xavier cortada
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Absence of Place
art image | installation text | miami art museum | media coverage

Xavier Cortada, "Absence of Place,"  180 digital photos on yellow card stock, clear plastic bags, graphite on wall (installation at the Miami Art Museum), 2006.
on exhibit at
Miami Art Museum
Miami in Transition
April 27 – October 29, 2006
Plaza Level Gallery

This exhibition features local artists whose work has been informed either directly or indirectly by Miami’s ongoing metamorphosis. Selected by MAM curators, the new works range from focused responses to construction/demolition to more general “psychogeographic” meditations on art and life amid an environment in flux. Miami in Transition is the first MAM exhibition dedicated entirely to Miami artists since the highly successful, year long New Work series in 2001.


Artists in the exhibition:

  • Daniel Arsham
  • Natalia Benedetti
  • Vicenta Casañ
  • Xavier Cortada
  • Patricio Cuello
  • Andrés Ferrandis
  • Mark Handforth
  • William Keddell
  • Leila A. Leder-Kremer
  • Nicolas D. Lobo
  • Michael Loveland
  • Glexis Novoa
  • Martin Oppel
  • Placemaker
  • Tao Rey
  • Leyden Rodríguez-Casanova
  • George Sánchez-Calderon
  • Tina Spiro
  • Ivan Toth DePeña
  • Thomas Brian Virgin
  • Purvis Young

Miami Art Museum
101 West Flagler St.
Miami, FL 33130

Garage Parking: $5 at 50 NW 2nd Ave between Flagler St and NW 1st St



Miami Artists Illuminate the Spectacle of a City in Flux

Miami in Transition

April 28 – October 29, 2006

Tapping the dynamic energy of a changing city, Miami in Transition features 21 Miami artists whose work responds to the city’s rapid, dramatic transformation in light of trends in the current real estate market. The exhibition, curated by MAM Assistant Director for Special Projects/Curator Lorie Mertes and Curatorial Research Assistant René Morales, will be on view from April 27 to October 29.

The exhibition features more than 50 works that range from focused responses to construction and demolition to more general meditations on art and life amid an environment in flux. While some works mourn the loss of cherished sites, others deal with the city’s future. The media employed by the artists on view are as varied as their responses to the building boom. In addition to drawing, installation, painting, photography and sculpture, the exhibition includes everything from a zoetrope to the latest in digital technology.

Artists represented in Miami in Transition are: Daniel Arsham, Natalia Benedetti, Vicenta Casañ, Xavier Cortada, Patricio Cuello, Andrés Ferrandis, Mark Handforth, William Keddell, Leila A. Leder-Kremer, Nicolas D. Lobo, Michael Loveland, Glexis Novoa, Martin Oppel, Placemaker, Tao Rey, Leyden Rodríguez-Casanova, George Sánchez-Calderon, Tina Spiro, Ivan Toth DePeña, Thomas Brian Virgin and Purvis Young.

Miami in Transition is the first Miami Art Museum exhibition dedicated entirely to Miami artists since the highly successful, year-long New Work series in 2001.

“Artists and developers helped spark the Miami cultural renaissance, sometimes symbiotically” Mertes said. “Miami in Transition is intended to expand upon the ongoing dialogue concerning the current transitions Miami is undergoing and its close ties to Miami’s growing art scene.”

Some of the artists in the exhibition, including Daniel Arsham, Natalia Beneditti, Martin Oppel and Tao Rey were affiliated with “The House,” which served as both residence and exhibition space for many emerging Miami artists in the 90s. “The House” was demolished when the community in which it was located was redeveloped. Miami art critic Alfredo Triff, author of the recently released book Miami Arts Explosion -- described as “a rare chronicle of the making of a formidable scene”-- will lead a panel discussion with Arsham,

Benedetti and Oppel, as well as Mark Handforth and Leila A. Leder-Kremer, as part of the exhibition’s opening reception on April 26 from 6 to 8 pm. The panel discussion will begin at 6:30 pm.

“Artists’ communities often arise in underdeveloped areas because of affordable housing and studio space. Many artists have thus found themselves physically positioned to serve as witnesses to, for and against development booms,” Morales added. “By channeling these experiences into their work, they clarify the tumultuous social forces at play in urban transformation.”

Miami in Transition features three commissions created especially for the exhibition:

• Michael Loveland will create an installation centered on discarded advertising signage;

• Glexis Novoa will contribute ephemeral drawings which will appear throughout the exhibition space; and

• Leyden Rodríguez-Casanova will install a spiked metal fence that recalls traditional elements of local domestic houses.

The exhibition is organized by the Miami Art Museum and is supported by MAM’s Annual Exhibition Fund.



Lorie Mertes

Lorie Mertes was promoted to Assistant Director for Special Projects/Curator at the Miami Art Museum in 2004. She has been with MAM as a curator since 1994. Mertes has served as the curator of more than 20 exhibitions including marking time: moving images, and solo exhibitions by James Rosenquist, Shahzia Sikander, Russell Crotty, Jim Hodges, and Liisa Roberts as well as a number of special projects including a site-specific installation by Ann Hamilton in 1998 and the recent Miami skywriting project by Vik Muniz. She has also served as the coordinating curator on 20 large-scale traveling exhibitions for MAM. She currently serves as the editor of Converge, MAM's publication series documenting New Work exhibitions and has participated in the implementation of several education and audience development initiatives including Visitors Gallery, JAM at MAM and the museum's website. Mertes, a South Florida native, graduated from the University of Florida with a BA in art history.

René Morales

René Morales was named Curatorial Research Assistant at the Miami Art Museum in 2005. He played a significant role in the adaptation of the retrospective Ana Mendieta: Earth Body for its presentation at MAM and co-curated the MAM exhibition Mapping Space. He iscurrently curating exhibitions in MAM’s Video Gallery. Prior to joining MAM, Morales served as a curatorial intern at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and as Curatorial Assistant at the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design. Morales, who immigrated to Miami from Cuba in 1980, earned a Master’s degree in Art History from Brown University.

Related Publications and Programs

Gallery Notes

Available in the galleries. Free.

Opening Reception

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

6 to 8pm

DJ, hors d’oeuvres, donation bar

MAM Members free. Non-members $10

Panel Discussion featuring Daniel Arsham, Natalia Benedetti, Mark Handforth, Leila A. Leder-Kremer and Martin Oppel, moderated by Alfredo Triff

6:30 to 7:15pm


Sundays are Free at MAM 12 – 5pm

Guided tours of the exhibition every Sunday at 2pm. Sponsored by The Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald


Second Saturdays are Free for Families

Second Saturday of every month, 1 – 4pm

Drop in to enjoy fun, interactive programs. Families of all ages explore MAM together, find inspiration to create works of art, and participate in hands-on activities led by GalleryTeachers.

Media contact:

Mitchell Snow

Accredited by the American Association of Art Museums, Miami Art Museum is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts; with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, the Cultural Affairs Council, the Mayor and the Board of County Commissioners.




xavier cortada

art gallery | projects | profile |media | calendar | email | home 

Xavier Cortada's work has been shown across four continents and is in the permanent collection of The World Bank. The Miami artist has been commissioned to create art for governmental (the White House, Florida Supreme Court, Miami City Hall) and cultural institutions (Miami Art Museum, Museum of Florida History).  Major collaborative art projects include International AIDS murals in Switzerland and South Africa, peace murals in Northern Ireland and Cyprus and child welfare murals in Bolivia and Panama.


Copyright © 1997-2006 by Xavier Cortada. All rights reserved.