Antonia Wright and Ruben Millares: Booking It at Spinello Projects
During the past few years, gallerist Anthony Spinello has departed from Miami's sweltering summer climes to curate projects in Europe. But this summer he's been pouring his sweat into two striking solo shows, both opening this Saturday at his eponymous space west of Wynwood.
Image courtesy of the artists and Spinello Projects, Miami Antonia Wright and Ruben Millares.
"Antonia Wright and Ruben Millares are a very powerful and dynamic artist couple, reminiscent to the intense artistic and romantic relationship of Marina Abramovic and Ulay," Spinello says.
Spinello, who has been supporting the duo's collaborations recently, including "Drinks on Me" at his gallery this past Art Basel, knows a good thing when he sees it. After all, not many dealers can boast having a mega collector get smacked in the gob by one of their artists -- only to ask for more of the same.
"This past December, the nude duo tossed balloons full of wine and ink at each other within a sealed room. Spectators became voyeurs as they peered through peepholes to view the performance," Spinello recalled. "Mira and Don Rubell were at the gallery during the performance. No one anticipated the performance to be as violent and explosive as it was. I had to run to the freezer to get ice for Mira, she thought her tooth was chipped -- thank god it was only a fat lip! However, she was very happy to see such a performance here in our own backyard, Miami."
You can expect more fireworks from Wright and Millares this weekend when they open "State of the Book," a scathing commentary on the devaluation of the book and the rising budget cuts to arts and education plaguing contemporary society.
Guillermo Gomez Mira and Don Rubell, Tammy Katz at Spinello Projects looking through peepholes during Antonia Wright and Ruben Millares' performance, "Drinks on Me."
Cultist caught up to the conceptual duet earlier this week and here is how they describe their heady exhibition:
How long have you and Ruben been working on this project?
Ruben and I have been working with books since the summer of 2010. We have been thinking of the project for several years and are excited to be debuting "State of the Book" at Spinello Projects this Saturday.
Is this the culmination of your "smashing through a wall of books" performances?
"State of the Book" is an extension of Job Creation in a Bad Economy; a project where we build huge walls of books and repeatedly smash through them with our bodies.
"In that series we are creating a playful commentary on the somber issue of the devaluation of the arts and education in our society as seen symbolically in the problems facing libraries in the US today. With the extreme action of tearing down these bookshelves, we physically and metaphorically tackle the bureaucracy and walls that uphold these systems.
In "State of the Book," we are attempting to aid in the solution of these problems facing closing and underfunded libraries. We saw a poster during the Occupy Movement that said, 'You know things are bad when librarians start protesting."
Culture builds around institutions such as libraries, and without access we are losing more than we shortsightedly realize. As Orwell famously wrote in 1984: "Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past."