with Anthony Spinello, an intelligent and uber-hip young dealer here in Miami who also blogs for ArtInfo.  Since I arrived here about four years ago, I’ve watched his gallery evolve into one of Miami’s best.  Having been selected for Art Basel MB confirms others have been watching him and think the same.  He’s staged nice work at SCOPE over the past two years.

Art Positions provides a showcase for the work of a single emerging artist.  Woodgate’s work is called “New Landscape.”  This is what the release has to say about it:

Positive and negative matter from three representations of the planet Earth will be featured — each representation a proposal for a new kind of territorial exploration. Rather than nations or countries taking precedence as the visual anchor, the Earth as a whole, all at once rendered mute, but equal, becomes the primary focus. From the violent, aggressive gesture of erasing political borders and imagined national spaces, Woodgate offers a signal of hope: an optimistic realization of a world both beautiful to behold and comforting to imagine.

I think that’s what resonates most with me about Woodgate’s work.  There’s a lot of “hope” in it.  It’s always affirming and I’m looking forward to seeing this.

Click here to see the entire line up for this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach that was released earlier today.

Rashid Johnson at Miami Art Museum

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Rashid Johnson Miami Art Museum

Rashid Johnson at Miami Art Museum

Earlier today I attended the press preview for the Rashid Johnson show, “Message to Our Folks” that will open tomorrow at the Miami Art Museum.  I’ll be writing some articles about this show and will delve more deeply into Johnson’s art over the next week.  However, this being my blog, where I can allow some of my personality to shine through in my writing, let me just say this, “Whoa.  OK. Wow.”  Not only is Johnson gorgeous – and I mean a really beautiful and handsome man -but he was witty and entertaining.  This is a plus for art writers who are often forced to “pull teeth” to get reticent or inherently shy artists to explain their work to us, so we can explain it to our readers.

When Johnson shared that he was, like me, enamored with Woody Allen movies, I was immediately hooked.  I could tell you he’d had me at Woody, but he’d had me when I saw a mixed media sculpture that featured three duplicates of Al Green’s “Greatest Hits.”  He’d had me at Al, actually.  He was telling me how he’d been living in Manhattan before he moved to Brooklyn and he kept expecting to hear the Gershwin Rhapsody from the beginning of Allen’s film Manhattan. Then he was joking about artists and their “projects” and how they’re always working on a some kind of weird project.  This resonated for me because I remembered when I was at Purchase College, everyone was always talking about some great project they were doing. Then after we graduated “working on this great project” became code for “unemployed.”

MAM has had some great artists recently.  Jose Bedia was incredibly engaging in his style of presenting his work to we writers.  He speaks about his art with great passion and gusto, using big sweeping hand gestures and he has a very animated and warm persona.  I was fascinated by Rivane Neuenschwander’s intelligence and charmed by her humble manner and loveliness.  Johnson had passion and humility, too, and he was funny. So, it just made for an engaging tour.

This morning, I also got to meet two Miami art and culture writers whose work I’ve been admiring for a while: Carlos Suarez de Jesus, who primarily writes for the Miami New Times and he’s also a working artist doing interesting Afro-Cuban inspired sculpture/installations, and Anne Tschida who also writes for the Times, The Miami Herald and others.  They’re the two best art writers in Miami, so it was nice to finally put faces to their names.

And, as an additional quick thrill I finally got to meet Frederic Snitzer, a gallerist here in Miami that I have a great deal of admiration for because he represents some of the best Miami artists, including this young talented photographer Zach Balber, who I just think, for lack of finding a better word because I’m kinda tired, is great.  I saw Snitzer speak at Locust Projects a few years ago and wrote about it, but hadn’t met him.

Definitely catch the Rashid Johnson show if you can, but note that it’s only got a short 2-month run.  It’ll close on November 4, 2012.

Camilla Ancilotto’s “Original Sin” at Miami’s Freedom Tower

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Miami’s Freedom Tower was designed by Schultze and Weaver, the same architects behind The Breakers in Palm Beach and the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables.

One of the few Italian-owned galleries in South Florida is Galleria Ca’ D’oro. In addition to their Coral Gables location, they have a gallery in Rome (their original gallery). For the past few years, they’ve partnered with Miami Dade College to stage exhibits at the historic landmark Freedom Tower building, which is located across from the American Airlines arena and is one of Miami’s most beautiful buildings. In fact, attending nighttime openings there reminds me of being in Rome.

Galleria Ca’ D’oro, which is owned by Gloria Porcella , has curated wonderful exhibits since their arrival in Miami and have contributed greatly to our cultural landscape. They’re one of a handful of galleries that consistently host thoughtful exhibits and remain loyal to Italy and Italian artists (and that’s rare in Miami). They also publish intelligent, well-written exhibit catalogs. And they’re dear friends and neighbors to Il Console Generale d’Italia a Miami, Adolfo Barattolo, who is often at their openings with his wife, Federica.

Next week, on September 5, they’ll open a show called “Original Sin” at the Tower that showcases work from Camilla Ancilotto. Her paintings remind me of the Italian Renaissance in their beautiful figurative- ness and vibrant color. And that’s her intention. She alludes to Michelangelo, Bronzino and Tiziano, but combines these references with contemporary painting and mixed media techniques. Her work is exactly the type of painting I’m most passionate about personally. And, much like the mirror works done by Michelangelo Pistoletto, Ancilotto’s work integrates the viewer and relies on their participation by incorporating parallelepipeds they can touch and move.  Galleria Ca’ D’Oro writes in their press release for the show, “Using lively and playful images and colors, she invites the viewer to participate both physically and thoughtfully while viewing her work.”


Unfortunately, I can’t attend the opening that night because I have to attend the press preview for Rashid Johnson at the Miami Art Museum – another artist I’m excited about – and then run back up to Boca for an afternoon client meeting. I’m disappointed because I’ll miss meeting the artist and Galleria Ca’ D’oro will be serving an aperitivo of Italian wine, the other thing I’m passionate about. Times like this make me sad I’m not closer to Miami, but, frankly, I don’t really think I’d enjoy living in that city – perhaps Coral Gables, which is very similar to Westchester County where I grew up. I like all the history and charm – and green trees and lawns, which make me happy.

However, I won’t miss the Camilla Ancilotto show. I’m right now planning when to attend and if, like me, you’re enamored with Italy and Italian art, you should be too. Galleria Ca’ D’oro doesn’t simply bring Italy’s best contemporary artists to Miami, they provide the entire Italian experience.

And, if you want to learn more about Italian post-war and contemporary art, and are near Palm Beach next week, please join curator Wendy Blazier and me at the Armory Arts Center on Tuesday, September 4th at 6:30pm. We’ll be presenting on and leading a discussion of artists Michelangelo Pistoletto, Valerio Adami, Alighiero Boetti, Maurizio Cattelan, Sandro Chia, Maurizio Vetrugno, Paola Pivi, Francesco Simeti, Lara Favaretto and curators Massimiliano Gioni and Achille Bonito Oliva.

Missing New York

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Irving Sandler

I was in awe of my college professor Irving Sandler and had nothing but the utmost respect and reverence for him. He instilled in me a love and enthusiasm for American art that continues to influence my writing.

I was thinking about this today.  I miss the New York and Westchester County art scene.  I miss going to stuffy gallery openings where mostly everyone wears black and beige and are craning their necks to see who is walking in the door. I miss my beautiful, quiet country church with its beautiful Chagall and Matisse windows.  I miss the smell of bonfires and the golden glow on the Hudson River.  South Florida is nothing like this.

Surely, I am getting old, but that’s OK.  I’m glad I grew up as part of an art generation trained to analyze and dissect art in an intelligent and thoughtful manner.  I’m glad I learned reverence for artists.

When I think back on my college days, I remember being mesmerized by Irving Sandler as he paced back in forth in front of a large screen showing work by Jackson Pollack or Alex Katz.  (Here’s an interview with Sandler from 2008) He knew them both and when he spoke what came through was so much more than just his words – it was his enthusiasm, his respect and his own fascination with their work.  He’d get so excited that this one piece of gray hair on top of his head would alternately flop up and down in the air.

Sandler’s teaching always reminded me of a story my stepfather had told me.  He’d said that when Einstein taught he’d start writing on the blackboard and he’d get so excited that he’d keep writing on to the wall without hardly noticing.  There aren’t any critics or writers like Irving Sandler in Miami, but if he himself were here it’s likely he’d be very encouraging of the young artists that live and work here.  Perhaps if there were  a  Sandler here they wouldn’t be so quick to leave.

I don’t always understand the Miami art scene.  I don’t understand why gallery openings here have to include DJs spinning annoying techno-pop, extra-curricular activities and belly dancers.  Sometimes, with a few exceptions, it seems more like a zoo than an art scene.  To me, it doesn’t often seem to be about the art or the artist.

Perhaps that’s why art hasn’t taken hold here the way it has in New York and L.A. in the sense that major collectors don’t come here to shop.  We don’t have enough gallerists like Brook Dorsch or Frederic Snitzer.  What Miami needs most is intelligence.  Substance over style.

Sometimes, I honestly think: what the fuck am I doing here?  You can take the New Yorker out of New York, but you can’t take New York out of the New Yorker.

Written by Jenifer Mangione Vogt

August 16, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Miami’s 2nd Saturday April Art Walk

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Malene Landgreen Voyage and Rhythm

Danish artist Malene Landgreen stands in front of her installation work, “Voyages and Rhythm,” currently on view at Miami’s Alejandra von Hartz Gallery.

There are some really solid and interesting shows in Miami right now.  I roamed around Miami Art Walk a few Saturdays ago and had a terrific time discovering some new artists – and even meeting a few of them.  I wrote about the standouts at ArtLog.  

Written by Jenifer Mangione Vogt

April 24, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Jason Shawn Alexander at 101/exhibit

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A Matter of Disagreement Jason Shawn Alexander 2011

"A Matter of Disagreement" by Jason Shawn Alexander, 2011

A few months ago I wrote about the work of a very skilled painter, Jason Shawn Alexander.  The show, “Undertow,” had been at 101/exhibit and, unfortunately, it’s long over – ended on February 8th.  They just posted the review I wrote at ArtPulse.  It was a stunning show.  Alexander is not only incredibly skilled as a painter, but his imagery also evokes powerful emotions.  It really resonated with me.  His work stamped itself in my  mind.

Written by Jenifer Mangione Vogt

April 24, 2012 at 1:13 pm

NADA’s Charm

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John Miserendino of Brooklyn’s Recess Activities, Inc. gallery was in the Deauville lobby performing “Pavillion,” a work inspired by Dan Graham’s sculptures that included scheduled conversations with curators and artists, such as Rich Aybar, pictured here. Photo: Casey Kelbaugh

Of all the fairs and events that happen during Art Basel Miami Beach, I like the NADA fair the best.  Maybe it’s because I went to a college (Purchase) known for its strong arts program and loved the environment created by artists and creative people.  I loved seeing the scruffy artists walking towards their studios in the mornings, coffee in one hand, cigarette in the other.  And I immediately recognized the same type of environment at NADA.  There was this great vibe going on in the Deuville’s Grande Lobby.  The people-watching equaled the art.

You can read my review of the 2012 NADA fair here. 

Written by Jenifer Mangione Vogt

December 20, 2011 at 5:43 pm