My Favorite Moments of Miami Art Week, by Jessie Oh

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Amidst the noise of Miami Art Week, my favorite moments were those of intimacy. A lot of people in Miami all of a sudden became experts on which show you have to see, which party to be at, which artist is a good investment, and the opinions are endless. The truth is that we are all artists and we must find the art in everyday life. To the artist behind Vanity Fair’s Instagram account, thank you. We both connected with Artist Almudena Lobera’s installation on the beach. When people interact in ways that are fully present in the moment, be it theatrical or everyday experiential, their experience can become more transcendent.

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I was very lucky to have had access to a scooter during Miami Art Week. Not just any scooter but a dropped, stretched, pretty little red Honda Ruckus with big round mosquito eyes for headlights. So you can imagine I was determined to ride with her even if that meant heavy duty black garbage bag raincoats from the pages of Vogue El Nino walking into the next event. It wasn’t hard to find that same buzzing energy when the rest of the elite partygoers are running inside photo ready. Jason MacDonald, Dancer at Parson’s Dance Company and “New York’s Hottest Bachelor” just hit the street stage for an inspiring impromptu photoshoot during the downpour with Jordan Matter, photographer and author of NYTimes bestseller, Dancers Among Us.

MacDonald spoke of a sculpture he connected with this week. “I liked this creature,” he says. “It has a creepy sensuality at first. But after reflecting, it’s unifying, as if the human is returning to nature.” MacDonald is in Miami starring in a new show opening later this month inside the beautifully celebrated and deserving Faena Hotel.

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Personally, the shitty yet moody landscape of Miami Art Week was ideal for being indoors and viewing awe-inspiring works of art. This weather also has a tendancy to draw me into dark rooms, preferably with leather reclining chairs and a large screen IMAX. The pitter patter wet aesthic begged Friday night to come to an early end when my phone alerted me with the only event I lazily had set a reminder for all week – a screening of artist Maggie Lee’s Mommy, at NADA’s afterparty event Nadawave. The dark, stark, dive bar setting inside of Beaches, just on the outskirts of this week’s Disneyland was oddly peaceful. For the next hour, 30 strangers and I journeyed through the life portrait of Maggie’s mother before and after her unexpected death. The sincere story and storytelling in tandem with the alternative culture portrayed in Maggie’s diaristic and poetic documentation felt like visceral, visual and auditory parallels from my own life. In an early chapter in the film, Maggie Lee shows her birth certificate. Maggie Lee, Sun Sign in Leo, Moon Sign in Pieces and Capricorn Rising. Funny. I’m (Jessie Oh), Sun Sign in Capricorn, Moon Sign in Pieces and Leo Rising. I had to tell her that and I suppose we both knew we were speaking the same language so I apologize if you have no idea what that means. When speaking about what artwork she connected with, it happened to be one I photographed earlier that day by Andrei Koschmieder from Real Fine Arts gallery. Her favorite, she says, for “all the fake weed.” Maggie Lee was born at 4:20 AM. You can rent Mommy for $5 here.

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Maggie Lee

Talking about weather is boring but the damn rain coupled with the Venetian Causeway closed for construction made the trek to Wynwood postponed until Sunday, the last day. I’ve been told for the past four years that Wynwood is the new “Williamsburg” of Miami or more appropriately so now, the new “Bushwick” of Miami. Who are these people that are coming up with these comparisons? But really, I can’t remember if people are actually saying that or if I made the judgment after having lived in both Williamsburg (South Williamsburg) and Bushwick recently. Note: If you laughed at (South Williamsburg), you know that I’m a pretensious asshole. And after spending the day walking around, I witnessed the same energy that fills the brims of creative souls to express themselves in the form of public art and local community.

These deep observations mirrored the deep blisters in my feet from vintage heeled boots I regrefully wore to explore this six block section of Wynwood. As the horseshoes in my boots were blistering my feet, a familiar voice called for me from an XL golf cart. Joey Vanas, partner in Life is Beautiful’s festival, swept me up to join the tribe’s mobile tour. Vanas’ longtime friend and artist, owner of the golf cart, Wynwood resident, and nicknamed “Couch Monster,” Andrew, has had studio space in Wynwood for ten years. Our conversations led to the conclusion that it was obvious everybody in the popular area was not there yet for the art. But the inspiring thing is that it’s undeniable that being immersed in the art is dissolving boundaries. Because all of your senses as well as social and cultural landscapes of the viewer, are all 100% involved which means that the viewer, (ie. the teenager who grew up near Wynwood when nobody would even consider coming out that way) becomes an active participant in the space and their total being becomes enveloped in the work. In pure character, Vanas responds to the same question I asked people all week on what their favorite piece of art was with: “Human Art. Why? Because it’s constantly evolving and changing. And there’s so much diversity to them. The people have been really interesting to look at this weekend.”

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10730154_10104289509690010_4653052953881202891_n-2Jessie Oh: Jessie was born in Chicago, escaped to Los Angeles and woke up in New York. And the journey is just beginning. She is a work in progress, an explorer, a culture curator, mood director, poet and performance artist. She thinks of intimacy as a tool and gift exchange between the watcher and watched, the audience and performer. She has collaborated to help produce, delight and titillate the senses behind high profile nightlife spectacles most recently for Antibellum in LA and Queen of the Night in NYC with creatives from all over the world. Her passion and discovery grows from the freedom and power to voice through art, movement and sound. Jessie loves to connect with colorful characters, dance to music that makes you feel alive, and hack into our consciousness.

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