It’s a real treat to see galleries and art institutions celebrating the printed book (the qualification printed would have been redundant only several years ago, but not today). We’ve mentioned Locust Projects (a Knight Arts grantee), and its art book library program before, along with Miami-Dade County Public Library’s unique Vasari collection. On Saturday night, two artists best known for their performance and video will open up another chapter with an exhibit “State of the Book” at Spinello Projects’ new home on N.W. 7th Avenue.
Antonia Wright and Ruben Millares, artists with a broad body of work but who, as a duo, garnered attention with their collaborative short video at MOCA’s Optic Nerve festival – which also involved books – are creating an interactive installation. They will transform the gallery entrance into a façade of a bookstore storefront (those façades we used to know so well, from the local variety to the Barnes & Nobles signage that are disappearing by the day). Behind the glass doors is an interactive reading room.
“We have created a library that will function as a reading room to celebrate the book in response to the devaluation of the medium, cuts in education and arts funding in our schools and the closing of public libraries around the country,” explains Wright. “We are inviting the community to visit the library during gallery hours and sit, read, smell and simply be with the books. We have asked people we respect, who respect the book, to lend books and curate sections of the library and have included our personal libraries among the shelves as well.”
As the gallery notes, and as we Miamians have come to appreciate, South Florida in the summer is the North in the winter – time to go inside, contemplate and explore the interior world, often best done through some book reading. Those available at the gallery have been gathered from Miami’s library system, private collections and the artists’ bookshelves. The exhibition will culminate with a performance piece.
“State of the Book” opens July 13 from 7 to 10 p.m. at Spinello Projects, 2930 N.W. 7th Ave., Miami (West of Wynwood); spinelloprojects.com.