Brooklyn-based sculptor Ruby Sky Stiler’s stunning solo show opens at Locust Projects in the Miami Design District on Saturday, February 28. Miami, with its rapid development and old Florida charm, will identify and appreciate her juxtaposition of functional design and decorative superficies. New pieces that explore the tropical modernist architecture native to Miami come to life in this exhibit, as do previous works more closely related to the artist's ongoing investigation of the female figure.

Over the years, Miami has, for better or worse, become known for its murals.  Some of the most compelling are those that reference or interact with the immediate environment – they somehow contextualize or make better sense of their surroundings.  “Vortex” in the Miami Design District is a perfect example.  The first time I experienced it was with the remnants of construction and a thin layer of dust floating around purple LED lamps: a perfectly and sufficiently hazy setting for an enormous vortex mural.

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The plight of the independent artist isn’t without its benefits.  Since many art fairs have grown into overwhelmingly commercial behemoths, some have found the lone rider approach more rewarding.  Independence, however, doesn’t exist in a vacuum and for photographer Clifton Henri, it includes traveling seven months per year to exhibit at festivals and artist-run showcases throughout the U.S.

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Things often come in twos for John Baldessari.  Those who know the famed artist’s expansive body of work will recognize how the relationship between vantage points, the use of multiple canvases, and the application of two or more elements are characteristic of his process.  This theme is an interesting one for City View Garage, a new mixed-use building, which is part parking garage and part office and retail space.  Wedged between interstate 95 and 195, City View is enveloped in a seemingly endless arrangement of tessellated metallics, while two of Baldessari’s monumental images stand-out on its façade like billboards along the highway. The artwork commissioned by developer Craig Robins may cause commuters to wonder if the artist’s works are an ad campaign for the revitalized neighborhood or a contemporary art installation; further, how will this distinction matter?

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Somewhere between film, technology and interactive storytelling, “transmedia” is a genre prescient to how audiences are experiencing entertainment through a 21st century lens.  During Basel art week, Ryan McNamara’s MEEM 4 MIAMI, for one, was designed for social media-hungry viewers, scripting a fast-paced, over-the-top choreography that melded dance, immersive theatre and voyeurism.  Another Miami gem was The Love Song of Buckminster Fuller presented by MDC Live Arts, which deconstructed the cinematic paradigm with on-stage narration by director Sam Green and a live soundtrack by Yo La Tengo.  This idea of giving people greater agency and engaging them on an experiential level is at the heart of South Florida’s only transmedia festival, Filmgate Interactive, which runs February 1st− 8th at locations throughout the city.

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