CYJO is an American visual artist based in Miami. She works with photography, video, text and installation. She continues to explore the evolving identity of culture and people from varied contexts in her body of work. The Eye of Photography asked her to write a diary on her experiences with Art Basel Miami week.
During major art fairs, the commodification of art, the clicking of calculators, and the exchange of goods from salesman to customer is front and center. There is a clear need for exchange for artists to make a living, but does this experience of mega fairs which diversify capitalism also depress/alter the creative process? This diary focuses on the communicative exchange between the artist and viewer, mainly through photographic artists. With over 200 contemporary art galleries on display and over 4000 artists represented in the main convention hall alone, there were several compelling works on display which I wish could be included into this digital diary. But due to the long existing gender and racial disparities within the art industry and considering the current climate in this country, my focus with this Miami Art Basel diary recognizes diversity, inclusion, and community. And this includes females and the LGBTQ community. There were more diverse expressions during this Art Basel Miami than I’ve ever seen before. It was refreshing to see more of an accurate reflection of our times, and I hope that this momentum continues to grow for the future.
Tuesday, December 4th
My day started out with encountering the newly renovated Miami Beach Convention Center by Fentress Architects. This is the first Miami Art Basel held in this spacious location. Its sinuous, nautical scales lured me into the building to pick up my badge. Image 1, 2
Later that night, I dropped by the exhibition opening “Judy Chicago: A Reckoning” at ICA Miami. I had been drawn earlier to Judy’s minimalist Atmospheres/Fireworks/Dry Ice work in the 1960’s-70’s. She was feminizing the atmosphere using pyrotechnics during a time when the Southern California art scene was almost completely dominated by men. And photographs of her atmospheres work are currently being shown at Nina Johnson Gallery in Miami until next March.
Nearly four decades of Judy’s work is exhibited at the ICA. Most known for her installation “The Dinner Party”, (which recognized mythical and historical famous women) she has been a pioneer of feminist art and expression. In response to the challenges she faced as a female artist, she created (in 1970) her first feminist art program to help young female artists during a time where expressing gender in art was considered unacceptable.
After asking her about what advice she could give to young female artists navigating this precarious art world, here’s what she said.
Judy:I’ve actually been thinking a lot about this because I get asked this question all the time…If you want to know what you’re going to encounter, study my career. If you want to know how to overcome what you’re going to encounter, study my career and your history as a woman. Because it was by studying the lives of women before me that I learned how to overcome the obstacles that were put in my way. And that inspired me to keep going. Image 3, 4, 5