‘Improving Everyday Life’ Through Art

Published on October 29, 2010 by in Miami

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It’s progress when cool and quality galleries are opened by apprentices of established ones. Such is the case with Gallery Diet, whose owner and director, Nina Johnson, was assistant director at Bernice Steinbaum. The latest entry: The Christopher Miro Gallery, unveiled this fall

Nicholas Arehart at the Christopher Miro Gallery

by Miro, former assistant director at Fredric Snitzer. While art outlets from abroad continue to move to Miami, it’s good that some home-grown spin-offs are also helping to populate the ground here.

Miro has chosen a slightly off-the-beaten path place to set up his art shop, downtown on Flagler Street, closer to MAM, the New World school, and the Arsht Center than to Wynwood or the Design District. Appropriately, his inaugural show in September was called “The New Frontier,” a group show with some familiar and unfamiliar names who created a mishmash of works, from photography and painting to sculpture and video. Miro called them urban “pioneers in this new, uncharted terrain.”

Now, Miro has taken one of the artists from the first show and given him a solo outing, “Nicholas Arehart: Improving Everyday Life for the Majority.” Mostly sculpture with some video, Arehart’s monotone pieces are crafted from furniture parts from the Swedish superstore IKEA — whose motto is, indeed, Improving Everyday Life for the Majority.

The functional and generic products of the hugely popular store prompted Arehart to comment in his works — simple and minimalist like IKEA’s — on the loss of the artisan in the process of creation since the Industrial Revolution. Additionally, he “challenges the role of consumerism as identity by beginning these works as a consumer and ending the process as an artist.”

One of his two videos explores similar territory, where Arehart manipulates another mass-market product, a Hollywood film, and ends up with “An Illegally Downloaded Film.”

From these first two shows alone, and from the choice of location for the gallery, it’s clear Miro has a vision and understanding of our place that only a local can. We need these types of pioneers.

“Nicholas Arehart: Improving Everyday Life for the Majority” through Nov. 14 at the Christopher Miro Gallery, 71 E. Flagler St., downtown Miami; 305-741-0058; www.christophermirogallery.com.

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