Brightly colored giant bunnies, miniature fishermen and fairly normal-sized reptiles have taken over Miami-Dade College’s Freedom Tower. With supplies.
Most of the 300 creatures — made of resin, recyclable plastic and aluminum — are equipped with backpacks or water bottles, a nod to the at-risk resources of the Everglades and the threat of global warming. The installation, called “Foreverglades,” was celebrated with a brunch and gathering of about 200 people Tuesday.
“This is the eye-catcher to say let’s do something, let’s save the planet,” said Belgium-based artist William Sweetlove. He teamed up with Italian collective Cracking Art Group for the installation, showing through Jan. 26.
Sweetlove’s visions of how to solve the world’s food problems — expressed through his art — are technological and controversial: creating genetically modified giant dogs and cloning them for food, finding a way to make smaller elephants so they can better withstand heat and shrinking the size of humans so they need less energy and food.
The installation was born from an idea Gloria Porcella, curator and co-owner of Galleria Ca’ d’Oro, was kicking around a year ago: “Why don’t we put some alligators crawling up the Freedom Tower?”
Today, they are. Alligators and crocodiles are also positioned outside and inside, and turtles and frogs climb the indoor staircases. A giant orange rabbit surrounded by frogs and a ring of smaller bunnies anchors one side of the tower’s second floor. The other is home to the fishermen, alligators and a host of compliant turtles.
Galleria Ca’ d’Oro, with locations in Coral Gables and Italy, made a public art splash in 2010 when it brought dozens of giant pink snails (also a Cracking Art Group project) to Miami Beach during Art Basel. Some smaller versions make an appearance in the Foreverglades installation.
Porcella, also curator of the project, said there have been many requests to show the creatures once their time at the Freedom Tower is over. And she has a request of her own: “All these animals are looking for a mama and a papa,” she said. They will be for sale, at prices ranging from $1,200 for small pink snails to $18,000 for the big crocodile and $19,000 for the big bunny.
President Barack Obama has long been a tempting subject on the contemporary arts scene, but Martin van Buren?
Sculptor Brian Tolle put van Buren and the nation’s 42 other past presidents atop the current president’s head in a sort of symbolic hair-do titled No. 44.
The other presidents stand about three inches high in acrylic, posted as chess pieces in a punk-rock spike on the Obama bust. Obama himself stands six-foot-one, on a pedestal. “It’s the president’s actual height,” said Joseph Ellis, an associate at the New York gallery CRG, which is showing the sculpture at Art Basel Miami Beach.
The showing of No. 44 ($45,000) marks an unofficial grand reopening for CRG, a Chelsea gallery left with chest-high water after Hurricane Sandy. The gallery remains closed, and Basel Miami Beach is the first time CRG has shown any works for sale since the storm. “Miami was a huge priority for us,” Ellis said.