Coral Gables Museum Offers Two Fascinating Exhibits Tuned to the Times
The theme of alienation has long been the province of artists, many of whom feel like they live on the edge of the normal, predictable world. Combine that with the sense of separation that we’re all feeling, thanks to the pandemic, and you have the raison d’être of the two latest exhibitions at Coral Gables Museum.
The first is aptly entitled “Alien Nations 2020,” and draws on the work of nearly two dozen artists in mediums ranging from painting and sculpture to video and photography. “The experience of isolation and social distancing gives the idea of alienation an unprecedented meaning for all of us these days,” says John Allen, the museum’s executive director. “It’s always been the job of the artist to interpret troubled times, and these pieces do just that.”
Among the works are three paintings from Beverly McIver’s “Series: Covid 19,” each depicting the suffocating feeling of being covered with masks, which are simultaneously portrayed in bright, festive colors. A more traditional sense of social isolation can be found in two paintings by Andrew Stevovich: “Subway Riders” and “Subway Interior,” both of which depict a more traditional sense of loneliness in the midst of desensitized commuters. Among the sculptures is “Useless Females: Don’t Stand There Like a Decoration,” a pair of golden Persian legs with a fez upon them, which portrays the perennial alienation of objectified women.
As interesting as “Alien Nations 2020” is, the sister exhibit “Quarantine: 40 Days and 40 Nights” is utterly compelling. This is a photographic series by Geandy Pavón, depicting 40 days of isolation spent with his girlfriend Imara López, in her small apartment in Buffalo, NY, during the first pandemic shutdown starting in March.
Each day Pavón posted one photo on social media. Beginning simply and playfully, they grow more intense as the days pass, many involving elaborate staging with whatever resources are at hand. Several use religious icons – a recreation of Michelangelo’s “Pieta,” for example – while others grow dark and even homicidal. “Some of these aren’t really suitable for kids to see,” says Allen. “We might have to put up a warning sign for families.” For those of you adult enough to handle it, “Quarantine” is one of the most fascinating exhibits ever put on by the museum, a truly dark – and darkly humorous – mirror of the times in which we now live.
Coral Gables Museum
285 Aragon Ave.