For my friend and co-worker Lulu, bein' part of an authentic art community is a big deal. Her first experience of teamwork was back in Montreal in ’97 when she was part of a group of thirty people buildin’ trade booths for the American Chemical Society, a client of Fresh Fruit & Architecture, G’s firm. I remember thinkin’ at the time that G might have been inhaling too much of that spray mount glue he uses cause how was this ragtag bunch he had hired for the job ever gonna accomplish what amounted to buildin’ the pyramids? They were swaggerin’, bunglin’ and fumblin’ architecture students, construction joes full of beer, cigarettes and profanities, gawky high school kids so wet behind the ears they left a trail of greasy milk solids behind them, an eccentric pot smokin’ documentary film maker/boat builder, an ex-coke addict who wrote insultin’ graffiti about the group on the workshop walls - you get the picture. They built two gigantic trade booths (least ways that’s what they called ‘em - one looked more like a Wright brothers plane crash to me), then disassembled ‘em, packed ‘em up in two 18 wheelers and drove ‘em down to Dallas, Texas where they reassembled ‘em in 5 short days at the convention center. Those booths received plenty of accolades and Lulu was overwhelmed by the experience. She realized that everyone has a spark of genius deeply embedded within themselves that was brought out by the group effort. Since then she has been seekin’ out , joinin’ up with and foundin’ artist collectives. Her and G founded Roy Street Collective in Montreal and ran that for 10 years. When they came down to Miami they joined up with the Bakehouse Art Complex, which came recommended by their new and fabulous friend, Myra Wexler – art enthusiast. Lulu and G were very impressed by the warm reception they received upon first meetin’ Lauren Wagner , one of the directors. Next thing I knew G was buildin’ a studio/showroom outside in the complex’s backyard.
Now the backyard of the Bakehouse has always had some problems - mainly that art lovers visitin’ the inside never manage to find the outside – a frustratin’ problem for the artists back there. Well G and Lulu were determined to fix this problem and so they invited some of the backyard artists over to their place for dinner. (G can’t think unless he knows he’s gonna get fed). Well, the group decided to drum up interest in the backyard artists by puttin’ on “Baked” a group show for Art Basel that took place outside the Bakehouse. You can find out a lot about a person when you ask them to participate – especially these flighty artistic types who can talk the talk but can they walk the walk. Take the McKnight brothers for instance - Don and Robert. Since the “Baked” event was last minute and they were committed to various other Basel events, time wouldn’t allow much more than transportin’ their pieces to the “Baked” show. Fair enough – no false promises. But then they showed up and painted walls, swept floors and hung paintings. G and Lulu were flattered to no end cause the McKnight brothers were authentic Miami artists. Why each time G and Lulu drove down I95 on their way to the Bakehouse they looked up in wonder and respect as they passed Rob McKnight’s huge mosaic mural of BB King. I already knew those brothers were special. They were always helpin’ people out when no one was noticin’, cleaning up the grounds at the Bakehouse and stuff like that.
Anyway the “Baked” event worked out real well and the backyard artists decided to inaugurate “Art in the Yard” a second Friday art show in the Bakehouse backyard featurin’ roasted pig and yucca cause like G, most people will do anything, even look at art, if there’s food involved. Well, that too was a huge success. They were over a hundred people out back, kids and dogs, chowin’ on pork, lookin’ at art and dancin’ to the music – a veritable inner city street party. You can imagine how excited those backyard artists were with the results. They had banded together and made a fine art party – all of it done on the DIY – with no financial help from the Bakehouse. They were a tight community now – they could go on to conquer the world with pig and art - Lulu was all jazzed up.
You can imagine her surprise when she arrived at the Bakehouse for the second edition of “Art in the Yard” only to find Robert and Don McKnight packin’ up their studio and movin’ out. Seems they were behind 3 months in their rent and cause of that they were gettin’ the boot. If you ask me it’s a big mystery cause I heard a rumor that someone from the Bakehouse inside been 4 months behind and they’re still there. But you know how gossip is - sometimes the hens'll get a hold of a juicy worm and dress it up with whipped cream, peanuts and chocolate sauce - anything to distract them from their real work. As usual the McKnight brothers are handlin’ the situation with grace and aplomb. Question is – what will happen to the Bakehouse backyard community without these valuable members? I guess we'll see at the next “Art in the Yard” event set for Friday, April 8 startin’ at 7pm. Amongst other features they gonna have a participatory paintin' installation - and that's no rumor - that's straight from the pickup's mouth. I’m hopin’ you’ll make it cause soon after the team of yours truly, Ole Blu, G and Lulu will be makin’ the great trek up north to the wild, mysterious island of Newfoundland. No matter what – life’s a big adventure so bookmark this here blog and I’ll continue to keep you informed and entertained.
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