Art: An Exhibition Exploring Time Opens at the Bass

TIME presents a selection of historical and contemporary artworks, objects and artists’ projects that engage with ideas of time. Throughout history, philosophers and scientists have advanced new – sometimes conflicting – ideas regarding the nature and perception of time. Current thought on the subject based upon quantum physics is extremely complex. Nevertheless, our finite lifespan seems to have endowed us with an intuition of time, even if we have not considered its precise character. The concept of time enables us to live with a sense of order and regularity; to conceive of duration; past, present and future; and to maintain a sense of our place within this apparent continuum.

This exhibition explores the subject of time through a number of different means. It includes apparatus for measuring time in the form of several historical decorative clocks, presented alongside Torsten Lauschmann’s artwork, an idiosyncratic hand-powered ‘digital’ clock. Two artists’ projects explore the transformative nature of time, Hernan Bas’s A Queer and Curious Cabinet and Manny Prieres’s It was a Pleasure to Burn. Based upon historical cabinets of curiosities, Bas has created a cabinet room to display intriguing objects that he has collected over a number of years. Some of these artifacts would once have been quite common, but have become rare curios over the passage of time. Prieres’s work also engages with time’s transformative nature. By presenting a series of covers of controversial and censored books, Prieres demonstrates how work that was once judged as ‘dangerous’ may be interpreted differently by later generations.

Manny Prieres. Book 4, 2013, graphite, gouche paper. Courtesy of the artist and Spinello Projects, Miami

By contrast, Eadweard Muybridge’s and Idris Khan’s works exploit photographic media’s ability to ‘capture’ periods of time. Muybridge photographed various actions – most famously, a running horse – using a bank of specially-designed cameras. This allowed him to break down movement into its constituent parts, enabling the viewer to analyze these actions in detail. Over one hundred years later, Khan used digital techniques to create two films which layer the sound and image of musicians playing celebrated musical scores; Bach in one work and Schubert in the other. In these two films, Khan layers time so that we can simultaneously see and hear several different interpretations of a piece of music.

Like a number of TIME’s participating artists, Alexandra Pirici and Manuel Pelmu? use art from previous eras as the starting point for their artwork. Utilizing the Bass Museum of Art’s historical collection, Pirici and Pelmu? will choreograph performative reenactments based upon some of the artworks exhibited in the galleries and held in the museum’s storage. This approach is similar to that used in their celebrated work An Immaterial Retrospective of the Venice Biennale, performed in the Romanian Pavilion at the renowned Italian art festival in 2013. At the Bass Museum of Art, Pirici and Pelmu? will substitute the live presence and action of the performers for the material objects in a durational work that will take place over several days during Art Basel Miami Beach.

Finally, Lorraine O’Grady’s Miscegenated Family Album adopts yet another approach to time. Consisting of a series of photographic diptychs which juxtapose images of Ancient Egyptian statues of Queen Nefertiti and photographs of O’Grady’s sister Devonia and her family, the work draws parallels between the lives of these two women, who were divided by thousands of years.

Located in Miami Beach, the Bass Museum of Art offers a dynamic year-round calendar of exhibitions dedicated to our mission “we inspire and educate by exploring the connections between our historical collections and contemporary art.” This includes art from our permanent collection of Renaissance and Baroque paintings, sculpture, textiles and Egyptian Gallery. Artists’ projects, educational programs, lectures, concerts and free family days complement the works on view.  Additionally, the museum opened the Lindemann Family Creativity Center in January 2012. The center is the home of the museum’s IDEA@thebass program of art classes and workshops. The museum was founded in 1963 when the City of Miami Beach accepted a collection of Renaissance and Baroque works of art from collectors John and Johanna Bass, and renamed the collection that was housed in the Miami Beach Library designed in 1930 by Russell Pancoast to the Bass Museum of Art. Architect Arata Isozaki designed an addition to the museum between 1998 and 2002 that doubled its size from 15,000 to 35,000 square feet. The Bass Museum of Art, 2100 Collins Ave;  Miami Beach. Bass website here.

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