Home: Dream Home at Praxis

From Jul 9 through Aug 13, 2011.

Home: Dream Home is a diverse group of works by some of the most cutting edge artists currently living and working in Miami (and a couple of out of town guests). The exhibition is a reflection of a dream home with all the manifestations of furniture and décor placed within a gallery setting.

Home: Dream Home is assembled by Grela Orihuela, Executive Producer of Wet Heat Project, the Miami-based company that produces original films, events, and web destinations about contemporary artists and art professionals, such as wetheat.tv, miamiHeights, and HOTBED Miami.

Featured artists include Troy Abbott, Nicholas Arehart, Loriel Beltran, BooksIIII Bischof, Brian Burkhardt, Teresa Diehl, Natasha Duwin, Brian Gefen, Enrique Gomez de Molina, Guerra de la Paz, Graham Hudson, Jessica Latino, Michael Loveland, Elena Lopez-Trigo, Emmett Moore, Gean Moreno, Paul Myoda, Laz Jade, Ernesto Oroza, Jose Felix Perez, Gavin Perry, Bert Rodriguez, David Rohm, Moses Sanabria, Kristen Thiele, Mette Tommerup, Kyle Trowbridge, TYPOE, Tatiana Vahan, Dan Walker, Agustina Woodgate and Daniel Young.

Claire Breukel interviews Gela Orihuela about the upcoming exhibition.

CB: Home: Dream Home is a reflection of your idea of a dream home with all aspects of the furniture and décor placed within a gallery setting. Are you saying that you feel your dream home is art?

GO: Yes. I’ve often imagined that everything in a house could be a work of art, and the notion of making that a practical reality has been rolling around in my head for quite some time. For me it’s not about the painting over the sofa, it’s about replacing the sofa with something I can sit and relax on that’s a unique and exceptional work of art. So here I have this exciting opportunity to express my dream home idea as a summer group show, coming at it as a collector and as someone who loves to design meaningful living environments. And since the concept came from my own dream home idea, I chose artists from my home city of Miami (with a couple of guest visitors!).

CB: Through your company, Wet Heat Project, you specifically focus on creating films featuring local artists – from the people you feature as subjects to the soundtracks you choose (inside voice: OMG, she is totally obsessed with Miami artists). Can you explain this fascination?

GO: First of all, it’s about contributing to and participating in the community you choose to make your home. My husband Bill Beloit and I are from New York City and chose to live here full time in 1997. Within a couple of years we became aware of the fresh, energetic, remarkably inventive art scene in town, and how it was growing fast and furious. We started collecting a bit and that led to new and wonderful relationships in the art scene here. So we finally put our two passions together in 2007 – filmmaking and art – and established Wet Heat Project. It’s been non-stop ever since, with two feature films, more than 30 shorts and more in the pipeline. But to address your obsession/fascination question, yes on both counts I guess! And a little addiction element added in too, there’s so much talent here it’s hard to resist wanting a home filled wall to wall, floor to ceiling with art.

CB: During the exhibition Home: Dream Home, a collector or buyer can select a piece of furniture for their home and at the same time buy a work of art – and both interact with the work by using it, as well as displaying it as a work of art. True?(inside voice: I’ve always wanted to sit on a piece of art… some more than others).

GO: Satisfy your inner voice – here’s your chance to sit on some art! For the most part the works are fully functional, everyday objects, although some you’d treat a bit more carefully, which you’d do anyway with certain furniture, like antiques for example.

CB: Home: Dream Home consciously blends art and design, and by doing this you are asking visual artists to become furniture designers. Tell me more.

GO: All but two of the works existed already and I had seen them before. The two new pieces (a dining room table and chairs) are produced by an artist who’d been waiting for a good excuse to make them. So, I’ve never asked an artist to make a functional object like a piece of furniture. More often than you’d think, an artist creates a work that can actually replace a conventional, functional object in your home – a bed, a chair, a table, a lamp or a rug. I took note of these works in many exhibitions over the years and when this opportunity came about I had already imagined a beautiful “dream home” possibility many times.

CB: The process of this exhibition develops this notion that artwork can be utilitarian as well as “art”, full circle. First you select a piece of art that is also furniture/decor and place it in a gallery setting and in so doing reassert it as an art piece. Then, once the piece is sold it becomes utilized by its collector. Does your ability to see the process as fluid stem from being a collector and the way in which you relate to artwork?

GO: I selected pieces that were produced to exist somewhere within the spectrum of fully functional objects to really cool and active riffs on home decor and practical possessions. I relate to artwork from a personal and emotional place, and to the amazing possibilities that come about when a home contains all those incredible conversations between pieces, between artists’ voices, between visitors’ reacting to the work, an all of that together. So, it’s not being a collector that enables me to see the fluidity of a work’s journey, it’s the other way around. Because I can see, relate to, and emotionally experience a work of art over time, the logical result is to become a collector.

CB: The theme of Home: Dream Home is personal but is also deeply ironic with so many people loosing their homes in the current financial climate. Is there a financial aid plan in place for your Home: Dream Home for first time buyers? (Inside voice: I really need a new couch then I wouldn’t have sit on my Britto).

GO: You’ll have to speak to the gallery about financial plans! The truth is, many of these pieces actually cost the same or less than traditional furniture and decor. I’ve been a collector for more than 10 years now and the special electric feeling of buying art for the first time is what I experience each and every single time I’m lucky enough to be able to bring a new work into my (dream) home.

CB: They say the first thing a blonde does when she gets up in the morning is go home (inside voice: so not true I totally call all my friends first). What do Brunettes do?

GO: Gives the blonde cab fare.

Claire Breukel is a curator and writer. Her current project – Coca-colonized opened in Vienna and has traveled to San Salvador. She is a creative consultant for Miami DDA’s arts and culture program. She is interested in working with contemporary art that falls outside of conventional modes of exhibition.

Gela Orihuela is the Executive Producer of Wet Heat Project, the Miami-based company that produces original films, events, and web destinations about contemporary artists and art professionals, such as wetheat.tv, miamiHeights, and HOTBED Miami. As an independent producer she develops and manages art events such as the 16-artist video exhibition “Fijian com Arrow” for Fundacao Biennale de Sao Paolo in Wynwood during Art Basel Miami Beach 2010. Gela’s multi- faceted career includes three decades of producing marketing events and multi-media for international corporate clients, developing and producing TV programs for Telemundo, as a stylist and video producer for fashion legend Kal Ruttenstein at New York’s Bloomingdale’s in its 1980s heyday, and as talent coordinator for famed rock n
‘roll impresario Bill Graham. Gela has also been a collector of contemporary artwork since moving to Miami in 1997, with a special focus on local artists. Her hobbies include channel-surfing, pillow-fluffing, chip-dipping and gummy bears, and she speaks fluent Spanish and Cuban.

Praxis International Art
2219 NW 2nd Avenue
Miami, FL 33127

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