MUSEUM OF ART AND DESIGN AT MDC PRESENTS
THREE NEW EXHIBITIONS FOR FALL 2021
Museum of Art and Design (MOAD) at Miami Dade College (MDC) presents three one-person exhibitions for the Fall 2021 season. Exhibitions by the Icelandic artist Hreinn Fridfinnsson, Cuban American Jorge Pardo, and Miami-based Venezuelan American Loriel Beltrán offer viewers comprehensive looks at the practices of three of the most compelling artists—both local and international—working today. The exhibitions will be on view from Nov. 6, 2021, through May 1, 2022.
Hreinn Fridfinnsson: For the Time Being, the first American museum exhibition of the influential Icelandic artist spans six decades and highlights his use of minimal gestures to transform everyday materials into poetic, allusive, and revelatory works of art. Born and raised in Iceland, Fridfinnsson moved to Amsterdam in 1971 and began exhibiting his work in museums and galleries across Europe. His early works align with contemporaneous cutting-edge art movements, such as land art and photo conceptualism, but still suggest the distinctively romantic, lyrical, and wry sensibility that continues to define his practice.
A kind of poetic restraint characterizes many other Fridfinnsson works, which take ordinary materials and objects as their starting point. With a light touch, the artist minimally intervenes to alchemically transmute pedestrian things into allusive and enigmatic artworks—what we might call, in Duchampian terms, “slightly assisted readymades.” Sometimes these works carry a tacit mystical or spiritual charge, such as Sanctuary, 1992–2010, a regular cardboard carton with a sheet of fluorescent paper placed inside. Upended and mounted on the wall, the splayed box makes a cruciform shape and unearthly light seems to emanate from within.
Fridfinnsson’s art is often dependent on vagaries of atmosphere and perception for its effect. Most of his major exhibitions, including this one at MOAD, gather works from across the multiple decades of his career, without regard for chronology or ideas of artistic development. For the Time Being marks a provisional summation of the artist’s achievement, less a traditional retrospective than an assembly of instantiations of his unique sensibility.
Jorge Pardo: Mongrel, a site-specific installation, features a new series of quasi-abstract drawings along with modernist chairs, custom-fabricated chandeliers, and a carpet designed by the artist in MOAD’s expansive Skylight Gallery. The immersive exhibition poetically conjures the artist’s own history and biography, including his childhood memories as a Cuban refugee, processed with his family at MDC’s Historic Landmark Freedom Tower, which now houses the museum.
An untitled series of 25 new drawings created expressly for this exhibition meld a wide variety of images into arresting abstractions of pulsing color and form, while still occasionally revealing their representational sources. The artist emigrated to the United States as a child, passing through the Freedom Tower, which then served as a processing center for Cuban refugees. His memories of the welcoming architectural landmark intertwine with those of displacement, trauma, and loss caused in part by the Cuban regime’s confiscation of the emigrants’ family photographs and documents. Pardo’s drawings use family photos—his own and others’—as their starting point, along with historic photos of the Freedom Tower. He combines these with a vast array of other images, including many artworks crucial to his development as an artist and others meant to evoke the cultural milieu of his formative years.
The artist manipulates his source materials on the computer, resizing, superimposing, colorizing, and otherwise transforming images that recall personal and cultural memories into dazzlingly hued, intricately textured near-abstractions. Pardo translates these into vector graphics, which are then printed on cotton Guarro paper and brilliantly tinted by hand with colored pencils. Pardo has compared the montage and assimilation of source images into the provisionally unified whole of his drawings to the process of assimilation undergone by any immigrant to a new land, including himself. He views his reconstruction of an image from recognizable fragments into a new, often unfamiliar, mixed configuration as analogous to his own hybrid or “mongrel” condition, existing between cultural, ethnic, or racial identities.
Loriel Beltrán: Constructed Color presents recent works by the artist, innovative abstract paintings of dazzling opticality and metaphorical density made by affixing slabs of layered pigment, sliced from blocks hardened in boxlike molds, to panels. Beltrán’s panels appear as stacked structures, assemblages, or objects. But the optical mixing of the colors perceived by viewers also makes the paintings seem somewhat intangible. This contradiction between object and opticality constitutes only one of the works’ paradoxes. Beltrán uses such contradictions to create a tension-filled space within which he explores possible modes for contemporary painting.
Beltrán’s exhibition inaugurates MOAD Projects, a new series of exhibitions that features work by Miami-based artists, including distinguished MDC and New World School of the Arts alumni and faculty. MOAD Projects provides a platform for local artists to realize new projects or exhibit recent bodies of work, as well as for investigations of understudied historical developments in Miami’s cultural past. MOAD Projects expands upon the swing/SPACE/Miami alumni exhibition series that began in 2013.
“We are thrilled to present solo shows by three fascinating artists this fall,” says Rina Carvajal, MOAD’s Executive Director and Chief Curator, who organized all three projects. “Introducing Hreinn Fridfinnsson’s intelligent and poetic work to America is a great honor. And we are proud to host Jorge Pardo’s engrossing semi-autobiographical installation, which engages his own artistic development in tandem with the history of exile, of Miami, and of the Freedom Tower itself. These two projects, combined with the rigorous and brilliant paintings of Loriel Beltrán, produced here in Miami by an alumnus of the New World School of the Arts, give our audiences a view of the vast range of contemporary art’s possibilities.”
Hreinn Fridfinnsson: For the Time Being is curated by Rina Carvajal, MOAD’s Executive Director and Chief Curator, with the assistance of Isabela Villanueva, Consulting Assistant Curator. Jorge Pardo: Mongrel and Loriel Beltran: Constructed Color are curated by Rina Carvajal. All three exhibitions are made possible by the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners; and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture, and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. For their generous assistance in realizing the exhibition of Hreinn Fridfinnsson, MOAD wishes to thank Hrafnhildur Helgadóttir; Claes Nordenhake and Nadia Heinsohn of Galerie Nordenhake; Börkur Arnarson and Bryndís Erla Hjálmarsdóttir of i8 Gallery; and Elba Benítez and Pamela Cañizo of Galería Elba Benitez. For invaluable assistance in his research, Jorge Pardo wishes to thank the Cuban Heritage Collection and the Cuban Refugee Center Records, both at the University of Miami Libraries, Coral Gables; the Research Center at HistoryMiami Museum; and the Florida International University dPanther Digital Repository.